Transforming Optical Scanning through MEMS for ADAS, Autonomous Navigation, VR/AR/MR

The optical scanner is at the heart of the perception systems we’re increasingly using in cars, in drones, and in virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR)/mixed-reality (MR) headsets. In automotive, we may see a combination of cameras, LiDAR and radar used in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), such as automatic braking, lane-departure warnings, and collision avoidance. That’s typically the case for autonomous navigation in cars and drones as well. The optical systems in VR/AR/MR headsets feature a display—such as an OLED or LED, and cameras; and one day soon LiDAR may augment or replace those cameras. Whatever their underlying scanning technology, perception systems require micro-optical components that are accurate, reliable, affordable and available in mass-production volumes.

With so many different types of micro-optical components available for perception systems, how can designers choose the best components for their specific applications? As with any important engineering decision, you have to balance what’s most important to your customer.

Chances are, you’re looking for a compelling set of features at an affordable price point.

If you’re designing perception systems for ADAS, autonomous navigation or AR/VR/MR, it’s time to start looking at the next generation of LiDAR sensor. Because the LiDAR of old—fragile, large, expensive, susceptible to environmental conditions, and difficult to maintain—is a thing of the past. Leveraging a new topology for MEMS, Omnitron Sensors is introducing a small, low-cost, rugged and reliable step-scanning sensor for LiDAR. Omnitron’s MEMS step-scanning sensor makes a world of a difference in autonomous navigation—interpreting the real-world physical environment that a car perceives in 3D, not 2D.

And that’s just scanning the surface of what Omnitron Sensors can do. Its next-gen LiDAR sensor perceives the environment accurately in all lighting and weather conditions. It can decipher between stationary and moving objects, is immune to high-vibration and temperature variation, and it’s affordable in mass-production quantities.

Learn more about Omnitron’s MEMS step-scanning sensor for LiDAR at Micro Optics 2023, a virtual conference that takes place August 1-3, 2023.

Omnitron Sensors Co-founder & CEO Eric Aguilar will present Transforming Optical Scanning: MEMS Topology for Low-Cost, Small, and High-Performance Scanners,” at 12:15 p.m. EDT on August 3, 2023.

There’s still time to register. Or, if you’re not able to attend Micro Optics 2023, please email Omnitron Sensors today.

Innovation in MEMS Starts with Its Topology

The first iPhone rolled out in mid-2007. It had a single MEMS device—a 3-axis accelerometer—and one each of a simple proximity sensor and ambient light sensor. The iPhone 14, on the other hand, has multiple MEMS microphones, a LiDAR sensor for face recognition, a high dynamic-range gyro and high-g accelerometer, a barometric pressure sensor, a haptic touch sensor, a proximity sensor and dual ambient light sensors. While approximately $1B of the $6+B overall MEMS market came from consumer and mobile in 2007, analysts predict that by 2026, $11.27B of the overall $18.2B will come from consumer and mobile.

That’s just consumer and mobile, of course. The first major commercial MEMS design was an Analog Devices accelerometer used in automotive crash-detection air bags in the mid-1990s. And now, MEMS technology is ubiquitous in automotive advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and will soon become the core enabling component in LiDAR sensors.

Still, given the many attributes of MEMS, why hasn’t its growth trajectory mirrored that of the semiconductor industry? MEMS, after all, offers unprecedented sensory intelligence in a small package, making it highly attractive for almost every application.

We’ve asked ourselves why MEMS hasn’t come farther, faster so many times over the years, and we’ve always come to the same conclusion: The slow growth of MEMS has nothing to do with its capabilities and everything to do with its manufacturing challenges. Solving those challenges was a catalyst for launching Omnitron Sensors.

At Omnitron we’ve developed a new topology for MEMS. We started by developing test structures and process steps with our foundry partners. We forged ahead to make significant improvements in capacitance to produce robust, rugged devices. The good news is that we’ve verified our process through fabrication, and are on the path to build hundreds of millions of low-cost, reliable, repeatable MEMS devices at commercial MEMS foundries.

Interested in learning more? On May 23, 2023, our co-founder & CEO, Eric Aguilar, will present Omnitron’s new topology for MEMS at MEMS & Sensors Technical Congress 2023, SEMI’s annual technical event on designing, building, and using sensors. MSTC is a phenomenal event for technical execs and engineers who want to learn about the latest innovations in MEMS technology. Register now.

If you can’t attend MSTC but would like more information on Omnitron, email us today.

Connect with CEO Eric Aguilar at MSTC 2023

And other MEMS & sensors industry technical execs