Will 2010 be the year of the MEMS gyroscope?

Tech writer R. Colin Johnson thinks so and has laid out 5 apps that could push gyros into the limelight. Colin has been attending MEMS Executive Congress for a couple of years now, so it’s no surprise that some of the really cool MEMS apps discussed there have made it onto his list.

“Gyroscopes have already proved themselves in the inertial guidance systems for aircraft, ships, spacecraft and ballistic missiles, but their use in consumer devices in 2010 will make gyroscopes a part of the common vernacular.”

See the full list and the rest of Colin’s article here: http://www.smartertechnology.com/c/a/Technology-For-Change/Five-Apps-That-Will-Make-2010-the-Year-of-the-Gyroscope/

Colin also frequently writes about MEMS on NextGenLog, his blog about next generation electronics and technologies.

So what do you think, MEMSbloggers? What will 2010 have in store for MEMS?

Interview with Dr. Mauro Ferrari & New MEMS Education Series BioMEMS Workshop

You might have noticed that there’s been a lot of news coming from MEMS Industry Group™ lately about BioMEMS.  We’re very excited about this field, its opportunities for the MEMS industry, and the improvements to healthcare it will bring.

In case you missed it, MIG recently sat down with Dr. Mauro Ferrari, Professor and Chairman of the Department of NanoMedicine and Biomedical Engineering (nBME) at the University of Texas Health Science Center (and MEMS Executive Congress™ 2009 keynote speaker), to discuss his work in the field. You can read the entire interview as featured in the most recent MIG newsletter here. Dr. Ferrari mentions some amazing technologies like Personal Molecular Drug-delivery Systems (PMDS) and nanoporous silicon — these are really cool examples of how BioMEMS could dramatically improve health and quality of life for all.

If you’re a MIG member and as enthused about BioMEMS as we are, then you should also know about MIG’s newly announced workshop, MEMS Education Series™: Spotlight on BioMEMS and NanoMedicine (March 18, 2010, Houston, TX). Because our members have asked for it, we are offering this one-day executive education workshop at Dr. Ferrari’s nBME center — for MIG members only — focusing on the opportunities for BioMEMS commercialization.

Why wait? Check out www.memseducationseries.com right now for more details on this special opportunity!

Industry Buzz from the Bay Area MEMS Happy Hour

Contributed by Paul Werbaneth, VP, Marketing & Applications, Tegal Corporation.

Well if they have farms, milk, butter, and cheese in Berkeley, CA, then having MEMS in Berkeley is the next logical step, right?

And if you had stumbled in, or otherwise found yourself in, the Pyramid Alehouse on Gilman in Berkeley Wednesday evening, you would have found they not only have MEMS in Berkeley (Al? Clark?), they also have excellent draft beers (that wasn’t moo juice we were drinking), good pizzas, healthy (?) sweet potato fries, and a whole bunch of MEMS people standing outside on the Alehouse patio enthusiastically networking over the aforementioned imbiss.

It’s the monthly roving Bay Area MEMS after-work get-together, and it’s attracted more people tonight than anyone (including the loose band of organizers: Dave Cook, Alissa Fitzgerald, Roger Grace, Mary Ann Maher, Magnus Rimskog, among others) thought would make the trek up from Silicon Valley, or from campus up the hill.  (31 miles from Petaluma to Berkeley for me, a trip the car knows well, owing to two daughters who are now both Cal grads.) Continue reading

At IEEE 3D IC 2009, Day 2 and 3, San Francisco, CA …..

Paul Werbaneth,Vice President – Marketing and Applications, Tegal Corporation

Thoughts on Day 2 and conclusions following Day 3:

There’s been a really strong student / university contribution to the conference this week by many of the schools to which I feel close.  Penn State, Pitt, Tohoku University. (I had the unexpected pleasure of choosing a lunch table Wednesday where I sat next to Professor Koyanagi from Tohoku University, first time for me to meet this distinguished scholar, who is an IEEE Fellow and an IEEE Medal Laureate.)  Rensselaer (Prof. Ken Rose is my old friend from ASMC committee work, and my niece is now a freshman at RPI), MIT, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore; Prof. Chuan Seng Tan is assembling a book on 3D IC Technology, to which I contributed a chapter on TSV etching), NC State.  Among others.

Kelli Ireland, from Pitt (“A routerless system level interconnection network for 3D integrated systems”) and Adam Beece from RPI (“Impact of parameter accuracy on 3D design”), grad students both, absolutely nailed their presentations – great job Adam, great job Kelli.

When you take someone from Singapore (best food in the world) to dinner in San Francisco where do you go?  I figured since we had my colleague Yannick Pilloux with us it should be Californian French, so off to Grand Café (http://www.grandcafe-sf.com/) we go.  It works for Yannick (“authentic boef bourguignon”), it works for Chuan Seng (Petaluma duck breast), and it works for me (porc roti with mushrooms, beans, and corn).

If Day 2 of IEEE 3D IC was devoted somewhat to Comp Sci topics and Networks on Chips, then Day 3, Wednesday, swings back to devices, applications, and markets.  Eric Beyne (IMEC) pinch-hits and scores with the talk “European R&D activities for 3D integrated heterogeneous systems.”  To me, it really looks like the commercial products we’ll be seeing, enabled by 3D IC technology, are going to contain MEMS stacked onto logic and power, with a radio tucked in somewhere along the way.  At least that’s what they’re saying in Europe, and that’s what (“10um fine pitch Cu/Sn micro-bumps for 3-D super-chip stack”) they’re saying in Japan.

It makes me wonder where Apple is on all this.  IEEE 3D IC is all about great technology, and Apple is all about great (insanely great) products – products based on the best cutting-edge technology and software, of course.  When I start thinking about sleekly designed consumer products packing the power of a complete consumer entertainment system, and boasting wireless connectivity, GPS navigation, and ripping games, all in a single unit,  I look to my iPhone.  Already highly integrated, but then I think, what if those many digital, analog, power management, RF, and MEMS components were stacked into a single packaged “chip,” not spread out over business card-size circuit boards, as they are today.  What more would I get?   (What more do I need?)

How about some health monitoring functions (room for that once we integrate the super dreamy chip into the handset), how about some real-time language translation functions, how about a microprojector, how about a portable augmented reality function that reports to the display glasses I’m wearing (Oak-Bans?) using GPS data so it knows where I am and how my reality should be augmented?  They say there might be room for a printer in there too once we free up the space.

A 21st century electronic Baedeker, that’s what I want.  With a beautiful red leather cover, just like in the old days.  (I’m still going to be holding this DreamyChip Baedeker in my hand, by the way – direct brain implants are for IEEE 3D IC 2019).  I’m not alone in that I see this coming, propelled by the work reported on this week during IEEE 3D IC.

From San Francisco, CA, thanks for reading.

At IEEE-3D IC 2009, San Francisco, CA

Paul Werbaneth,Vice President – Marketing and Applications, Tegal Corporation

Just back from a week hiking in Yosemite (thank you John Muir!) and in the Bridgeport – Twin Lakes – Matterhorn Peak area (thank you Gary Snyder/ Jack Kerouac and all past-present-future dharma bums).  Bodie, CA, an abandoned gold mining town at the end of the world (at the end of a three-mile washboarded dirt road, really, off a twelve-mile country road, off CA 395) gives literal proof to the phrase “a flash in the pan,” having been a town of ten thousand upstanding, barely standing, or once-standing citizens only 125 years ago.  What’s left now, with the gold run out, is a collection of highly weathered wooden buildings (most barely standing), a book’s worth of stories great, ghostly, and sad, and a permanent population of zero.  Monument to an American Ozymandias, installed and forgotten over the short span from the time of my grandparents’ births to today:

“Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

Nothing beside remains.  Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

(Thank you Percy Bysshe Shelley.)

But not so here at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero in San Francisco, where the talk is all about 3D System Integration (www.3dic-conf.org/) .  Now you might have been led to think the papers and discussions today would have all been about 300mm CMOS Logic and NAND Flash stacked integration using through silicon vias, but almost all the papers today (OK, about 75% of the papers) talked about integrating MEMS components with logic, and other functions, using 3D techniques (including TSVs, in situ, or TSVs in interposers), in order to create something new.  Something disruptive.  Something super smartphone. (Just what is the right label for what follows “smartphone”?)

Your supersmartphone will likely have a Dream Chip (Morihiro Kada, Association of Super-Advanced Electronics Technologies, “Development of functionally innovative 3D-integrated circuit technology”) on-board, doing what it is Dream Chips do, perhaps brought to wide-spread commercialization by Qualcomm (Matt Nowak, “High density silicon stacking – how the fabless supply chain impacts technology decisions”).  Something more from Japan, from Tohoku University, hot-bed of MEMS development:  “Heterogeneous integration technology for MEMS-LSI multi-chip module” (K.W. Lee).  (I’d keep my eye turned toward Sendai based on the data here.)

A very interesting paper from the University of Pittsburgh, “3D integrated circuits for lab-on-chip applications (Samuel Dickerson) pulled together MEMS, 3D integration, and the medical research expertise for which Pitt is so well known.  Just waiting for MIT Lincoln Labs to send back the fabricated chip so Pitt can test it.

And, shades of Project Sun SPOT (MEC 2008), Philips (Ric van Doremalen) told us today about a “Miniature wireless activity monitor using 3D system integration.”  It’s got a radio, it’s got a battery, it’s got an antenna, logic, integrated passives, and it’s got a MEMS accelerometer, integrated into about one cubic centimeter of total space.  All for a healthier, better, wirelessly connected you.