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Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) merging integrated sensors, microactuators, and low-power electronics are rapidly growing in sophistication. Projection displays, IR/thermal imagers, print heads, microphones, accelerometers and gyros are all emerging based on this technology. Using embedded microprocessors, complete microsystems employing self-testing and digital compensation promise to achieve levels of reliability and accuracy previously impossible at low cost. Sensors for advanced semiconductor process tools, modules for distributed environmental monitoring, inertial-grade navigation aids, advanced security systems, and mass storage devices are a few of the applications being targeted. The technology choices, device structures, applications, and tradeoffs in this area are examined in this paper along with future challenges.