MEMS inertial sensors are used to detect movements (acceleration, rotation rates) and magnetic fields. The optimum functionality requieres coordinating the microelectromechanical sensor element (MEMS) and the electronic analysis with an ASIC. In the research project, scientists developed innovative MEMS sensors using piezoresistant silicon nanowires as opposed to the sensors available on the market today. This approach makes it possible to miniaturize the sensor element and thereby reduce costs compared to capacitive MEMS.
Drawing on Fraunhofer IIS’s extensive experience in sensor signal processing, researchers developed application-specific integrated circuits for these innovative MEMS sensors. By combining the MEMS sensor element with this innovative signal processing circuit, they were able to develop some extremely energy-efficient solutions for smartphones. Further optimization of the system with a view to minimizing energy consumption is opening up new applications in medicine. A sensor system for vestibular implants, used in patients with balance disorders, was also developed as part of this project.
More information on the NIRVANA project