Monthly Archives: September 2010

3D InCites: Going the Distance in Medical Electronics

Originally posted on 3D InCites’ Francoise in 3D blog
Every once in a while it helps to step back and take a look at the big picture. For me, attending events like this week’s 2010 Medical Electronics Symposium, co-hosted by MEPTEC and SMTA, is one way to do that.  This year’s theme was Successful Strategies for the Medical Electronics Sector, so although 3D and MEMS technologies were addressed in a few of the presentations (I’ll address those in a separate post),  most of them  focused on market opportunities, trends that are shaping the future of device development, and the end-use devices that are driving technology developments.

When Is Less More? Examining Low-Power, High Function MEMS Accelerometer Options

Contributed by Mike Stanley

Originally posted on Freescale’s Smart Mobile Devices Embedded Beat Blog

Back in June and July, we discussed the MMA9550L Xtrinsic Motion Sensing Platform, which breaks new ground in the area of intelligent sensors (see Evolving Intelligence with Sensors and The Zen of Sensor Design).

Because the MMA9550L CPU is fully programmable, it’s a snap to add new features in software. Design cycles can be shortened and you can easily add features that distinguish your product from those of your competitors. But what if you don’t need the flexibility? Or your #1 competitive feature is price? Or power? In these cases, you may not want to pay any premium (no matter how small) for the on-chip MCU and memory that make the MMA9550L so flexible. That’s where the newest members of the Xtrinsic family, the 14-bit MMA8451Q and 12-bit MMA8452Q, come in. These devices, announced this week, utilize the same low-G MEMS transducer as the MMA9550L. But now the MEMS device is coupled with a cost reduced state-machine-based digital controller.

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MIG at the MIG-BSAC Joint Thrust Session

Contributed by Karen Lightman, Managing Director, MEMS Industry Group

What fun I had in Berkeley on September 15 where I was honored to co-host the workshop on “MEMS Commercialization: Launching the Next Innovation-Based Businesses” – co-sponsored by MEMS Industry Group (MIG) and Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center (BSAC).

The nearly sold-out event was a half-day session, held at the zero-emissions David Brower Center near the UC Berkeley campus.  I was so pleased to see so many MIG members as well as friends in the industry; several who traveled from around the world to attend. I’ll try to capture the flavor of the event here – but I encourage you to check out the video (when we post it; stay tuned) and download the .ppt of the speakers (again, stay tuned).

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A New Handbook on Silicon Based MEMS

Contributed by Markku Tilli, Senior Vice President, Research, Okmetic Oyj

Handbook of Silicon Based MEMS Materials and Technologies was published in April 2010. Altogether 73 leading experts from 12 countries participated to the writing process and the result was nearly 700 pages about materials, modeling, measuring, processes and packaging within silicon based MEMS.

The book project started four years ago when I received a phone call from Professor Veikko Lindroos, Aalto University School of Science and Technology. Veikko Lindroos had been contacted by Nigel Hollingworth from William Andrew Publishing, who proposed writing of a new handbook on MEMS. Professor Lindroos presented the idea to me and we considered thoroughly, if another handbook on MEMS was necessary. And if it was, what would be the focus as the content should differ from other good books on the market. It took a couple of months for us to think and the answer was definitely yes. Handbook of Silicon Based MEMS Materials and Technologies was about to be born.

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3D InCites: Jim Walker’s Crystal Ball

Here is an excerpt of Francoise von Trapp’s  report on MEPTEC and the semiconductor industry:

Ok, maybe I should say Gartner’s crystal ball, but whenever Jim Walker delivers a presentation based on Gartner research, he always interjects his own personal opinion, which in this industry, is a very brave thing to do. I, for one, appreciate that personal touch because if I’m lucky enough to be in the room, I get some nuggets of information that you can’t get just by reviewing the presentation. In any case, at the annual MEPTEC September Forecast Luncheon that took place yesterday here in Mesa, AZ, Walker offered insight on the global economy, how the semiconductor industry has recovered and boomed in the aftermath, and what we can expect next…

Read more on the 3d InCites’ blog

MIG member Jason Weigold of MEMStaff Reports from COMS

Last week, representing MEMStaff, I was fortunate enough to give a talk at the Commercialization of Micro-Nano Systems (COMS) conference in Albuquerque, NM. This was a unique opportunity for us to talk about the human aspects of MEMS commercialization which is an often under-appreciated and rarely, formally discussed topic at conferences. As the MEMS industry’s premier staffing agency, we work with many MEMS companies throughout the world to help find them top talent to aid in their efforts. This gives us a unique perspective in the industry.

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MIG in 3D

MEMS Industry Group is excited to announce our new partnership with 3D InCites and is pleased to bring you “the go-to blog for the latest in the journey of 3D integration.” Be sure to check out Francoise von Trapp’s blog, where she writes about “stirring up” the world of 3D integration and throws in some great tidbits about travel and food. Stay tuned for future collaborations as well as industry news and events highlights.

3D InCites and MIG: A Natural Fit

Back to School: Technology Advancements Offer Smart Start

Contributed by Mike Stanley

Originally posted on Freescale’s Smart Mobile Devices Embedded Beat Blog

Most kids heading back to school this month in the U.S. are returning to an environment far different than the one I had growing up in the 60s and 70s in the “hollers” of southern Indiana. Back then, our parents didn’t worry when we disappeared for hours on end, exploring the woods and streams for miles in every direction. Today’s next generation is under a bit more scrutiny.

Having trouble keeping track of your small children at the park or ballgame? Outfit them with a wireless tag and yourself with a child locator from Brick House Security. The unit will alert you if they stray too far, and its guidance features will steer you right back to your wayward offspring. Need to keep track of your teenage driver? Brick House has a product for that too. Just put one of their Spark Nano Real-Time GPS Tracking Devices in your car’s glove box. You can track them in real time on the internet, or get email alerts when they leave designated areas. You can even outfit the family dog with a DC 30 GPS Dog Tracking Collar from Garmin. Within a 7 mile range, you can ensure that Fido finds his way home again.

Do you have athletes at home? Worry about their well-being? There are now football helmets outfitted with sensors to record the direction and magnitude of impacts on the field. Data can be downloaded wirelessly to a PC during or after the game. If you live in the Arizona desert like I do, you may be more concerned about heat stroke. The H.O.T. (Heat Observation Technology) system by hothead sports allows a player’s body heat to be monitored in real time, allowing the player to be pulled from a game before things get too hot.

That old wooden desk that you grew up with just doesn’t cut it anymore. The classroom desktop is evolving into an intelligent display with multi-touch capability. Check out the Smart Table interactive learning center from SMART Technologies for an example.

I lugged around a notebook and bulky cassette recorder to some of my college lectures. Today’s student can use an iVistaTablet to capture scribbled notes, automatically creating an electronic record with links to an audio recording of that boring stats or biology lecture, so they won’t forget it on the way back to the dorm. Alternately, they might use the Amazon Kindle for ‘book like’ reading of textbooks or an Apple iPad for both note taking and hosting textbooks, lightening that heavy backpack that would otherwise have to be dragged around campus. Or, they can dispense with the campus entirely by taking courses online. MIT’s Open CourseWare site is an excellent example of how advanced learning has evolved.

I used to phone home every few weeks when I was away at college. Today, Mom and Dad can be much more in touch, and those requests for money can now come in real time thanks to email, Skype and Facebook … well maybe some things haven’t changed that much.


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