Karen’s Blog from Sensors Expo 2011

By Karen Lightman, Managing Director, MEMS Industry Group

For photos and videos of Sensors Expo, visit our event page.

After reflecting on Sensors Expo this week, I am struggling to find the right words to summarize. So instead, I will quote one of my favorite MEMS colleagues, Joe Ellul of MAXIM – “I am so happy I could jump up on the table and start dancing.”

I was honored and thrilled to be the Master of Ceremonies at all MEMS programing and events at Sensors Expo this year – including our fabulously fantastic pre-con on MEMS Commercialization Opportunities for Systems and Products. The day before the preconference when I arrived at O’Hare airport, I felt like how I do before I throw a big party – the kids/family are all set and ready to host/greet guests, the food/beverages are ready for action, the guests are en route and I’m still in my bathrobe and slippers and haven’t showered. So in other words, I didn’t feel super prepared.

Thankfully it all came together beautifully.  The folks at Questex did a stellar job of setting up the program infrastructure, and my MIG team and I provided the content. It was a perfect match – from the first day’s pre-conference symposium – to the MIG member happy hour (including when I had to bounce out that guy who mistakenly took our event for the Sensors Happy Hour at the Hilton) – to the ESC panel on Integrating MEMS with DSPs and microprocessors – to the two days of the MEMS Tracks and MEMS Pavilion/innovation areas (check out our photos/videos). To the MIG members who joined me at the three days at Sensors Expo (especially those who came for the first time to be in the MEMS innovation area), to the soon-to-be/potential members, thank you.

I especially want to thank Jim Knutti of Acuity for his help with developing the content and speakers for the pre-con and the concept of the MEMS innovation area. Thanks to the entire Questex team who helped keep me sane (thank you Jennifer for answering my numerous 6am text messages). Lastly, I want to thank my MIG team for the hard work they did, including the fab video they put together to demo the “MEMS in the Machine” during my opening presentation at the pre-con.

I took notes throughout the pre-con on Monday June 6 and I plan to post them to the MIG members’ only website (let me know if you want a copy); but below are my top ten highlights:

10. Looking out at the audience at the pre-con and only recognizing 50% of the faces – and an extra thrill when we had standing room only and they had to bring in two more rows of tables and chairs.

9. Rob O’Reilly’s question to Yole Development’s Laurent Robin on their ranking of MEMS company revenue – “Yes, I see your estimates on revenue, but what about income?” Great question and I hope that this will prompt the market analysts who follow MEMS to answer it, and soon….

8. My steak dinner at Gibson’s with ADI’s Howard Wisniowksi, Rob O’Reilly; GE’s Calin Miclaus; and my new BFF, Cynthia Howe.  Good times…

7. Having a drink with the Sensors Expo keynote, Hugh Herr, PhD, CTO and founder of iWalk; Hugh’s doing amazing things to promote Quality of Life and I wish him much success and hope to work together on a future conference/program. I was wowed by his creation -  “PowerFoot BiOM is the first bionic lower-leg system to replace lost muscle function and allow you to walk without stress to the rest of your body—the way nature intended.”

6. Walking off the podium after moderating the ESC panel on MEMS integration and meeting the engineer who works with US athletes for the US OLYMPIC TEAM! He wants to work with the MEMS industry on helping monitor and manage the health of US athletes and needs MIG’s help. We will be sending out an invitation on his behalf…so stay tuned.

5. Loving Sarah Boisvert’s presentation on MEMS productization and I want to echo her phrase of the day – “MEMS Market Research.” Check out her recent webinar with us on this topic for more info.

4. Seeing the cool layout of the MEMS Innovation area inside the MEMS Pavilion at Sensors Expo – and knowing that MIG helped host the BIGGEST MEMS SHOW IN THE US THIS YEAR.

3. Listening to Micralyne’s new CEO, Nancy Fares – she is a new board member of MIG and I just love listening to her wise and intelligent insight into the MEMS industry from both a OEM (DLP at TI) and foundry perspective. We need more folks like her in leadership positions in the industry.

2. Alissa Fitzgerald’s fantastic overview of the MEMS supply chain and her simple statement that the industry has to stop treating MEMS foundries as “machine shops” and encouraged the industry to leverage the MEMS ecosystem and decrease redundancy and increase efficiency and utilize applicable standards. I also liked her graph depicting when it DOES and DOES NOT make sense to go to 8”. Every device manufacturer needs to print that graph and put it on their walls.

1. Without a doubt, I was blown away by the closing keynote by Maxim’s Vijay Ullal. Vijay took us on a journey and inspired and motivated the audience. I hope to see that presentation, or a variation thereof, at future events before a bigger audience. Vijay’s vision for the future of technology was truly inspirational – help me spread the word, Vijay!

I could write more but I now have to gear up for my next gig, the Microtech Conference on June 14, where I am hosting/moderating a full-day conference on Quality of Life enabled by MEMS. For a preview, please check out my last blog featured on Medical Electronics Design.

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