Why is a smart mic important? For starters, in the consumer market a smart MEMS mic is optimal for high-end audio capturing applications/products like conference phones, studio mics, DSLR cameras, smartphones, tablets and headsets. The "smartness" of a MEMS mic will differentiate these products from their low-end (and low-intelligence) counterparts. But let's not stop with the consumer applications, smart MEMS mics can also find themselves in other markets including industrial, health/medical, military/public safety, security systems, and you can take it from there. (I actually encourage you to let your imagination run with it—going along with my mantra and vision of "MEMS frickin' everywhere.")
Before I go off into further imagining a world in which everything has MEMS inside—and everything and everyone is smart (thanks to MEMS)—I want to emphasize why I decided to write this story in the first place: I was awed by the beautiful, accurate sound that the MEMS microphone enables and what it can potentially unleash in the music biz.
When Rob O'Reilly demonstrated the ADI MEMS mic, he played a compilation of several musicians who recorded tracks at Cybersound in Boston using ADI MEMS mics, including Silvio Amato, Miguel Pessoa and Aaron Flanders. The sound was simple elegance. Rob also played a rap song by Boston rap artist MillyZ, who on the fly made up the song "Analog Devices' MEMS Mic Rap." Imagine what you would record if you had the intelligent power of a smart MEMS mic. I think it's time to get the band back together, dude.
Karen Lightman is managing director of the MEMS Industry Group.
HI everyone! I am so pleased to see such an animated discussion about MEMS microphones - and yes @mediatechnology - the link to the demo file is missing in the story (sorry about that) - I'll look into getting it uploaded somewhere by my friends at Analog Devices. I guess I have this Pollyanna-ish view that Rockstars have good voices (I am sure all do not). :)
@Brakeshoe - Recently at a conference I held at UC Berkeley we had another MEMS mic company, Knowles Electronics, talk about the use of MEMS mics in hearing aids and their cross-over into consumer applications. You can check out my org's website for more info: www.memsindustrygroup.org. Thanks everyone and keep the comments coming - I love it and look forward to more on my next blog.
What other topics in MEMS would you like me to write about?
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.