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STMicro: MEMS drive new apps

Posted: 27 Oct 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:embedded  MEMs applications  healthcare 

At the ESC-2010 held Bangalore, STMicroelectronics Pvt. Ltd showcased its embedded systems technologies aimed at the fast growing consumer and industrial segments. Vivek Sharma, regional VP, Greater China and South Asia -India Operations and director of the STMicroelectronics' India design centres held a press meet during which he presented the company's global roadmap and touched upon how its intent on 'reshaping the embedded world' with a focus on R&D, healthcare applications and MEMS. In a subsequent chat with EE Times India's Vivek Nanda, he elaborated on the same.

Sharma: Electronics system design is something where we need to develop much more capability.

EE Times India: ST continues to invest a lot in R&D as you mentioned, can you expand on that—how much of it is in India and how much of it [is elsewhere]?
Sharma: Our level of R&D investment has been 20 per cent plus throughout and the point is that even in the downturn we did not reduce our R&D investment because our real focus is that we wish to really push our wave of new products. And that's where we believe [our] whole strength lies—innovative products, new products, [and] capturing different applications. Hence our emphasis on R&D stays there. As far as India is concerned, in terms of our R&D strength, not in terms of dollar value per se, we are representing around 20 per cent of ST worldwide R&D and we are one of the largest design centres, basically third largest, after France and Italy.

So the 20 per cent investment is in terms of the headcount not revenue?
Yes, this is related with the head count. Our normal measurement is based more on the headcount—that is how many engineers—because for us, one engineer here or there is the same. Let's say "For us, an engineer is an engineer". If we have [an engineer] in India or elsewhere they are [basically] engineers, hence when I say 20 per cent, it's not in dollar terms because in dollar terms there would be many other factors. It's not only the cost of engineers, it's also the toolset. We also have R&D for silicon process because we are developing 32nm. Even if we have joined hands with IBM in their alliance, we are still a part of development of the process R&D.

[Coming to medical applications] are your medical applications driven largely by the ageing population in Europe? Is that the market you initially started off with?
No, I would not say that. I think that in India for example, we have 25 years as median age. [In] Europe [the median age] is 40 to 45. But, per se, I would not say that this is the ageing population which is making [or driving] it, although it would be applicable there. Much of that can go even to the young population, and particularly in the case of India, where lifestyle diseases are on the rise because we are getting used to [a] new lifestyle but probably not making changes in our diet and all that. Diabetes, heart disease—these are the diseases which are hitting even the young population today. So prevention from that point of view is going to play a really big role. So to answer to your question, even though the ageing population needs it, the applicability of these devices is universal. Think of telemedicine.

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