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Top 12 MEMS Chips Pioneering New Markets

9/25/2013 09:30 AM EDT
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Michael.Markowitz
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Shaping the Future of MEMS and Sensors Summit
Michael.Markowitz   9/25/2013 10:48:42 AM
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The 1st "Shaping the Future of MEMS and Sensors" Summit attracted more than 300 engineers and, in addition to Janusz' presentation, attendees heard from experts across the industry. It is clear that the sensor revolution is just beginning!

If anyone wants to take a look at the presentations, they are available at http://www.st.com/web/en/special_events/mems_event_agenda.html

Maleficent
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Must be the season of MEMS
Maleficent   9/25/2013 11:48:29 AM
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MEMS Executive Congress logo

It's great to see this groundswell of support for the MEMS industry. MEMS Industry Group is hosting another MEMS-focused event in November: MEMS Executive Congress US 2013 -- November 7-8 in Napa. Speakers will include GLOBALFOUNDRIES, ARM, Samsung Electronics, Cisco, Jawbone, Qualcomm Life, Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Intel Capital and more.

krisi
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Re: Must be the season of MEMS
krisi   9/25/2013 5:51:08 PM
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amazing enough mems technology was developed 30 years ago...I find it amazing that it is suddenly such a success story

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Must be the season of MEMS
R_Colin_Johnson   9/25/2013 7:35:36 PM
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1 saves
Of course, MEMS' oldest success story is automotive, since it is the only technology fast enough to trigger an airbag. Also every ink jet printer uses MEMS inside the its cartridges to dipense the ink--its the razor blade thrown away after use--which to this day is still a bigger market than consumer. However, as consumer electronics proliferate--with nearly everybody on the planet wielding a smartphone with multiple MEMS chips inside--the pace is quicking still. Healthcare and wellness, of course, is the new frontier, but motion-sensing remote controls is also a big deal--especially if a new Apple TV is releases (as rumored) using MEMS motion sensors, which could prompt a new round of lookalikes as did the iPhone and iPad before it.

krisi
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Re: Must be the season of MEMS
krisi   9/25/2013 8:01:24 PM
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thank you Colin...great, brief explanation

wilber_xbox
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Re: Must be the season of MEMS
wilber_xbox   9/26/2013 8:52:48 AM
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Collin, the news of MEMS application in healthcare sector has been there for few years without much growth. Why is there no or little progress? Also, which companies are making progress in healthcare and medical equipments sector.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Must be the season of MEMS
R_Colin_Johnson   9/26/2013 9:03:09 PM
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The progress so far, at least in terms of volume, has been for wellness devices such as Nike Fuel, FitBit and the like. FDA approval is an obstacle to healthcare, but a handful have surmounted that hurtle, such as Preventice and its  BodyGuardian Remote Monitoring System which "sends the hospital home with the patient".

daleste
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Re: Must be the season of MEMS
daleste   9/26/2013 9:52:45 PM
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Medical MEMs for monitoring and medicine delivery should start to become part of the market.  It will be high ASP but low volume.

Susan Rambo
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Good MEMS summary
Susan Rambo   9/25/2013 6:59:52 PM
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Thanks for this article, Colin. Anyone interested in a quick overview of developments in MEMS should check this out.

lakehermit
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MEMS Markets
lakehermit   9/27/2013 4:24:21 PM
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I wish someone would start putting MEMS devices in hand held power tools to reduce or stop dangerous kickbacks when the blade or bit unexpectedly sticks in the workpiece. They are fast enough that they could virtually instantly reduce or disconnect the power to the motor hundreds or thousands of milliseconds before the operator can take his finger off of the trigger.  

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: MEMS Markets
R_Colin_Johnson   9/27/2013 4:37:08 PM
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That's a great idea! The only power tool I know that uses MEMS, however, is the Black and Decker Gyro screwdriver, which sense which way to rotate by which way you flick your wrist:

http://www.blackanddecker.com/power-tools/BDCS40G.aspx

betajet
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Re: MEMS Markets
betajet   9/27/2013 5:35:48 PM
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Is that screwdriver any relation to Gyro Gearloose, master inventor?

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: MEMS Markets
R_Colin_Johnson   9/27/2013 5:48:37 PM
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@betajet Is that screwdriver any relation to Gyro Gearloose, master inventor?

I doubt it, especially since Gyro Gearloose is a Disney character, but I sense your humor :)

   In point of fact, the Black and Decker screw driver houses an Invense gyroscope which senses the direction your wrist flicks and switches the screwdriver clockwise or counterclockwise as appropriate.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: MEMS Markets
Max The Magnificent   9/28/2013 2:42:36 PM
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@R_Colin_Johnson: In point of fact, the Black and Decker screw driver houses an Invense gyroscope which senses the direction your wrist flicks and switches the screwdriver clockwise or counterclockwise as appropriate.

I think that we've only scratched the surface of applications for sensors in general and MEMS sensors in particular -- but I also think that machine speach and machine vision will come into play, like being able to simply say "Screw Clockwise" and have done with it.

Duane Benson
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Re: MEMS Markets
Duane Benson   10/8/2013 12:25:33 AM
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Max - re: 'but I also think that machine speech and machine vision will come into play, like being able to simply say "Screw Clockwise" and have done with it.'

I'm still skeptical of voice recognition. I know we talk on the phone and talk to other humans, but with text messaging being so common, I think people may actually be moving away from speech as a preferred method of communications.

Talking to an inanimate object just doesn't sit well with me. It's worse than talking to an actual human in my opinion.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: MEMS Markets
Max The Magnificent   10/8/2013 10:10:25 AM
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@Duane: I'm still skeptical of voice recognition. I know we talk on the phone and talk to other humans, but with text messaging being so common, I think people may actually be moving away from speech as a preferred method of communications.

Would you like to use your smartphone to text a message to your alarm clock for a 6:00am wake-up ... or would you rather walk into the bedroom and simply say "clock, wake me up at six o'clock tomorrow morning"?

Duane Benson
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Re: MEMS Markets
Duane Benson   10/8/2013 10:59:45 AM
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Max - "Would you like to use your smartphone to text a message to your alarm clock for a 6:00am wake-up ... or would you rather walk into the bedroom and simply say "clock, wake me up at six o'clock tomorrow morning"?"

Hmmm. Tough question...

Really though, I guess voice recognitionis okay in appropriate situations. I can acknowledge that it can be useful for many people in many situations, but I'm still kind of a Luddite on this one.

For me, the alarm clock fits into a different situation. I have to get up earlier on Monday's for a meeting. If I had an alarm that could take a different setting per day, I'd be fine. But, as it is I have to remember, some time on Sunday, to set my alarm early. I'm usually some place else, so when the thought pops into my head, I probably would like to be able to send a text to my clock before I forget again.

On the other hand, my phone is my alarm and it's always with me so my argument is invalid.

kfield
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Re: MEMS Markets
kfield   10/8/2013 11:07:47 AM
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@Duane I'm not sure about telling my alarm clock what time to wake me up (come to think of it i tell my husband that!) but I could definitely be into shouting at it to turn itself off, rather than fumbling around for the off button.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: MEMS Markets
Max The Magnificent   10/8/2013 11:31:03 AM
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@Duane: For me, the alarm clock fits into a different situation. I have to get up earlier on Monday's for a meeting. If I had an alarm that could take a different setting per day, I'd be fine.

I'm thinking of an alarm that you coudl say "Clock, wake me up at 6:00am on Monday mornings and 7:00am the rest of the week, but don't wake me on Saturday's or Sundays" and your waife could say "Clock, wake me up at 8:30 on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday." And it would know you were two differemnt people who wanted different times. And if you thought of something liek "I have to catch a plane tomorrow morning" you coudl call your clock on your smartphone or you coudl email it saying "wake me at 5:00am tomorrow morning and cancel my alarms for the rest of this week"....

 

Duane Benson
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Re: MEMS Markets
Duane Benson   10/8/2013 11:35:46 AM
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Max - Or, even better, an alarm that talks to my calendar. The alarm could see the flight and subtract an estimated get ready and travel time. Then my alarm would ask me: "Would you like to wake up at 5:00am." I'd only need to reply with "sure" or "a half hour earlier."

Max The Magnificent
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Re: MEMS Markets
Max The Magnificent   10/8/2013 11:37:16 AM
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@Duane: Or, even better, an alarm that talks to my calendar...

Now you are getting into the swing of things...

Max The Magnificent
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Re: MEMS Markets
Max The Magnificent   9/27/2013 4:55:44 PM
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@lakehermit: I wish someone would start putting MEMS devices in hand held power tools to reduce or stop dangerous kickbacks when the blade or bit unexpectedly sticks in the workpiece.

This is a brilliant idea. I hope some manufacturers see it -- you should contact them directly and suggest it -- the first one to adopt it coudl get a lot of marketing milage out of it.

I'm all into MEMS at the moment. Did you see my column about wearable electronics?

lakehermit
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Re: MEMS Markets
lakehermit   9/27/2013 5:20:13 PM
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Thanks for the comment. I thought about doing it myself but I really don't have any interest in starting a power tool company. Perhaps some manufacturer will take up the idea and give me some sort of recognition like a generous idea submission fee. Not likely but I can hope.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: MEMS Markets
Max The Magnificent   9/27/2013 5:25:55 PM
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@lakehermit: Perhaps some manufacturer will take up the idea and give me some sort of recognition like a generous idea submission fee. Not likely but I can hope.

Hope springs eternal... :-)

Now, this isn't MEMS-related, but it's still impressive. I was out at the Tech Shop in San Jose at Design West earlier this year. They have a monster circular saw (like a 2-foot diameter blade). If human flesh touches the blade while the saw running, thsi is detected and an explosive bold is fired through the blad halting it in a fraction of a second such that the owner's finger (or whaterer part of their anatonomy) is not even scratched .... pretty amazing!!!

 

Duane Benson
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Re: MEMS Markets
Duane Benson   9/27/2013 6:21:40 PM
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I think that would be a SawStop brand saw. It's a very interesting story. They're only a couple of miles from where I live so their lore has been around for a number of years here. My understanding is that they first tried to license the technology to other saw manufacturers. For whatever reason; liability fears, fear that customers wouldn't pay for safety, or whatever, the big saw companies wouldn't buy it, so SawStop started building their own table saws.

They're confident enough in their product that they have a "report a finger save" form on their website.

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