Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems are made up of small miniaturized electro-mechanical and the mechanical elements, devices, and structures using the techniques of micro-fabrication. The applications of MEMS seem unlimited. They are everywhere. Vishal Goyal, Senior Manager, Technical Marketing, Analog MEMS and Sensors (AMG), India, Asean and ANZ, STMicroelectronics, is entrusted to identify the opportunities in IoT domain such as wearable, Smart Home, connectivity and sensing. He is working as Senior Technical Marketing Manager with ST and is responsible for marketing of MEMS, Sensors and RF products of ST. ELE Times’ current discourse with Vishal Goyal establishes STMicroelectronics an undisputed leader in MEMS segment. He discusses the innovation and evolution of MEMS and application of such devices in Smart City, Smart Home, Smart Things, Fitness & Healthcare, Smart Driving and wearable. Excerpt.
ELE Times: What are benefits that MEMS Technology offers to consumers on a larger scale?
Vishal Goyal: MEMS sensors have enabled intuitive motion-activated user interfaces in many different popular consumer devices, including most of the leading smart phones, tablets, personal media players, game consoles, digital still cameras and remotes, making these more accessible and appealing to people. ST’s MEMS devices are also widely used for free-fall protection in laptop hard-disk drives, in many health and fitness products, and for car infotainment and enhanced navigation. Today, they are being designed into new applications as varied as providing the crispest, clearest audio in mobile communications and adding localized weather/environmental monitoring capabilities to consumers’ mobile devices.
Few examples where MEMS Technology can benefit consumers are appended:
For better living, higher security, and less waste
- Reduce traffic congestion
- Better use of resources
- Improve security
- Infrastructure evolution using smart sensor nodes enabling new services like traffic monitoring, weather station, improved security
- Increase comfort
- Save energy
- Same Garbage collection : Connected containers allow cities to more manage efficiently manage collection and provide better services
- Everyday Objects
- Enable better interaction with technology
- Make daily tasks easier
Fitness & Healthcare
- Help to lead healthier lives
- Help physicians monitor and diagnose remotely
Making intelligent cars aware
- Reduce emissions
- Increase safety
- Save fuel
- Helping drivers to find a parking spot faster and enabling cities to manage their parking spaces more efficiently
ELE Times: How does ST stay competitive and maintain its leadership position in MEMS technology space?
Vishal Goyal: Sensors are now spreading in the world and having a great influence in all aspects of our lives. They are bringing exciting ways of interacting with the world and is core to connected applications and a key building block of the Internet of Things (Smart Things, Smart Cities, Smart Industry, and Smart Home) and Smart Driving (Connected Car).
ST is the only company to offer the full range of Sensors & Micro-actuators. We are continuously strengthening its position in the MEMS market through the introduction of new devices. In addition to motion sensors, environmental sensors and MEMS microphones, we are using MEMS mirrors to develop a complete solution for ultra-mobile projectors. It is absolutely important to keep competitive advantage and maintain the trust of our customers. This requires to be innovative and creative while following our strategic direction.
MEMS micro-mirrors is a shining example of innovation and market leadership.
We are already enjoying market success inside Intel’s RealSense laser scanning application and now many other tier-one companies are interested in this brilliant new product.
ELE Times: Could you share examples of devices made by ST for wearable applications?
Vishal Goyal: Wearables are electronic devices which are small and light weight so can born by the user. They are getting adopted as watches, fashion accessory, fitness tracker, security devices or specialized medical gadgets. A wearable device may be independent in its functioning or it may act as accessory to other device such as tablet or Smartphone. In this case it is mainly used as input or output device with some computing power.
ST has designed a range of products keeping energy efficiency and size considerations in mind, which ensure the best performance for wearable device with ultra-low-power processing and connectivity, power and energy management, and sensors.
Few examples of ST Wearable applications are:
- Activity monitor
- Smart Watch
- Glasses & Goggles
- Environmental sensors (Real time monitoring of temperature, humidity and exposure to sun)
- Inertial modules, pressure sensors (Activity monitoring & positioning)
- Analog sensors (For heart monitoring)
- Heart rate monitors
- Glucose monitors
- Pulse Oximeters
Proximity and Anti-theft accessories
- BLE enabled car keys can be found easily with the help of connected Smartphone
Security and tracking
- Wearable watch or tracking devices
ELE Times: Pl explain about Key Demos at display
- STEVAL-WESU1 FW provides a complete framework to build wearable applications, using inertial and environmental sensor drivers, battery profile measurements, and Bluetooth low energy for data communication
- The system embeds a low power ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller unit (STM32L151VE), an iNEMO inertial module (LSM6DS3), a high performance magnetometer (LIS3MDL), a barometric pressure sensor (LPS25HB), a Bluetooth® low energy wireless network processor (BLUENRG-MS) and power management circuitry that allows fast charging and precise energy estimation (STNS01 and STC3115)
- BLUEMICROSYSTEM1 provides a complete middleware for STM32 to build applications using inertial (e.g. motion MEMS) and environmental (e.g. humidity, pressure, temperature) sensors, leveraging Bluetooth Low Energy for sensor data communication
The package includes:
- osxMotionFX (INEMOEngine PRO under OPEN.MEMS license), which uses advanced algorithms to integrate outputs from multiple MEMS sensors in a “smart” way, independent of environmental conditions, to reach optimal performance
- osxMotionAR (iNEMOEngine PRO under OPEN.MEMS license) real-time activity-recognition algorithm
- osxMotionCP (iNEMOEngine PRO under OPEN.MEMS license) carry-position recognition algorithm
- BlueVoice + Android provides a complete example of STM32 application for voice streaming (acquired by digital MEMS microphones) over Bluetooth Low Energy to an Android device. The package is based on an improved version of OsxBlueVoice library which implements a vendor-specific profile, defining a service composed of an audio characteristic
- The BlueVoice+Android application supports three different audio compression algorithms: ADPCM, Opus and SBC. This package contains a firmware for the Peripheral unit and an .apk application for the Central unit. The software provides an example application for STM32 Nucleoplatforms equipped with the X-NUCLEO-IDB04A1 expansion board featuring BlueNRG network module and the X-NUCLEO-CCA02M1 expansion board featuring one digital MEMS microphone
Lechal Smart Shoes and Insoles
- Lechal, has launched the world’s first haptic footwear that offers hands-free navigation. Their products contain ST microcontrollers, MEMS sensors, Bluetooth connectivity and power management devices