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August 13, 2012

Tech Focus: Integrating MEMS into embedded designs

HIGHLIGHTS

Applying the interrupt features of a MEMS accelerometer

Making MEMS accelerometers work in motion control

Rethinking PID use in the age of MEMS


Editor's Note

Bernard Cole Bernard Cole
Site Editor
Embedded.com
bccole@acm.org
Read his blog

It is clear that as widespread use of Micro-electro-mechanical (MEMS) components in consumer and mobile sensors and motion controls drives cost down, the technology will be much more broadly adopted. As a result, embedded developers will be faced with the opportunities – and challenges – of integrating low cost MEMS components into traditional MCU-based machine, motor, and engine controls in robotic systems; home, building, lighting and industrial automation systems; engines of all sorts, and in automobiles. A few recent examples of such designs include:

Design of a smart MEMS accelerometer using nonlinear control principles
Usng a monolithic MEMS microgripper with two-axis force feedback
Advanced control of MEMS probing devices
Controller design of a MEMS gyro-accelerometer

For a more direct sense of the growing interest in the use of all things Micro-electro-mechanical, I've included the link to recent videos of DIY MEMS controller designs. In addition, here are some white papers, webinars and design articles on integrating MEMS into embedded designs, of which my Editor's Top Picks are:

Applying the interrupt features of a MEMS accelerometer
MEMS accelerometers: a fast-track to design success?
Making MEMS accelerometers work in motion control

This will be a fast moving technology that will continue to turn up in many unanticipated embedded applications. Keep in touch with me on the various ways you are deploying this technology, the problems you may be having and the ways you are solving them.


Design How-Tos

Applying the interrupt features of a MEMS accelerometer

Understand how to implement reliable and robust interrupt-based applications using MEMS-based accelerometers

Use GPS and MEMS sensor combo for next-gen positioning and navigation

This article looks at the next exciting stage in GPS evolution that solves the problems of non-availability of GPS location information - often when the user needs it most.

How to select the right timing device--A case for MEMS—Part I

The clock signal is the heartbeat upon which all signals in the system are dependent. Timing components impact the performance of the entire system, so it is important to select them carefully, considering the requirements of each specific application. Here's how.

MEMS sensors: When GPS is not enough

Environmentally robust sensor developments are driving a surge in the adoption of MEMS inertial sensors within the industrial, instrumentation and medical markets.

MEMS sensors expand active automotive safety

The next generation of active safety systems will require a range of additional sensors in order to measure vehicle dynamics. Modern MEMS devices will play a dominant role.

MEMS accelerometers: a fast-track to design success?

MEMS accelerometers are one of the most newsworthy analog products today. However, are they a passing system design fad, or here to stay?

Self-adaptive MEMS vibration energy harvester targets low frequencies

CEA-Leti researchers are developing an innovative energy-harvesting technology that collects vibrations from the environment and converts them into electricity to power a variety of sensors

Microelectronic sensing system enables in-flight arrow ballistics measurement

Packing MEMS and more in your arrow leads to an unusual data-acquisition system

Making MEMS accelerometers work in motion control

Error budgets and tolerances affect a successful design; look at tactics to overcome these problems

MEMS sensors for advanced mobile applications—An overview

This article discusses the role of MEMS sensors in advanced applications in mobile devices including Mobile Augmented Reality (MAR), LBS and the solution of MEMS sensor fusion integrated with a GPS receiver to determine the position and orientation using the dead-reckoning method.


2012 Embedded Market Survey webinar

UBM Electronics' 17th annual survey of embedded systems designers worldwide shows trends in software and hardware usage. The 2012 Embedded Market Survey also looks at languages, productivity, and the challenges design teams rank as most important. A webinar on Friday April 20 will examine the results from over 1,700 respondents from across the embedded industry, the dataset enables a deep analysis to track key changes in this important electronics industry segment. There will also be the opportunity to ask questions online. To register click here.


Products

10x smaller single chip 3-axis industrial MEMS gyroscope reduces noise 100%

Known for their motion tracking device technology, InvenSense entered the industrial market with the MPU-3300, the first single-chip, high-performance integrated 3-axis industrial gyroscope.

ADI samples lowest power MEMS accelerometer

ADI's MEMS accelerometer enables wireless sensor networks, wearable motion detectors and other portable systems to significantly extend battery life.

InvenSense proprietary MEMS fab process offers limited licensing

The InvenSense NF-Shuttle offering is a silicon CMOS-MEMS platform where mask costs are split between multiple users—they can purchase 'seats' on the same mask.

SWS launches development platform for MEMS inertial sensors

Si-Ware Systems (SWS) has launched its Inertial Sensor Development Platform, the SWS61111 (formerly SWP210).

MEMS variable capacitive accelerometers with 4-wire snap-in removable connector

Silicon Designs' model 2266 high-precision accelerometer come with a simple four-wire snap-in removable connector, designed to allow users the added ability to exchange, move, reposition, and replace accelerometers within a given test setup.

Coventor's SEMulator3D 2012 release increases speed and accuracy of MEMS and semiconductor dev

SEMulator3D 2012 from Coventor, Inc., has increased capacity, speed, and automation advancements to accelerate development of leading-edge process technology nodes.


News & Analysis

MEMS enable 'human body on a chip'

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and elsewhere have embarked on an ambitious $32 million "human body on-a-chip" research project that will use MEMS microfluidics to mimic people's reactions to substances-of-interest.

MEMS market to show 13% CAGR to 2017, says Yole

The worldwide market for microelectromechanical systems components will be worth about $11.5 billion in 2012, an increase of about 12.7 percent compared with the size of the market in 2011, according to market research firm Yole Developpement.

TSMC tops pure-play MEMS foundry ranking from IHS

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. was the largest pure-play foundry for microelectromechanical systems devices in 2011, according to market analysis firm IHS iSuppli.

6-axis MEMS chip gets motion engine

STMicroelectronics has shrunk its 6-axis accelerometer-gyroscope combo chip while adding a smart motion processing chip.

MEMS switch market to surge by 2012, says Yole

French research and strategy consulting company Yole Développement has provided an analysis of MEMS switch and varicaps as it expects this emerging market will generate sales over $700 million by 2012.

RF MEMS switches to enter wireless handset apps

In an analysis of the market potential of radiofrequency (RF) microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switching, French research and strategy consulting company Yole Development highlighted that they would generate $990 million market in wireless handset applications in 2013.

MEMS switches curb infrastructure cost

Switching fabrics based on mirrors built using MEMS technology in a 3D configuration have emerged as a viable alternative to 2D crossbar approaches.


Commentary

Rethinking PID use in the age of MEMS

With an increasing number of designs emerging based on the use of MEMS- based motor control in industrial automation, robotics, automotive, and consumer/ mobile apps, is it time to re-evaluate the effectiveness of the traditional PID algorithm?

The 4004, nanometer CMOS VLSI, and MEMS logic

On the 40th anniversary of the Intel 4004, Embedded.com editor Bernard Cole recounts his introduction to the MCU in the 1970s, as well as to three IC design technologies that remain in wide use today: synchronous & asynchronous MOS VLSI and MEMS.

Sensors: More than MEMS

The fact that I spend too much time focusing on consumer electronics was brought home to me vividly by a visit to the recent Sensors Expo 2011 in Chicago. Far from the niche show that I expected, it was swamped by over 4,000 attendees checking out 140 exhibiting companies, making navigating the aisles a good application for GPS, LIDAR, a 3-axis accelerometer and a collision-avoidance system.

MEMS will set the world on fire

There is nothing more magical than seeing the tree at Rockefeller Center at Christmas time. That magic must have worked its way at 30 Rock into the audience of the Seventh Annual Livingston Nanotechnology Conference.

Consumer electronics turn to MEMS for gesture control, precision location

Sharply falling costs, and greatly improved software to ease design-in, look to be about to enable the next generation of inertial sensor applications to distinguish mobile consumer devices.

Amazing MEMS, now with TSV

MEMS has come a long way from those tiny switches, and today STMicroelectronics says MEMS and TSV can be used together for even higher densities…


Sponsored White Papers

CMOS and RF-MEMS Integration

MEMS Resonators: Getting the Packaging Right

Leveraging Standard IC Packaging for MEMS Oscillators

Identification of Residual Stress State in an RF-MEMS DeviceN

Motionless Bandwidth Test for MEMS Sensors



Courses and Webinars

High-Performance MEMS; What does that mean?

Using MEMS Sensors for Industrial Platform Stabilization Systems

MEMS Foundry Manufacturing and CMOS integration - Challenges and Solutions

ESC SV-181- The Future of Timing - MEMS vs. Quartz

Introduction to Mechatronics


Resources

Around the Network Events

Software Visual Analytics of Program Structure and Metrics

Visualization of Practices and Metrics

Evospaces: Multi-dimensional navigation spaces for software evolution


Conferences and Events

ESC Boston 2012, a DESIGN East summit
September 17-20, 2012
Hynes Convention Center
Boston, MA

Are you up-to-date on the latest products, technologies and practical design information?

ESC Boston -- alongside Android Summit, DesignMED, LED Summit and Sensors in Design -- is the most powerful and cost-effective avenue for acquiring the latest knowledge, skills and techniques you need to:
  • Get your ideas from concept to reality as quickly as possible and on spec
  • Accelerate the design and development of your products
  • Facilitate the incorporation of new technologies & techniques into existing and future projects
And with the All Access Pass, you'll get unlimited entry to everything:
  • Choose from 100+ sessions & tutorials in 21+ conference tracks
  • Network with visionary keynotes and top industry speakers
  • Attend the Android™ Certificate Program
  • See exciting DESIGN East Theater events like product teardowns
  • Visit 150+ Exhibitors on the Expo Floor showcasing the latest products
  • Enjoy Happy Hours, win Prizes & Giveaways and more!
Join thousands of your peers at the center of the engineering universe -- you can't afford to miss this.

Register today!

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