ORLANDO, Fla.—The Trillion Sensor Summit 2015 (here, Dec. 9-10) celebrated the dominance that sensors are enjoying in a world being flooded with sensor-studded smartphones and other smart devices—not just micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) sensors anymore—but a whole array of semiconductor sensors that have spun-off from MEMS. The Trillion Sensor (TSensor) Summit, founded by serial entrepreneur Janusz Bryzek, was organized for the first time this year by the newly renamed MEMS & Sensor Industry Group (formerly MIG).
The Trillion Sensor Summit was founded by serial entrepreneur Janusz Bryzek, co-chair of TSensor 2015.
(Source: EE Times)
"For decades, sensors were on sidelines of the semiconductor industry," Bryzek said in his opening remarks to the Trillion Sensor Summit. "Apple's iPhone changed all that, triggering a sensor tornado of 10 million MEMS sensors in 2007—the year of the iPhone's introduction—that has grown to 15 billion sensors in 2015."
Two years ago, Bryzek promised a roadmap document that would accurately plot the path that the explosive growth of sensors would make on the way to one trillion by 2025. However, his methodology proved ineffective, prompting him and his collaborators to split the project into two parts, both under Bryzek's supervision.
The European Union's Wize Mirror is under development by 11 EU research centers using embedded sensors in mirror plus five hyper-spectral cameras, gas sensors and 3D scanners to extract heart rate, hemoglobin, cholesterol, sugar level, weight gain/loss, O2, stress/anxiety and breath gases, resulting in a daily health score just by using your mirror to groom each morning.
The first part will focus on sensors and their applications and will be produced from about 150 white papers on devices and applications drawn from the 275 presenters at this and former TSensor Summits. Bryzek estimates that it will take six to 12 months to produce his free online searchable sensor and applications roadmap.
Meanwhile, the second part of the roadmap focuses on systems and infrastructure and will be produced in cooperation with The Micro and Nano Technology Commercialization Education Foundation (MANCEF) under the tutelage of Steve Walsh a member of the Micro and Nano Technology Commercialization Education Foundation's Executive Board and co-founder of the organization with Bryzek.
The third generation landscape roadmap being developed by Steven Walsh and Janus Bryzek at the Micro and Nano Technology Commercialization Education Foundation, will actually be a landscape of roadmaps for Analytics, Additive Manufacturing, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage, Ultraslow Power Wireless, Network Innovation and Operating Systems.
(Source: Steven Walsh at MANCEF, used with permission)
Walsh said that the Micro and Nano Technology Commercialization Education Foundation had already produced a MEMS Roadmap in 1998 and another in 2004, but was branching out into a third-generation roadmap called the TSensor Systems Roadmap that included both MEMS and non-MEMS sensor types, their infrastructure and system-level behaviors including the software that they need to work together efficiently. That required reimagining the roadmap as a landscape, according to Walsh.
The four dimensions of the 3rd generation landscape roadmap being developed by Steven Walsh and Janus Bryzek at the Micro and Nano Technology Commercialization Education Foundation will be the drivers, consortia, components and readiness levels.
(Source: Steven Walsh at MANCEF, used with permission)
"The problem with a roadmap is that it is usually about a single technology, like the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), whereas MEMS has branched out into several associated sensor categories and system level infrastructures to support them," Walsh told EE Times in an exclusive interview.
Instead, Walsh and the Micro and Nano Technology Commercialization Education Foundation have produced what they call a landscape, which is essentially several parallel related roadmaps for each area. So far, they have finished an executive summary of 30 pages and about 100 pages of the landscape, which will be expanded into a third and fourth edition. Walsh promised to send me the existing executive summary which I will report on in a blog when it arrives.
According to Bryzek, the sensors today, compared to the seminal MEMS devices of yesteryear, are three orders of magnitude [1,000-times] less costly, smaller, lighter, less power hungry and higher in shipping volumes, "paving the way" as he calls to the trillion connected sensors he predicts will be in place by 2025 and generating data on the order of of what Bryzek calls bronto-bytes (1,000 trillion bytes).
Sensors are expected to generate a bronto-bytes (1000 trillion trillion) of data by 2025 from the trillion sensors online by then, thereby putting a strain on information technology (IT) infrastructure, requiring Internet to grow exponentially, requiring more programmers than available thus turning to AI algorithm development for Big Data.
(Source: Janus Bryzek, used with permission)
Bryzek claims the biggest growth areas in need of new sensors are healthcare, food production, global pollution, clean energy combined with the biggest technology shift of all—the move to printed electronics. For instance, claims there will be 10 billion robots by 2040 each with 100 discrete sensors resulting in one trillion additional sensors just for robots. But when considering that printable electronics will by then be producing robot "skin" with possibly hundreds of embedded sensors per unit area, many trillions of sensors will be needed although each of them will not be independently connected to the Internet, but to the robot's "brain."
Today in 2015, Bryzek estimates that there are about 15 billion connected sensor in place, but on a growth rate curve of 200 percent a year from 2007 to 2014. Over the same periods, the sensor development cycle has shrunk from 27 years down to 10 years, from conception to commercialization. And with professional 3-D printers, like IBM's capable of 10-nanometer resolution, that 10 years could shrink to months.
Agricultural sensors are on a similar headlong rise from $103 million in 2013 to $2.1 billion in just the first two quarters of 2015, according to Bryzek. Likewise cars have about 200 sensors, smart homes have about 100, smartphones have about 15. And with the Internet of Things (IoT) on the rise, we can expect up to 130 new sensors per person per year, also contributing to the trillion sensor prediction.
In terms of money, Bryzek says General Electric has the most optimism, predicting over a $32 trillion market by 2025, a growth rate much faster than the entire semiconductor industry. Even it overstated, the growth rate is creating an "open window" of opportunity for companies who can interpret those brontobytes of sensor data into actionable intelligence. In fact, Bryzek predicts that by 2025 60-to-90 percent of the profits in the global economy will come from data analytic drawing on those trillion sensors.
— R. Colin Johnson, Advanced Technology Editor, EE Times