Hoist an electromechanical Olympic torch

Each visitor to the Games will probably get souvenir torch with a microelectromechanical system, an accelerometer, and lines of LEDS embedded within.

Spectators at the Olympics will get a chance to touch the flame-bearing torch--a replica of it, that is. Instead of fire, the torches have a microelectromechanical system (MEMS), an accelerometer, and lines of LEDS embedded within.

Waving LED torch
Crave Asia

By waving the torch, an internal sensor will determine the left and right points, while the MEMS measures the degree of movement and transmits the information to a microchip that activates the LEDs to display "in the air" preprogrammed words or images relevant to the Olympics.

This idea is not novel, and you've probably seen similar products in gift shops. But what's impressive is that each visitor to the Games will probably get one in his or her goodie bag. This roughly translates to hundreds of thousands of torches being manufactured, and that doesn't include those for sale in the souvenir shops.

So what kept the production cost low? It's reported that a former MEMS engineer came up with technology that enabled the devices to be produced along any CMOS chip manufacturing line, thus driving the cost down and giving spectators a little something to bring home and remember the Olympics by.

(Via Crave Asia)

Click here for CNET News' package of stories on tech and the Beijing Olympics.

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