Monthly Archives: February 2014

Trip Report: MEMS Industry Group at MD&M West 2014

by Monica Takacs, Director of Membership, MEMS Industry Group

February 2014, MEMS Industry Group (MIG) exhibited at the MD&M West conference and tradeshow in Anaheim, CA with MIG members AM Fitzgerald & Associates, IMT – Innovative Micro Technology and Silex Microsystems as our co-exhibitors. Our host for the microtechnology pavilion was IVAM Microtechnology Network, one of our 26 partner organizations, and it featured international companies involved in the manufacturing of MEMS, sensors and printed electronics for the medical device industry.

Medical device manufacturers have quickly noticed MEMS as a viable solution to include in their multi-functional next-generation products. With MEMS steadily making its way into more medical applications, MIG is creating opportunities for our members to connect with the medical device community. In addition to attending and creating content for medical-device shows, we are launching members-only programming such as the MEMS in Healthcare Working Group, launched in the fall of 2013.

At MD&M West, MIG hosted a Learning Labs conference session, “Advanced Application of Sensors in Medical Devices,” with MIG Governing Council Member Alissa M. Fitzgerald, Ph.D., founder and managing member, A.M. Fitzgerald & Associates, LLC as the chair. A panel of MIG members IMT – Innovative Micro Technology, Merit Sensor, Silex Microsystems and Small Tech Consulting also participated in the panel discussion, “Utilizing new sensor technologies for implantable devices.” 

12815955115_6038d32e2f_nThe panel discussed the MEMS ecosystem and advised medical-device companies on navigating the opportunities and challenges of MEMS product development. Counseling companies not to reinvent the wheel, panelists explained that they can leverage partner relationships to overcome the technical challenges of MEMS fabrication.

They also described the evolution of the MEMS industry over the last 10 years from a landscape of startup companies to Fortune 500 and even 100 companies now including MEMS in their product roadmaps. Michael Shillinger, founder of IMT remarked that the majority of IMT’s customer base is now made up of large companies rather than startups. Moderator Leslie Field, CEO of Small Tech Consulting, remarked how development cycles aren’t what they used to be, which has led to the ubiquity of MEMS.

Kevin Mach, senior account manager of Silex Microsystems cited the critical role of MEMS foundries in the massive adoption of MEMS over the last decade: “Companies planning to get into the medical/life science space need to reach out to MEMS foundries early and often. It’s important to understand what options are available in manufacturing and to leverage the technical expertise gained from years of MEMS processing. In our experience, customers that take the time to understand the capabilities and limitations of their partners tend to be successful long-term.”

Rick Russell, president of Merit Sensor, encouraged attendees to design MEMS for packaging, particularly with regard to implantables, which require lots of capital and are a challenge due to FDA regulations. Alissa Fitzgerald added that MEMS packaging for implantables is an opportunity for innovation and patents. Because MEMS is heading in the direction of commoditization, the value add is the packaging of the chip into the product, said Fitzgerald.

MIG members on the panel had their own takeaways:

“I was very impressed by the number of people who attended the panel, said Russell. “The overwhelming response showed me that innovators are eager to adopt more MEMS devices to help diagnose your physical state, whether it be your heart rate during a medical procedure or simply sharing your daily activity level on social media. The number of companies adopting MEMS for wearable devices (noninvasive) has exploded, but those that require FDA approval (invasive) are much slower to market but have a higher long-term reward.”

“I was excited to see so many people in the audience already aware of MEMS and thinking about how to use them in their products,” said Fitzgerald. “We need to have more interactions like this between medical device innovators and the MEMS industry. The more we can learn about each other’s needs and capabilities, the faster we’ll see exciting new medical products emerge.”

Listen to moderator Leslie Field discuss all of the key takeaways of the panel below. 

Elsewhere on the show floor, MIG members were scattered throughout. Interlink Electronics showcased their force sensing technology, COTO Technology presented their RedRock MEMS Switch, which was awarded 2013 Product of the Year (MEMS category), by Electronic Products magazine, and Merit Sensor demoed their BP Series Blood Pressure Medical Sensor.

See both the Merit and Coto Technology product demos below.

Guest Blog: Xtrinsic sensor fusion library for Kinetis MCUs

by Michael E Stanley 

First Appeared in The Embedded Beat on Feb 24, 2014

30615-IND-FRDM-Duo2_angle_LR.jpgIn my December post, New sensor expansion boards for Freescale Freedom development platform, I introduced you to the FRDM-FXS sensor shields for the platform.  From the “Downloads” tab on the FRDM-FXS-MULTI-B web page, you can now download demo executables for the FRDM-KL25Z and FRDM-K20D50M boards that are compatible with Xtrinsic Sensor Fusion Toolbox for Android. (You can read more about this app here: Free Android App Teaches Sensor Fusion Basics.)  The links for the two executable are labeled FRDM-K20D50M_MQXL (compiled for ARM® Cortex-M4) and FRDM-KL25Z-MQXL (compiled for ARM Cortex-M0+).  You will need to log into the Freescale Community and accept a click-through license/disclaimer to gain access to the files.

One of the things I like most about the Freescale Freedom development platform is its ease of use.  It can be programmed with a bootloader that allows you to plug the board into your PC via USB, and install software (such as these files) with a simple drag and drop.  If you haven’t done this before, let me recommend a couple of resources for you:

Last June, I posted a number of videos to the Freescale website which show you how to run the Sensor Fusion Toolbox.  Although we’ve added a number of features to the toolbox since then, the basic principles described in the videos still apply.  Using the combination of hardware (shown at left), embedded code from the links above, and the Sensor Fusion Toolbox, you can experiment with different combinations of MCUs, sensors and algorithms, in real time, on your own phone or tablet.

Now here is the really cool part, the embedded fusion library at the heart of this functionality is now available in via the “Xtrinsic Sensor Fusion Library for Kinetis MCUs – Evaluation Version and documentation” link, available from the same Downloads tab listed above.  The download package includes a datasheet describing Freescale’s Xtrinsic Sensor Fusion capabilities, a user’s guide that will show you how to get up and running, and a zip file containing a CodeWarrior project.  The evaluation version runs only on the KL25Z board. Everything in the project, with the exception of one .c file, is precompiled.  Filename user_tasks.c is reserved for your use, and allows you to insert code at 5 specific entry points in the project.  You have visibility to all fusion outputs, and can modify the Bluetooth output stream to suite your own needs.  This is the same project used to create the executables mentioned earlier.  The evaluation version is fully compatible with the Xtrinsic Sensor Fusion Toolbox.

The evaluation version of the kit is intended to give developers everything they need to evaluate the quality and scope of Freescale’s sensor fusion libraries.  Once a decision is made to incorporate the library into a product, you will want to upgrade to the “product development” version of the library.  This version, which will soon be available from the same download page, provides many more bells and whistles with regard to fusion options and underlying project structure.  Differences in the three versions of the library are summarized below:

 

Feature

Demo Version

Evaluation Version

Development Version

License

Free click-through

Free click-through

Contact Freescale for Pricing

CPU selection

MKL25Z128VLK4

MK20DX128VLH5

MKL25Z128VLK4

MKL25Z128VLK4

MK20DX128VLH5

others upon request

Board customizable

No – FRDM_KL25Z & FRDM_K20D50M only

No – FRDM_KL25Z only

Yes

Sensor sample rate

Fixed

Fixed

Programmable

Fusion rate

Fixed

Fixed

Programmable

Frame of Reference

Android

Android

Programmable

Algorithms Executing

accel only, accel + gyro, accel + mag, accel + mag + gyro

Programmable

Sleep mode enabled between samples/calculations

No

No

Programmable

RTOS

MQX-Lite

MQX-Lite

MQX-Lite

Code flexibility

NONE – Executable only

customer code limited to 5 specific entry points

only Kalman and MagCal libraries are precompiled.  Everything else is supplied in source form, and can be modified.

Access to Processor Expert™ configuration

No

No

Yes

Collateral Materials

 

datasheet

zip file containing the appropriate CodeWarrior project

user manual

 

The next table shows sensor fusion features versus sensor complement used for the application.  See the sensor fusion datasheet for additional restrictions/details.

Feature

Accel only

Accel + gyro

Accel + mag

Accel + mag + gyro

Filter Type

Butterworth

Indirect Kalman

Butterworth

Indirect Kalman

Roll / Pitch / Tilt in degrees

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yaw in degrees

No

No

Yes

Yes

Angular Rate in degrees/second

virtual 2 axis

Yes

virtual 3 axis

Yes

Compass heading (magnetic north) in degrees

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

quaternion and rotation vector

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

rotation matrix

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

linear acceleration separate from gravity

No

Yes

No

Yes

NED (North-East-Down Frame of Reference

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

ENU (Windows 8 variant) Frame of Reference

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

ENU (Android variant) Frame of Reference

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Magnetic calibration included

No

No

Yes

Yes

Gyro offset calibration included

N/A

Yes

N/A

Yes

FRDM-KL25Z_MQXL board support

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

FRDM-K20D50M_MQXL board support

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

I will be teaching two different classes dealing with the Xtrinsic Sensor Fusion Library for Kinetis™ MCUs at the upcoming Freescale Technology Forum in Dallas.  The first will be a one-hour “lunch and learn” session (FTF-SDS-F0176) on Wednesday, April 9.  A three-hour hands on session (FTF-CON-F0178) is planned for Thursday afternoon.  This session was previously targeted specifically at our eCompass software (and may still be shown as such on the FTF agenda), and is being repurposed so that we can provide additional, in depth, training on the fusion library.  I hope to see you there!

 

Michael Stanley is a systems engineer at Freescale.

 

Exploring the MEMS-Enabled Life: A Preview of MEMS Executive Congress Europe 2014

Written by: Karen Lightman, Executive Director, MEMS Industry Group
First appeared on Solid State Technology, February 10, 2014.

Munich, Germany is one of my favorite cities in the world. If you agree or if you’ve never been there, I have the perfect opportunity for you to join me:  MEMS Industry Group’s (MIG’s) MEMS Executive Congress Europe 2014 will be held at the beautiful Sofitel Hotel Bayerpost on March 10-11. The theme of our third European Congress is the “MEMS-enabled life,” and I don’t think there’s a more perfect city to exemplify an enhanced quality of life than Munich.

Congress attendees will get a rare inside look at the business of MEMS as they hear first-hand from (and interact with) keynote speakers, featured presenters and panelists. Plus we’ll have lots of time for networking, including an opening reception on March 10 and a fabulous dinner at the Augustiner Braustuben Biergarten on the night of March 11.

Our morning keynote speaker, Rudi De Winter, CEO of X-FAB Group, will share his thoughts on the commercial, technical, manufacturability, market and investment risks in developing MEMS business, detailing how to overcome them to reap rewards. Mr. De Winter will also provide examples of MEMS and 3D heterogeneous integration by sharing the investment story in two startups:  MicroGen Systems (energy harvesting) and X-Celeprint (mass micro-transfer printing technology). As a big fan of Rob Andosca and MicroGen, I am really looking forward to hearing Mr. De Winter’s perspective on energy harvesting and in particular, MicroGen.

Our afternoon keynote speaker, Klaus Meder, president of Automotive Electronics at Robert Bosch, will explore “MEMS in Our Connected World.” I am especially excited to hear Mr. Meder’s speech as he gave the keynote at our MEMS session at 2013 International CES, and he revealed some of Bosch’s plans to revolutionize the way we connect to our world. This is when the concept of the “Internet of Things (IoT) comes home, literally. With IoT-enabled home appliances, my Bosch dishwasher could talk to my clothes washer so they don’t take all my hot water before my teenager takes a shower. (God forbid she doesn’t have enough water!).  And I love the idea of an IoT-enabled car talking to other cars to warn them of icy roads ahead (which would really come in handy here in Pittsburgh where all our side streets are covered in two inches of ice). I look forward to that world, where my life will be enhanced in very simple ways, thanks to MEMS.

While many of us might be swept away by the amazing consumer-focused products that MEMS makes possible, there is a big world beyond consumer, in which industrial applications t will truly revolutionize we manage critical business functions. We have brought in a respected industry luminary, Dr. Jörk Habenstreit, managing director for Research & Development Technology Software, Testo, to share his perspectives on the role of MEMS and sensors in some of these industrial applications. From food processing, transport and storage to clean room integrity, building thermography, and gas leak detection, MEMS-based test and measurement instrumentation from companies like Testo are improving business operations in a variety of ways.

With the focus of the entire European Congress is on the business of MEMS, we’ll also include panel discussions to drill down into specific market areas, including consumer, health/wellness and automotive. We’ve worked extra hard this year to make sure we hear from a wide array of opinions and perspectives so you’ll see some folks from research sitting alongside industry veterans, giving us their thoughts on the future market potential for MEMS-enabling products. I think it’s important to get a diversity of opinions on panels and I am confident this year’s European Congress will not disappoint. You can check out the agenda for the full list of speakers and the descriptions of the panels.

MEMS Executive Congress Europe checks all the boxes: great content and speakers, networking time with MEMS industry execs and OEM users, and an unbeatable location in Munich. Hope you’ll join me there!

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