MIG at SEMICON WEST 2010 – Day Two

Contributed by Karen Lightman, Managing Director, MEMS Industry Group

Day two at SEMICON West started off with a BANG – thanks to the impressive breakfast hosted by Pennwell Electronics Media Group at the oh-so-swanky St. Regis. The program featured several impressive speakers: Pete Singer, editorial director
of PennWell’s Electronics Media Group
 who presented “Technology Trends in Semiconductor, Packaging & Solar Industries.” Pete’s nice overview was followed by Bill McClean, president 
of IC Insights, who gave an overall presentation on the economic outlook for the semiconductor industry. But the piece de resistance was Andrew Thompson, the co-founder and CEO of Proteus (MIG member company) who gave a fantastic keynote on 
”Emerging Applications in the Field of Medicine.” Thompson gave one of the best keynotes I’ve heard in a really long time – he eloquently and simply laid out a story on the consumerization/democratization of healthcare. Bravo – well done. Continue reading

MIG at SEMICON WEST 2010 – Day One

Contributed by Karen Lightman, Managing Director, MEMS Industry Group

“Happy days are here again” is probably too rosy of a theme song for this year’s SEMICON West show, but it sure felt a lot different than last year’s. While overall attendance was higher than SEMI has seen in a while(if you include the mob scene over at the Solar show in Moscone West), I’d say that there were less exhibitors than I saw in 2008 (perhaps this is because many folks had to confirm their 2010 spots during the still-recessionary times of the summer of 2009?). Continue reading

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