The panel also talked about some of the "stickiness" of MEMS. Sten Stockmann said: "In the past you had to make trade-offs between smaller size, lower power, and lower cost." But now, by learning from some of the mistakes of the semiconductor industry, as well as executing more simplified designs, MEMS can scale down with smaller size, lower power, lower cost -– leading to accelerated growth for the industry.
This is exemplified by Bosch –- it took 17 years for its first billion MEMS sensors; three years for its next billion (it announced reaching the 2B mark early in 2012). According to Melzer "it won't take another three years to get to the third billion."
What does the future hold for MEMS in consumer electronics? I asked each panelist to give me a one-word answer (only one actually stated ONE word, and it was the name of his company). But jokes aside, the main message was that just as the MEMS industry spans a myriad of industries and markets, the future of MEMS in consumer electronics will enable a myriad of functionality, applications, and personalization.
MEMS clearly earned the respect of the consumer electronics industry at 2012 CES; now it's up to us to continue to promote commercialization and drive innovation.
Sensors in Design Summit
Karen Lightman will be a track chair at the upcoming Sensors in Design conference, taking place March 28-29, 2012 in San Jose. Visit www.SensorsInDesign2012.com to learn more and to register.
Well, it is the CONSUMER electronics show.One of the mentalities I was taught when designing an electronic product was to consider that my mother would be using it.Removing the tech from technology so that a typical mom can adopt and easily pick up the use and application of a new gizmo is what makes them successful. --- So, not surprised that MEMS had a slow ramp of visibility over 10 years at CES.I think that was not the case in more technical trade shows.
@Karen: Thanks for the pointer to the work being done at CMU's Quality of Life Technology Center. I'll buy the right into the case that the right usage of MEMs can enable personalization in an unobtrusive way, especially if it's "big mother" watching over the process. I like that!
Karen, thanks for the update. Having written about MEMS a lot about 10 years ago from the semi and packaging production angle, it's really great to see them finally getting some recognition closer to the user end.
Rob, actually in regards to any micro device those numbers are not such a big deal. I learned recently that there are more transistors produced each year than letters printed (and copied, etc.). Think of that. A transistor is a much more complicated thing than a letter on a page, and yet we make more of them. WOW! The scale of these things is mind boggling. I expect that with MEMS devices we will see similar scale.
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