In trying to find a core theme to my week amongst the international elite MEMS academe in Cancun I struggled with a one-liner to describe what I saw, heard and experienced. “What happens at IEEE MEMS, stays at IEEE MEMS” kept popping into my head. I’ve never been to IEEE MEMS (gasp) though MIG’s founding was announced at IEEE MEMS ten years ago (in Luzerne Switzerland); but I was seven months pregnant with my first child and hesitant to make the journey there. So in preparation for IEEE MEMS 2011 in Cancun, my expectations were relatively low (to be honest) in terms of networking with the industry/business folks in MEMS. I was there (or so I thought) simply to run a workshop with NIST on MEMS testing protocols/standards.
Hombre, I was totally wrong. In fact, I was really impressed with the mix of academics (truly the best of the best in the world) and the business folks who attended (again, from around the world). While working the booth with my fav NIST colleagues, Michael Gaitan and Richard Allen I had a great time meeting and greeting several business technologists (working in end-use markets) who were new to the industry and attended IEEE MEMS also for the first time, to learn more about MEMS. I was thrilled to learn that many of these folks recognized the MIG logo and were aware of a few of our programs (hooray! our marketing is working!).
I had the pleasure of reconnecting with several MIG members and interviewed several of them including Jeff Clark of Silex, Stephen Breit of Coventor and the ever-so-charming Charlie Turk of OAI. I also snapped photos of other MIG members in their booths, including David Springer of XACTIX, Paul Hammond of Primaxx, Tony O’Hara of MEMSSTAR, Andrew Tucker and Todd Smith of SPP-PTS and Sebastian Cases of SoftMEMS. You can check out the videos and pics here:
I wish I could list all the amazing and interesting people I met but that would be an annoyingly long list. Instead I want to highlight some of favorite moments: watching the STEELERS beat the Jets and win the AFC championship on Mexican tv while waving my terrible towel and hearing CMU’s Gary Fedder cheering them onto victory; the BSAC happy hour; sipping margaritas and discussing mid-life crises and poetry (I think it’s a criteria to have margaritas to do this, BTW); body surfing in that amazing ocean-blue water; seeing pictures on an iPhone of two scary-looking alligators who lurk in Cancun’s lagoon (and glad I didn’t encounter them when I took my morning walk); hearing some MEMS haiku read from Beth Pruitt’s blackberry (again, margaritas are not optional here); being serenaded by a mariachi band while sitting with a table of German tool equipment guys; the most AMAZING mole I have ever had; and of course, the most-awesome workshop on MEMS testing standards EVER held (in my humble opinion).
We will now pause for a service announcement.
But seriously, I want to put in a plug for MIG’s joint project with NIST to identify and document device level qualification and testing needs. I encourage you to participate in this landmark project – MIG members and non-members alike. The results will be used as a guide to focus R&D and standards development for device testing and we are hosting a full-day MIG/NIST workshop on device level qualification needs on March 16 in San Jose, the day before MIG’s annual technical conference, M2M Member-to-Member Forum (formerly known as METRIC). At the workshop we’ll feature MEMS test experts from device manufacturers including Bosch, Analog Devices and Acutronic. Please join us! And if you can’t, make sure you check out our .xls in Google doc’s which is cataloguing existing standards used for MEMS testing and PLEASE participate in our survey which hopes to “fill in the blanks” of MEMS testing – if you don’t receive it next week, please drop me an email and I’ll gladly send you this ten-minute survey.
I met conference organizer extraordinaire Katharine Cline of PMMI twelve years ago when we worked on a tech conference at Carnegie Mellon; and it was fantastic to reconnect and again be impressed with her ability to facilitate learning. I hope to return to IEEE MEMS 2012 in Paris and hope to see you there as well. Thanks for a great time and adios, Cancun!