Trends in Next-Generation MEMS Discussed in TechXPOT Forum

By Jeff Dorsch

The microelectromechanical system (MEMS) device market is forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 13 percent over the next five years, reaching $24 billion in 2019, according to Jean-Christophe Eloy, president and CEO of Yole Développement.

Microphones still account for half of the MEMS market, and STMicroelectronics remains the top supplier of mobile MEMS for smartphones and tablet computers, he told a TechXPOT session on Tuesday morning. While five suppliers dominate the mobile MEMS market, there are more than 50 companies competing for market share in automotive MEMS, Eloy noted.

Among other topics, Eloy said the “critical issue” in MEMS is “how to increase the chance of new devices to enter the market.”

Jack Young of Qualcomm Ventures discussed digital health applications for MEMS. His investment fund has put money into Fitbit and InvenSense, among other companies. Wearable gadgets have the potential to become fashion accessories, he said, noting that Fitbit has consulted with designer Tory Burch.

With MEMS-based wearable electronics, “your body is tweeting, your body is posting on Facebook all the time,” Young commented.

Tomas Bauer, senior vice president of sales and business development for Silex Microsystems, said the MEMS market is ready to move beyond automobiles and smartphones, and his company, a pure-play MEMS foundry, has a number of process technologies, such as Sil-Via and Met-Via, to fabricate new types of MEMS devices. Silex has also developed a through-glass via technology for some applications.