European semiconductor maker STMicroelectronics announced that it has acquired Israeli Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) scanner developer bTendo. STMicro has considerable MEMS expertise and in early 2011, the two companies entered into a joint development effort that resulted in a module that displaces 1.7cc and measures 5mm thick, small enough for integration into next-generation smartphones, digital cameras, tablets and laptops. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but STMicro acquired bTendo’s intellectual property and hired most of the staff. STMicro plans to leverage bTendo’s optical engine and their video processing know-how and semiconductor process technology into the emerging video-sharing market for smartphones and other portable consumer devices.
PMA’s projector market research closely follows the development of MEMS and MOEMS based optical engines that take advantage of lasers for illumination. Like all pico projector engine makers that use laser light sources, STMicro/bTendo must wait for green laser diodes to reach the market in commercial volumes with viable pricing.