Category Archives: Packaging and Testing

By Maria Vetrano

As group vice president of the Analog & MEMS Group and general manager of the MEMS Sensor division at STMicroelectronics, Andrea Onetti brings nearly three decades of experience in MEMS, sensors and audio systems to his leadership role at one of the world’s most successful electronics and semiconductor manufacturers. During his keynote at FLEX and MEMS & Sensors Technical Congress 2019, February 18-21 in Monterey, Calif., Onetti will address the criticality of sensor accuracy in advancing automotive, industrial and consumer applications. SEMI’s Maria Vetrano spoke with Onetti recently to give FLEX/MSTC attendees a preview of his presentation.

SEMI: What are some promising advancements in sensors for autonomous cars?

Onetti: The avionics industry is already successfully applying sensors for autonomous operationl. Inertial navigation systems (INS) support the operation of planes during flight, both after takeoff and before landing. Unfortunately, the technology in these navigation systems is expensive and not scalable, and they are hampered by reliability limitations in an automotive environment.

Following the steady progress that we have made with MEMS inertial sensors in consumer applications, we are on the cusp of realizing greater accuracy in temperature and time – finally delivering the performance required for autonomous driving. Because we can scale in production – we’re now manufacturing more than a billion units a year – we can select the cream of this production crop for adoption in cars. Consequently, we should see Level 3 and Level 4 autonomous driving for consumers very soon.

SEMI: How are companies using sensors to monitor and track their assets in industrial applications?

Onetti: Predictive maintenance and asset tracking are the two main verticals in Smart Industry. The adoption of multiple sensors for condition monitoring is helping to detect the faulty operation of equipment and to detect early signs of issues that are otherwise difficult to capture.

Ultrasonic microphones can detect leaks in a pipe at an early stage, accelerometers with high bandwidth can act as micrometers, and accurate temperature sensors can catch overheating.

Similarly, in asset tracking, we use temperature monitoring in combination with inertial sensors to detect problems during the transport of goods. Shock sensors with extremely high full scale (up to 8000g) can tell whether a lightweight envelop has been dropped. Pressure sensors can switch off a radio system when a cargo plane takes off and can mute smart trackers in compliance with flight regulations. We really can do almost anything!

A full slate of ST sensors and microcontroller units (MCUs) enable WEG’s small but powerful motor sensor, which listens to a motor, feels its pain, and shares that information with engineers, operators and others to diagnose problems before they happen. Image courtesy of STMicroelectronics.

High-accuracy motion, environmental and proximity sensors are crucial to VR/AR. Image courtesy of STMicroelectronics.

SEMI: How will sensors advance user experiences in consumer electronics, such as VR/AR systems?

Onetti: Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are great examples of promising consumer technologies that will become pervasive as performance of inertial sensors improves. First, we need super accuracy in time and temperature to provide the right experience to users. To achieve this level of accuracy, we need a major step forward in performance, and that includes power consumption and miniaturization. Fortunately, we are constantly making progress in the high-accuracy motion, environmental and proximity sensors that are critical to these systems. While the scale is vastly different between VR/AR and automotive, the requirements for AR/VR systems are pretty similar to those that will enable autonomous cars.

A growing variety of sensors (environmental, microphone, proximity, motion) – combined with a sensor hub in an MCU – are central to VR controllers (above) and VR head mounted displays (below). Images courtesy of STMicroelectronics.

SEMI: We don’t hear much about the criticality of higher accuracy in sensors. Why is improving accuracy in sensors especially important – and what role do calibration routines play in achieving higher accuracy?

Onetti: A sensor is more than just the performance of the relevant function. It is also the intrinsic accuracy that it brings. This accuracy is tuned by calibration, which is typically an expensive process done at the end of product manufacturing or – better still – during earlier stages of manufacturing.

Today more applications require sensors with higher accuracy, which necessitates investing more time in calibration, leading to higher cost.

MEMS technology can help by offering solutions with intrinsic higher accuracy, which reduces the cost of calibration for product manufacturers. This naturally delivers major benefits to OEMs and, ultimately, their customers.

SEMI: What would you like FLEX and MSTC attendees to take away from your presentation?

Onetti: As attendees explore the wide variety of available sensor solutions for their end products, I would ask them to prioritize the role of accuracy in sensor selection – because improved accuracy means higher quality data, and higher quality data means better decisions with reduced need for data processing.

While designers understand the role of calibration routines in qualifying individual components for specific applications, it is the continuous evolution of MEMS technology that offers the best possibility of breakthrough reductions in time and cost of these calibration routines. This makes MEMS sensors more attractive and affordable than similar sensor components based on different technologies.

Source: SEMI Blog

SEMI, the global industry association serving the electronics manufacturing supply chain, today announced the appointment of John Chong, vice president of product and business development at MEMS manufacturer Kionix, as Governing Council chair of the SEMI-MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (SEMI-MSIG), a SEMI Strategic Association Partner. The Council provides guidance and oversight for SEMI-MSIG’s strategic direction and initiatives.

As chairman, Dr. Chong, a member of the SEMI-MSIG Governing Council since 2015, will work to advance the interests of the MEMS and sensors community globally and drive its expansion. Spurred by surging growth in smartphones, smart speakers, autonomous cars, and fitness and healthcare wearables, the global market for MEMS and sensors is expected to double in the next five years, reaching $100 billion by 2023, according to Yole Développement, a market research firm.

“John’s technical expertise and industry insights have been great assets to SEMI-MSIG,” said Michael Ciesinski, vice president of Technology Communities at SEMI. “We are pleased that he will now focus his leadership on programs designed to deepen industry collaboration, drive innovation, and seize the tremendous market opportunity that lies ahead. Further, as we make this leadership transition, SEMI gratefully acknowledges the many contributions of our past chair, Dave Kirsch, vice president and general manager of EV Group.”

Among other achievements, Kirsch led the successful integration of MSIG with SEMI in 2016.

Dr. Chong brings to the chair rich industry experience. He leads Kionix’s growing portfolio of sensors and oversees its Software and Solutions Development Center. Before joining Kionix in 2006, Dr. Chong led the development of optical MEMS at Calient Networks. He holds multiple patents and has spoken extensively at industry conferences about the role of sensors in the Internet of Things (IoT). Dr. Chong earned his B.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Cornell University, where he worked on novel techniques for the design and manufacturing of Microfludic MEMS.

“I am excited by the central role MEMS and sensors will play in the age of IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and autonomous agents,” Dr. Chong said. “With collaboration and coordination within the industry critical to its prosperity, SEMI-MSIG is key in providing the vision, resources and platform necessary to enable innovation and get business done.”

SEMI has also appointed Becky Oh, president and CEO of PNI Sensors, as SEMI-MSIG vice-chair. During her 20 years at PNI Sensors, Oh has held a range of senior-level positions, from operations to technical business development, and spearheaded the company’s entrance into the IoT market. She received an M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT.

By Heidi Hoffman, senior director of technology community marketing, SEMI

This year’s MEMS & Sensors Technical Congress(MSTC), February 19-20, 2019, features a deep dive into the changing automotive sensor landscape, a look at emerging MEMS technologies, and an exploration of integration standards. The more technically focused of SEMI’s annual MEMS events, MSTC returns to Monterey, California, in conjunction with FLEX, the conference that highlights new form factors enabled by advances in flexible, printed and hybrid electronics.

What’s next for automotive sensors

Leading technologists from across the automotive sensor value chain will share their views on emerging opportunities and challenges in that rapidly evolving market. Ford Motor Co. Executive Technical Director, Palo Alto Research Center, Dragos Maciuca will give an update on the changing demands of the market in his keynote. Another keynoter, ON SemiconductorCTO Hans Stork will focus on recent developments in sensors and integration technology, and the remaining challenges to integrate these complex data streams into cost-effective intelligent sensor fusion.

PNI Sensor President & CEO Becky Oh will report on advancements in smart parking sensor solutions and their deployment in smart cities. VerizonProduct Manager Nancy Ranxing Li will introduce Verizon’s data-driven approach to reduce injury and death in traffic accidents. Featuring an integrated sensor system that detects and analyzes conflicts among pedestrians, vehicles and cyclists, the Verizon system identifies potentially dangerous situations at intersections. Cities can use the data to make changes to improve safety while 5G-enabled self-driving cars can use the data to prevent accidents. Fabu Head of Marketing Angela Suen will discuss Fabu’s experience in applying machine learning to sensor integration data. Analog Devices, GM, Inertial Sensors, Tony Zarola will address nuances of autonomous transportation, including maintaining navigation assistance when vehicle sensors “go blind” as well as vehicle health-monitoring.

Emerging MEMS technologies

Other sessions feature major MEMS makers and researchers sharing innovations on a wide range of technology challenges: from reducing power consumption and increasing intelligence in sensors to MEMS motors, analog in-memory computing, and human/electronics interfaces.

UC Berkeley Professor Kristofer Pister will introduce the next generation of low-power wireless sensor networks, which now featuring self-contained power, MEMS sensors, microwatt computation and communication hardware. Now being demonstrated at UC Berkeley, the ultra-high-reliability devices offer the 10ms latency suitable for factory automation. Pister will also discuss ultra-efficient MEMS motors for wirelessly controlled haptics as well as micro robots for precision manipulation.

Syntiant Corp. VP of Product Mallik Moturi will report on the company’s neural decision processors, which use analog in-memory computing for ultra-low-power parallel processing. The company says that the devices are being designed into multiple kinds of edge devices, particularly for always-on speaker identification and key-word spotting for under 40µW—reportedly 50-100X more efficient than a GPU.

STMicroelectronic sSenior Manager, MEMS, Jay Esfandyari will discuss how the integration of logic into MEMS inertial measurement units (IMUs) enables independently programmable gesture recognition algorithms on the IMU – enabling a range of motion-detection gestures at a fraction of the power of running the algorithms on an external microcontroller. InvenSense CTO Peter Hartwell will share his company’s vision of the future in which sensors bridge the real and virtual worlds. Arm Senior Product Manager Tim Menasveta will explore Arm’s work in extending machine learning to resource-constrained embedded devices.

Georgia Tech Research Fellow Yun-Soung Kim will present a new wireless skin-like electronics platform for persistent human-machine interfaces. The platform — SKINTRONICS — combines thin-film processes, soft material engineering and miniature chip components to adapt electronics that conform to the soft, curvilinear and dynamic human body. Georgia Tech researchers have demonstrated using SKINTRONICS-enabled wireless human-machine interfaces to send electrical signals from the human body to control remotely a car and a wheelchair.

In the area of improving manufacturing technology and standards, Siemens/Mentor GM Greg Lebsackwill discuss the challenges and opportunities of co-design of MEMS and ICs for a more robust system and faster time to market. Lebsack will look at the design flow and the ecosystem of mixed-signal design tools and IP blocks for innovative system solutions for the IoT. NIST Project Leader Michael Gaitan will discuss improved test protocols for tri-axis MEMS accelerometers that better determine cross-axis sensitivities and are less sensitive to misalignment of devices on the test equipment, promoting more accurate testing in laboratory comparisons. Intel Platform Manager Ken Foust will discuss the impact and future of the MIPI I3C standard — a two-wire interface developed to address many key pain-points universally felt by system developers struggling to integrate broad sensor capability into their platforms.

MSTC is organized by MEMS & Sensors Industry Group, SEMI technology community.


With Korea expected to remain the world’s largest consumer of semiconductor equipment, building on its 18 percent share in 2018, SEMICON Korea 2019 is poised to connect global electronics manufacturing companies to new opportunities. More than 450 companies will gather at SEMICON Korea 23 – 25 January 2019, at the COEX in Seoul – for the latest microelectronics developments and trends from industry leaders and visionaries. Registration is now open.

SEMICON Korea, the premier event in Korea for electronics manufacturing, features key insights in artificial intelligence (AI), SMART manufacturing, talent and other critical industry issues. SEMICON Korea brings companies together to “Connect, Collaborate, and Innovate” as the event is poised to set a record of more than 2,000 booths.

  • CONNECT to business and technology leaders to uncover new industry relationships
  • COLLABORATE with industry experts across the electronics manufacturing supply chain
  • INNOVATE to drive new technologies and business

SEMICON Korea 2019 highlights include the following:

AI Summit – AI is powering the next phase of semiconductor industry growth with applications across automotive, manufacturing, and more. Summit attendees will meet industry leaders to discuss new AI collaborations and emerging business opportunities.

MEMS and Sensors Summit – Data acquisition from the edge is essential for IoT and AI to flourish, driving growth of the MEMS and sensor industry. Industry-leading MEMS and sensors companies will share their visions, technology roadmaps and business models for enabling IoT and AI.

SMART Manufacturing Forum – Manufacturing adaptability is a key enabler of advanced technologies and applications. Industry leaders will gather to explore what’s needed to leverage advanced analytics, improve the use of real-time simulation and cyber-physical systems and better integrate the supply chain to drive greater manufacturing flexibility.

Workforce Development – The new Workforce Pavilion at SEMICON Korea extends SEMI’s efforts to help tackle the industry’s vital need for talent. The Pavilion offers university students interviews with industry experts and tutorials on semiconductor production to help students explore career paths. SEMICON Korea will also launch a mentoring program to help students enter careers in semiconductor manufacturing.

SEMICON Korea 2019 will also feature its popular business matching program with seven device makers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) meeting with 100 potential customers.

“SEMICON Korea 2019 provides programs that help power industry growth,” said H.D. Cho, president of SEMI Korea. “We continue to expand our event offerings to offer new ways for the industry to “Connect, Collaborate and Innovate.”

For more event information, please click here.

MIRPHAB, a European Commission project to create a pilot line to fabricate mid-infrared (MIR) sensors by 2020, is accepting proposals from companies that want to develop and prototype new MIR devices that operate in gas-and-liquid media.

The project produces MIR photonic devices via assembled and/or packaged devices for laser-based, analytical MIR sensors, and expert design for sensor components that are fabricated on the pilot line. The platform is organized so that development of novel sensors and sensing systems is based on MIR integrated optic components and modules already incorporated in MIRPHAB’s portfolio.

The aim of the MIRPHAB pilot line is to provide each customer with a unique chemical spectroscopic system by combining sources, photonic circuits and detectors in standard packaging.

“European industry requires more efficient control processes to gain greater productivity and operational efficiency, and this project will deliver the devices required to improve those processes,” said CEA-Leti’s Sergio Nicoletti, who is coordinating the project. “MIRPHAB also will develop new sensor technology that provides novel analytical tools for companies to help improve people’s overall quality of life via environmental monitoring (e.g to measure VOC), food quality control (e.g. food spoilage or  adulteration ) and fast clinical diagnoses (e.g. provide cancer cells images). These are some of the areas where MIR sensors will play an increasingly significant role.”

In addition to providing device-design services for customers, the MIRPHAB team will help them develop sound business cases and strong business plans to commercialize their new devices. Potential cost-and-performance breakthroughs will be shown for reliable MIR sensing products based on building blocks provided by MIRPHAB. MIRPHAB also will be a sustainable source of key components for new and highly competitive MIR sensors, and will support their successful market introduction, while strengthening the competitiveness of European industry.

Mid-infrared light interacts strongly with molecular vibrations as each molecule gives a unique absorption spectrum that provides a simple solution for sensing. The sensors’ reduced size and flexible design make them ideal candidates for integration into already existing equipment for in-line/on-line detection.

The MIRPHAB team will host a booth, #ZB24, at the Sensors USA event in Santa Clara, Calif., Nov. 14-15, 2018.

MIRPHAB is funded by the Photonics Public Private Partnership. The project brings together 18 leading European organizations and is coordinated by CEA-Leti. For more information visit the project’s website.

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), representing U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing, design, and research, today announced worldwide sales of semiconductors reached $122.7 billion during the third quarter of 2018, an increase of 4.1 percent over the previous quarter and 13.8 percent more than the third quarter of 2017. Global sales for the month of September 2018 reached $40.9 billion, an uptick of 2.0 percent over last month’s total and 13.8 percent more than sales from June 2017. All monthly sales numbers are compiled by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization and represent a three-month moving average.

“Three-quarters of the way through 2018, the global semiconductor industry is on pace to post its highest-ever annual sales, comfortably topping last year’s record total of $412 billion,” said John Neuffer, president and CEO, Semiconductor Industry Association. “While year-to-year growth has tapered in recent months, September marked the global industry’s highest-ever monthly sales, and Q3 was its top-grossing quarter on record. Year-to-year sales in September were up across every major product category and regional market, with sales into China and the Americas continuing to lead the way.”

Regionally, sales increased compared to September 2017 in China (26.3 percent), the Americas (15.1 percent), Europe (8.8 percent), Japan (7.2 percent), and Asia Pacific/All Other (2.4 percent). Sales were up compared to last month in the Americas (6.0 percent), China (1.8 percent), and Europe (1.2 percent), but down slightly in Asia Pacific/All Other (-0.1 percent) and Japan (-0.6 percent).

For comprehensive monthly semiconductor sales data and detailed WSTS Forecasts, consider purchasing the WSTS Subscription Package. For detailed data on the global and U.S. semiconductor industry and market, consider purchasing the 2018 SIA Databook.

September 2018
Month-to-Month Sales
Market Last Month Current Month % Change
Americas 8.68 9.20 6.0%
Europe 3.53 3.57 1.2%
Japan 3.39 3.37 -0.6%
China 14.10 14.35 1.8%
Asia Pacific/All Other 10.43 10.42 -0.1%
Total 40.12 40.91 2.0%
Year-to-Year Sales
Market Last Year Current Month % Change
Americas 7.99 9.20 15.1%
Europe 3.28 3.57 8.8%
Japan 3.14 3.37 7.2%
China 11.36 14.35 26.3%
Asia Pacific/All Other 10.18 10.42 2.4%
Total 35.95 40.91 13.8%
Three-Month-Moving Average Sales
Market Apr/May/Jun Jul/Aug/Sept % Change
Americas 8.34 9.20 10.2%
Europe 3.67 3.57 -2.7%
Japan 3.39 3.37 -0.8%
China 13.59 14.35 5.6%
Asia Pacific/All Other 10.32 10.42 1.0%
Total 39.31 40.91 4.1%

By Nishita Rao

Nicolas Sauvage, senior director of Ecosystem at TDK InvenSense, will present at the fast-approaching MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress on October 29-30, 2018 in Napa, Calif. SEMI’s Nishita Rao spoke with Sauvage to offer MSEC attendees advance insights on Sauvage’s feature presentation.

SEMI: What is “autonomy value” and why is it important?

Sauvage: How do you increase the perceived value of an electronic device? If it’s an autonomous car, its value is closely tied to the autonomy level — i.e., the independence — that it offers people. Higher autonomy value for a self-driving car, for example, means that even a blind person could use it. It’s been almost two years since Waymo demonstrated this, and here’s the video that shows it.

Countless other sensor-based electronic products have their own “autonomy value.” Imagine the need to get medicine to people during a humanitarian health crisis. Drones could be your best option because they can deliver to inaccessible or remote locations. Unlike older drones, which require active piloting by a person, a drone with higher autonomy value could deliver medicine to Doctors Without Borders without ongoing human intervention.

This drone could navigate objects, such as trees and birds, and would have excellent location-awareness. It could fly through any landscape in bright sunlight or during the night. To increase the drone’s autonomy value, you would need better sensors, including those sensors that can enable sensing in sunny conditions or in pitch-black night, as well as better machine learning.

SEMI: In this example, what types of sensors would the drone manufacturer need?

Sauvage: The manufacturer would need a “surrounding-sensing” solution that includes ultrasonic and pressure sensors as well as image sensors. Start with high-quality image sensors combined with ultrasonic range-finding sensors — high-accuracy devices that function in all lighting conditions and can detect objects of any color. Add motion sensors and a pressure sensor, which would capture the height of the drone to make known the drone’s location in space. The drone would need this combination of sensors, plus smart sensor fusion, because GPS alone cannot avoid obstacles: its signal can be sporadic in certain parts of the world or in certain terrain, making it unreliable.

A key attribute of all these sensors would be low power consumption since the drone would run on battery.

SEMI: To what extent might autonomy value cause manufacturers to consider multi-vendor solutions?

Sauvage: I would like to see it inspire the MEMS and sensors ecosystem to work together, to arrive at multi-vendor solutions that will benefit humanity through greater autonomy value. Whether we’re looking at autonomous cars, drones, robotics or other applications, there are cases where we need to prioritize safety and security over industry competition.

SEMI: Where are we today in terms of achieving true autonomy value – and where are we going?

Sauvage: The sky is the limit, literally. Machine learning and surrounding-sensing solutions applied to cars, drones and robots will increase autonomy value to the point where we can justifiably call it artificial intelligence.

SEMI: What would you like MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress attendees to take away from your presentation?

Sauvage: I hope that attendees will recognize the value of ecosystem solutions in increasing autonomy value. Together we can expand the variety of sensor types that address novel use-cases and jobs-to-be-done. Instead of waiting for customers to ask for ecosystem-level solutions, we need to articulate a complete MEMS and sensors supply-chain ecosystem if we want the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial IoT (IIoT) to grow more quickly.

As senior director of Ecosystem, Nicholas Sauvage is responsible for all strategic relationships, including Google and Qualcomm, and other HW/SW/System companies. He is also responsible for strategic and market-driven goal-setting of our SensorStudio developer program, and driving select partnerships with SoC sensor hub platforms. Prior to joining InvenSense, Nicolas was part of NXP Software management team, responsible for worldwide sales, as well as for P&L and product management of their OEM Business Line. Nicolas is an alumnus of Institut supérieur d’électronique et du numérique, London Business School and INSEAD.

Register today to connect with Nicolas Sauvage at the event. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn.

Nishita Rao is a marketing manager at SEMI.

Cynthia Wright, a retired military officer with over 25 years of experience in national security and cyber strategy and policy, now Principal Cyber Security Engineer at The MITRE Corporation, will give the opening keynote at the upcoming MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress, October 29-30, 2018 in Napa, Calif. SEMI’s Maria Vetrano interviewed Wright to give MSEC attendees an advance look at Wright’s highly anticipated presentation.

SEMI: MEMS and sensors suppliers provide intelligent sensing and actuation to hundreds of billions of autonomous mobility devices – but historically, our community has not been at the forefront of cybersecurity. Why is now a good time for us to get involved?

Wright: From wearables, smartphones, refrigerators and agriculture to medical devices and military hardware, autonomous mobility devices pervade our lives. At the same time, Internet of Things (IoT) botnet attacks like Mirai — and other demonstrated cyberattacks on home devices, vehicles and infrastructure — highlight the increasingly urgent need to address cybersecurity and privacy in MEMS/sensors-enabled devices.

As building-block players in autonomous devices, MEMS and sensors suppliers have several good reasons to get involved.

The number of IoT cyber security bills before state and federal legislatures suggest that regulation is coming, and it is in everyone’s best interest to prepare. While original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) would generally be held liable in cases of component malfunction or data breach, if insecurity stems from a microelectromechanical component, OEMs would most likely choose component suppliers with secure products.

Beyond legislation and competitive advantage, we must consider that people’s well-being, even lives, could be at stake. Imagine what could happen if someone hacks into an insulin pump, the accelerometer on a train, or the LIDAR of an autonomous car. Intrusions of this sort could prove catastrophic.

SEMI: Where do you perceive the biggest potential threats to consumers, industry, government?

Wright: In good military fashion, I would say that it depends. If a person is a consumer of medical implants, that’s a big threat. On the government side, we could be talking about networked devices involved in military situational awareness. In industry, it could be sensors governing critical manufacturing or safety processes.

I am not saying that every sensor must be secure. In every sector, there are areas of greater or lesser vulnerability, depending on context.

SEMI: What is security or privacy by design?

Wright: Addressing security flaws is cheaper and more easily accomplished at the design stage and not after the vulnerabilities are discovered. At MITRE, we practice systems- and design-oriented thinking as we consult with people doing development. We help them to develop security standards and approaches that are broadly applicable, rather than focusing on a specific product.

For example, MITRE looks at the ways that a person might hack into a car to steal location and life history data — or alter its functions — to facilitate general standards and approaches that will help manufacturers better ensure the privacy and security of autonomous vehicles. Hackers have demonstrated that they can interfere with vehicle transmissions and brakes. Ignition, steering and other critical systems are theoretically accessible through the same types of attacks. To what degree can MEMS/sensors suppliers help automotive manufacturers ensure the privacy and security of autonomous cars, and the safety of their drivers?

SEMI: What would you like MSEC attendees to take away from your presentation?

Wright: MEMS/sensors suppliers are on the leading edge of computing and should take some responsibility for considering cybersecurity and privacy, for the safety of their customers and their own competitive advantage. Recognize which devices should be secure and act accordingly. Get involved at the design stage. The market for secure microelectronics is only going to grow, and this will benefit suppliers who take secure design seriously.

Cynthia Wright will present Cyber Security and Privacy in the Age of Autonomous Sensing on Monday, October 29 at MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress in Napa, Calif.

Register today to connect with her at the event.

Maria Vetrano is a public relations consultant at SEMI.

“2017 was an excellent year for CIS , with growth observed in all segments except computing,” commented Pierre Cambou, Principal Analyst, Technology & Market, Imaging at Yole Développement (Yole). Driven by new applications, the industry’s future remains on strong footing.

Yole announces its annual technology & market analysis focused on the CIS industry, from 2017 to 2023, titled: Status of the CMOS Image Sensor Industry. In 2017 the CIS market reached US$13.9 billion. The market research & strategy consulting company forecasts a 9.4% CAGR between 2017 and 2023, driven mainly by smartphones integrating additional cameras to support functionalities like optical zoom, biometry, and 3D interactions.

Yole proposes this year again a comprehensive technology & market analysis of the CMOS Image Industry. In addition to a clear understanding of the CIS ecosystem, analysts detail in this new edition, 2017-2023 forecasts, a relevant description of the M&A activities, an impressive overview of the dual and 3D camera trends for mobile. Mobile and consumer applications are also well detailed in this 2018 edition, with a deep added-value section focused on technology evolution.
In collaboration with Jean-Luc Jaffard, formerly at STMicroelectronics and part of Red Belt Conseil, Pierre Cambou pursued his investigation all year long and reveals today the status of the CIS industry.

2017 saw aggregated CIS industry revenue of US$13.9 billion. And 5 years later, the consulting company Yole announces more than US$ 23 billion. The YoY growth hit a peak at 20% due to the exceptional increase in image sensor value, across almost all markets, but primarily in the mobile sector. “CIS keeps its momentum”,confirms Pierre Cambou from Yole.

Revenue is dominated by mobile, consumer, and computing, which represent 85% of total 2017 CIS revenue. Mobile alone represents 69%. Security is the second-largest segment, behind automotive.

The CIS ecosystem is currently dominated by the three Asian heavyweights: Sony, Samsung, and Omnivision. Europe made a noticeable comeback. Meanwhile, the US maintains a presence in the high-end sector.

The market has benefited from the operational recovery of leading CIS player Sony, which captured 42% market share. “…Apple iPhone has had a tremendous effect on the semiconductor industry, and on imaging in particular. It offered an opportunity for its main supplier, Sony, to reach new highs in the CIS process, building on its early advances in high-end digital photography…”, explains Pierre Cambou in its article: Image sensors have hugely benefited from Apple’s avant-garde strategy posted on

The CIS industry is able to grow at the speed of the global semiconductor industry, which also had a record year, mainly due to DRAM revenue growth. CIS have become a key segment of the broader semiconductor industry, featuring in the strategy of most key players, and particularly the newly-crowned industry leader Samsung. Mobile, security and automotive markets are all in the middle of booming expansion, mostly benefiting ON Semiconductor and Omnivision.

These markets are boosting most players that are able to keep up with technology and capacity development through capital expenditure. The opportunities are all across the board, with new players able to climb the rankings, such as STMicroelectronics and Smartsense. Technology advancement and the switch from imaging to sensing is fostering innovation at multiple levels: pixel, chip, wafer, all the way to the system.

CIS sensors are also at the forefront of 3D semiconductor approaches. They are a main driver in the development of artificial intelligence. Yole’s analysts foresee new techniques and new applications all ready to keep up the market growth momentum… A detailed description of this report is available on, imaging reports section.

Leti, a research institute of CEA Tech, and EFI Automotive, an international supplier of sensors, actuators and embedded smart modules for the automotive industry, today announced a project to dramatically improve reliability and response time of low-cost automotive components by equipping the devices with sophisticated model predictive control techniques.

Model predictive control (MPC) is an advanced method of process control that makes use of a model of the system to predict its behavior. The control law is based on an optimization technique that computes the system inputs, taking into account the reference that the system output has to follow, together with the effort (energy) that is applied on the system inputs and some constraints that may exist within the system, typically saturation of the system inputs.

MPC also allows electronics equipment to perform at levels that are not possible with standard control laws, e.g. proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers. But this sophisticated technique is rarely used on low-cost, low-capability computing units, because it requires solving optimization problems under constraints, which is a complex computational task.

Leti and EFI Automotive are evaluating the implementation of MPC on low-cost, low-computational-capability computing platforms, such as microcontrollers or low-cost digital signal processors (DSPs). The goal is to improve the dynamics of the systems considered, because automotive certification is easier when the control law is implemented on a DSP or a microcontroller. An example of EFI Automotive product, which will benefit from the MPC implementation, is the Air Loop Actuator (Figure 1).

Figure 1: EFI Air Loop Actuator Prototype (200ms response time). Numerical command and power stage integrated

“The control community, including academic researchers and process control experts in industry, is trying to make MPC available for these systems by resolving the underlying optimization problem on a low computational-capability computing platform,” said Marie-Sophie Masselot, business development manager, Leti. “This shortcoming usually leads to suboptimal performance for the controlled system. Our project with EFI Automotive will take into account specifics to offset the drop in performance, or response time, introduced when solving the model predictive control problem on this low computational-capability computing platform.”

In addition to transferring its expertise in MPC to EFI Automotive, Leti will develop software-automation tools dedicated to a given problem as a feasibility demonstration for the MPC project, and then make the tools easily expandable to similar control challenges.

For example, Leti and EFI will develop an MPC law for a given system and, with its increased expertise, EFI will expand this control technique to other systems.

“By combining Leti’s MPC expertise with our know-how in real-time processing on low-cost, low-computational capability computing units, we expect to dramatically improve the response time and reliability of our devices that are key to operating today’s complex vehicles,” said Vincent Liebart, innovation engineer at EFI Automotive.