WARF: P01336US

Micromachined Shock Sensor


Yogesh Gianchandani, Shamus McNamara

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing an improved micromachined shock sensor.
OVERVIEWShock sensors are accelerometers that respond to specific levels of acceleration. The design usually consists of a proof mass and a flexible suspension. At a preselected level of acceleration, the deflection of the proof mass will typically contact an electric switch, just like a relay.

A persistent challenge for shock sensors has been the closing and opening of electrical contacts. A very small proof mass may fail to break through surface films that may inadvertently form on the electrical contact. In addition, if the suspension is too weak, forces established during contact may prevent the retraction of the proof mass.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have developed a micromachined shock sensor that has an array of acceleration sensing units formed to make contact at different levels of acceleration. This allows the shock sensor to measure a wide range of accelerations from 10g to 150g. The system also contains a built-in redundancy that circumvents challenges with the closing and opening of electrical contacts.
  • Air bag deployment systems
  • Munitions arming
  • Monitoring of seismic activity
  • Waking up of environmental monitoring systems
  •  Monitoring of shocks imposed on fragile shipments
  • Low power dissipation
  • Formed in an efficient and cost-effective manner
  • Provides discrete output signals indicating acceleration levels with accuracy and repeatability
  • Capable of detecting multiple levels of acceleration/deceleration
  • Able to detect positive and negative accelerations
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Mark Staudt at or 608-960-9845.
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