Hmm, integrated breathalyzers ... I wonder how those would work. I suppose offenders would have to wear a mask over their nose so as not to give any clues away. :-)
Integrated breathalyzers would surely be a great addition to cars. However, I guess the government would have to enforce such regulation as some car manufacturers may be reluctant to introduce this technology for fear of impact on their sales.
Nice article. A recent keynote speaker at SWTest conference suggested that 70% of all packaging still uses good ole fashioned wirebonding. These markets are so price sensitive that it's difficult to move away from the entrenched capacity. But it's happening with WLP, etc. Interestingly, the automotive is very reliability focussed. With wafer level test and burn-in becoming commonplace, we are seeing more advanced packaging here too.
Automobile breathalyzer "Ignition interlock devices" (see Wikipedia) are well established technologies. As of 2009, most states have laws permitting the imposition of ignition-interlock devices as sentencing alternatives for drunken drivers.
@DrQuine: yes, breathalyzers have been around for a while now. Many portable ones are dropping in price owing to progress made in MEMS technology. SafeMate by Alcometers is a good example of one that sells for $19.95:
The cost of goods sold (COGS) for a steering integrated one can be 1/4 of the handheld ones and are powered directly by the automobile's electrical system. As you mentioned, these are installed for drivers with a DUI record. But some EU countries are going on a preventive initiative for all drivers!
@resistion: thank you for the comments, part of what you say is accurate. But I think the industry will pursue shrinking to finer features for a while before monolithic takes hold. Stacking in the meanwhile will start to mature once the cost of TSV's comes down. 2.5D via Si interposers seems to be stepping ahead of 3D stacking and may lead for next few years. Both are driven by space limits, interconnect parasitics and limitations of packages for large I/O's.
The observation that MEMS packaging has been leading the 3D heterogenous packaging trends for a while is definitely true. At Silex, we have had 2.5D/3D interposers and TSV based packaging in volume production for 5 years. While costs are definitely higher than wirebond alternatives, for applications requiring minimum footprint it is definitely viable and available today.