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CES 2013 brings MEMS closer to consumers

11 Jan 2013  | Elmie Gonzales

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MEMS at CES 2013

The electronics industry is abuzz this week, as tech journalists and gadget enthusiasts flock to Las Vegas for the 2013 International CES. In its bid to promote micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) to a wider audience, the MEMS Industry Group (MIG) will be playing a significant part in the huge event.

MEMS are pervasive in smartphones, tablets, game controllers, notebooks, and other popular consumer electronics. From tiny inertial sensors that 'translate' motion into the digital realm, miniature microphones that improve voice input and speech recognition accuracy, and personal health and fitness applications that support people living healthier, more independent lives, MEMS devices are embedded by the hundreds of millions in products that we use on a daily basis. And while consumers are using MEMS in record numbers—they aren't yet a household term, but MIG is looking to change that.


MIG's MEMS conference session features a keynote entitled "The MEMS Generation: Why Miniature 'Machines' are changing the User Experience with Everything" by Klaus Meder, president of Bosch Automotive Electronics, and industry panels designed for consumer-electronics original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and original design manufacturers (ODMs). These sessions will help attendees to explore some of the most exciting commercial applications of the 'miniature intelligent machines' that are changing the ways in which consumers interact with the digital world.

"MEMS innovations are moving the auto industry towards cars that drive themselves and meet the connectivity needs of today's consumer," said Mr. Meder. "The MEMS industry has successfully leveraged the extensive knowledge base and manufacturing processes that we perfected in automotive to advance MEMS for consumer markets. Today MEMS is helping to promote an interconnected lifestyle, allowing interactive automotive systems—as well as smartphones and tablets—to communicate with one another and most importantly, with the consumer."

MEMS TechZone
A line-up of suppliers, partners and end-user companies are participating in MEMS TechZone from Jan. 8-11, 2013. The MEMS TechZone is MIG's show-floor experience at the 2013 International CES.

"MEMS devices have been the 'secret ingredient' in consumer electronics for far too long," said Karen Lightman, managing director, MEMS Industry Group. "The 2013 International CES gives us the perfect forum for demystifying a technology that is integral to the consumer experience. CES attendees who come to MEMS TechZone can check out some of the functionality that they appreciate today—and will love and demand from CE products tomorrow."



Sponsored by Bosch, Bosch Sensortec and Akustica, MEMS TechZone features the following companies and their noteworthy technologies:


* Freescale Semiconductor—will feature its 12-Axis Xtrinsic Sensor Platform—a comprehensive solution comprised of sensors and sensor-fusion software that makes it easy for ODMs and OEMs to upgrade Microsoft Windows 7-based laptops and tablets to Windows 8.

* InvenSense—will demonstrate a wearable development kit that determines the activity type, and detects changes in elevation and overall calorie burn. InvenSense's 9-axis, single-chip MotionTracking device is the key enabling technology.

* Kionix—will introduce novel inertial-sensor technologies that drive down current consumption and size for resource-constrained portable devices.

* LUMOback—will demonstrate its wearable sensor and smartphone app that mimics the wearer's movements and posture in real time, capturing that information when the wearer sits, stands, walks, runs and sleeps.

* Sensor Platforms—will showcase its FreeMotion library, the first plug-and-play sensor hub that supports both Windows 8 and Android—without requiring developer modifications. FreeMotion is also hardware-agnostic, working both on sensor hubs and application processors.

* WiSpry—will give CES attendees a 'hands-on' experience with its RF-MEMS devices in mobile phones—showing how its technology promotes longer battery life and reduces dropped calls.

* X PRIZE Foundation—will promote the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE and $2.25 million Nokia Sensing X Challenge—competitions that will help to revolutionise personal healthcare by making sensing and diagnostic assessment technologies available directly to consumers.

* Xsens—will demonstrate sensor-fusion software for real-time 3D body-motion tracking based on multiple wireless, wearable motion-sensor nodes. The technology digitizes the wearer's motion for applications in sports, fitness, healthcare and gaming and is available for licensing. Xsens will also present low-power 9D/10D motion sensor-fusion for "always on" motion tracking on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.




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