While the MEMS accelerometer is one of the simplest micro-electromechanical systems being used in today’s world of science and technology, it is also one of the most often used due to its versatility. They are an integral and indispensable part of many industries today, including the automobile industry and technological industries such as computer, audio, and video.
The Function and Benefits of the MEMS Accelerometer
This type of accelerometer senses changes in capacitance, or the geometry and distance of conductors and the permittivity of the dielectric involved. There are many beneficial features of capacitive interfaces which include:
* Minimal to no additional processing is necessary in most micromachining technologies.
* Capacitors have the ability to operate as sensors as well as actuators.
* They have superb sensitivity which is independent of the base material.
* The transduction mechanism is insensitive to even the most extreme temperatures.
Design improvements to the MEMS accelerometer are still being made. Recently a new type of MEMS accelerometer was invented that offers equal or greater performance for a lower cost than the current ones in use. This device was designed to achieve levels of sensitivity that broke the world record straight out of the box.
Important Real Life Applications
MEMS accelerometers are being incorporated into many widely electronic devices used all over the world. Media players and gaming devices as well as smartphones require the use of these accelerometers in features such as step counters, user interface control, and the ability to switch between portrait and landscape modes with ease. Accelerometers are essential to tag the orientation in photos that are taken with cameras built into smartphones. Even the tapping of touchscreens relies on the advancement of these accelerometers. With everything from digital cameras to game controllers and hard drive protection, there is an accelerometer involved.
Aside from the digital realm of applications, high g-force accelerometers have become a vital component in accurately detecting car crashes so that the airbags deploy at the proper moment. When a vehicle collision occurs, they are an essential part of the system used in detecting the rapid de-acceleration of the vehicle.
The MEMS accelerometer has even found its way into military and aerospace system applications, and is used as an integral part of the control and monitoring of various kinds of vessels, as well as smart weapons systems such as aviation and ship launched missiles, rockets, and projectiles.
The Bright Future
The MEMS industry is still young today and promises many more advancements and applications in the future. Like every other technological advancement, their size is decreasing as their sense range and frequency response broadens. Efforts are being made to design the accelerometers to be more affordable, expand consumption, and put their applications to use in even more novel ways.