MEMS Makers Make Inroads into the Wearables Market


Wearable devices like smartwatches and health monitors have a small size which means the embedded mechanical and mechanical-electro systems in them must be even smaller. But achieving this is not easy.

MEMS makers have risen to this challenge to design and develop such systems. MEMS, which stands for Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems, mostly consists of microsensors and microactuators. They are also called transducers, because they convert energy (for instance, mechanical signals into electrical signals). They should achieve this by consuming low energy and at the same time, take a relatively small amount of space.

Another challenge staring such companies is to develop technologies to enhance the battery life on such devices from the current hours/days to weeks or months. Some companies have redesigned their application specific integration circuits to cater to this demand. One company managed to lower consumption by a Bluetooth device by redesigning the Bluetooth device to go into ‘sniff’ activity mode.

When the device is in this mode, the device consumes a miniscule amount of power- just enough to let the accelerometer on the device to sense movement. For example, when someone picks it up. When the device is finally picked up, the device turns on in seconds. Such developments are good news for embedded developers, because they open up new vistas for work.