Navigation has been revolutionized by micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) sensor development, offering new capabilities for wireless positioning technologies and their integration into modern smartphones.
These new technologies range from simple IrDA using infrared light for short-range, point-to-point communications, to wireless personal area network (WPAN) for short range, point-to multi-point communications, such as Bluetooth and ZigBee, to mid-range, multi-hop wireless local area network (WLAN, also known as wireless fidelity or Wi-Fi), to long-distance cellular phone systems, such as GSM/GPRS and CDMA.
With these technologies, navigation itself has become much broader than just providing a solution to location-based services (LBS) questions, such as “Where am I?” or “How to get from start point to destination?”
It has moved into new areas such as games, geolocation, mobile mapping, virtual reality, tracking, health monitoring and context awareness.
MEMS sensors are now essential components of modern smartphones and tablets. Miniaturized devices and structures produced with micro-fabrication techniques, their physical dimensions range from less than 1 micrometer (μm, a millionth of a meter) to several millimeters (mm).
The types of MEMS devices vary from relatively simple structures having no moving elements to complex electromechanical systems with multiple moving elements under the control of integrated microelectronics.