World of Sensors

Everyday, and in so many ways, we circulate in a world of sensors. We do so mainly without knowing it. MEMS, sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) are terms largely unfamiliar to us. Yet, singularly and collectively, individually and commercially, the technology behind these market sectors exists in a multi-billion-dollar landscape of everyday applications and uses, such as smartphones, tablets, cars and gaming. And that’s just the start of it.

Panorama Synergy’s best-in-class technologies span the rapidly growing MEMS, sensor and IoT markets. Our valuable technologies have been developed to deliver real-time information that enables quick, accurate decisions to be made in the field through devices that are mobile, robust, sensitive and accurate, as well as cost-effective. Equally important, the technologies operate with a small footprint, requiring minimal physical space and low power.

More exciting is the rapid pace at which this world of sensors grows and their future potential use in major market sectors.
Here is just a few:

  • building and home automation
  • food and agriculture
  • defence
  • industrial processes
  • networked connectivity via the internet.

Why MEMS sensors matter

Every MEMS sensor needs some form of readout and data-capturing ability.

With our technologies’ ability to sense multiple substances and elements at the same time, future generations of smartphones, for example, will contain a greater number of MEMS sensors per handset, with applications for meteorology, even bio-MEMS, enabling early detection of conditions that could revolutionise the medical diagnostic industry. Add to this the ability to turn that same mobile device into a micro spectrometer and you then have a mobile device, low power and portable, that can help the person looking for fresh food at the grocery store, or the doctor making a quick medical diagnosis in the emergency ward at a hospital, or perhaps even the wine connoisseur, to establish the credibility of the recently purchased bottle.

MEMS sensors can be used in every possible sensing scenario. Notable examples of their uses are in sensing temperature, pressure, inertial forces, and chemicals – all of which have proved more versatile on a micro rather than larger scale.

MEMS actuators also have a vast array of functions, including micro valves for gas and liquid flow, optical switches, or mirrors used to reflect light in circuits and speaker technology.

Sensors and actuators are by and large the two main categories for MEMS, but the technology is not strictly confined to these two applications. As major technological advances occur, the MEMS universe will expand and with it a wider need for MEMS applications.

Currently the main usage for MEMS is in smartphones and tablets, with the integration of gyroscopes, accelerometers, microphones and optical zoom MEMS. Current generation smartphones have an estimated 15-plus MEMS each. Future generations of smartphones could have a greater number of MEMS devices, including auxiliary functioning MEMS such as humidity and pressure sensors, even bio-MEMS, which could revolutionise the medical diagnostic industry with early detection capabilities.

Perhaps the most promising development for MEMS will be the enhanced connectivity of all ‘things’ to the Internet of Things (IoT) market. In the exciting world of IoT all our machines could become connected objects and a hub for capturing data to monitor everything from our home’s climate control to what we need to stock the fridge.

The producers, suppliers and users that make up the MEMS world are global conglomerates, with major users being Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony and Hewlett Packard.

The current US$16 billion1 MEMS market is forecast to grow at the rate of 11% CAGR2 to US$32 billion in 20241.

1 HIS Inc, Yole Development, EE Times 2 Compound Annual Growth Rate