iSuppli: Silicon Magnetic Sensors Head for Big Time

Contributed by Richard Dixon, Senior Analyst MEMS, iSuppli


Back in February 2009 the iSuppli MEMS and sensor team reported on trends in the automotive magnetic sensor market, and has since completed a comprehensive report on the whole market for silicon magnetic sensor elements and ICs – predominantly Hall, asymmetric magnetoresistive (AMR) and giant magnetoresistive (GMR) based devices. This article provides the cliff notes of our special report and briefly compares different technologies and highlights just some of the many applications for this very pervasive sensor.

Where do these sensors play? The fields are broad and include:

  • High-cost applications like industrial motors that require accurate knowledge of rotor position to control loads
  • Mid-priced automotive sensor ICs that measure rotation speed angle, and position
  • Low-cost consumer and mobile phone products

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Yole: Infectious diseases will be best market for on-site diagnostics, but development will take some time still

Contributed by Frédéric Breussin, Project Manager, Microfluidics, Yole Développement

Despite its exciting potential, point-of-care diagnostics has yet to develop into the big market many expected. Testing for infectious diseases now looks like the most promising markets, as companies develop more sophisticated integrated systems that go beyond simple immunoassays to molecular diagnostics at reasonable cost. Continue reading

iSuppli: 2009—The Hockey-Stick Year for MEMS

Contributed by Jérémie Bouchaud, Director & Principal Analyst, MEMS, iSuppli

The year 2009 started badly for MEMS, just like for the rest of the economy. Unlike other MEMS analysts who seem to believe that MEMS is immune to the economic crisis and that revenue stayed exactly flat in 2008 and 2009, the latest revenue reported to iSuppli from MEMS manufacturers show that shipments were still up 10% from 2008 even though revenue was down 8.6%. This followed a similar revenue drop of 4.8% in 2008.

The economic crisis resulted in the closing of a number of fabs, including Colibrys, which closed its Texas-based 6-inch fab, leaving the company with its original 4-inch fab in Switzerland. Other foundries suffered, too, and most saw revenues declining by 20%-30% compared to 2008, with staff cuts following in proportion. iSuppli also noticed that a number of companies have extensively made use of unpaid leaves, especially in the first half of the year. Continue reading

Market status and outlook for MEMS in drug delivery

Contributed by Jérémie Bouchaud and Richard Dixon, Principal Analyst and Senior Analyst, MEM, iSuppli


In the bio-medical field, drug delivery is one of the areas that attract the most attention for MEMS because of its promise to make drug delivery less invasive, more precise and intelligent, less painful, etc. The fact that STMicroelectronics is partnering with a SME in this area – with the full might of its 8” fab – bears witness to the hope for significant volume shipments in this field.

Commercialization cycles are very long, however, not only because of the clinical tests and certification, but also for less obvious business reasons pertaining to the pharmaceutical industry. In this article iSuppli summarizes the status of commercialisation and the market outlook for the next 4 years.

iSuppli has identified 5 typical families of MEMS devices on the market or in R&D for drug discovery as summarized in Table 1. Continue reading

Kionix Sale for $233.0 Million to Rohm in a Booming Consumer Electronics MEMS Inertial Market

Contributed by Laurent Robin, MEMS Analyst, Yole Développement
Until 2009, the MEMS industry was traditionally driven by the automotive area. This was true for pressure sensors for instance, and also for inertial sensors: MEMS accelerometers for airbags became the first high-volume application for MEMS inertial sensors. But whereas the market for motion sensors is now mature for many automotive applications, more and more consumer electronic devices integrate MEMS accelerometers and gyroscopes.

Often considered as more mature than the gyroscope industry, the accelerometer industry has seen a significant announcement in October: the fast-growing MEMS accelerometer manufacturer Kionix (USA) was acquired by the Japanese company Rohm (J). Continue reading

Nokia Beats Apple to Compass-in-Phone

Contributed by St.J. Dixon-Warren, Manager, Process Analysis, Chipworks Inc.

In a good example of Apple’s superior media hype, when the latest 3GS iPhone was launched in June, some note was made of the addition of an electronic compass to improve the accuracy of the GPS map applications. The mobile phone media appears to have completely missed commenting on the fact that the Nokia N97 smart phone also features an electronic compass, and was released some six months before the iPhone 3GS. According to iSuppli’s web teardown the iPhone contains an AKM AK8973 compass chip. Continue reading