Tiny Inventions Impact Our Lives in Big Ways


Among the latest scientific inventions of great importance to us in our daily lives are devices known as MEMS. Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are the   technology  of the very small. In Japan MEMS are also called micromachines. Smaller still, are the nano-scale nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) and nanotechnology.

MEMS are made up of components between 1 to 100 micrometers in size (i.e. 0.001 to 0.1 mm) and MEMS devices generally range in size from 20 micrometers (20 millionths of a meter) to a millimeter. MEMS became practical once they could be fabricated using modified semiconductor fabrication  technologies , normally used to make electronics.

One type of invention impacting our lives is the accelerometer. An accelerometer measures the acceleration and gravity it experiences. Modern accelerometers are often small micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), and are indeed the simplest MEMS devices possible, consisting of little more than a cantilever beam with a proof mass. Under the influence of gravity or acceleration the proof mass deflects from its neutral position. This deflection is measured in an analog or digital manner. This method is simple and reliable; it also does not require additional process steps making it inexpensive.

Micromechanical accelerometers are available in a wide variety of measuring ranges, reaching up to thousands of g’s. These amazing little devices are what allow us to take for granted the most commonplace things in our lives, while benefiting from them immensely.

For instance, these latest of scientific devices tell our air bags when to deploy. Do you feel that we benefit from our airbag  technology ? They are becoming endemic in gaming devices and even iPhones and other smart phones are using them for interfacing purposes. They are being incorporated into laptop computers to sense screen orientation, and to park hard drive heads in case a drop is detected. They are also used for images stabilization in digital cameras and a host of other applications. They are everywhere you look these days.

Another area where MEMS are popping up is in pressure sensors. MEMS  technology  combines microelectronics with tiny mechanical systems such as valves, gears, and other mechanical components all on one semiconductor chip using nanotechnology to measure pressure. Pressure sensors can be used for directly sensing pressure for such uses as measuring weather data, aircraft performance parameters, automobiles processes, medical devices, and other machine applications .

These latest scientific inventions can be used for sensing altitude for use in aircraft, rockets, satellites, weather balloons etc. And finally, they can be use for flow sensing. MEMS  technology  is responsible for everything from automatic blood pressure monitoring devices to monitoring tire pressure of your car.

I’ve barely touched upon the latest scientific inventions in the MEMS field, just think of the military and battlefield uses for such a  technology , research is underway for such things as smart clothing and smart armor.

We are using these  technologies  in the exploration of the ocean depths by implanting them into whales and fish, and monitoring them with radio  technology . All fields of science will continue to benefit from the amazing new inventions being spawned by these amazing and cool new  technologies .

Source by William Lund

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