One key component in many wearable devices is a 3-axis accelerometer, which measures the forces acting on the device. They are key to measuring movement and location, as well as physical orientation (Which way is up?). The market demand for these components accelerated rapidly with the growth of smartphones, which helped drive the costs down. This demand has also driven research into making them smaller and better.
That leads us to an announcement last month by MEMSensing Microsystems in China; the company claims that their new 3-axis accelerometer is the world’s smallest available chip in the market. The package is only slightly larger than 1 mm on a side, and just 0.6 mm thick (including the solder balls used to attach it to a circuit board). According to the company, this provides a footprint that is about 30% smaller — and the total size is about 70% smaller — than the latest competing products.
This miniaturization was made possible by vertically integrating the three-axis device into a single package. This small size will make it possible to design wearable devices that are even smaller. The microelectromechanical (MEMS) device is expected to be in commercial production later this year.