Competing the consumer market MEMS sensor eye-catching Laurent Robin, director of MEMS equipment and technology planning for Yole Développement inertial sensors, points out that consumer and mobile applications are the two fastest growing areas in the MEMS market, and have a major impact on many changes that are currently taking place. The increasing demand for sensors in the consumer field is still the dominant MEMS application. Interestingly, as consumer electronic devices increasingly use combination sensors, the demand for small devices is strong, and highly-integrated MEMS are promising. The rapid sales of MEMS sensors in touch screen tablets and smart phones will bring stable revenue to more and more MEMS manufacturers.

Applications for MEMS sensors in consumer electronics include motion/fall detection, navigation data compensation, game/human interface, power management, GPS enhancement/blind zone elimination, velocity/distance counting, etc., which make its penetration far more than traditional On the semiconductor chip. In all fields, the mobile phone is the largest application area of ​​MEMS. Taking a mobile phone as an example, there are many sensors in the mobile phone, the most common ones being accelerometers, other geomagnetists, gyroscopes, pressure and temperature and humidity sensors, infrared sensors, and even UV sensors. If the MEMS microphone is also included, then a smart phone may have more than ten sensors. However, so many sensors are integrated in the mobile phone, which brings a heavy load to the mobile phone. As the number of sensors in consumer electronics devices continues to increase, the success of sensor fusion becomes more and more important.

MEMS suppliers compete for consumer market

Most manufacturers are aware of the development trend of sensor fusion, but have the ability to integrate multiple sensor hardware and software technologies, especially software systems that require a lot of investment, and there are only a handful of manufacturers with corresponding technology accumulation. In view of this, Xiao Bian has combed the performance of leading MEMS suppliers such as STMicroelectronics, Knowles Electronics, InvenSense, Texas Instruments, Bosch, and ADI in the consumer electronics market to reveal how MEMS sensors are rewriting the consumer electronics market.

STMicroelectronics was the undisputed champion of global consumer electronics and mobile terminal markets last year. The company has topped the list since 2009, with a strong growth of 22% last year and 27% of the overall market. Gyroscopes and accelerometers are their main products, and STMicroelectronics has also succeeded in a series of emerging devices. Wu Weidong, Director of Simulation, Micro-motor System & Sensor Market, Greater China and South Asia, STMicroelectronics, said that STMicroelectronics uses a multi-chip stacking technology to combine multiple sensor modules and use it as a sensor hub. In addition, a complete IP (software algorithms including process technology and application of MEMS products) can support STMicroelectronics in the development of new MEMS-based products to continuously improve product performance.

Compared to other competing companies, their sensor fusion is basically a combination of an acceleration sensor, a gyro sensor, and an electronic compass. And STMicroelectronics has a wide range of sensors, in addition to these three products can also achieve a combination of other varieties. For example, an acceleration sensor, a gyro sensor, and an electronic compass are housed in a packaged motion sensor hub for motion detection; a pressure sensor, a temperature and humidity sensor, an infrared sensor, and the like are housed in an encapsulated environmental sensor hub for Environmental monitoring; an audio sensor hub that houses microphone arrays and headset microphones in a single package to improve the sound quality and noise suppression of smartphones and tablets. . .

Knowles Electronics is not only the world's largest MEMS microphone supplier, but also the second largest supplier of consumer and mobile device MEMS global market. Although it is no longer the number one bulk supplier of Apple's MEMS microphones, Knowles still has the most comprehensive MEMS product portfolio and ships to almost all brand manufacturers. Knowles Electronics integrates speaker and microphone technology to provide customers with advanced, reliable acoustic solutions.

Here we have to talk about InvenSense, the most successful MEMS start-up company. InvenSense ranked fourth in the global consumer electronics and mobile terminal market in 2012, an increase of 30% compared to 2011. This is due to InvenSense's diversification of business through the integration of MEMS composite sensors, which has successfully entered the smart phone and tablet area, and this kind of sensor accounted for about half of its operating income last year. InvenSense also pioneered the production of 6-axis inertial measurement units, placing the accelerometer and gyroscope in a 4 x 4 package. Combined sensors last year accounted for half of the company's operating revenue, and are currently producing a very small 9-axis inertial measurement unit, which also contains a pressure sensor, and the package size is only 3 x 3 mm.

Texas Instruments intends to enter the portable consumer market with Digital Light Processor Projector (DLP) technology. Although the pico projector can be used as a personal projector alone, it is not as fast and popular as it is in the home theater market due to its high price. In addition, with the success of smartphones and tablets equipped with high-definition large screens, the prospect of micro-projectors in consumer applications is further weakened.

In addition, the popularity of Bosch mobile phone pressure sensors has led to continuous growth in consumer and mobile MEMS business, which grew by 17% last year. As a pioneer in the micro-mechanical IC industry, Analog Devices offers a comprehensive range of inertial detection solutions, including iMEMS accelerometers and gyroscopes, iSensor smart sensors, and inertial measurement units (IMU) to simplify motion detection in consumer electronics applications. Market leading companies welcome.

The secret behind success: the trend of modular development

Eric Mounier, Yole Développement senior analyst of MEMS products and technology, said that by 2018, the MEMS market output value will increase from 12% to 13% at a compound growth rate to 22.5 billion U.S. dollars, and unit shipments will reach 2.35 billion U.S. dollars. It is expected that 1.2 billion mobile phones, tablets, and notebooks will be equipped with accelerometers, gyroscopes, and compass functions at the same time in 2016, far exceeding the 249 million units in 2011. In these extremely space-consuming devices, the combination of MEMS sensors The system has a natural advantage.

With the ever-increasing demand for combined MEMS sensors in the consumer electronics market, the combined MEMS sensor market will grow at a much faster rate than other MEMS devices. From another perspective, only by mastering the technical capabilities of integrating multiple types of sensor hardware and software, MEMS suppliers can adapt to market trends and create differentiated products.

As mentioned above, each leading MEMS supplier competes in the consumer market with its own differentiated development strategy. From this we can easily see that most MEMS suppliers have more or less combined MEMS sensors, and the trend toward the development of combined MEMS sensors is increasingly evident. In addition, the more pre-ranked manufacturers, the more diverse their diversity and the more advanced the fusion processing technology, the greater their market share.

Through an interview with a number of MEMS sensor suppliers, Xiao Bian made the following summary of the future development of MEMS technology.

In general, the development trend of MEMS sensors will be integrated, miniaturized, intelligent, and versatile. For a single sensor, the cost pressure will tend to be smaller in the package; for a combination and intelligent MEMS sensor, the maturity of the software program will become the main indicator for the manufacturer to choose the type of the solution; while the MEMS sensor keeps miniaturization In addition, the dual requirements of reducing power consumption and improving accuracy are met; the integrated manufacturing technology of MEMS and ICs and the integrated manufacturing technology of multi-parameter MEMS sensors are driving the trends of integration and intelligentization, and the detection of signals is certain on the basis of integration. Automation.

The above development trend requires semiconductor manufacturers to provide highly-integrated MEMS sensor modules with higher precision, better stability, and more intelligence. For MEMS suppliers, it is indispensable to hold control of the future development of MEMS technology in order to have a place in the consumer electronics market.

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