Ultra-compact MEMS in a Ubiquitous Network Society
The soon-to-be-realized ubiquitous network society will enable anyone to instantly access desired information at any time, from anywhere. OMRON's MEMS sensors are expected to assume major roles in this upcoming society by serving as highly miniaturized, super-sensitive "sensory organs" that even surpass the sensing abilities of humans. But OMRON is already looking one step further. OMRON's goal with MEMS technology is to make devices so small as to be unnoticeable, enabling innovations such as "wearable" sensors. For example, once it becomes possible to embed a blood pressure sensor into a wristwatch or shirt, we will be able to manage our health 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without even noticing we are wearing the sensor. By wireless transmission of blood pressure data from the sensor to a hospital, it will also become possible to receive appropriate real-time advice from a medical professional.
Another example is a ubiquitous network of many MEMS sensors that can potentially predict earthquakes, a capability that is far beyond the capabilities of human beings. Advancing from the micro-level to the nano-level world, OMRON will continue to produce MEMS breakthroughs, which will hold the key to entering the upcoming ubiquitous network society.
OMRON's foundry service supports mass-production of MEMS.
Mass-production of MEMS is still considered very difficult for several reasons. First, due to the extremely compact size and complicated mechanisms of MEMS, a range of expensive manufacturing equipment is needed. This also makes it difficult to establish a standard set of manufacturing processes.
By drawing on its long experience in MEMS fabrication and its excellent track record, OMRON initiated a foundry service in April 2001. This service covers every process from MEMS development and design to prototyping to mass-production. In 2002, OMRON reached a partnership agreement with Walsin Lihwa Corp, a leading Taiwanese company in the field of MEMS, to satisfy the steadily growing need for MEMS devices.
In a clean room, the main source of dust is...people?!
In MEMS manufacturing, even the slightest amount of dust will cause a fatal error. The major cause of dust, in fact, is people. To prevent dust from being generated from clothing and skin, operators wear dust-proof clothes and gloves and use special dust-free tools and equipment. In addition, all processes are carried out within the clean @room, in which pure dust-free air that has passed through a filter is circulated. The clean room shuts out not only pollens but also larger viruses.