Monthly Archives: April 2012

Karen’s blog – Why You MUST attend M2M Forum 2012

By Karen Lightman, Managing Director, MEMS Industry Group

You must attend M2M Forum 2012 May 8-9 in Pittsburgh. If you are involved in MEMS in any way as a manufacturer, end-user/OEM, equipment or materials supplier, designer, or integrator – you HAVE to be here for M2M Forum this year when we uncover the HOLY GRAIL of successful MEMS.

We will be sharing success stories and exchanging lessons learned! We will be having honest conversations in a neutral forum about what works, what doesn’t, why and WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT when it comes to taking a MEMS device from lab, to fab to commercialization.

Maybe you saw my video clip on the M2M homepage (and on YouTube). It’s a short simple message of “be there or be square” – but to get a real taste of what we’ll unveil at M2M Forum you should check out the webinars that our working group moderators have hosted as part of our MEMS Education Series.

The one on “Market Pull vs. Technology Push” featured Mike Mignardi of TI and Jim Knutti of Acuity as well as MIG’s consultant, Eric Levy-Meyers. To quote one of the comments from the webinar audience “this is great, you guys should write a book.” Yup, you guys should and guess what: THEY WILL BE DOING THE REAL THING LIVE IN PITTSBURGH ON MAY 8-9.  Mike and Jim will share stories of success and failure – when it was tech push (like the DLP going into the pico projector) and when it was clearly market pull (tire pressure sensors, airbags, microphones). There is GOLD in these hills and you have to come join us in Pittsburgh to mine it.

The other equally amazing working group is focusing on “MEMS Technology Development” and will beta test a set of best practice guidelines for helping you navigate the minefield that is MEMS new product development with a Technology Development Process (TDP) Template. This is going to save you hours and hours of time and gobs of money. Honestly – you want to be with us at M2M so you can be a part of history and check it out.  A preview of the TDP is in their webinar as well.

Beyond this LIFE altering, JOB saving information we will be giving you, you’ll also hear from end-users of MEMS, including a keynote from Len Sheynblat of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies. At M2M I gave Len a soapbox upon which to preach his message about the “importance of MEMS standardization.” I told him he could bitch, complain and suggest what the MEMS industry needs to do to continue to grow and be adopted further into more products or perhaps…to become a trillion dollar industry (like our friend Janusz Bryzek is predicting).

You don’t want to miss all that I have mentioned above, and so much more than I have time to describe here.

The one thing that I am probably most proud of is the fact that this M2M is also getting an inside, never-been-done-before tour of Carnegie Mellon University’s Microsystems’ Lab. We’ll have an overview of the research at Carnegie Mellon’s research labs and then during the poster session, we’ll have the opportunity to see the research up close in areas including microfluidics, tip-based nanofabrication, micro/Nanofabrication, MEMS test, SEM, TEM, X-ray, AFM, micro-CT, Electrical characterization, Neural probes, Soft robotics, Multi-scale manufacturing, Micro/nanorobotics, and AlN MEMS. You do not want to miss this (and not just because I am an alumna).

Last but definitely not least, we’ll close the conference with a fun night out at world famous PNC Park to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates take on the Washington Nationals.  The Pirates aren’t guaranteed to win, but you are guaranteed to have a great time.

I hope I have made my case. Book your flight, get that hotel room and REGISTER NOW. I’ll see you soon at M2M Forum May 8-9 in Pittsburgh!

Carnegie Mellon University Plays Host to MEMS Industry Group with Microsystems’ Lab Tours

Global MEMS companies to see what Carnegie Mellon researchers are doing with ‘miniature machines’

PITTSBURGH, Apr 25, 2012 — MEMS Industry Group (MIG) is bringing the global micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) supply chain to Pittsburgh for its annual meeting, giving leading MEMS suppliers an opportunity to tour Carnegie Mellon’s microsystems labs on May 8.

Having launched commercial successes such as MEMS microphone- maker Akustica, now owned by the Bosch Group, and BodyMedia, creator of MEMS information systems tracking calories and sleep patterns, CMU’s MEMS labs remain research pioneers for the ‘miniature machines’ that allow consumers to experience electronic devices and the environment in new ways.

“Our members are going to see what’s coming down the pipeline at one of the world’s leading engineering institutions,” said Karen Lightman, managing director of MEMS Industry Group and a CMU alumna. “During their tour of CMU’s MEMS labs, MIG members will have the opportunity to interact with faculty and graduate students to experience the cross-pollination between the commercial business sector and academia, where R&D work often generates new products and technologies for the betterment of society. This is a unique experience, and we are honored and proud to have our members be part of it.”

CMU’s Maarten de Boer, an associate professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department, and Gary Fedder, director of the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems (ICES) and a professor of the Robotics Institute, will host MIG members as they tour a cache of labs involving micro-nanofabrication, micro-nanorobotics, micro-fluidics and other technologies.

“These lab tours and demos are designed to help important industry leaders see some of our leading-edge work involving development of ultra-reliable technologies and to explore new device concepts applicable to many industry sectors from electronics to biomedical engineering,” said De Boer.

Each year, MEMS devices are shipped globally in a variety of consumer products, including mobile phones, tablets, laptops, video games and cameras. They are also embedded in biomedical devices and quality of life applications, automotive safety systems and smart industrial systems. By 2015, industry analysts predict that the MEMS industry will grow to nearly $12 billion.(1) In fact, MEMS products are so ubiquitous that their growth now outpaces growth of other segments of the electronics industry.

“We are experiencing steady and sustained market acceptance in our industry,” said Lightman. “With all of our success, I strongly believe that we have barely scratched the surface of what we can achieve with MEMS. It is through the research and development being conducted at academic institutions like CMU that we will continue to tap the potential of MEMS in the future.”

About Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon ( ) is a private, internationally ranked research university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business, to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 11,000 students in the university’s seven schools and colleges benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. A global university, Carnegie Mellon’s main campus in the United States is in Pittsburgh, Pa. It has campuses in California’s Silicon Valley and Qatar, and programs in Asia, Australia, Europe and Mexico. The university is in the midst of “Inspire Innovation: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University,” which aims to build its endowment, support faculty, students and innovative research, and enhance the physical campus with equipment and facility improvements.

About MEMS Industry Group: MEMS Industry Group (MIG) is the trade association advancing MEMS across global markets. Close to 140 companies and industry partners comprise MIG, including Analog Devices, Applied Materials, Belgian Government, Bluechiip, BodyMedia, Flanders Investment & Trade Office, Robert Bosch Gmbh, Freescale Semiconductor, GE, Hillcrest Labs, Honeywell, HP, Intel, InvenSense, N&K Technology, Nokia, Qualcomm, Silicon Resources, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, VTI Technologies, and WiSpry. For more information, visit .

MEMS Industry Group and BSAC form partnership

MEMS Industry Group “MIG”, the leading trade association advancing MEMS across global markets and the  NSF-chartered Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center* “BSAC”, the premier university-based MEMS fundamental research center, have begun formal collaboration  to bring people and information together to advance knowledge that helps understanding of and mitigation of the barriers that prevent the greater commercial use of MEMS and MEMS-enabled technology.

BSAC will, in fulfillment of this collaboration, become and industry partner of MIG and provide a candidate for the MIG Technical Advisory Board, namely, Professor Albert P. Pisano. The two groups will continue joint educational efforts begun at the Fall 2011 Research Review and 25th anniversary of BSAC. MIG will co-host a workshop at the September 2012 BSAC Thrust sessions in Berkeley September 19, and participate in a joint technical webinar in the fall of 2012.

*BSAC is the NSF Industry/University Research Center on Microsensors & Actuators.

Could operational fabs for sale fill the MEMS capacity gap?

By Barney Silver, Senior Vice President & Principal, ATREG, Inc.

IHS iSuppli reports that the aggregate MEMS market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5% between 2010 and 2015, with current predictions of 22% CAGR for consumer and mobile products alone (from $1.5 billion in 2010 to $4.4 billion in 2015). In 2010, pure-play MEMS foundries experienced a 48.4 % expansion, compared with only 2.4 % for standard semiconductor foundries.

With OEMs integrating MEMS devices into consumer, biomedical / quality of life, automotive, and industrial applications by the hundreds of millions, MEMS manufacturers need to keep pace with the robust global demand that is currently primarily driven by the explosive growth of smartphones and tablets. Gearing up for increased manufacturing capabilities and capacities can be a costly endeavor, and MEMS companies need to look at all available options to accelerate time-to-market while keeping costs down.

Purchasing an existing operational fab is one way to approach this challenge, especially 150mm or 200mm fabs running at less advanced geometry nodes. There are a variety of fully equipped operational fabs on the market right now that would make a cost-effective investment for a MEMS company. One perfect example of that is Texas Instruments that is selling its 150mm fabs in Hiji, Japan and Houston, TX. By acquiring an operational fab with ongoing production, MEMS companies can gradually introduce capacity into the fab without bearing the 100% of operational fab cost during the initial product qualification and ramp phases. As the seller’s production volumes decline over time, the buyer introduces incremental production capacity to maintain a healthy fab utilization rate.

I welcome your comments on this post at

About Barnett Silver

Barnett SilverAs a Senior Vice President and Principal with ATREG, Barney brings over 15 years of experience in finance, real estate, and investment banking. Barney works with ATREG’s clients across the semiconductor spectrum in Asia, Europe, and North America on acquisition, disposition, and complex strategy assignments. He has recently worked with Freescale Semiconductor, IDT, Qimonda, Renesas, Texas Instruments and TowerJazz. In addition to leading client assignments, Barney is responsible for the company’s operations, focused on developing new business opportunities and growing the ATREG platform. Click here to learn more.

Speaking Opportunity: iNEMI MEMS Workshop

iNEMI will be holding a MEMS workshop (MEMS; Driving Next Level Results Through Collaboration) in Pittsburgh on May 10th, 2012, the day after MIG’s M2M Forum. We are hoping that you will join us and that you will accept an invitation to be a speaker at this key event.

The meeting announcement that reviews the objectives and agenda for this workshop can be found here.  Please forward this invitation to any other attendees from your organization.

Interested? Please respond to: on your ability to support this opportunity by April 17th at the latest.

Karen’s blog from Smart Systems Integration 2012

By Karen Lightman, Managing Director, MEMS Industry Group

It was definitely a mix of adrenaline and my LOVE of MEMS Industry Group (MIG) that kept me going as I chaired and hosted the US MEMS Session on day one of SSI; because I was definitely tired after the previous day’s successful MEMS Executive Congress Europe. Or perhaps it was seeing the two fabulous keynotes that inspired me.

After an introduction by Professor Gessner of Fraunhofer ENAS, the ever-charming Carmelo Papa of STMicroelectronics gave a fantastic opening keynote; totally different from the one he gave the day. Carmelo later tweaked my nose when I told him that his SSI keynote was even better than the one he gave at the Congress EU. Some of the highlights of his keynote include an overview of ST’s pursuit of “More Moore and More than Moore.” His presentation was an inspiration for smart system integration and touched upon all facets of application from energy/industrial to consumer, to automotive to health/medical.

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MEMS Sensors Driving Smart Automotive

By Karen Lightman, Managing Director, MEMS Industry Group

Originally posted on DesignNews

Rapid advances in intelligent automotive systems were showcased during the first European edition of the MEMS Executive Congress. Such systems can tell whether a child is in the street and enable the car to avoid impact. MEMS can ensure that a driver is not inebriated before getting behind the wheel; this is already a reality in France, and would seem to beat the pants off the old-fashioned Breathalyzer.

MEMS can make a car smarter in how it utilizes and conserves energy and power through energy harvesting. It can make a car easier to drive, through sensor-enabled steering that senses the curvature of the road and accounts for torque and speed. (Now that would certainly come in handy on California’s Pacific Coast Highway or the Autobahn.) MEMS make drivers safer and smarter with anti-roller stability, airbags, and tire-pressure monitors. And after experiencing the keynote by Markus Buhlmann, “The MEMS-Enabled Automobile — An Inside Look at Audi’s Vorsprung durch Technik,” MEMS can also make driving a car a hell of a lot of fun.

Automotive panelists at MEMS Executive Congress Europe held in Zurich, Switzerland. From left: Bernhard Schmid of Continental, Marc Osajda of Freescale Semiconductor, Hannu Laatikainen of VTI Technologies, and Richard Dixon of IHS-iSuppli.

The MEMS automotive panel at the Congress was moderated by Robert Bosch’s MEMS automotive sensor guru, Jiri Marek. Featured panelists represented top players in the industry: Richard Dixon of IHS iSuppli; Hannu Laatikainen of VTI; Marc Osajda of Freescale Semiconductor; and Bernhard Schmid of Continental Teves. All these guys are well versed in the challenges and opportunities facing the MEMS automotive industry.

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Degrees of freedom vs. axes

By Michael Stanley

Originally posted on Freescale’s The Embedded Beat Blog

No, the title does not refer to the forces of good versus those of evil. Nor am I referring to my stance when chopping firewood with an axe. Instead, let’s see if we can straighten out some of the terminology that you’ll hear when people start to talk about sensors. Even folks in the business sometimes get it wrong, so here is my attempt to establish a common language.

Degrees of Freedom – AKA DOF, this term gets misused more than any I can think of. It is often confused with “number of axes”, which I’ll discuss below. But if you consult any text on the dynamics of rigid bodies, you will quickly learn that any movement of any rigid body from point A to point B can be characterized as a translation plus a rotation.

Degrees of Freedom

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MEMS Industry Group Scores Success with MEMS Executive Congress Europe

More than 150 European Innovators Explore Future of Intelligent Systems at MIG Event

PITTSBURGH—April 3, 2012—MEMS Industry Group (MIG)’s first MEMS Executive Congress® Europe, held March 20, 2012 in Zurich, was a resounding success. Keynotes by Audi AG and STMicroelectronics and panels on smart industrial systems, automotive, Quality of Life (QoL)/biomedical devices, and consumer products gave more than 150 attendees of MEMS Executive Congress a glimpse of the future of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) in wide-ranging applications.

Calling MEMS “the nervous system of machines,” Siemens’ Thomas Scheiter predicted that smart industrial systems will use sensors and software algorithms as “brains” that interpret data from electronic devices. VTI Technologies’ Hannu Laatikainen waxed poetic when he stated that we need to “treat the car more like a human that can see, feel, hear, smell and taste.” Suunto’s Terho Lahtinen described the role of gyros and RF MEMS with biofeedback in complete, multi-level sensor networks that improve athletic performance. Philips Research Laboratories’ Hans Hofstraat declared that “MEMS devices are an essential component in bringing healthcare closer to the patient. They can play a key role in promoting self-management of chronic disease. Furthermore, they are at the basis of innovations in effective minimally invasive therapies.”

As host of the event, Karen Lightman, managing director of MEMS Industry Group—the trade association advancing MEMS across global markets—noted recurring themes expressed by the various speakers. “MEMS is growing at an exponential pace. That’s true in consumer products and automotive, where it is practically ubiquitous—and in smart industrial systems and QoL/biomedical devices, in which it is steadily gaining ground. MEMS is enabling functionality that we have only just begun to imagine, such as cars that drive themselves, or biomedical systems that minimize surgery and miniaturize therapy for diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson’s. While the design of these applications is vastly different, a common interest in integration, mass production, safety and reliability applies across the board.”

Lightman added that “the fantastic success of MEMS Executive Congress Europe and the US MEMS Session at our partner conference, Smart Systems Integration, demonstrates that these issues are universal and worldwide—and that forums such as these are important to furthering the commercialization of MEMS.”


Premier sponsors of MEMS Executive Congress Europe 2012 include: Platinum Sponsor – EV Group; Gold Sponsors – Applied Materials and SPTS Technologies; and Silver Sponsors – Analog Devices and Semefab. Additional sponsors include: ACUTRONIC, AEPI, A.M. Fitzgerald & Associates, Asia Pacific Microsystems, Bosch, Bosch Sensortec, CEA Léti, CSEM, Freescale Semiconductor, Fries Research & Technology (FRT), GSA, IHS iSuppli, imec, iNEMI, IVAM, Plan Optik, Maxim, MST BW, NMI, Okmetic, Smart Systems Integration, SEMICON Europa, Solid State Technology, SVTC and Yole Développement.

MEMS Executive Congress Europe was held March 20, 2012 at the Hotel Novotel Zurich Airport Messe, Zurich, Switzerland. It was co-located with Smart Systems Integration 2012.


The US edition of MEMS Executive Congress will be held November 7-8, 2012 at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, AZ. For more information, please visit:


MEMS Industry Group (MIG) is the trade association advancing MEMS across global markets. More than 130 companies comprise MIG, including Analog Devices, Applied Materials, Robert Bosch GmbH, Freescale Semiconductor, GE, Honeywell, HP, Intel, InvenSense, Nokia, STMicroelectronics, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, VTI Technologies and WiSpry. For more information, visit:


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