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Low cost sensors for consumer electronics

The competitive advantages and user appeal of electronic consumer products such as smartphones depends to a large extent on the quality of sensor solutions. For high volume, high quality sensor production, microelectromechanical system (MEMS) technology keeps costs at an acceptable level.

VTT clients minimize risks and shorten development times by exploiting the intellectual property that we have generated over the years. VTT has extensive experience in technology transfer and licensing, and customers often make use of our VTT Memsfab contract manufacturing services. We can also transfer manufacturing processes to external fabricators at any point for high-volume production.

MEMS microphone

The mobile phone marketplace is now looking for microphones with an improved signal-to-noise ratio of over 66 decibels (dB). This ratio is needed in order to improve the user audio experience by including active noise cancellation solutions.

VTT has developed a new MEMS microphone technology particularly suited for such high-end applications requiring a signal-to-noise ratio of over 66 dB. The new technology is just as durable as existing MEMS microphone technology thanks to similar processes such as SMD soldering in a reflow oven. In addition, the new microphone has excellent tolerance against electromagnetic interference (EMI), which translates into flexibility of design in products such as smartphones.

Electronic compass based on a 3D MEMS magnetometer

VTT’s new MEMS-based magnetometer has several uses. It can be used as an electronic compass in smartphones and PDAs to provide orientation information for digital maps, and it can also be used to measure viewing angle alignment for digital camera picture taking.

MEMS-based magnetometer advantages include:

  • low cost, thanks to a one-chip 3D sensor
  • no need for recalibration
  • no magnetic materials used
  • low power consumption

MEMS pressure sensor-based Altimeter

Altimeters provide altitude information by measuring air pressure. VTT has developed a low-cost manufacturing technology for altimeters. The technology is available for licensing and technology transfer.

Advantages of the VTT altimeter technology include:

  • small chip size
  • simple, robust manufacturing process
  • high process yield
  • low production costs
  • low power consumption, due to the capacitive readout principle
  • high accuracy, due to low thermal coefficient and low hysteresis

VTT’s MEMS altimeter technology can also form part of tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), as well as other systems and products.