In this Forbes article, Markus Lutz, CTO and Founder of SiTime Corporation reports on how the semiconductor industry is changing and how silicon MEMS are the future.
Semiconductors are everywhere. In the past half-century, the semiconductor industry has grown into a global powerhouse and exceeds $400 billion annually. Along the way, semiconductors have transformed industries — photography film, magnetic storage, incandescent lighting and mechanical sensors — because they offer dramatic new functionality. Think about how you share photos or how you control home lighting today versus two decades ago. Even at the device level, semiconductors bring enhanced functionality and performance while simultaneously reducing power, size and design complexity. All these factors have led to the industry's broad success.
There's an arm of the semiconductor industry, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), which are siliconizing sensing components such as gyroscopes, accelerometers and pressure sensors. The MEMS industry has been instrumental in bringing such specialized technology to the masses. Previously, gyroscopes were used only in specific technical equipment, such as navigation systems and virtual horizon displays in aircraft. Today, a smartphone includes a gyroscope and MEMS inertial sensors such as accelerometers. These enable dramatic new functionality, such as new functions for gaming, video stabilization, navigation and enhanced in-out features.