Microsensors, known as accelerometers, are everywhere – embedded in a football helmet, they measure the impact of a violent tackle, and in an iPhone they re-orient the screen when you change position.
Dr. Slava Krylov of Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Engineering has shown how he can improve the performance of these tiny devices, which can be used in applications from car safety and sports to defense and transportation.
With every improvement the devices become more accurate – a critically important quality for a space vehicle or satellite, where a tiny fraction of distance and time can alter its course forever.
The near-weightless technology in the accelerometers can control the flow of highway and runway traffic, analyze a golf pro’s swing, orient the next generation of smart phones, and keep fighter jets and missiles on target.
Krylov and his team of researchers have incorporated a mechanical amplification, a sort of a miniature clock hand, to generate a larger signal output, thereby reducing the devices’ noise and improving their sensitivity.
Currently, the device is about one millimeter in diameter, but Krylov promises that in the future it will be manufactured at an even smaller size.