wearable electronics tech microchip
The first generation mCube accelerometer can turn clothing into wearable electronicsmCube

A new type of accelerometer microchip has been developed that could see motion-sensing technology used on "virtually anything that moves".

The mCube motion sensor chip is the world's smallest accelerometer, measuring just a couple of milimetres across, and can be embedded into electronics, clothing and sports equipment.

Seventy million chips have been shipped to manufacturers in China to be used in smartphones but mCube has plans to use the technology in what it terms the "Internet of Moving Things" (IoMT).

"mCube is well positioned with the world's smallest MEMS motion sensors to enable this high-growth new market we refer to as the Internet of Moving Things," said Ben Lee, president and CEO of mCube.

"Virtually anything in motion can benefit from mCube's high-performance and low-power sensors."

According to research firm Gartner, more than 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020. mCube hopes to capitalise on this by embedding its chips into everyday objects in order to generate data and insights that could transform consumer experiences.

The chips are less than half the size of current accelerometers, as well as being cheaper and more power efficient due to the integration of the mechanical device that detects movement and the circuitry that processes the signals.

"A major hurdle for wearable technology and the Internet of Things is the reduction in size of critical semiconductor components, including sensors, to enable smaller systems, reduce power consumption and costs," said Michael Palma, a research manager at market intelligence company IDC Corporation.

"By shrinking the size of a sensor, it's easy to envision a world where these tiny devices are seamlessly incorporated on to everyday things, providing valuable motion and context-relevant data that enhance consumers' lives."