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Silver Anniversary and Silver Linings for MEMS



At the recent MEMS Technology Summit at Stanford University, CA, there was much to be said about the history and future outlook for MEMS.  While MEMS dates back to the 1950s, cotemporaneous with the pioneering semiconductor work at Bell Labs, it would be 40 years or so until MEMS really began to take off.  Now a ubiquitous component, MEMS has not only experienced phenomenal growth, but has become more recognized as providing a feature set demanded by end-users in today's smart wireless devices (SWDs), mandated by governments for safety in aerospace and automotive industries, as well as improving the quality of life along with safe guarding it for many through healthcare devices.

We have previously discussed the important laws requiring MEMS automotive sensors for electronic stability control (ESC) and tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) in North America, Europe and Australia.  These have been a significant driver for MEMS (cf. this automotive MEMS Commentary here and our in depth Quarterly discussion here).  Now, Asia is set to follow this norm, as automotive safety and efficiency standards globalize.  In this recent report released by iSuppli, South Korea has now also passed the 2012 and 2014 ESC and TPMS regulations, and there is an expectation that Japan will shortly follow suit.  The net result for MEMS is an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.3% by 2014, equal to US $122.2 million, according to the same iSuppli report.  Without this regulation, the CAGR for the same period was estimated to be 5.5%, or US $54 million – a significant difference for the MEMS sector.

Couple this news with last week's release of forecasts from the founders, leaders and major analysts in MEMS, and the future for MEMS is unsurpassable.  Over one trillion MEMS devices are forecasted to be shipped in the next 10 years, according to this interview with Janusz Bryzek of Jyve, a MEMS founder.

One major reason for this component's ubiquity? Diversification across industries and devices coupled with the ability to innovate with and for the end-market industries and products (cf. a broad range of podcast interviews from the conference here from ElectroIQ).

Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Friday, 29 October 2010 00:00 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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