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Mobile talks MEMS!

by on March 28th, 2012

Two news items caught my attention this week regarding audio MEMS and its applications: the first was reported by the Engineer that researchers from the Imperial College, London are developing a lightweight gunshot detection system that would alert troops of the direction and distance of enemy fire by using MEMS based microphone technology. The second news was regarding a new analogue MEMS microphone from Akustica: the company is currently strengthening its position in the MEMS mobile market by introducing a new analogue MEMS Microphone – AKU340, the first multi-chip MEMS microphone from Akustica for smartphones.

Now, focussing on the mobile market, the present device ecosystem is increasingly driven by MEMS devices and applications – primarily by sensors. An accelerometer has now become standard in all smartphones, high end feature phones as well as all tablets. The same is happening for gyroscopes, compasses and other devices, providing great capability for advanced functionalities such as location based services and gaming.

However, as evident from the news I mentioned earlier, MEMS are just not about sensors – most of the mobile devices nowadays, integrate two MEMS microphones for noise cancellation and better quality. The iPhone employs two MEMS microphone devices for effective noise cancellation, as does HTC and Motorola. The mobile phone market is a very large market already and will grow larger as more manufacturers work to differentiate themselves with high-quality audio input and integrate multiple microphones into their phones.

We expect to see more mobile devices being shipped with MEMS microphones. Consequently, according to our recent research, the total number of MEMS microphones present in mobile devices shipped will exceed 2 billion in 2016. Further information on our study can be accessed here.

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