Tag Archives: mems

The Zen of Sensor Design

Contributed by Mike Stanley

Originally posted on Freescale’s Smart Mobile Devices Embedded Beat Blog

About two years ago, I joined the Freescale sensors team, which focuses on accelerometers, pressure sensors, and touch sensors.

Prior to that, I spent a number of years in the Freescale’s microcontroller solutions group, where I was an architect for several digital signal controller and microcontroller product families. One of the first things I learned when I moved into the sensors group was that certain “rules of the game” that relate to microcontroller design needed to be adapted when dealing with sensors. An example is package selection. With most microcontrollers, package selection is based upon number of functional and power pins required, PCB assembly processes targeted and (sometimes) thermal characteristics. Performance considerations are often secondary, if they exist at all. Sensors interact with the real world. Mechanical stresses introduced during both package assembly and PCB mounting can affect electrical performance of the device; often showing up as additional offset or variation of performance with temperature. Even the compound used for die attach has a demonstrable effect on sensor performance, and must be considered early in the design process. Continue reading

Evolving Intelligence with Sensors

Contributed by Michael Stanley, Freescale Semiconductor

Originally posted on Freescale’s Smart Mobile Devices Embedded Beat blog

I’ve always been fascinated by electronic sensors. The idea of being able to measure and interact with the physical world appeals to the ten-year-old inside me. Not so long ago, if you needed to measure some physical quantity as an input to your system, you bought an analog sensor, hooked up your own signal conditioning circuitry, and fed the result into a dedicated analog-to-digital converter. Over time, engineers demanded, and got, self-contained products which handled those signal conditioning and conversion tasks for them. Continue reading

State of the MEMS Industry at Microtech 2010

Contributed by Karen Lightman, Managing Director, MEMS Industry Group

While I was unable to participate in the first part of Microtech in Anaheim last week, I still feel like I experienced most of the conference/tradeshow/symposium extravaganza that is “Globaltech” in Anaheim this year. The folks at NSTI/CSTI organized an impressive event, though my main complaint is that I felt the venue was not the right size. As I discussed with organizer and NSTI executive director, Matt Loudon, the Anaheim Convention Center was too big, though with over 2,200 attendees, having the event at a hotel would be too small. I guess it’s like Goldilocks in search of a venue “just right” and hopefully next year’s event in Boston (June 13-16, 2011) will be just that. Continue reading

What in the World is Contextual Sensing?

Contributed by Michael Stanley, Freescale Semiconductor

Originally posted on Freescale’s Smart Mobile Devices Embedded Beat blog

You can’t use your phone, drive your car or even nuke a sandwich without relying on one or more electronic sensors to help you complete the task.  Their use has become ubiquitous, and most people are blissfully unaware of just how much they depend on them in their daily lives. Continue reading

MEMS Mantras at Yole MEMS CTO Meeting

Contributed by Paul Werbaneth, VP – Marketing & Applications, Tegal Corporation

From window seat 2D on the flight down from SFO to SNA Sunday evening 20 June 2010 there’s a stunning view of one of my favorite sights along the long and varied California coast.  It’s a tableau composed of sunset, ocean, and the California Channel Islands, visible for me starting from up near Santa Barbara and continuing on, uninterrupted, south to Santa Catalina Island before we bank away and start our approach into the John Wayne – Orange County airport.  Sounds of “Avalon” (the Roxy Music song and the Benny Goodman Quartet jazz piece) compete for my attention in the soundtrack assembled by my resident musicologist, with Benny Goodman ultimately winning the Battle of the Bands, if only because I later find a good jazz station on the radio for the short drive up to Anaheim and my hotel. Continue reading

On the scene at the Hilton Head Workshop 2010

Contributed by Paul Werbaneth, VP Marketing & Applications, Tegal Corporation

“Old haunts,” I’m thinking, “old haunts.”

There’s an Apparition Ale in my hand as I sit waiting for dinner at the Moon River Brewing Company on W. Bay Street in Savannah, GA, and some fried green tomatoes on their way to join the crab cakes already on my table.  Outside the window I catch a glimpse of an old hearse, done up as a tour vehicle, scaring up business for a Savannah (America’s Most Haunted City) spirit tour. Continue reading

Sensors Expo 2010 – Day 2

Contributed by Karen Lightman, managing director, MEMS Industry Group

Day two of Sensors Expo 2010 at the Rosemont Convention Center kicked off with a full tour of the expo floor. Attendance was definitely up from 2009 but in humble opinion, the quality and quantity of exhibitors was a bit lower than I expected (considering the foot traffic the show received). There were, of course, a few exceptions – namely MicroStrain (founded by Steve Arms) – a very cool Vermont-based company using sensors (and MEMS) for aerospace, military and other applications.  I’ve been watching MicroStrain for some time and it’s great to see them doing so well.

Continue reading

Sensors Expo 2010 – Day 1

Contributed by Karen Lightman, managing director, MEMS Industry Group

What a delight it was to be in to Chicago for Sensors Expo 2010 at Rosemont Convention Center. I spent my first day attending the MEMS pre-conference symposium hosted by Roger Grace. The opening keynote for the MEMS symposium was Professor Thomas Gessner from Fraunhofer Research Institute for Electronic Nano Systems (IENS) in Germany. He focused his keynote on the main topic of the day: MEMS integration. In lieu of talking about high volume applications, Professor Gessner spoke of on-chip integration in lower volume for smaller sized customers (their niche). He also touched upon NEMS and a new generation of pressure sensors, as well as nanostructured multi layers using wafer bonding technology. He ended his presentation by discussing the energy harvesting capabilities of IENS’ devices. I will definitely stay tuned. Continue reading

Shifts Occurring in the MEMS Competitive Landscape

Contributed by Jérémie Bouchaud, Principal Analyst, MEM, iSuppli

iSuppli has just released its MEMS competitive analysis for 2010, which screens the revenue of almost 150 MEMS manufacturers—98% of the market—by device and application for the years spanning 2006 to 2009. Not only does this major ground-up and historical analysis provide a robust foundation for all MEMS forecasts at iSuppli, it also provides unique insights on the shifts induced by the crisis in the competitive landscape at the end of 2008 and in the second half of 2009. Finally, it helps to identify longer term trends like the growth of the fabless business or the importance of captive markets in the MEMS industry. Continue reading

ST and Asian players gain share, as Top 20 MEMS foundries slightly outperform sector

Contributed by Jean-Christophe Eloy, President & CEO, and Jérôme Mouly, Market Analyst, Yole Développement

This year’s ranking of the Top 20 MEMS foundries starts to shift East, as TSMC makes the ranking for the first time.

TOP 20 MEMS Foundries – 2009 revenues

Double digit growth at Taiwan’s Asia Pacific Microsystems (APM) and Touch Microsystems (TMT) also help push the combined share of these companies in Taiwan to close to 9% of total Top 20 foundry revenues, which represent the vast majority about 96% of global MEMS foundry revenues of the total MEMS foundry market. That’s still a small part of the total, but it’s almost double the share last year. Continue reading

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