From the floor of Transducers ’09 Day 4

Continuing coverage of Transducers 2009 from Paul Werbaneth, VP Marketing & Applications, Tegal Corporation.

Day 4: We’ve been making jokes this week about the stimulus money being flashed around now in MEMS, but, all joking aside, it does seem like the Research community is in a buying mood.  These approved budgets have surely been long in the making, nothing that could really be attributed to the quick-injection dollars handed out over the last six months, but no matter where the money’s coming from, it’s a positive and reassuring message.

Funded research for Science and Engineering — That’s great!  We’re still investing in the future.

If you go back to the model that it takes twenty-seven years in MEMS from concept to commercialization, then some of the cutting-edge research being launched now will just about make it to the market in my lifetime.  (I hope.)

Personally, I’m waiting for a personal attendant robot in my later years.  Maybe a really sharp Toyota PizMo, or one of those Honda ReadyMates.  (I’m afraid my robot’s not going to be coming from GM.)  It’ll have tactile sensors like I see in some of the Transducers posters today, it’ll have a full medical diagnostic kit, made by the BioMEMS folks, to let me know how I’m doing on my diet and with my exercise, it’ll have a big flexible display for news and entertainment, and it’ll be sitting there when idle harvesting energy from secret harmonies only robots hear, and maybe running on its microfuelcells when it’s up and ambling about.

Lease or own?  We have some attractive deals.

Walking near the Colorado Capitol last night, street people are out in force enjoying the warm evening (and probably ducking later due to sudden showers).  One guy is in preacher mode, holding a thick hardback book with a tattered but intact cover.  I look a little closer:  this isn’t a bible he’s holding, it’s a copy of The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectation, by Christopher Lasch, first published in 1979 (looks like an original copy).

Wow, heavy, I have to stop to talk.  “I’m an Air Force major,” says the preacher, a guy about my age.  I ask, “Have you read that book by Lasch?”  “Yes, it’s literature, and every word in it is even more true today than when first published.”  I agree it must be literature if the book is still being read these thirty years later, but that remark strikes the wrong tone for the major, and I start moving away.  “I’m an Air Force major!  I’m an Air Force major!  And you, you’re a journalist!”

He means that to be damning somehow.  (Is it?)

I think, “No, not a journalist.  Just a first-time blogger”

Now signing-off.

From the floor of Transducers 2009, thanks for reading.

Paul

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