Reshaping the embedded world: Vivek Sharma, ST

July 21, 2010

Vivek Sharma, regional VP, Greater China & South Asia region -- India Operations and Director, India Design Center, STMicroelectronics.

Vivek Sharma, regional VP, Greater China & South Asia region -- India Operations and Director, India Design Center, STMicroelectronics.

It was a pleasure to catch up with Vivek Sharma, regional VP, Greater China & South Asia region — India Operations and Director, India Design Center, STMicroelectronics, on the sidelines of the 4th Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) 2010 in Bangalore. We had a wonderful discussion on the trends that are reshaping today’s embedded world.

Sharma said: “Moore’s Law has governed many new things. In fact, it has ruled the roost. The industry has been able to push up complexity within a chip and also bring down costs.” As an example, during the last two decades, cost and complexity have combined to create the mobile device — which has turned out to be a disruptive application. The world recently added its 5 billionth mobile subscriber in July 2010. There is likely to be a whopping 50 billion connected devices by 2020!

SiP reshaping embedded world

Touching upon ‘more than Moore”, Sharma added that shrinking will keep on happening. System-in-package is a reality today and is reshaping the embedded world. It can allow more shrinking in size and push down costs.

Borrowing from wikipedia, for those interested, a system-in-a-package or system in package (SiP), also known as a chip stack MCM, is a number of ICs enclosed in a single package or module, and performs all or most of the functions of an electronic system.

3D heterogenous integration and  TSV

3D heterogenous integration and  through-silicon via (TSV) is another trend reshaping the industry. 3D packaging with 3D TSV interconnects provides another path toward “More than Moore”, with relatively smaller capital investments.
3D-ICs stack multiple chips together and interconnect them using through-silicon via (TSV) structures, thereby providing much more functions in a smaller footprint.

MEMS key segment
MEMS is yet another sector which is reshaping the industry. Sensors play a major role in our lives. “If we can develop good sensors, they can change our lives,” said Sharma.

“Accelerometers and gyroscopes are two key segments with substantial growth. MEMS takes advantage of the electrical and mechanical properties of the silicon.’ Sharma added that all MEMS gyroscopes take advantage of Coriolis effect. In 2009, ST introduced over 30 multi-axis gyroscopes.

For the statistically inclined, earlier this year, Dr. Robert Castellano of the Information Network said in their report 3-D TSV: Insight On Critical Issues And Market Analysis, that while the overall equipment market will grow at a CAGR of nearly 60 percent between 2008-2013, the metrology/inspection sector is expected to grow nearly 80 percent. On the device side, TSVs for MEMS is expected to grow nearly 100 percent in this time frame.

Power of smart integration
According to Sharma, smart sensors will provide the new, high growth opportunity, especially, a combination of MEMS+RF+micro. “The future is with smart systens,” he stressed.

He touched upon ST’s iNEMO family. It represents ST’s first inertial measurement unit devices with 10 degrees of freedom (DOF), offering combinations of 3-axis sensing of linear, angular and magnetic motion with temperature and barometer/altitude readings combined with a 32-bit processing unit and a dedicated software in a single package.

The modules contain a memory card socket for data logging and dedicated connectors for wired/wireless connectivity, including USB, ZigBee or GPS. “You can get a high quality, low cost and higher package density,” he added.

Some applications of smart systems are:

* Smart systems in healthcare — examples being MEMS based insulin pumps for diabetes, flexible eye lens for glaucoma, etc.
* Smart systems in energy — examples being hybrid electric traction, PV panel converters, snart grid, thin film flexible batteries, etc.
* Smart systems in automation.
* Smart systems in automotive.
* Smart systems in consumers.
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  1. Hillol Sarkar
    July 22, 2010 at 2:47 am

    Excellent summary!

    Key points:

    M2M Connectivity will optimize time space and frequency domain

    It is possible to enhance Medical Science such as bio-robotics and critical data required for DNA signaling. Advanced sensors are required. Ref: PI3K

  2. July 22, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Thanks a lot, Hillol Sir! 🙂 Try my best!

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