Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) market in your future?

March 14, 2014
MEMS technology has grown from a niche application industry to a US$12B industry in a little over the decade – largely driven by the consumer market however work on multiple fronts will bring this technology into the controls and automation realm in a significant way.

Largely driven by the sensors incorporated in smart phones, the MEMS market has grown from next to nothing in 2000 when the PlayStation incorporated MEMS into the controllers, to approximately USD12 billion in 2012 and is estimated to reach USD 19.5 billion by 2016. The MEMS Industry Group http://www.memsindustrygroup.org at their November 2013 meeting released a market study (http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1320035) that estimated continued growth to USD 22 billion by 2018. The double digit CAGR (compound annual growth rate) market acceleration will continue to drive prices further down from a 2006 price per unit of approximately USD7.00 to USD 0.60 today.

Though MEMS are used for a large number of sensing modalities, including temperature, pressure, inertia, chemical, magnetic fields, radiation the fastest developing MEMS categories include pressure sensors, gyroscopes, and gas sensors for everything from breath analysis to air pollution.

An example of MEMS low-power nano gas sensors are small enough and of such low power that they can be sewn into clothing to be worn by soldiers in the field or by the elderly at home. Increasingly sensors similar to these are being placed along pipelines, around factory perimeters and in workspaces where they help increase safety and enable early warning systems.

As can be expected, to enable the connection of these devices into systems standards are required. The IEC TC47, SC47F Micro-electromechanical systems committee prepares the International Standards related to development reliable MEMS sensors.

As a member of several IEC standards committee I receive the February IEC newsletter with the following article http://www.iec.ch/etech/2014/etech_0114/tech-5.htm as the basis for the above. If you would like to be kept ‘up to date’ on developments in the MEMS market, you can subscribe to the daily news digest MEMS Express™ at http://www.memsnet.org for a daily update of the latest happenings in MEMS and Nanotech industry news.

I certainly believe that MEMS will have a HUGE impact on the field sensor and consequently the way we can control our facilities. What new applications do you think will be made possible by MEMS by the end of the decade?

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