Monthly Archives: June 2011

Karen’s blog from Boston – Tech Connect/Microtech and Analog Devices Site Visit

By Karen Lightman, Managing Director, MEMS Industry Group

Microtech – part of TechConnect World at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston

Day one – June 14

The day began with anticipation and a full house (about 3000) at the opening keynotes at the TechConnect World, which is a combo of several “tech events” including Microtech, BioNano, CleanTech, Nanotech, and Tech Connect. The premise behind having all these inter-related disciplines is to cross-fertilize and “connect” to promote innovation.

The keynotes were several and a surprise appearance from Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Richard Sullivan, who was representing Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Next up was Travis Earles who recently joined Lockheed Martin after being at the White House’s OSTP for four years. The morning’s third keynote was from Terry Taber, CTO Eastman Kodak. I was heartened to hear him talk about the Valley of Death between lab and fab – a topic that motivates me here at MIG on a daily basis.

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MEMS News Update

MEMS News Update

Quality of Life Enabled by MEMS

Originally posted on Medical Electronics Design

By Karen Lightman, Managing Director, MEMS Industry Group

Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS)—tiny micro-machines that provide intelligent sensing and actuation—enable a high degree of interactivity with the environment. If you’re a fan of Nintendo Wii, Apple iPhone, iPad and i-everything else, you have MEMS to thank because it’s MEMS-enabled enhancements that make video games more engaging, smartphones and tablets more intelligent (and fun), and e-readers easier to read. While I love many of these cool consumer devices dearly, I have to ask myself, have these products TRULY improved the quality of life of humankind?

Honestly, no.

The good news for the biomedical community is that MEMS is not limited in scope to consumer products. It is an excellent match for new biomedical applications that improve quality of life (QoL) in a variety of ways. And it is THIS class of applications that are allowing designers of biomedical and healthcare applications to accomplish what we never thought possible.

At the upcoming Microtech QoL Symposium (June 14, 2011, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA), hosted by MEMS Industry Group (MIG), we have recruited some top innovators in biomedicine to describe how they use MEMS in life-enhancing and even life-saving QoL applications. I am talking about Dr. Marvin Slepian, co-founder, chairman, chief scientific and medical officer at SynCardia Systems, who will deliver the opening keynote at the QoL Symposium. Whereas heart-failure patients were once hospitalized while awaiting a heart transplant, today the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart, which relies on Omron’s MEMS mass flow sensor, offers a bridge-to-transplant total heart replacement for patients who have end-stage heart failure of both ventricles (biventricular failure).

Brian Wirth, global product manager at GE Measurement & Control Solutions, will explore recent advancements in biosensor RFID tags during his closing keynote.

A sampling of our other speakers includes:

  • Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, distinguished member of the technical staff at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, who will explore the BioMEMS’ connection to some amazing developments in tissue engineering, organ-assist devices and drug delivery systems;
  • Dr. Randy Goodall, president and CEO of NanoMedical Systems, who will discuss the ways in which Personalized Molecular Drug-delivery Systems are getting practitioners and biotech to rethink traditional pharmaceuticals;
  • Anmol Madan, PhD, co-founder and inventor of, a smartphone platform that models individual and aggregate health patterns; and
  • Mark Diperri, senior field applications engineer at Freescale Semiconductor, who will present advancements in MEMS-based patient-monitoring systems which may prevent future safety concerns, including life-threatening events.

If you would like to learn more about recent developments in remote healthcare monitoring and management, preventative care, healthcare delivery and/or replacement technologies, please contact me via email: klightman[a]

MEMS News Update

Online data sets for inertial and magnetic sensors (part 1)

By Mike Stanley

Originally posted on Freescale’s The Embedded Beat Blog

When I first joined Freescale’s Sensors team, I did what I usually do when I start working in an area of technology that’s new to me: ask lots of questions, do lots of reading and tinker with the technology. I got a lot of use out of my DEMOQE128 development board, which included an MMA7260Qaccelerometer on the PCB. There’s nothing like looking at the raw data, running it through an algorithm and viewing the results to cement an understanding of the technology.

Later, I gathered an appreciation for the need to be able to reproduce my results from one run to the next.  I needed to be able to clearly differentiate the effects of a subtle software change versus simple random input variation of one experiment to the next.  I started caching experimentally captured data sets onto my hard drive.   I invested in a 3rd party inertial measurement unit and the data sets started piling up.   Eventually, I developed a standard set of Matlab scripts and consistent ways to view my data.   I showed my data set to my immediate manager, and his reaction was “we should share this.”

Today, we are doing just that:  “Sample Data Sets for Inertial and Magnetic Sensors” is now available on Freescale’s web site. The company is releasing raw data files, Matlab scripts, and full report under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.  You can download the entire package as a zip file here.

Sample Data Sets for Inertial and Magnetic Sensors – View 1

I’ll be using various data sets from this collection in future blog discussions.  Today, I would simply like to walk you through the organization of the data.  I’ve annotated a screen dump of the collection web page in the “View 1″ graphic above. Items labeled in the figure include:

  1. Data sets are groupled into one of five categories:
    • Actions – example: picking up an object
    • Environment – examples: freefall, orientation
    • Events – example: laptop falling from desk
    • Gestures – examples: tap, double tap
    • Locomotion – example: pedometry
  2. Click on any of the five tabs to see the specific data sets in that category.
  3. Each summary includes a link to the source data.  The data is in the form of a human readable, Matlab readable, text file.  The format of the file is documented via the “Data File Format” link (5).  Measurements were taken at 125 samples/second, where a “sample” is defined as 1 value for each of the IMU sensors.  That is: 1 sample = X,Y & Z for each of acceleration, magnetic and angular velocity plus 2 boolean values corresponding to the state of two push buttons on the IMU.
  4. The “Inertial Measurement Unit Used for Study”  link describes the 3rd party IMU used for this study.  The page documents units/LSB for each sensor.  Allan Variance charts are presented for each of acceleration, angular velocity and magnetic sensors.
  5. Each raw data fle is in a format that can be read using Matlab’s “load” command.  The custom data logger program used to collect data also calculates some basic statistics on the data set.  Statistics are included at the bottom of each file.
  6. Matlab scripts used to generate various report figures are included.  You should be able to use these as templates to read and process data files any way you like.
  7. We are making the entire data set available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.  This link provides details of the usage agreement and a pointer for you to download the full data set in .zip file format.

Sample Data Sets for Inertial and Magnetic Sensors – View 2

View 2 above illustrates a few more features present in reports:

  1. We’ve calculated minimum, maximum and range (= maximum – minimum) for X, Y & Z orientations for acceleration, angular velocity and magnetic sensors.
  2. Some brief notes are included that describe what was being measured.
  3. Some of the data sets will include one or more illustrations to further elaborate on the measurements.  In the example above, the IMU was lying stationary in the back seat of my car while my wife and I ran some errands.  The figure gives an indication of the route we traveled.

Sample Data Sets for Inertial and Magnetic Sensors – View 3

And finally, we get to the data plots:

  1. Acceleration versus time
  2. Power spectral density plot of acceleration readings
  3. Magnetic sensor readings versus time
  4. Power spectral density plot of magnetic sensor readings
  5. (not shown) Angular velocity versus time
  6. (not shown) Power spectral density plot of angular velocity readings

Future postings will explore the various data sets in this collection. A lot of people know what accelerometers, gyros and/or magnetometers are in theory. But many of you haven’t had the chance to actually see what the sensor output signals look like.   So let’s address that!  Please use and share the information you find here.  Play with the data, apply your own filters, and let your imagination run wild with ideas for new applications.

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MEMS News Update

MEMS News Update

MEMS News Updates

Standards & Collaboration: Lessons Learned from the SEMATECH Model

Join MIG for a free webinar!

June 21, 2011 | 11:30 AM ET, 8:30 AM PT

As MIG and the MEMS industry continue on the path to explore opportunities for MEMS testing standardization, we need to learn from those who have blazed the trail before us. On this webinar, MIG member Eric Levy-Myers will discuss with Dr. Richard Van Atta (one of the leading experts on SEMATECH), the history of SEMATECH — including an overview of initial collaboration challenges. Dr. Van Atta will discuss how they lead the way for standards activities in the semiconductor industry and how the MEMS industry may leverage and learn from this experience.

Register now!


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