Micro-electromechanical systems, or MEMS, are to be found in umpteen sensors integrated in a vehicle's bodywork. They are used mainly to enhance vehicle safety and comfort and measure so accurately and are so sensitive that they have to be produced under laboratory conditions.
If we take a closer look at the inner workings of MEMS chips, we can see a working mechanism as intricate as clockwork – only many times smaller. The teeth of tiny comb structures less than a quarter the thickness of a human hair are intermeshed. These combs brush against each other in the event of sudden changes – for example, if a car brakes sharply or skids. The distance between the teeth then plays a crucial role. As this distance changes, so does the electrical voltage flowing through the combs, which then triggers various processes.