Wednesday, January 5, 2011

CES will be a staging ground for the new TV remote, brought to you by MEMS

We'll challenge the inner TV infomercial announcer here.

Does your arm ache from pointing the remote at the TV? Are you sick of scrolling with endless button clicks just to get to the channel you want? Don't you wish there was a better way?

At the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES), January 6-9 in Las Vegas, several TV manufacturers are teaming up with micro electromechanical system (MEMS) makers for the new, modern TV remote. LG is using InvenSense's MEMS in its TV remote at CES, as is Universal Electronics. Hillcrest is partnering with Broadcom at CES to showcase the powers of Bluetooth SoC and MEMS integration, all in the name of better TV remotes.

MEMS in the remote control allow TV viewers to scroll through channels and showtimes more easily. They don't require direct line-of-sight to the box either. This kind of user-synched control is what you experience when playing Nintendo's Wii, which also uses motion control MEMS.

This might be a good time to brush up on what MEMS are, their uses, and why they fit right in at a cutting-edge electronics show like CES. The acronym is generally pronounced "mems" rather than saying each letter. Get started by reading STMicro's article, Introduction to MEMS gyroscopes, then explore further on the ElectroIQ MEMS center at

This is the point in the infomercial where I'd repeat the phone number to call about 5 times. But hey, if you had a MEMS-enabled remote, you would be able to change the channel pretty quickly!

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