SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) is funding a research collaboration between Singapore's Institute of Microelectronics (IME), a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and University of Washington’s Department of Electrical Engineering.
The partnership will result in the development of a parallel assembly technique to assemble ultrathin chips. The entities will also devise a three-dimensional (3-D) micro-electro-mechanical-systems (MEMS) high density capacitor with increased energy storage for portable systems and a microsensor that detects human dehydration levels.
IME will provide expertise in the development, simulations and early stage fabrication for these developments. UW will contribute lab-scale process development and theoretical analysis on the parallel assembly technique project.
DARPA funds an institute in foreign country. The story becomes interesting. What other foreign institute do they fund?
Speaking of the research, there is no doubt high-capacity storage has become very important in the past 5 years or so. The research will help. Which institute is in the leading position of MEMS?
Sounds interesting, a way to measure the body dehidration? this shows once more that MEMS is gaining ground by seizing the unattended need for measureing anything that can be measured in the human body. Heart rate, ECG, muscle activity, and now... water level?
The best part here is that ultrathin chips will enable all this to be wearable. Embedded in the clothing and or body accesories.
Apparently there are technologies implementable in MEMS that detect hydration levels using wearable permeable materials (eg, USPTO App 20070048224, this one uses sampled Saliva to detect levels of dehydration but a similar approach can be used by sampling sweat for Sodium & Potassium levels, I imagine). So the 'mechanical' part of the sensor is fluid flow.
As I have commented elsewhere in EE Times, the MEMS industry has been dealing with 3D from day one so it is a natural extension in productization of different needs. What is different now is that the technologies used in MEMS (still in whole microns or a large fraction of it) now has to come up to speed with the chip components designed and built with nanometer technologies.
2011 and beyond will see a healthy growth in many products realized using heterogeneous functions integrated via 3D chip stacking.
Dr. MP Divakar
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