Menu
MEMS sensors are the quiet heroes of CES

MEMS sensors are the quiet heroes of CES

Tiny accelerometers and gyroscopes are enabling many of the gadgets at International CES

The The Linx Impact Assessment System works with an app to monitor concussions in athletes

The The Linx Impact Assessment System works with an app to monitor concussions in athletes

They dont make a lot of headlines, but the tiny sensors that track movement, orientation and pressure are the quiet heroes of the International CES.

Properly known as micro-electro-mechanical systems, or MEMS, the sensors really do have impossibly small mechanical parts and are mounted on chips just a few millimeters across.

Smartphones contain dozens of them, and the popularity of those devices has driven down prices for MEMS and allowed them to be used in other products where they might otherwise have been too expensive.

Take the Linx Impact Assessment System, a device on show here that weighs a little more than a penny and fits into a headband or skull cap to monitor athletes for concussion-causing collisions.

The Linx IAS contains a 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis gyroscope, and low-power Bluetooth Smart technology to transmit collision data to the sidelines, with the goal of helping trainers and doctors to identify and treat potential injuries more quickly. It's available for pre-order from BlackBox Biometrics, which says it will ship the product soon.

MEMS are in virtually every wearable computer and fitness gadget at CES, including a chest band from Wahoo Fitness that counts how many push-ups youve done, or the ShotTracker device that records how many shots a basketball player has attempted.

Along with products containing sensors, there are new MEMS components being announced at CES this week. Bosch Sensortec, a big maker of sensors, announced what it calls is the world's first environmental device combining sensors for pressure, humidity, temperature and indoor air quality.

The device could find its way into smart smoke alarms for the home, or into smartphones that share their data to provide new insights about atmospheric pollution and weather. Bosch says samples will ship to device makers this quarter.

Another company, PNI Sensor, is introducing a bracelet-like development kit that's packed with sensors from different vendors that PNI has pre-integrated, allowing other companies to get devices like smart watches and fitness bands to market more quickly. The kit, including connectivity and a programmable processor, is available now for US$299.

There are whole conference tracks at CES devoted to MEMS, though they may draw few attendees outside the industry. But without MEMS, a lot of the smart gadgets at CES would be a lot less clever.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags CESBoschComponents

Featured

Slideshows

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honoured its top performing partners across the channel in Australia and New Zealand, recognising innovation and excellence on both sides of the Tasman. Revealed under the Vivid lights in Sydney, Intalock claimed the coveted Partner of the Year 2017 (Pacific) award, with Data#3 acknowledged for 12 months of strong growth across the market. Meanwhile, Datacom took home the New Zealand honours, with Global Storage and Insentra winning service provider and consulting awards respectively. Dicker Data was recognised as the standout distributor of the year, while Hitachi Data Systems claimed the alliance partner award. Photos by Bob Seary.

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners
Show Comments