Virtual Button® MEMS Accelerometer Design

David Effa and Andrew Zwart
Case revision date: 
7 Pages (Case study)

Any location can be a button using virtual button technologyVirtual Button® technology has been developed by VBT Innovations Inc. a high tech company located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The company, established in 2008, developed a touch control interface called Virtual Buttons®. Virtual Buttons® are meant to augment or replace mechanical buttons and capacitive touch screens on consumer electronics devices such as smart phones. This technology enables buttons to be placed on flat and curved surfaces, edges, and locations where a mechanical button is not feasible. One of the enabling technologies of this system is the Micro Electro Mechanical System (MEMS) accelerometer. MEMS accelerometers are used to measure the motion of a mechanical element or system. This accelerometer must be designed to meet the special requirements of the Virtual Button® technology.

Learning objectives: 

This case study is intended to have students learn about effective modeling of dynamic systems.  Students can optimize device geometry with device performance requirements and fabrication constraints. The case will also help to illustrate the step-by-step MEMS fabrication and mask design process. 

Key words: 
Lumped-mass models; Optimize design parameters; Micro Electro Mechanical System (MEMS); damping models; Hooke’s law; MEMS mask; FEA software; Mathcad; Accelerometer
CEAB attributes: 
Module 01 - Case Study
Module 02 - MEMS Accelerometer Models (Restricted to educators only)
Module 03 - MEMS Accelerometer Performance Evaluation Models (Restricted to educators only)
Module TN - Teaching Note (Restricted to educators only)

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