MEMS (Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems) accelerometers have hit the limelight in the past year, although most consumers are probably quite unaware that they make the Nintendo Wii’s motion-sensing remote control and the Apple iPhone’s self-orienting display possible. But according to ABI Research senior analyst Douglas McEuen, these popular products are only the high-profile advance wave of what will be a rising tide of new and innovative uses for the tiny motion sensors.
“Other major game console manufacturers are following Nintendo’s lead in seeking accelerometer applications for their next-generation products,” he says. “But games are only one use for these specialized devices. They are already widely used in automotive airbag systems (where the high sales volume has helped drive down prices.) They can measure vibration in industrial machinery; they are used in exercise step-counters, and we will see them in growing numbers of other phones and PDAs.”
Recently, in an effort to improve shock-reducing designs, researchers in the United States even fitted accelerometers to football helmets in order to measure the impact when players collide.
A relative handful of manufacturers share this high-potential market. A “big three” – Analog Devices, Freescale, and ST Microelectronics – are joined by just a few others, including OKI Semiconductor and Hitachi Metals America.
“In the very creative consumer electronics market,” adds McEuen, “the sky’s the limit. The growth rate of this market will be determined by the imaginations of designers as they think up innovative and unexpected ways to incorporate accelerometers into new devices. The arrival of another wildly popular consumer product that sells large numbers worldwide could give this market a significant boost.”
A recent report from ABI Research, “MEMS Accelerometers” provides a detailed examination of MEMS accelerometer technology and the requirements for competitive solutions, including essential product capabilities. It includes an in-depth market forecast that numerically tracks both positive and negative market forces. The study concludes with profiles of key manufacturers and early-adopting handset/CE vendors.
It is a component of three ABI Research Services, Consumer Video Technologies, Mobile Devices, and Wireless Semiconductors, which also include other Research Reports, Research Briefs, Market Data, ABI Insights, an Online Database, ABI Vendor Matrices, and analyst inquiry support.
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