New "smart" MEMS microphones enable recording with a quality once reserved only for musicians and rich wannabes with their own private recording studios.
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.