MEMS stands for microelectromechanical systems, which are very small devices used for a number of applications. MEMS are not as small as NEMS, which are nano-scale devices. They consist of several sensors that receive data from the surroundings and a tiny microprocessor to evaluate the data. These devices are used in many devices in our lives. One of the most common places where they are found is in our automobiles. This research will explore the use of MEMS in the automobile industry.

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MEMS can be found in sizes ranging from micrometers to millimeters (Compliant Mechanisms). Two of the most common uses of hem in automobiles is in accelerometers for crash detectors (Compliant Mechanisms). This is the system that tells the car to deploy the airbag system. Many MEMS used in automobiles act by responding to a change in resistance caused by mechanical stresses (Compliant Mechanisms). The sensor then responds with an output signal. This output will cause an action, such as making a warning light to off or it will deploy the airbags.

MEMS are now used in the following vehicle systems: steering position, wheel rotation, tire pressure gauge, and acceleration (Grace). In the future, MEMS are intended to be used in the valve to control their rate, displacement, and rollover (Grace). MEMS are already used to determine airbag deployment, but in the future, this use will be expanded to include the pressure canister and side impact pressure (Grace). MEMS are used to determine seat occupancy by sensing the presence of a person by force and by displacement (Grace). They are used to assure that the seat belt has proper tension. They are also used to detect an object and to alert the driver to avoid it (Grace). They are used in the navigation systems to detect yaw rate and wheel rotation (Grace).

MEMS are now used in seat control, to remember the position of the seat for a specific driver. They are used in the climate control system. They can help to adjust the temperature, creating an individualized microenvironment for the driver and passenger. They are also used to control the humidity and air quality (Grace). They are used in compressor control to adjust the temperature and pressure. They are used for the security and safety of the vehicle and passengers too. They are used in proximity detection, motion detection, vibration detection, tilt, and in keyless entry systems. They are used in engine diagnostics and monitoring for systems such as the coolant temperature and level, to monitor engine oil pressure, level, and contamination, to measure brake fluid pressure and level, to measure transmission pressure fluid and level, and to measure fuel system pressure and level (Grace). They are used to measure vehicle speed.

MEMs are used in automobiles to take over many functions that used to be handled by mechanical systems. They also take over and assist the driver with keeping up with maintenance issues, such as when to change the oil, or when tire pressure needs to be adjusted. Owners can now allow the vehicle to send them reminders of what needs done, instead of having to remind themselves and potentially miss maintenance schedules. MEMs make driving and maintaining a vehicle an interactive experience. The vehicle can now give the driver and owner important information about their vehicle, taking some of the workload off the human. MEMS make automobiles a more enjoyable experience by serving as an extra set of tools that can be used to keep them maintained and to make the vehicle respond to the individual needs and wishes of the driver.

  • Compliant Mechanisms. “Introduction to Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)”. 2014
    Web. 14 July 2015.
  • Grace, Roger. “The Growing Presence of MEMS and MST in Automotive Applications.” 2009.
    Web. 14 July 2015.