Understanding Miniature Vibration Technologies

A Look Back at Vibration Technology

Miniature vibration motors have been used in a wide range of industrial applications since the latter half of the twentieth century in Australia. To begin with, these devices were developed for use in automated massage systems, as well as some specific industrial automation uses on production lines. However, their miniature design and reliability meant that by the mid-1990s, small vibration motors started to be installed in mobile phones. Consumers found that the ability to set their mobile to silent ringing gave them a certain level of discretion, but still allowed them to be notified of any incoming call. So-called vibrating phones outsold those without this technology and soon all mobile phones and the subsequent generation of smart phones were fitted with electric vibrating motors.

Vibration Technology Today

Nowadays, product developers have gained a great deal of experience from the past twenty years of vibration technology used in mobile phones. Partly, this comes down to the sort of vibration technology that is selected for the particular industrial or consumer application in question. Nevertheless, probably the most important thing to say about the use of vibration technology today is that designers now fully understand that vibration alerts are an excellent means of drawing attention to an event. Indeed, vibration can often supersede other forms of alert, such us warning lights and notification sirens. As a result, miniature vibrating motors are now put into the design of a huge number of products, such as power tools, GPS systems, control systems and healthcare equipment. Vibrator motors are frequently used in product design to provide haptic feedback. This sort of feedback allows users to gain a sensory response from a product when they have interfaced with it and is particularly useful for people with vision impairments. It is also a relatively cheap way to differentiate a product from its competitors and thereby augment its perceived value.

What Miniature Vibration Technologies Are There?

Although industrial vibration systems can be designed on a big scale when used in heavy-duty processes, miniature electric vibration motor products tend to be made using one of two technologies. The first of these is an eccentric rotating mass vibration motor, otherwise referred to as ERM. This technology makes use of an unbalanced mass placed on a high-quality DC motor. Simply put, when the motor spins, the mass creates a force that pulls in all directions which feels like a vibration. The other approach to use a linear resonant actuator which creates a to-and-fro motion. Again, it uses a small internal mass but this time one which is connected to a spring. This coil returns the mass to its home position after the actuator has been powered under an AC input, ready to be actuated once more.

For more information, contact companies like VSS - Vibration Systems & Solutions (Australia).