Various sensing technologies will enable handsets to match the future trend for interconnected smart systems.
The single most prominent trend in the mobile arena today is MEMS devices taking next-generation smartphones to the Internet of Things.
The handset is predicted to become the controlling device in a future environment where objects embedded with sensors, MCUs and RF devices are able to interface with each other. The network will extend from consumer products to healthcare monitoring systems, home automation installations and other intelligent systems.
MEMS sensors will continue to gain headway in the smartphone market as more handsets integrate the device. Samsung’s Galaxy S4, for instance, has eight such components. Industry observers anticipate upcoming models can house as many as 30 sensing units. This is because MEMS components enable various applications, including indoor and outdoor navigation, location-based services, immersive gaming and augmented reality.
“We are seeing the emergence of applications for indoor navigation, personal healthcare, exercise and fitness, and others that utilize a combination of sensors functioning seamlessly to deliver a high level of connectivity and information processing,” said Fabio Pasolini, general manager of Motion MEMS at STMicroelectronics. “Further down the road, we will see applications that enable augmented environmental sensing as the adoption of smart systems become more prevalent.”
Smartphones have already started to converge with wearable computing, while MEMS technology spawns other mobile devices such as smart watches and Google Glass. Camera shake and auto-focus actuators will play an important role in making the latter new-generation gadgets a commercial reality.
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