PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA and BROMONT, QUEBEC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 22, 2007 -- Akustica, Inc., a pioneer in acoustic system-on-chip solutions, and DALSA Corporation's (TSX: DSA) semiconductor-wafer fabrication division announced the formation of a strategic silicon foundry relationship. The collaboration combines Akustica's expertise in its patented Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) semiconductor design technology with DALSA's advanced MEMS and device-manufacturing capabilities. The pairing will generate new classes of CMOS MEMS chips that offer dramatic improvements in manufacturing cost, quality and time-to-market.
The relationship will focus on wafer production of Akustica's family of AKU200x single-chip digital-output microphones, the world's first CMOS MEMS microphones. The surface-mountable AKU200xs are designed to replace electret condenser microphones (ECMs) in PC laptops, Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones, PC camera modules, and other portable computing devices. Akustica has secured major design wins for its microphone with top-tier notebook PC OEMs and has garnered numerous "product of the year" awards from leading electronics publications.
"We chose DALSA as a strategic supplier because of their strong alignment with our fundamental advantage of manufacturing MEMS products using standard processes," stated Jim Rock, CEO of Akustica. "In addition to having proven experience in quality processes, DALSA has effectively demonstrated high-volume manufacturing. With rapid growth in the silicon microphone market projected to continue for years to come, Akustica is building its core supplier network to service that demand."
"We are delighted to support Akustica in the fabrication of their AKU200x microphones," said Ralf Brooks, President of DALSA's Semiconductor Division. "Our extensive experience in developing and manufacturing sensors for a wide variety of industries, combined with our proven MEMS capabilities, allows us to participate successfully as a strategic supplier to the industry's leading semiconductor companies. We are especially pleased to be working with Akustica, the industry innovator in CMOS MEMS devices, while leveraging DALSA's patent-pending deep-etch technologies at the same time."
DALSA is an international leader in high performance digital imaging and semiconductors with more than 1000 employees world-wide. Established in 1980, the Company designs, develops, manufactures, and markets digital imaging products and solutions, in addition to providing semiconductor products and services. DALSA's core competencies are in specialized integrated circuit and electronics technology, software, and highly engineered semiconductor wafer processing. Products and services include image sensor components (CCD and CMOS); electronic digital cameras; vision processors; image processing software; and semiconductor wafer foundry services for use in MEMS, high-voltage semiconductors, image sensors and mixed-signal CMOS chips. DALSA is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "DSA" and has its corporate offices in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
Akustica's AKU200x Digital Microphones
Akustica's AKU200x microphones are small, thin, light devices designed to replace the ECM, a fifty-year old technology that has been used in billions of portable electronic devices-while remaining fundamentally unchanged. The ECM, however, is limited by a number of acoustic issues: radio frequency (RF), environmental and mechanical/electromagnetic noise-all creating a number of pain points for millions of users of mobile phones, laptop computers and other digital media devices. As silicon devices, Akustica's microphones are not prone to the same degree of noise from any of these sources-thereby enabling superior acoustic environments. Leading semiconductor industry analysts, such as Yole Developpement, have forecast eight-fold growth for the silicon microphone market by 2010.
Founded in 2001, Akustica, Inc. is a privately held company based in Pittsburgh, PA. Manufactured using their revolutionary CMOS MEMS technology, Akustica's Sensory Silicon products enable electronic devices to sense and respond to the world around them. By leveraging standard CMOS processes and MEMS technology, Akustica's acoustic system-on-chip solutions combine the functionality of transducers with microelectronics and software onto a single chip. Only Akustica's CMOS MEMS microphones—pioneered by Akustica chief technologist and co-founder Ken Gabriel, Ph.D., during his tenure at Carnegie Mellon University—enable single-chip solutions with arrays of transducers and integrated signal processing that disrupt both conventional microphone and speaker technologies. Smaller and more reliable than electret condenser microphones, Akustica's silicon microphones can be customized with advanced sound-capture features and noise-reduction capabilities. Since Akustica microphones were introduced last year, the semiconductor industry has recognized Akustica's technology with accolades and honors, including an EDN Innovation award in the "Mixed-signal Application Specific Standard Product" category; an Electronics Products Magazine "Product of the Year" award; and most significant Leapfrog technology of the year from Electronic Design readers.
Akustica digital-output microphones are now reaching the market in commercial volumes, helping to fulfill demand for improved voice input in a host of voice-enabled applications, from Internet telephony on notebooks to PC camera modules and mobile phones. Companies such as Fujitsu Computer Systems, Gateway Computers and Tablet Kiosk have designed Akustica microphones into their mobile PC platforms.
Akustica and the Akustica logo are registered trademarks and Sensory Silicon is a trademark of Akustica, Inc. All other product and company names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.