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Motion Detection and MEMS Inertial Sensors Report

May 24, 2007

Patronage of the automotive industry reduces prices in the MEMS-based inertial sensors market.


DUBLIN, Ireland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com) has announced the addition of Frost & Sullivan's new report: Motion Detection Sensors - MEMS Inertial Sensors to their offering.

This research service titled Developments in Motion Detection Sensors provides an in-depth analysis of the problems and technical developments related to MEMS inertial sensors, namely accelerometers and gyroscopes. This study analyzes the impact of MEMS inertial sensors in automotive and consumer electronic sectors. It also includes an overview of the major influencing factors for MEMS adoption, along with some of the major technological challenges.

The following technologies are covered in this research:

  • Inertial sensors
  • Accelerometers
  • Gyroscopes
  • MEMS

Technology Overview
Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), which combine mechanical and the electronic technology, have been well researched in the recent past. MEMS inertial sensors are emerging as one of the leading areas of MEMS development, with numerous applications opening up especially in the consumer electronic industry. "MEMS accelerometers have improved considerably over the past few years and this has led to the creation of a new breed of extremely small and highly sensitive devices, which are well suited to integration into the space-starved portable electronic devices," according to the analyst. "MEMS gyroscopes are also making their way into the consumer segment due to their unique sensing abilities and small size."

There are a number of factors aiding the adoption of MEMS-based inertial sensors in the automotive industry. MEMS devices are far smaller than their mechanical counterparts. As they are directly etched onto the chip, the final sensor plus chip assembly can be easily integrated into space-critical applications such as portable devices. Due to their small size and reliability, MEMS accelerometers have entirely replaced the traditional crash sensor arrays in the automotive industry.

Patronage of the Automotive Industry Reduces Prices
The automotive market has played a significant role in the MEMS-based inertial sensors market and this trend is likely to continue for the next couple of years as an increasing number of car manufacturers are looking to improve the safety and navigational features of the mid- to low-end vehicles. Safety and navigation are the main applications for MEMS accelerometers and gyroscopes. The consumer industry is a bit more complex as it is extremely price sensitive. The primary attraction for MEMS developers to enter the consumer electronic domain is the sheer volumes associated with it, however, current prices limit the applications to camera stabilization and novel gaming devices. More applications are on the horizon, but until prices drop, MEMS-enabled devices are expected to remain few and far between.

MEMS inertial sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscopes are typically manufactured in very large quantities. The automotive industry alone has a requirement of millions of accelerometers annually and this number is growing continually. As MEMS are designed, in part, as ICs, the volumes produced in each batch are enormous, while the small size keeps material requirements to a bare minimum. "This automatically brings the price down to levels far lower than conventional mechanical systems," explains the analyst. "Another factor to consider is that with the growing demands for MEMS inertial sensors, higher production volumes will be achieved, which in turn will aid in further reducing device cost."

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