Insights from industry

SEMI’s MEMS Sensors & Industry Group (MSIG) Partnership

In this interview Karen Lightman, Vice President of MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG), talks to AZoSensors about becoming a SEMI Strategic Association Partner.

This partnership will allow MSIG to expand and reach many new companies across the world, introducing them to their serivces and opportuntites.

Please give a brief history and introduction about MSIG. Why was MSIG founded?

MEMS Industry Group (MIG) was founded in 2001 by Ken Gabriel (DARPA, Carnegie Mellon Akustica & Draper Labs) and John Seely Brown (Xerox PARC), who saw a need to advance the development of MEMS, which were then in early stages of development for a variety of markets. Founding companies of MIG (Xerox, Honeywell, Corning, and Intel) secured funding from DARPA for technology-building activities and rapidly expanded the membership and impact on the MEMS and sensors supply chain.

In 2015, to better serve the growing segment of sensors created with MEMS devices, MIG added an “S” and became MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG), and membership grew to almost 200 members.

On January 1, 2017 MSIG became a Strategic Association Partner of SEMI, and now provides information, services and opportunities to over 1,900 member companies worldwide.

What is MSIG’s mission? How has it evolved?

MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG), a SEMI Strategic Association Partner, advances MEMS and sensors capabilities, technology, and collaboration across global markets. MSIG advocates for near-term commercialization of MEMS and sensors-based products through a wide range of activities, including conferences, technical working groups and industry advocacy.

As the “go-to” resource for globally linking the MEMS and sensors supply chain to diverse markets, MSIG helps companies in and around the MEMS and sensors industry make meaningful business connections and informed decisions.

Device manufacturers, software providers, consultants, materials and equipment suppliers, foundry partners, market analysts, OEMs, integrators and end-users all engage via the MSIG network to form alliances that will move their businesses forward.

For more information, visit: and follow MSIG on LinkedIn and Twitter (use @MEMSGroup).

MSIG is now a SEMI Strategic Association Partner? What does this mean for the company?

SEMI is a global organization with great depth – in areas that complement MSIG’s strengths. The MSIG alliance with SEMI allows the organization to expand its reach globally through the SEMI global reach and presence in 7 major electronics supply chain manufacturing regions. Collaboration with SEMI’s staff, 160 people in offices around the world, will serve MSIG’s members better in other regions.

As SEMI members, MSIG members now have many additional benefits, including access to expanded industry research, because SEMI develops in-house data programs and reports and partners with other market research firms. They have become part of SEMI’s collective voice and calls to action on important advocacy issues such as export control, Intellectual Property, and Workforce Development because SEMI affects policy and regulatory issues that are critical to a global industry.

MSIG members receive discounted member pricing on SEMI expositions worldwide and on all other SEMI products and services.

MSIG has had early successes in advocating for standardization, and as part of SEMI will continue that work. SEMI has facilitated standardization since 1973 and maintains an International Standards Program with over 900 standards, 5,000 volunteer experts, in 22 global technical committees. With SEMI behind the MEMS and sensors supply chain and MSIG members contributing to much-needed specifications and test methods, we expect greater achievements in standardization.

A core SEMI | MSIG team will drive and oversee the technical and market promotion activities and ensure members see the same great value from the organization. Karen Lightman, former executive director, is now vice president, SEMI | MSIG, and leads the MEMS and sensors strategic direction within SEMI.

Frank Shemansky, a MEMS and sensors industry veteran, joins as chief technology officer and leads roadmapping, standards and technical content that is current and applicable. Heidi Hoffman joins the team, overseeing the marketing and communications activities.

Who are MSIG’s members?

Companies engaging with SEMI | MSIG encompass the entire supply chain, including MEMS and sensors device manufacturers and their customers, and equipment and material suppliers and integrators.

Examples include: Analog Devices, Bosch, Kionix, Knowles, InvenSense, m-Cube, PNI Sensors and STMicroelectronics, Applied Materials, EV Group, SPTS and SUSS.

MSIG also includes fabs such as TSMC, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, X-Fab, IMT, Silex, Tronics and Rogue Valley Microdevices. Smaller segments are consultants such as AMFitzgerald, industry analysts such as IHS Markit and Yole Développement.

MEMS & Sensors Technical Congress will be held on May 10-11 at Stanford University in California. What highlights do you anticipate for this conference?

We are very excited about the content and turnout for this technical industry event. Figuring prominently are the keynote speeches, which provide strategic, big-picture looks into technology developments and their impact. Our keynotes include:

1) Understanding Sensor and MEMS Security from an Economic Standpoint - Scott Borg, Director and Chief Economist, U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit

2) MacroBase: Prioritizing Attention in Fast Data - Peter Bailis, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Stanford University

On Day 1, in addition to several speakers and a panel on “Academic and Commercial Perspective on Capturing Value from MEMS and Sensors,” Stanford University’ SystemX is hosting a tour of their two nanofabs — one of which recently opened, so this is a special treat.

On Day 2, Breakout Sessions will give the attendees a chance to take a closer look and get interactive on some key issues they face daily. Breakout Sessions include:

  1. Technology Transfer for Dummies (How to Get to a Stable High-Yielding Process) In MEMS & sensors manufacturing, the goal of a stable high-yielding process is universal, regardless of volume. Explore how variations in equipment, materials, facilities and environmental conditions are critical to predicting outcomes. What are some of the most successful field-proven ways to meet tech transfer challenges? Breakout Session Leader: Mary Ann Maher, PhD, president and founder, softMEMS.

  1. Back-end Challenges of MEMS and Sensors (Packaging, Testing, & Reliability) How can MEMS and sensors companies solve common issues through standardization and best known methods? Leveraging supply chains, including semiconductor and flexible electronics, could be part of the answer. Breakout Session Leader: Mike Mignardi, manager, Technology Development, Texas Instruments, Inc.

  2. Integration Opportunities (Technological & Business Considerations) The emergence of IoT system solutions and proliferation of connected devices has raised new areas of debate over the system decisions on where intelligence and control should reside in MSIG-centered systems. From the basic decision on where sensor interface and conditioning should reside, to whether control systems belong at the device, edge, or cloud level, all impact cost, performance and power, and are affecting how these systems are viewed and evaluated. In this session, we will look at different vertical applications and debate whether there are system archetypes which are emerging and what the impact is likely to be on the future roadmap and integration paths of MEMS and sensors components.  Breakout Session Leader: Peter Himes, general manager, SITRI Innovations and SITRI Ventures

  3. Emerging MEMS, Sensors, and Systems Incorporating Them
    As the MEMS and sensor industries mature and new technologies continue to emerge, applications and markets incorporating new sensors are rapidly growing. What types of new MEMS and sensors are being developed and challenges associated with the systems incorporating them will be addressed. Breakout Session Leader: Nicole Kerness, Vice President, Sensor Design and Technology, Kionix

  1. Piezoelectric and Other Emerging Materials for MEMS and Sensor Applicationsf
    Bringing piezoelectric MEMS devices to market introduces associated challenges such as deposition process control, supply of source/target materials, metrology, testing and device reliability. How can we work together to identify best practices for the industry? What other new materials may be on the horizon for MEMS and sensors applications? Breakout Session Leader: Dave Horsley, PhD, co-founder, Chirp Microsystems, Inc.

What other events/conferences will MSIG participate in 2017? Will they be a host or a chair of a conference track?

MSIG will participate in the following events:

  • Sensors Expo 2017 (June 27-29, San Jose, CA) –  MSIG is hosting a pre-conference symposium.

  • SEMICON West 2017 (July 11-13, 2017, San Francisco, CA) – MSIG is hosting MEMS & Sensors: New Intelligence & Modalities to Drive New “Smart” Growth

  • European MEMS & Sensors Summit (September 21-22, 2017, Grenoble, France) – MSIG will chair a conference track.

  • MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress 2017 (November 1-2, 2017, Napa, CA) – MSIG will host the event .

  • CES 2018 (January 9-12, 2018, Las Vegas, NV) — MSIG has submitted a full- day conference track with sister SEMI Strategic Association Partner FlexTech Alliance and will be on the show floor with an industry pavilion.

About Karen Lightman

Karen Lightman is Vice President of MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG), a SEMI Strategic Association Partner. As the go-to resource for linking the MEMS and sensors supply chains to diverse, global markets, MSIG advocates for near-term commercialization of MEMS/sensors-based products through a wide range of activities, including conferences, technical working groups and industry advocacy.Karen Lightman

Ms. Lightman played a pivotal role in launching MSIG in 2001 and in shepherding the partnership with SEMI, effective January 2017. She is active on the worldwide conference circuit as a keynote speaker and panelist. Ms. Lightman manages MSIG operations, spearheads strategic growth, and oversees sales, public relations, marketing, and outreach. She also plays a critical role in creating content for all MSIG and MSIG-partner conferences, events, and programming.

Ms. Lightman holds a BA from the University of Vermont and a MS in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University. She resides with her family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.


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