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Cloud Simulation – A Game Changer for MEMS Engineers

By Valerio Marra 16 July 2019

Sensors are all around us. There are a dozen or so in your smartphone, and dozens more in your laptop, tablet, TV remote control and drone. There are perhaps hundreds in your car,  thousands on commercial aircraft and reusable rockets, that will one day take us to the moon, mars, and beyond…

Sensors are becoming more prolific in IoT and Industrial IoT devices. They help robots to make better products in automated assembly link, they help farmers achieve better crop yields, and they help fishermen locate healthy stocks of fish and seafood and avoid unsustainable fishing practices.

Sensors literally make life on earth work.

Why is Cloud Simulation a Game Changer for MEMs Engineers?

MEMS R&D has largely been a physical trial and error process. While simulation has always played a role, most “Real MEMS Engineers” relied on frequent tapeouts, short loops, pizza masks, and other means of rapid physical prototyping to find viable designs. 

More recently, simulation technology, and especially Cloud Simulation (using supercomputers in the Cloud to simulate MEMS sensors) has caught up or perhaps even surpassed the efficacy of physical prototyping. Leading-edge MEMS companies in Silicon Valley now simulate millions of potential sensor design permutations to find optimums and establish R&D directions, reducing physical prototyping in many cases to one or two prototyping runs to get a new MEMS sensor to market. 

Cloud Simulation Examples for MEMS

Digital Prototyping – Explore massive designs spaces and optimize novel designs

Generate ground-breaking IP and stay ahead of the competition

Digital Qualification – Study packaging & assembly impacts on performance
cloud simulation

Ensure Reliability and Quality across JEDEC env. conditions

Digital Foundry – Improve flows with digital twins of wafers, processes & devices

Maximize yield and minimize downtime of new process flows

A Sensors enabled future

As sensors become less expensive, there will be many use cases for disposable sensors. A great example is a temperature sensor on a perishable product like milk, wine, or insulin. Such a sensor could track whether the product has been exposed to dangerously high temperatures, saving spoilage and possibly even saving lives. 

Other low power sensors attached to long range RF communication links will closely monitor things like temperature, humidity, and soil content for agriculture use cases to improve farm yields. 

Inexpensive sensor networks will soon monitor forests for wildfire conditions and better direct fire resources. Sensors dropped from high-altitude, long-endurance drones over hurricanes will allow meteorologists to better predict landfall location and timing, saving millions of dollars in evacuation costs. They will detect water content in soil to predict and warn of mudslides. In short, sensors will one day end the loss of life and property from natural disasters around the world. 

How OnScale is helping to reduce risk, cost and time-to-market

OnScale reduces risk, cost, and time-to-market for MEMS companies by enabling much more accurate simulations of MEMS devices before they are prototyped. OnScale frequently works with major MEMS companies on strategies to use Cloud Simulation to offset millions of dollars of sensor design, prototyping, packaging and assembly, testing and qualification, compensation and calibration algorithm development, and mass production ramp-up costs. 

Check out our CEO and Founder, Ian Campbells Presentation from the Sensors Expo and Conference 2019!