PORTLAND, Ore. — New micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) chips debuted at the MEMS Executive Congress (MEC) held November 7-9 in Napa, Calif.
Bosch, for instance, released two new MEMS chips that marked the company's leveraging its expertise in consumer electronics for the connected Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Historically, Bosch's first MEMS expertise was in high-precision automotive MEMS chips such as airbag triggers. However, with the founding of Bosch Sensotec in 2005, the company began moving into the consumer market. As a result, Bosch has become one of the leading consumer MEMS suppliers, running neck-and-neck with consumer MEMS giant ST Microelectronics.
Now in 2013 Bosch is on the move again, this time setting its sights on leveraging its expertise in consumer for the emerging IoT market, including all manner of connected devices, from wearables to the connected car.
At the MEMS Executive Congress Bosch was showing two new chips exemplifying this trend. The first is a new inertial measurement unit (IMU) for non-safety automotive applications. By incorporating the inexpensive MEMS technologies used in its consumer chips, its new SMI130 IMU targets in-cabin applications in automobiles that do not demand the precision or expense of its automotive-grade accelerometers and gyroscopes.
"We are bringing what we learned in consumer business back into the automotive business," said senior vice president, Jan Peter Stadler at the MEMS Executive Congress in Napa, Calif.
The SM130 houses a 16-bit three-axis gyroscope and a 12-bit three-axis accelerometer in the same 3-by-4.5 millimeter package. The IMU is fully certified under the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC) Q100 stress test qualification for integrated circuits, but is designed for non-safety applications including image stabilization of on-windshield head-up displays, in-cabin navigation systems, and telematic motion-control applications.
The second chip Bosch debuted at the MEMS Executive Congress is the key enabler for what Jérémie Bouchaud, director and senior principal analyst for MEMS and sensors at IHS Inc., called the next killer application for MEMS -- thermal imaging.
Bosch's far infrared sensor array (SMO130) takes thermal images with a focal plane array (center) that is suspended over a cavity for thermal isolation.
Bosch's far infrared sensor array (SMO130) allows thermal images to be made with its 82-by-62 pixel focal plane array (FPA). Enabled by suspended silicon thermo-diodes, with a cavity underneath for thermal isolation, this low-cost infrared sensor array has a thermal resolution of 200 milli-Kelvin and has a frame rate of nine frames-per-second.
"Our thermo-diodes are suspended on a MEMs membrane using the same technology we use for our pressure sensors," said Stadler.
Besides thermography applications, such as building inspection, process control, service, and maintenance, the SMO130 will also be used for its night-vision and flame-detection capabilities in security and as well as for "people counters" in surveillance applications and for climate and heat monitoring in building automation applications.