Light sensors can make accelerometers much more responsive to changes in position, according to scientists at Tel Aviv University.
Studies at the academic institution have found that light sensors can be fitted to conventional motion-sensitive devices to enhance their operation.
The detectors allow accelerometers - or microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), to use their full name - to coordinate changing light conditions with changes in position for a more precise reading of their movement.
Using this technology, the scientists hope to develop new devices for use in medical applications and in harvesting clean energy.
Dr Slava Krylov of the university says: "The widespread penetration of miniature MEMS sensors into the devices surrounding us is transforming our way of life."
MEMS sensors are already used in car crash testing, aircraft navigation and - perhaps most famously - in motion-sensitive consumer devices such as the iPhone.
Research at Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Engineering is focused on four areas, comprising biomedical, mechanical, electrical and industrial disciplines.