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Omron pushes MEMS into new markets

Posted: 15 Nov 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MEMS? chips? mobile consumer devices? green energy?

Omron Corp. is betting on the mobile consumer devices and green energy markets. The MEMS maker is pushing out of its established medical and industrial markets and repurposing its pressure sensors, radio-frequency switches and thermal infrared sensing arrays for the new markets. The company hopes to gain design wins in smart phones, navigation and building automation.

Omron's pressure sensors have been used in blood pressure monitors to industrial applications in process control. Now, simply by sealing the backside of its piezo-resistive pressure sensor with a silicon-to-silicon bonding technique, the company has turned it into a sensor for absolute pressures that can be used in smart phones and other navigation devices that can detect what floor you are on in a building.

The company is also repurposing its RF switch MEMS fab in Yasu, Japan for the mobile phone market. The fab's tiny single-pole, double throw MEMS relays can now handle signals from DC all the way up to 3GHz, enabling applications such as switching in and out antenna filters for different bands.

In terms of its MEMS thermal sensors, the company is developing an array of eight side-by-side proximity detectors that can determine whether occupants are present in a room regardless of whether they are moving or not, allowing building automation systems to switch off heating, ventilation and air-conditioning to unoccupied rooms.

- R. Colin Johnson
EE Times

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