IMMD: Imagers, Mems, Medical, and Display
Recent advances in design, technology, system integration, packaging of sensors together, and increased product volumes, have dramatically reduced the cost of sensors. Cell phones, game consoles, and other consumer products, now integrate multiple sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscopes in a single package, and have spurred-on significant innovation at the application level. The use of multiple sensors, their downscaling in size, and the ever higher levels of integration available, will lead to further growth in the sensor market. Single-packaged multiple-axis accelerometers and gyroscopes have been announced by several companies, including STmicroelectronics, Bosch, and Invensense. 3-axis accelerometers and 3-axis magnetic field sensors are now becoming available.
Silicon MEMS resonators and oscillators are replacing quartz-based solutions. The market uptake for MEMS is growing exponentially.
Ongoing trends for LCDs include the drive towards larger, thinner, lower-power, and better quality displays. Structured LED backlights have provided benefits in all of these dimensions. In this technique, solid-state circuits are enabling LED backlight drivers to significantly increase the rate at which LED backlights can operate, and allow extended dynamic range by locally varying brightness. In particular, fast-moving sequences look better on screens that operate at higher frame rates.
Chip-on-Glass (CoG) interfaces are becoming a common choice for high-speed interfaces in notebook applications. In addition, touch and 3D functionality are making their way into notebook PC’s and LCD monitors. Small-sized display-driver ICs are seeing increased levels of integration, with the following features becoming commonplace: user-adjustable image enhancements, touch-sensor readouts and handlings, 3D-driving control signals, and temperature-sensor integration to minimize power consumption.
There is an increased focus on neural applications. There is a huge amount of R&D activities in the field of bio-potential sensors capable of measuring neural activity. Neural techniques continue to propagate into more therapeutic applications. Clinical trials are ongoing for early diagnosis of depression. Chemical sensing is gaining ground in a neurological clinical setting. A pilot study has been completed on monitoring acute activity in the brain.