MEMS+

MEMS Microphones – A Bright Spot among Commoditized Consumer Sensors

By: Jun Yan, Ph.D., MEMS Technical Director

MEMS Microphone picture

Source: InfineonTechnologies, AG, “The Infineon Silicon MEMS Microphone”, DOI:10.5162/sensor2013/A4.3

MEMS microphones have emerged as a bright spot among consumer sensors, which in general are going through a rapid commoditization and profit-squeezing trend.

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MEMS Grand Challenge Debuts

ee-timesBy R. Colin Johnson, EE Times

LAKE WALES Fla.—Simplfying and popularizing microelectromechanical system (MEMS) design is the goal of the MEMS Design Contest announced yesterday (March 16) at the conference titled Data Automation and Test in Europe (DATE 2016, March 15 to 17, Dresden, Germany). More specifically, the contest encourages chip designers to add MEMS blocks to a chip design, using tools designed for the purpose.

Sponsored by Cadence Design Systems, Coventor, X-FAB and Reutlingen University, the contest will feature a special process design kit (PDK) that the winners will use to fabricate their MEMS chip at X-Fab. If interested attend the DATE session Launch of the Worldwide MEMS Design Contest.

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The Sensor Swarm Arrives

By Tom Kevan, Desktop Engineering

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It all started with smartphones and airbags. Design engineers began to integrate sensors in growing numbers into such systems to enable smarter performance. These applications mark the prelude to what Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, a professor at University of California, Berkeley, describes as a “sensory swarm” — a flood of heterogeneous sensors interfacing the cyber and physical worlds. By 2025, experts predict that the swarm could number as many as 7 trillion devices.

One of the first stages in the realization of this sensor-dominated world, the Internet of Things (IoT) requires technologies that can take on smaller form factors and operate on miserly power budgets. In their search to find sensing devices that can meet these requirements, designers have turned to micro-electromechanical systems, or MEMS. Before they can take full advantage of the miniaturization the technology offers and expand its role in the marketplace, engineers must be able to bridge the gaps between the MEMS, analog and digital design worlds. To do this, they will require a new set of tools.

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