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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.

By Serena Brischetto

SEMI’s Serena Brischetto caught up with Zimmer and Peacock Director Martin Peacock to discuss sensor opportunities and challenges ahead of the European MEMS & Sensors and Imaging & Sensors Summits.

SEMI: Sensors  enable  a  myriad  of  sensors  and  applications,  from  measuring  caffeine  in  coffee and  the  hotness  of  chillies  and  ions  in  the  blood  of  patients,  to  the  detecting sulfite  levels  in  wine. But  what is,  in  your  opinion,  is  the  hottest  application  today?

Peacock: The  hot  topic  now  is  point-of-care  testing  for  medical  diagnostics  and  wearable  biosensors  including  continuous  glucose  monitoring  sensors  for  Type  1  Diabetics.  At  the  moment,  there  are  three  CGM  market leaders:  Dexcom,  Abbott  and  Medtronic. But in  addition several  companies  are currently  developing  CGM  technologies.

SEMI: What are engineers working on to improve sensors’ efficiency?

Peacock: Though  many  groups  are  working  on  increasing  sensor  sensitivity,  the  big  issues  are  manufacturing  and  the  repeatability  of  manufacturing.  Our  engineers  are  currently  working  on  making  our  manufacturing  repeatable.

The  issue  with  biosensors  and  medical  diagnostics  is  that  the  volumes  of  sensors  are  much  lower  than  the  manufacturing  volumes  traditionally  experienced  in  the  semi-conductor  industry. This  is  simply  due  to  the  fact  the  human  health  market  is  a  very  fragmented  market  and  so,  outside  of  diabetes,  it  is  hard  to  identify  a  high-volume  biosensor  or  medical  diagnostic  that  is  required  at  the  volumes  that  the  semiconductor  industry  would  consider  high  volume.

SEMI: And what are the main challenges?

Peacock: Making  biosensors  at  high  volume,  with  a  tight  tolerance  and  at  a  low  cost.  As  discussed  above,  the  issue  with  biosensors  is  they  are  not  necessarily  required  art  high  volumes,  so  a  manufacture  is  trying  to  produce  high-quality  products  but  where  the  manufacturing  volumes  are  relatively  low – all  the  while trying  to  do  this  at  a  price  point  that  the  market  can  bear.  To  summarise,  the  main  challenge  in  biosensors  one  would  say  ‘this  is  a  very  fragmented  market.’

SEMI: What techniques are currently being deployed by Zimmer and Peacock to overcome those challenges?

Peacock: Zimmer  and  Peacock  has  a  proprietary  database  system  for  organizing  our  development  and  manufacturing  data  so  we  can  track  manufacturing  quality  and  determine  how  we  are  performing. We are  dealing  with  the  fragmented  market  by  having  a  platform  approach  where  we  are  ensuring  that  all  our  clients  are  sharing  the  same  supply  chain  up  to  the  point  where  we  functionalise the  biosensors  with  their  specific  biochemistry. This  means  that  our  clients  are  getting  the  economies  of  scale,  even  though  they  require  their  products  in  relatively  small  volume.

SEMI: What do you expect from SEMI European MEMS & Sensors Summit 2018 and why do you recommend attending in Grenoble?

Peacock: Zimmer  and  Peacock  expects  to  meet  inspiring  experts  who  share  our  own  vision. This  vision  is  that  MEMs  and  Sensors  are  a  critical  part  of  a  number  of  social  and  commercial  revolutions,  including  the  Internet  of  Things  (IoT),  Sensor  Web  and  the  growth  of  the  Invitro  Diagnostics  Market  (IVD). We  are  also  interested  in  finding  supplier  who  can  be  part  of  our  supply  chain.

Serena is a marketing and communications manager at SEMI Europe.

By Serena Brischetto

SEMI spoke with Christian Mandl, Senior Director for Human Machine Interface (HMI), Infineon Technologies AG, ahead of the European MEMS & Sensors Summit. Mandl discussed how the sensing capabilities of machines are getting ever closer to the five human senses, allowing machines to comprehend the environment before acting.

SEMI: What’s it like to lead the Human Machine Interface (HMI) group at Infineon?

Mandl: This example of contextually aware smart devices describes our challenge very well. Devices need to be aware of their surroundings to better adapt their configurations to each specific user. In other words, provide consumers with a more personalized experience. If machines understand the context around them better, their decision-making capabilities are improved, just like humans! Sensor fusion is the key enabler to contextual awareness. Thanks to sensor fusion, machines can provide more reliable feedback based on data from different sensors taken in the same situation, thus making the system more robust. Compared to traditional devices, false positives and false negatives are reduced to make the whole solution smarter.

The challenge we are addressing within the HMI group at Infineon is to enable systems that are aware of their surroundings by combining our best-in-class sensors with sophisticated machine learning algorithms. We create solutions that can better sense the environment around the device, to then trigger user-specific reactions. This is what we call intuitive sensing.

SEMI: Will you elaborate on this challenge? What are the greatest difficulties in combining existing technologies and devices with sensors?


The traditional approach to add sensors to technology has been very simplistic. For example, radar sensors for presence detection typically provide you with the distance to the closest object and trigger a specific action. This approach works but is limited in the amount of use cases it can address since it is not customizable. By using sensor fusion with the sophisticated machine learning techniques, the solutions are becoming robust and stable. When equipping smart speakers with our microphones and radar sensors, they can detect a user’s presence and track location and motion. When adding advanced algorithms such as beam-forming, the audio reception beam can be steered towards the user and filter out noises for more clear understanding of commands.

The market is demanding more of these innovative ready-to-use solutions. Delivering these solutions requires a thorough evaluation based on very strong knowledge of the sensing elements and the raw data they provide. Infineon has a leading edge here, with more than 40 years’ experience in sensing solutions and a deep-rooted system understanding, to create the ready-to-use sensor solutions demanded by the market.

SEMI: You mentioned that data is key to technological development. Re-innovating our world depends on the quality of valuable and secured data about the environment, and what is done with it. How do you make this possible?

Mandl: Indeed, collecting valuable and trustworthy information is critical for any application, as mislabeled or incorrect data reduces the accuracy of any solution. Using reliable and secured sensors is the first critical step towards high quality data. This is where Infineon´s XENSIVTMsensor portfolio plays a crucial role. Our sensors are exceptionally reliable thanks to our industry-leading technologies, and they are the perfect fit for various applications in automotive, industrial and consumer markets. With clean-labeled data in hand and a good understanding of each use-case, we can drastically improve the probability of detecting an event.

SEMI: Can you further explain the sensor fusion concepts that you are working on to connect the real world with the digital world by sensors?

Mandl: A good example is the integration of radar sensors into smart speakers, which improves tremendously the capabilities of current devices to understand the real world and enables numerous use cases that were not possible before.

Starting with keyword-less interactions with technology, the next generation of IoT devices with capabilities to locate and track users will be capable of adjusting the intelligent actions to your position. For example, when we ask our smart speaker in the living room to “turn on the lights” or “play music,” only the lights and speakers in the user´s surroundings should be activated, and not the ones in the kitchen. When walking into another room, the music and light should be capable of following the user´s position and shift flawlessly into the new room. Precise presence detection and tracking by radar will enable optimal interaction with consumers for a more clear understanding of commands and a flawless user experience. It should also create power savings for the smart home by switching off lights and other devices when no one is around.

SEMI: Machines sensing capabilities are getting closer to the five human senses as they understand the environment before acting. What will the new wave of applications include with regard to consumer markets?

Mandl: The potential of sensor fusion to enhance the sensing capabilities of machines cannot yet be imagined. There are innumerable use cases that can be enabled with the right combination of sensors, data processing algorithms and machine learning tools. Smart devices will be more aware of the situation and anticipate their actions to user commands, leading to the era of intuitive sensing. Imagine a world where you can communicate with your smart device like you talk to another human being!

Thanks to the advanced intelligence that we bring with our HMI group, devices will have a sensor brain for use case-specific matching of multiple sensor fusion data with the customer needs for each application. Not only the smart speaker market will experience this transformation, but also other IoT devices in areas such as home security or user authentication, or wearables for optimized wellbeing tracking and monitoring. Devices will be capable of achieving more if provided with the right technology combination. Sensor fusion will enable technology to take better and smarter decisions in complex situations, in some cases even better than humans would.

SEMI: What do you expect from European MEMS & Sensors Summit 2018 and why do you recommend attending in Grenoble?

Mandl: This event is a great opportunity not only to stay informed and see what is happening in the MEMS and sensors industry, but also to meet current and new partners and customers. Attending is important to observe how industry leaders are working towards the latest market trends, and discuss what else can be done to make life easier, safer and greener for everyone.

Serena Brischetto is a marketing and communications manager at SEMI Europe.

Originally published on the SEMI blog.

By Dr. Eric Mounier

2017 was a good year for the MEMS and sensors business, and that upward trend should continue. We forecast extended strong growth for the sensors and actuators market, reaching more than $100 billion in 2023 for a total of 185 billion units. Optical sensors, especially CMOS image sensors, will have the lion’s share with almost 40 percent of market value. MEMS will also play an important role in that growth: During 2018–2023, the MEMS market will experience 17.5 percent growth in value and 26.7 percent growth in units, with the consumer market accounting for more than 50 percent(1)share overall.

Evolution of sensors

Sensors were first developed and used for physical sensing: shock, pressure, then acceleration and rotation. Greater investment in R&D spurred MEMS’ expansion from physical sensing to light management (e.g., micromirrors) and then to uncooled infrared sensing (e.g., microbolometers). From sensing light to sensing sound, MEMS microphones formed the next wave of MEMS development. MEMS and sensors are entering a new and exciting phase of evolution as they transcend human perception, progressing toward ultrasonic, infrared and hyperspectral sensing.

Sensors can help us to compensate when our physical or emotional sensing is limited in some way. Higher-performance MEMS microphones are already helping the hearing-impaired. Researchers at Arizona State University are among those developing cochlear implants — featuring piezoelectric MEMS sensors — which may one day restore hearing to those with significant hearing loss.

The visually impaired may take heart in knowing that researchers at Stanford University are collaborating on silicon retinal implants. Pixium Vision began clinical trials in humans in 2017 with its silicon retinal implants.

It’s not science fiction to think that we will use future generations of sensors for emotion/empathy sensing. Augmenting our reality, such sensing could have many uses, perhaps even aiding the ability of people on the autism spectrum to more easily interpret the emotions of others.

Through my years in the MEMS industry, I have identified three distinct eras in MEMS’ evolution:

  1. The “detection era” in the very first years, when we used simple sensors to detect a shock.
  2. The “measuring era” when sensors could not only sense and detect but also measure (e.g., a rotation).
  3. The “global-perception awareness era” when we increasingly use sensors to map the environment. We conduct 3D imaging with Lidar for autonomous vehicles. We monitor air quality using environmental sensors. We recognize gestures using accelerometers and/or ultrasonics. We implement biometry with fingerprint and facial recognition sensors. This is possible thanks to sensor fusion of multiple parameters, together with artificial intelligence.

Numerous technological breakthroughs are responsible for this steady stream of advancements: new sensor design, new processes and materials, new integration approaches, new packaging, sensor fusion, and new detection principles.

Global Awareness Sensing

The era of global awareness sensing is upon us. We can either view global awareness as an extension of human sensing capabilities (e.g., adding infrared imaging to visible) or as beyond-human sensing capabilities (e.g., machines with superior environmental perception, such as Lidar in a robotic vehicle). Think about Professor X in Marvel’s universe, and you can imagine how human perception could evolve in the future!

Some companies envisioned global awareness from the start. Movea (now part of TDK InvenSense), for example, began their development with inertial MEMS. Others implemented global awareness by combining optical sensors such as Lidar and night-vision sensors for robotic cars. A third contingent grouped environmental sensors (gas, particle, pressure, temperature) to check air quality. The newest entrant in this group, the particle sensor, could play an especially important role in air-quality sensing, particularly in wearable devices.

Driven by increasing societal concern over mounting evidence of global air-quality deterioration, air pollution has become a major topic in our society. Studies show that there is no safe level of particulates. Instead, for every increase in concentration of PM10 or PM2.5 inhalable particles in the air, the lung cancer rate is rising proportionately. Combining a particle sensor with a mapping application in a wearable could allow us to identify the locations of the most polluted urban zones.

The Need for Artificial Intelligence

To realize global awareness, we also need artificial intelligence (AI), but first, we have challenges to solve. Activity tracking, for example, requires accurate live classification of AI data. Relegating all AI processing to a main processor, however, would consume significant CPU resources, reducing available processing power. Likewise, storing all AI data on the device would push up storage costs. To marry AI with MEMS, we must do the following:

  1. Decouple feature processing from the execution of the classification engine to a more powerful external processor.
  2. Reduce storage and processing demands by deploying only the features required for accurate activity recognition.
  3. Install low-power MEMS sensors that can incorporate data from multiple sensors (sensor fusion) and enable pre-processing for always-on execution.
  4. Retrain the model with system-supported data that can accurately identify the user’s activities.

There are two ways to add AI and software in mobile and automotive applications. The first is a centralized approach, where sensor data is processed in the auxiliary power unit (APU) that contains the software. The second is a decentralized approach, where the sensor chip is localized in the same package, close to the software and the AI (in the DSP for a CMOS image sensor, for example). Whatever the approach, MEMS and sensors manufacturers need to understand AI, although they are unlikely to gain much value at the sensor-chip level.

Heading to an Augmented World

We have achieved massive progress in sensor development over the years and are now reaching the point when sensors can mimic or augment most of our perception: vision, hearing, touch, smell and even emotion/empathy as well as some aesthetic senses. We should realize that humans are not the only ones to benefit from these developments. Enhanced perception will also allow robots to help us in our daily lives (through smart transportation, better medical care, contextually aware environments and more). We need to couple smart sensors’ development with AI to further enhance our experiences with the people, places and things in our lives.

About the author

With almost 20 years’ experience in MEMS, sensors and photonics applications, markets, and technology analyses, Dr. Eric Mounier provides in-depth industry insight into current and future trends. As a Principal Analyst, Technology & Markets, MEMS & Photonics, in the Photonics, Sensing & Display Division, he contributes daily to the development of MEMS and photonics activities at Yole Développement (Yole). He is involved with a large collection of market and technology reports, as well as multiple custom consulting projects: business strategy, identification of investment or acquisition targets, due diligence (buy/sell side), market and technology analyses, cost modeling, and technology scouting, etc.

Previously, Mounier held R&D and marketing positions at CEA Leti (France). He has spoken in numerous international conferences and has authored or co-authored more than 100 papers. Mounier has a Semiconductor Engineering Degree and a PhD in Optoelectronics from the National Polytechnic Institute of Grenoble (France).

Mounier is a featured speaker at SEMI-MSIG European MEMS & Sensors Summit, September 20, 2018 in Grenoble, France.

Originally published on the SEMI blog.

Products built with microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology are forecast to account for 73% of the $9.3 billion semiconductor sensor market in 2018 and about 47% of the projected 24.1 billion total sensor units to be shipped globally this year, according to IC Insights’ 2018 O-S-D Report—A Market Analysis and Forecast for Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes.  Revenues for MEMS-built sensors—including accelerometers, gyroscope devices, pressure sensors, and microphone chips—are expected to grow 10% in 2018 to $6.8 billion compared to nearly $6.1 billion in 2017, which was a 17% increase from $5.2 billion in 2016, the O-S-D Report says.  Shipments of MEMS-built sensors are forecast to rise about 11% in 2018 to 11.1 billion after growing 19% in 2016.

An additional $5.9 billion in sales is expected to be generated in 2018 by MEMS-built actuators, which use their microelectromechanical systems transducers to translate and initiate action—such as dispensing ink in printers or drugs in hospital patients, reflecting light on tilting micromirrors in digital projectors, or filtering radio-frequency signals by converting RF to acoustic waves across structures on chips.  Total sales of MEMS-built sensors and actuators are projected to grow 10% in 2018 to $12.7 billion after increasing nearly 18% in 2017 and 15% in 2016 (Figure 1).

Figure 1

In terms of unit volume, shipments of MEMS-built sensors and actuators are expected to grow by slightly less than 12% to 13.1 billion units worldwide after climbing 20% in 2017 and rising 11% in 2016.  Total revenues for MEMS-based sensors and actuators are projected to increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2% between 2017 and 2022 to reach $17.8 billion in the final year of the forecast, according to the 2018 O-S-D Report.  Worldwide shipments of these MEMS-built semiconductors are expected to grow by a CAGR of 11.4% in the 2017-2022 period to 20.2 billion units at the end of the forecast.

One of the biggest changes expected in the five-year forecast period will be greater stability in the average selling price for MEMS-built devices and significantly less ASP erosion than in the past 10 years. The ASP for MEMS-built sensors and actuators is projected to drop by a CAGR of -2.0% between 2017 and 2022 compared to a -4.7% annual rate of decline in the 2012-2017 period and the steep CAGR plunge of -13.6% between 2007 and 2012.  The ASP for MEMS-built devices is expected to be $0.88 in 2022 versus $0.97 in 2017, $1.24 in 2012, and $2.57 in 2007, says the 2018 report.

The spread of MEMS-based sensors and actuators into a broader range of new “autonomous and “intelligent” automated applications—such as those connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) and containing artificial intelligence (AI)—will help keep ASPs from falling as much as they did in the last 10 years.  IC Insights believes many MEMS-based semiconductors are becoming more specialized for certain applications, which will help insulate them from pricing pressures in the market.

The 35 must-watch technologies represented on the Gartner Inc. Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2018 revealed five distinct emerging technology trends that will blur the lines between humans and machines. Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), play a critical role in enabling companies to be ubiquitous, always available, and connected to business ecosystems to survive in the near future.

“Business and technology leaders will continue to face rapidly accelerating technology innovation that will profoundly impact the way they engage with their workforce, collaborate with their partners, and create products and services for their customers,” said Mike J. Walker, research vice president at Gartner. “CIOs and technology leaders should always be scanning the market along with assessing and piloting emerging technologies to identify new business opportunities with high impact potential and strategic relevance for their business.”

The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report is the longest-running annual Gartner Hype Cycle, providing a cross-industry perspective on the technologies and trends that business strategists, chief innovation officers, R&D leaders, entrepreneurs, global market developers and emerging-technology teams should consider in developing emerging-technology portfolios.

The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies is unique among most Gartner Hype Cycles because it garners insights from more than 2,000 technologies into a succinct set of 35 emerging technologies and trends. This Hype Cycle specifically focuses on the set of technologies that is showing promise in delivering a high degree of competitive advantage over the next five to 10 years (see Figure 1).

Source: Gartner (August 2018)

Five Emerging Technology Trends

Democratized AI

AI technologies will be virtually everywhere over the next 10 years. While these technologies enable early adopters to adapt to new situations and solve problems that have not been encountered previously, these technologies will become available to the masses — democratized. Movements and trends like cloud computing, the “maker” community and open source will eventually propel AI into everyone’s hands.

This trend is enabled by the following technologies: AI Platform as a Service (PaaS), Artificial General Intelligence, Autonomous Driving (Levels 4 and 5), Autonomous Mobile Robots, Conversational AI Platform, Deep Neural Nets, Flying Autonomous Vehicles, Smart Robots, and Virtual Assistants.

“Technologies representing democratized AI populate three out of five sections on the Hype Cycle, and some of them, such as deep neural nets and virtual assistants, will reach mainstream adoption in the next two to five years,” said Mr. Walker. “Other emerging technologies of that category, such as smart robots or AI PaaS, are also moving rapidly through the Hype Cycle approaching the peak and will soon have crossed it.”

Digitalized Ecosystems

Emerging technologies require revolutionizing the enabling foundations that provide the volume of data needed, advanced compute power and ubiquity-enabling ecosystems. The shift from compartmentalized technical infrastructure to ecosystem-enabling platforms is laying the foundations for entirely new business models that are forming the bridge between humans and technology.

This trend is enabled by the following technologies: Blockchain, Blockchain for Data Security, Digital Twin, IoT Platform and Knowledge Graphs.

“Digitalized ecosystem technologies are making their way to the Hype Cycle fast,” said Walker. “Blockchain and IoT platforms have crossed the peak by now, and we believe that they will reach maturity in the next five to 10 years, with digital twins and knowledge graphs on their heels.”

Do-It-Yourself Biohacking

Over the next decade, humanity will begin its “transhuman” era: Biology can then be hacked, depending on lifestyle, interests and health needs. Biohacking falls into four categories: technology augmentation, nutrigenomics, experimental biology and grinder biohacking. However, questions remain about how far society is prepared to accept these kinds of applications and what ethical issues they create.

This trend is enabled by the following technologies: Biochips, Biotech — Cultured or Artificial Tissue, Brain-Computer Interface, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality and Smart Fabrics.

Emerging technologies in do-it-yourself biohacking are moving rapidly through the Hype Cycle. Mixed reality is making its way to the Trough of Disillusionment, and augmented reality almost reached the bottom. Those pioneers will be followed by biochips, which have just reached the peak and will have moved on to the plateau in five to 10 years.

Transparently Immersive Experiences

Technology will continue to become more human-centric to the point where it will introduce transparency between people, businesses and things. These technologies extend and enable smarter living, work, and other spaces we encounter.

This trend is enabled by the following technologies: 4D Printing, Connected Home, Edge AI, Self-Healing System Technology, Silicon Anode Batteries, Smart Dust, Smart Workspace and Volumetric Displays.

“Emerging technologies representing transparently immersive experiences are mostly on their way to the peak or — in the case of silicon anode batteries — just crossed it,” said Mr. Walker. “The smart workspace has moved along quite a bit and is about to peak in the near future.”

Ubiquitous Infrastructure

Infrastructure is no longer in the way of obtaining an organization’s goals. The advent and mass popularity of cloud computing and its many variations have enabled an always-on, available and limitless infrastructure compute environment.

This trend is enabled by the following technologies: 5G, Carbon Nanotube, Deep Neural Network ASICs, Neuromorphic Hardware and Quantum Computing.

Technologies supporting ubiquitous infrastructure are on track to reach the peak and move fast along the Hype Cycle. 5G and deep neural network ASICs, in particular, are expected to reach the plateau in the next two to five years.

Gartner clients can read more in the report “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2018.” This research is part of the Gartner Trend Insight Report, “2018 Hype Cycles: Riding the Innovation Wave”. With profiles of technologies, services and disciplines spanning over 100 Hype Cycles, this Trend Insight Report is designed to help CIOs and IT leaders respond to the opportunities and threats affecting their businesses, take the lead in technology-enabled business innovations and help their organizations define an effective digital business strategy.

Additional analysis on emerging technologies will be presented during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, the world’s most important gathering of CIOs and other senior IT executives. IT executives rely on these events to gain insight into how their organizations can use IT to overcome business challenges and improve operational efficiency. Follow news and updates from the events on Twitter using #GartnerSYM.

Upcoming dates and locations for Gartner Symposium/ITxpo include:

17-20 September 2018: Cape Town, South Africa

14-18 October 2018: Orlando, Florida

22-25 October 2018: Sao Paulo, Brazil

29 October-1 November 2018: Gold Coast, Australia

4-8 November 2018: Barcelona, Spain

12-14 November 2018: Tokyo, Japan

13-16 November 2018: Goa, India

4-6 March 2019: Dubai, UAE

3-6 June 2019: Toronto, Canada

Murata, a manufacturer of electronic components, is significantly increasing global production capacity, including most recently its factory located in Finland. After having recently purchased the previously leased buildings, the company will construct a new building of approximately 16,000 square meters. The new facility is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019.

The total value of the investment is five billion yen and is underpinned by the growing worldwide demand for MEMS sensors used in the automotive industry and various health and industrial applications.

“The market for advanced driver-assistance systems, self-directed cars, healthcare, and other emerging technologies are expected to be significant growth drivers. MEMS sensors are critical solutions for these applications and deliver proven measurement accuracy and stability in a variety of conditions,” said Yuichiro Hayata, Managing Director for Murata Electronics Oy.

“With the construction of this new production building, we will significantly increase our MEMS sensors production capacity. Moreover, by responding to the strong demand of gyro sensors, accelerometers, and combo sensors in the automotive, industry and healthcare fields, this will strengthen our business base in the automotive market, industrial equipment and medical devices market, while contributing to the economy and employment of Finland,” stated Makoto Kawashima, Director of Sensor Product Division in Murata Manufacturing.

Developing operations with long-term perspective

With the factory expansion in Finland, Murata will strengthen both R&D and manufacturing operations with a long-term perspective for increasing utilization of this facility. The company currently employs 1,000 people in Finland and estimates to create 150–200 new jobs in 2018–2019.

Murata acquired the Finnish company VTI Technologies – today known as Murata Electronics Oy – in 2012. It is the only factory of Murata which manufactures MEMS sensors outside of Japan, and has experienced tremendous growth over the last 10 years. This site in Finland also hosts R&D space and one of the biggest clean room facilities in the country.

Murata Electronics Oy

Murata Electronics Oy is part of the Japanese Murata Group. The company is located in Vantaa and specializes in the development and manufacture of 3D MEMS (micro electro mechanical systems) sensors mainly for safety critical applications in automotive, as well as in healthcare and industrial applications. The company employs 1000 people in Finland.

The Trump administration’s consideration of tariffs on Chinese printed circuit assemblies and connected devices would cost the economy $520.8 million and $2.4 billion annually for the 10 percent and 25 percent tariffs, respectively, according to a new study commissioned by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

“With the economy thriving under President Trump – we’ve seen remarkably low unemployment and a booming stock market – the administration shouldn’t jeopardize America’s global standing with tariffs,” said Gary Shapiro, CEO and president, CTA. “Foreign governments don’t pay the cost of tariffs, Americans do – and for that reason, U.S. trade policy needs to steer clear of tariffs that act like taxes on American manufacturers and consumers. The danger we face – the unintended consequence – is that tariffs mean Americans will pay more for all the devices they use every day to access the internet.”

The economic impact study shows American shoppers will have to pay between $1.6 billion and $3.2 billion more for connected devices such as gateways, modems, routers, smart speakers, smartwatches and other Bluetooth enabled products. The price of connected devices from China will increase by between 8.5 and 22 percent. And prices for these products from all sources will rise between 3.2 and 6.2 percent.

Similarly, the price of printed circuit assemblies from China –– will increase by between nine and 23 percent, while an alternative supply from U.S. manufacturers will cost two to three percent higher. As a result of higher input costs, totaling an additional $900 million to $1.8 billion, American manufacturers of products that contain printed circuit assemblies will purchase between six and 12 percent less from suppliers overall.

“When our government begins to charge its own companies and people with more taxes in the form of tariffs, we have put in jeopardy not just the American Dream of many small and mid-size businesses, but you put in jeopardy the people that work for them too,” said Win Cramer, CEO, JLab Audio, a California based company and CTA member. “These people support a growing economy, support a growing business and, most importantly, pay taxes. Pre-tariffs, JLab Audio was planning to scale up with new hires and programs to push our company’s growth to another level, but now we’ve put all of that on hold as we need to see how everything shakes out.”

Based on CTA’s most recent U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts report, if the administration enacts tariffs of 10 and 25 percent, CTA projects 2019 U.S. unit shipments of connected devices such as fitness trackers, smartwatches, wireless headphones, modems/broadband gateways, wireless earbuds and smart speakers would decline by as much as 12 percent. Also, U.S. shipment revenues for these devices would decrease by as much as 6.5 percent in 2019.

Leti, a research institute at CEA Tech, and CMP, a service organization that provides prototyping and low-volume production of ICs and MEMS, today announced the integrated-circuit industry’s first multi-project-wafer (MPW) process for fabricating emerging non-volatile memory OxRAM devices on a 200mm foundry base-wafer platform.

Available on Leti’s 200mm CMOS line, the MPW service provides a comprehensive, very low-cost way to explore techniques designed to achieve miniaturized, high-density components. Including Leti’s Memory Advanced Demonstrator (MAD) future mask set with disruptive OxRAM (oxide-based resistive RAM) technology, Leti’s integrated silicon memory platform is developed for backend memories and non-volatility associated with embedded designs. The new technology platform will be based on HfO2/Ti (titanium-doped hafnium oxide) active layers.

Emerging OxRAM non-volatile memory is one of the promising technologies to be implemented for classical embedded memory applications on advanced nodes like micro-controllers or secure products, as well as for AI accelerators and neuromorphic computing.

Leti’s MAD platform is dedicated to advanced non-volatile memories, bringing both versatility and robustness for material and interface assessment, and allowing in-depth exploration of memory performance from technology and design perspectives.

The full platform’s highlights:

  • 200mm STMicroelectronics HCMOS9A base wafers in 130nm node
  • All routing is made on ST base wafers from M1 to M4 (included)
  • Leti’s OxRAM memory module is fabricated on top
  • One level of interconnect (i.e. M5) plus pads are fabricated in Leti’s cleanroom.

“Leti has developed during the past 20 years deep expertise in non-volatile memory (NVM) devices covering flash evolutive solutions and disruptive technologies,” said Etienne Nowak, head of the Leti’s Advanced Memory Lab. “This MPW capability, combined with our Memory Advanced Demonstrator platform, is based on a broad tool box that enables customized research with our partners, and provides a benchmark between different NVM solutions.”

The MPW service with integrated silicon OxRAM addresses all the key steps of advanced memory development. These include material engineering and analysis, developing critical memory modules, evaluation of memory cells coupled with electrical tests, modeling and innovative design techniques to comply with circuit design opportunities and constraints. This technology offer comes with a design kit, including layout, verification and simulation capabilities. Libraries are provided with a comprehensive list of active and passive electro-optical components. The design kit environment is compatible with all offers through CMP.

Providing access to a non-volatile memory process from Leti is a major achievement in development work at CMP. Since 2003, the organization has participated in national and European projects for developing access to NVM technologies (Mag-SPICE, Calomag, Cilomag, Spin, and Dipmem). With this new offer in place, the CMP users’ community can have the benefits and advantages of using this process through this close collaboration between CMP and Leti.

“CMP has a long experience providing smaller organizations with access to advanced manufacturing technologies, and there is very strong interest in the CMP community in designing and prototyping ICs using this process,” said Jean-Christophe Crébier, director of CMP. “It is an opportunity for many universities, start-ups and SMEs in France, Europe,North America and Asia to take advantage of this new technology and MPW service.”

Billions of objects ranging from smartphones and watches to buildings, machine parts and medical devices have become wireless sensors of their environments, expanding a network called the “internet of things.”

As society moves toward connecting all objects to the internet – even furniture and office supplies – the technology that enables these objects to communicate and sense each other will need to scale up.

Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Virginia have developed a new fabrication method that makes tiny, thin-film electronic circuits peelable from a surface. The technique not only eliminates several manufacturing steps and the associated costs, but also allows any object to sense its environment or be controlled through the application of a high-tech sticker.

Eventually, these stickers could also facilitate wireless communication. The researchers demonstrate capabilities on various objects in a paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A YouTube video is available at https://youtu.be/8tNrPVi4OGg.

“We could customize a sensor, stick it onto a drone, and send the drone to dangerous areas to detect gas leaks, for example,” said Chi Hwan Lee, Purdue assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering.

Most of today’s electronic circuits are individually built on their own silicon “wafer,” a flat and rigid substrate. The silicon wafer can then withstand the high temperatures and chemical etching that are used to remove the circuits from the wafer.

But high temperatures and etching damage the silicon wafer, forcing the manufacturing process to accommodate an entirely new wafer each time.

Lee’s new fabrication technique, called “transfer printing,” cuts down manufacturing costs by using a single wafer to build a nearly infinite number of thin films holding electronic circuits. Instead of high temperatures and chemicals, the film can peel off at room temperature with the energy-saving help of simply water.

“It’s like the red paint on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge – paint peels because the environment is very wet,” Lee said. “So in our case, submerging the wafer and completed circuit in water significantly reduces the mechanical peeling stress and is environmentally-friendly.”

A ductile metal layer, such as nickel, inserted between the electronic film and the silicon wafer, makes the peeling possible in water. These thin-film electronics can then be trimmed and pasted onto any surface, granting that object electronic features.

Putting one of the stickers on a flower pot, for example, made that flower pot capable of sensing temperature changes that could affect the plant’s growth.

Lee’s lab also demonstrated that the components of electronic integrated circuits work just as well before and after they were made into a thin film peeled from a silicon wafer. The researchers used one film to turn on and off an LED light display.

“We’ve optimized this process so that we can delaminate electronic films from wafers in a defect-free manner,” Lee said.

This technology holds a non-provisional U.S. patent. The work was supported by the Purdue Research Foundation, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL-S-114-054-002), the National Science Foundation (NSF-CMMI-1728149) and the University of Virginia.