What is MEMS Technology
MEMS technology can be found in all walks of life on an everyday basis in our modern world. MEMS or Microelectromechanical Systems is miniaturized mechanical and electro-mechanical elements. When saying elements I am referring to devices and structures. These small devices are designed to push the performance of a product and allow us to experience new things.
MEMS Oscillators are part of the family of the MEMS electronics, and are also having continued development and impact on our lives, whether we know it or not.
In this article I am focusing on the application of MEMS technology in motion sensor driven devices, which can be found in the health and fitness market.
MEMS in the Fitness Industry
Motion sensor devices are attracting a lot of attention from health conscious consumers, who are looking for the latest gadget to keep them on their toes. These devices could be anything from a smart wristwatch that tracks your heart rate, to an armband that monitors physical activity.
Reasons for an up rise in this technology in the world of health and fitness
The extent of consumer interest in these devices is so great, that the manufacturers of the MEMS sensors have had to quadruple their production rate in the past five years. The ability for fitness enthusiasts to get hold of wearable and mobile health technology is higher than ever, and is driven by a higher average life expectancy, and increasing occurrences of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, due to people neglecting their health.
The uptake in these motion sensor driven health devices, is also due to the growing awareness of health and fitness issues on peoples’ general well being. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the negative impact of a sedate lifestyle, and they are becoming more conscious of investigating just how healthy their lifestyle is.
In the US, the prevalence of MEMS sensor devices is fortified by the consumer- directed healthcare plans and the Affordable Care Act, which in turn is incentivizing insurers. So products like the FitLinxx Pebble and Fitbug are finding their way into workplaces as employers look to raise awareness of physical activity.
We have been weaned into the idea of these devices with the fast-growing smartphone apps that have incorporated sensor technology for the past couple of years. In particular we have become accustomed to accelerometers and gyroscopes.
As more manufactures of the sensor devices have worked on making the MEMS sensors smaller and easier to incorporate into wearable devices, sports companies have designed ingenious products for the consumer sports industry. Snowboarding goggles are just one of the emerging products that will enable snowboarders to monitor their jump height and speed.
There are also big developments in the swimming market, with a new device that will allow you to perfect your technique without a swimming tutor.
Activity monitors will however be the most popular product, as they are for anyone who is curious about their calorie intake and daily movement. An accelerometer will track your movement and detailed feedback can be produced at the end of the day.
What are your thoughts on the rise of technology in the world of health and fitness? Do you think these are distractions from a simple healthy lifestyle, or tools that will save lives?
About the author
Tom Clark is always on the lookout for emerging technologies. He writes on MEMS technology and its influence on the modern world. Abracon are a leading supplier of MEMS devices for the electronics industry.