MEMS Industry Group Tackles Critical Technical Issues Affecting MEMS

MIG members discuss product development, integration, standardization at M2M Forum

PITTSBURGH—May 29, 2012—MEMS Industry Group® (MIG) engaged technology leaders attending its annual technical conference for members, Member to Member (M2M) Forum, on the most pressing challenges affecting the micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) industry. Held May 8-10, 2012 in Pittsburgh, M2M Forum® began with a tour of Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU’s) microsystems labs, offering a rare opportunity to engage with engineers at one of the world’s top R&D institutions. Through interactive working group sessions, presentations and panels, M2M attendees discussed critical issues influencing new MEMS product development, to advance the commercialization of MEMS through a fertile information exchange.

“MEMS Industry Group is focused on building the business of MEMS, and that includes exploring technical challenges, product innovation, commercial successes and emerging trends,” said Karen Lightman, managing director, MEMS Industry Group. “Our ability to cover so much ground in just two days of M2M Forum—from the CMU labs’ tour and Qualcomm CDMA Technologies’ Len Sheynblat’s call for sensor-integration standardization to heated discussions around product-development strategies—validates MIG’s position as a neutral organization that fosters the exchange of ideas, for the betterment of the MEMS industry as a whole.”

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Karen’s Blog – MEMS Isn’t New

MEMS New Product Development

What do you think of when I say the words “MEMS new product development?” Do you envision new categories of newly discovered MEMS hatching somewhere in a university lab? If your answer is “yes,”, perhaps you should rethink that– because MEMS isn’t new.  If we are to grow this $9 billion/year industry to a hundred-billion or even trillion dollar industry as some predict, we need to think of new MEMS in terms of how the “regular, everyday” MEMS we have right now are used in development of new end products.  Whether these new MEMS-enabled products come from a combination of market pull and/or technology push, there are challenges and hurdles that the industry must come together to address. NOW.

That is why we focused the MEMS Industry Group (MIG) Member-to-Member (M2M) Forum on MEMS “New Product Development” earlier this month. Because it is so time-critical for the MEMS industry to come together and address these barriers and challenges to commercialization that are hindering our growth. Barriers that I like to call the “stickiness of MEMS” which include the “S” word of MEMS “Standards” for things such as testing, packaging…not the sexy, shiny, bright things that are hatched in the lab and then probably never make it to the market.

That is why I invited Len Sheynblat of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies (QCT) to give the keynote “Sensor Systems Integration Challenges,” which spelled out in very specific terms what the MEMS industry needs to do – specifically – Sensor API Standardization. He shared QCT’s commonly requested sensor vendors: 18+!! With 26+ sensor product lines! And on top of it – there are numerous handset and tablet OEMS with different ecosystems = Android, Windows, RIM (which used to be Palm), etc.  They all want to be loved, and this makes developing with MEMS just a smidge complex.

Sounds a bit nightmarish, don’t you think? I sure do… and MIG will be working with our members and strategic partners, including the MIPI Alliance, to address these challenges and issues of the stickiness of MEMS. I urge you to contact me and become active and involved in our M2M Action Item Task Forces.

That’s also why the MIG Technology Advisory Committee (MIG TAC) chose Mary Ann Maher, CEO of SoftMEMS, as the winner of our first-ever white paper competition, because she discussed the important issue of co-design and yes, standards. And because Mary Ann was the evening speaker, she also made the presentation into a drinking game. (Every time she said “co-design” you were to take a sip; I gave up after the 15th time.)

And as we have every year, since MIG began with DARPA funding, we also had working groups to dive deeper into the conference topic. Our working group leaders (Jim Knutti of Acuity, Mike Mignardi of TI, Jason Tauscher of MicroVision and Valerie Marty of HP) did a fantastic job of moderating the rich discussions we had in the working group breakout groups on “Market Pull vs. Technology Push” and “MEMS Technology Development.” I encourage you to check out the MIG resource library to see the body of knowledge and case studies we’ve gathered; and MIG action item task forces will be forming soon to carry out several of the recommendations.

M2M Forum also featured a panel of speakers expressing diverse opinions and perspectives on new product commercialization—from those involved heavily and not so heavily with MEMS. The panel included: Anne Schneiderman of Harris Beach, an expert in IP law; Stefan Finkbeiner, a MEMS device manufacturer veteran with Bosch/Akustica; Matt Apanius with SMART Commercialization Center for Microsystems, who is well versed in tech transfer from lab to fab; and Ivo Stivoric with BodyMedia, someone who embodies a MEMS supplier’s dream of an end-user company.

My favorite part of the panel was when Ivo described the challenges in understanding/analyzing the “white space in the market.” He warned that as a consumer of MEMS, he oftentimes doesn’t need a new device; he just needs a tweak or two and then wants the device manufacturer to “just go away” so he can go back to his customers. Amen, brother. I want that for you, too. Because the truth is that MEMS isn’t new, and so we need to find the solutions to these challenges to commercialization, and then move on to conquer the other white space in the market.

For more information on M2M Forum, please read the recent press release: MEMS Industry Group Tackles Critical Technical Issues Affecting MEMS)

InvenSense Motion Interface Developers Conference






The 2012 InvenSense Motion Interface Developers Conference will bring together System OEM’s, Ecosystem Partners, Application Developers, and Industry Analysts to learn about the technologies, market and future applications for Motion Interface in smartphones, tablets, and health and sports monitoring.The market for Motion Interface technologies, including gyroscopes, accelerometers and magnetometers, is expected to exceed $2.5B by 2015. Applications such as indoor location based services are continuing to fuel growth for Motion Interface in smartphones and tablets. At the same time, new markets are emerging for wearable sensors in fitness and medical applications.

This all day event features a market review from recognized Motion Interface analysts, application specific panel discussions, including recognized leaders in the fields of location based services and wearable sensors, and developer-focused technology tracks covering performance requirements and design considerations for products embedding Motion Interface technology.

The event will be held at the W Hotel in San Francisco on June 14, 2012. The Early Bird Registration Price is $149 lasting until May 25th at which time Regular Admission price goes up to $199. This event provides a unique opportunity for CEO/CTO/Marketing VP/Eng VP for Mobile Applications, Mobile Ecosystem Partners, Embedded System Developers, Mobile App Developers, Product Planners, Financiers, Venture Capitalists, Investment Firms, Industry Analysts, and Technology Media

Invited Speakers and Attendees include: Qualcomm, iSuppli, Broadcom, Texas Instruments, Google, Nvidia, Intel, PointInside, Verizon, Wired Magazine, A.M. Fitzgerald & Associates, Prioleau Advisors, LUMOback and many more…

Click here to view event website

Guide to MEMS at SEMICON West 2012

Here’s our annual guide for navigating the MEMS events at SEMICON West, July 10-12 at Moscone Center in San Francisco:

TUESDAY, July 10, 10:30am-3:30pm

Taking MEMS to the Next Level: Transitioning to a Profitable High-Volume Business

Presented in cooperation with MIG

We’ve expanded the MEMS program to all day this year, and invited speakers from around the world to address practical potential solutions to the major manufacturing issues for growing the sector to the next level. Yole Développement’s J.C. Eloy will give his views on the future of the industry and what it will take to get there. Harmeet Bhugra will talk about IC maker IDT’s entry into the MEMS timing business. Doug Sparks from the new Chinese MEMS IDM Hanking Electronics talks about the opportunities in the China market.  Foundry executives Donald Robert from Teledyne Dalsa and Peter Hrudey from Micralyne examine possible collaborative solutions to speed time-to-market.  Hillcrest Labs CTO Charles Gritton talks about issues of software integration and sensor fusion.

On the manufacturing technology side, Coventor’s Matt Kamon tells us what’s coming next in MEMS design automation software, Applied Materials’ Mike Rosa talks about next-generation DRIE and other new processes being developed specifically for MEMS production, and Nikon’s Jumpei Fukui discusses the advantages of mini-steppers. In addition, Finnish startup ScanNano’s CEO Andrei Pavlov presents his work making low-cost cavities without etching and NIST’s Janet Cassard introduces standard reference materials and best practices for consistent characterization and troubleshooting of processes for calibrating instruments and communicating between customers and suppliers.

Location: Extreme Electronics TechXPOT at Moscone Center (South Hall). The stage is in the same place as last year, in the far back right-hand corner of the Moscone South exhibit hall.



Secondary Market Issues

Jack Blaha of Applied Materials’ 200mm group and Bill Ross of SEMATECH talk about collaboration on replacement parts to keep legacy equipment up and running

Location: TechXPOT South, Moscone Center (South Hall)


MIG Happy Hour

MIG will host its annual Happy Hour at SEMICON West.  To RSVP, please email Kacey Wherley at

Location: Restaurant Lulu
816 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA

THURSDAY, July 12, 10:30am-12:30pm

MEMS and Sensor Packaging

The SEMI Packaging Committee presents a program focusing on MEMS packaging technology issues, featuring Analog Devices’ Asif Chowdhury on issues of packaging MEMS for industrial applications, and Yole Développement’s Jerome Baron on the roadmap for MEMS packaging going forward. Florian Solzbacher from the University of Utah’s Utah Nanofabrication Laboratory presents on biomedical packaging issues, while Marc Bachman from the University of California talks about the future of MEMS manufacturing.

Location: TechXPOT North, Moscone Center (North Hall)

THURSDAY, July 12, 11:45-1:00pm

Flexible Batteries and Flexible Mounting of Thinned Silicon Die on Textiles, Skin Patches and Implants

MEMS folks interested in integrating sensors into innovative wearable, flexible, implantable applications may want to check out presentations in the Plastic Electronics program on patterning flexible batteries on unconventional substrates and embedding thinned conventional silicon die into flexible polymer packaging, from companies who don’t typically show up at MEMS events.  Imprint Energy talks about its low-cost, high-energy density Zn polymer battery technology suitable for wireless and wearable sensors, Applied Materials presents its lower cost technology for making thin film batteries, and MC10 describes its conformal electronics packaging targeted at wearable and implantable sensors.

Location: Extreme Electronics TechXPOT, Moscone Center (South Hall)

For more information on SEMICON West 2012, please visit  To register, click Register now.