Examples of potential real-world applications can be found by doing a search for "MEMS" in Google Patents. At this point, 28,400 patents come up that include the term, and a quick check of some of the titles show the broad diversity of applications, such as antennas, switches, biosensors, imaging devices, glaucoma implants, etc.
@karenlightman & @pixies: there are many healthcare areas where MEMS are already making impact and you can expect this to increase several fold. In preventive care alone where consumers can monitor themselves (like heart rate, blood pressure & glucose levels, etc.) using their handhelds & mobiles, the opportunties are huge, enabled my MEMS of course! In sports medicine and kinesiology, applications of MEMS accelerometers and gyro's are leading to many new discoveries.
Nano-robots scouring your artery are still years away from becoming practical!
FDA approval tends to be too slow and the couterpart regulations & approvals are slightly better outside the US.
My previous article on automobile MEMS is here (from Semicon West where I also met Karen!):
Thanks for your comment, though I don't agree with it completely. I think we are on the cusp of MEMS cracking that magic - but it's not going to be one single "killer app" - instead it will be many cracks, opening up many products - MEMS is an enabling technology and as someone earlier commented, it's about how MEMS is evolving....
thanks again for the comment!
hello and thanks for your comment. I actually think one of the most "important" applications of MEMS is how it will improve Quality of Life - as the technology of MEMS will enable folks to manage their own healthcare, maintain their dignity and improve their well being. A great example of this is the company Proteus Biomedical - that has developed a way to monitor a patient's medicine (as one of the leading causes of poor health is that patients don't keep up on their meds) - you should check it out.
thanks so much for your comment!
Thanks for your comment and yes, you are so right. I especially appreciate your inclusion of the word "investment" in your comment - as that is the critical part - we need the design and software community to INVEST in MEMS and then we'll truly see an explosion in MEMS.
Yup - exactly - I envision a world where MEMS is frickin' everywhere! the applications are so numerous in so many markets - and now the price points are such that they can become superfluous - so thanks for your comment!
Hello and thanks for the comment - I totally agree that we are just at the cusp of what MEMS can enable - it's an exciting future. I hope you'll check out the MEMS TechZone at CES next week - where we'll be showcasing just a handful of some of those amazing applications!
Hello - thanks for the comment on MEMS (that's a capital "S" at the end, BTW) and its explosion. I completely agree with your comment on the critical need to connect the industry, academia and US government on this issue! there are some schools that are leaders in MEMS - including UC Berkeley, WIMS at UMichigan, MIT and my alma mater, CMU...but there are also some great programs at community colleges, including University of New Mexico's microtech program - good luck!
Mems has been touted as the next gen technology since about 2 decades now but it has all but come to the foreground. I guess they have still not cracked the magic to make it really small and useful at the same time.