Why are some MEMS devices successful while others are not?

Beyond its gloom, the MEMS industry is showing numerous emerging devices that hold promise for future growth. These innovative MEMS solutions were listed by the MEMS & Sensors team of Yole Développement (Yole) in the Status of the MEMS Industry 2016 report (Yole Développement, May 2016).

Today, more than 100 businesses, startups and large companies are involved in exciting developments using MEMS technology. The MEMS approach can be defined as a transfer function: It lowers cost and improves integration and performance.

“MEMS can be seen as a ‘transfer function’ using semiconductor and micromachining technologies to create devices replacing devices that are more complex, bulky or less sensitive,” explains Dr. Eric Mounier, Sr. Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. Yole has identified at least 5 criteria that determine the success of a MEMS device. They are: size reduction, potential cost reduction, “good enough” specifications, batch manufacturing compared to existing solutions, and reliability.

At least 10 to 15 years of development are required to achieve all the successful criteria.
“Based on this segmentation, and out of all the MEMS devices in development that could undergo significant growth in the future, we foresee ultrasonic and gas sensors as well as microspeaker as the next success for the MEMS industry,” details Dr. Mounier.
As Yole’s market forecast announces, the gas sensor market is showing a 7.3% CAGR for the 2014–2021 period. The market should reach US$920 million in 2021. Moreover Yole’s analysts highlight a potential upside market of almost US$65 million in 2021. This positive scenario might be possible if gas sensors are widely adopted in consumer products, analysts say (Source: Gas Sensor Technology & Market report, Yole Développement, February 2016).

Microspeakers could be part of the success story as well. Indeed a big transition is happening now: for the first time, silicon speakers are ready for volume production, enabling the creation of a brand-new multibillion-dollar market for MEMS manufacturers. Last month, Yole’s analysts had an interesting interview with USound, an Austrian company founded three years ago by several veterans of the MEMS industry. “…Prototypes of the first balanced-armature replacement and the first micro-tweeter are currently being sampled to selected customers,” USound asserted. “Pre-production will start at the end of the summer, along with internal qualification. The technology is ready for adoption and will revolutionize the personal-audio market, similar to what happened with the MEMS microphone.” USound intends to evolve into an audio-system developer, offering complete solutions ranging from hardware to firmware, in order to simplify technology adoption and help our customers achieve optimum product performance. To read the full interview, click USound.

For the next few months, Yole will pursue its investigation into the MEMS world. Numerous technology and market reports will be released, and Yole’s MEMS & Sensors team will attend many key conferences to present its vision of the industry.
For example, in mid-September Yole will be part of two major events in Asia: MEMS & Sensors Conference Asia and Sensor Expo & Conference – China. At both conferences, Yole will present attendees with the status of the industry and its new virtuous cycle. Yole’s Speaker, Claire Troadec, MEMS & Semiconductor Manufacturing Analyst, will focus her presentation on the Chinese MEMS industry, which is steadily transforming from “Made in China” to “Created in China.” Claire will also review the Chinese MEMS players and the new virtuous cycle the MEMS industry. To read the full program and register, visit:

All MEMS & sensors reports from Yole are detailed on, MEMS & Sensors reports section.