Electronic Products & Technology

Tech execs look to new MEMS technology for advanced designs

Stephen Law   

Electronics Semiconductors Engineering Supply Chain MEMs

A ready audience of industry executives shared their wants for new MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS)/sensors for use in future products, while attending a congress focused on this specific sector of the electronics industry.

Recently hosted by MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG) in Scottsdale AZ, the MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress was attended by such emerging tech players as innovative developers of driverless vehicles and drone-defense makers, as well as one of the world’s top carriers.

Phillip M. Rayer II, general manager of Local Motors, described how his company uses ‘co-creation’, which involves as many as 50,000 developers to design driverless electric vehicles for target communities. Local Motors uses 3D printing to manufacture the vehicles in months rather than years.

Cost-effective, efficient, equitable and convenient system


“Today’s transportation system is characterised largely by privately owned, individually driven, gas-powered vehicles that sit unused 95% of the time, cost over $1-trillion annually and emit 1 gigaton of emissions each year,” says Rayer. “A more cost-effective, efficient, equitable and convenient system is possible – one that delivers a variety of shared, electrified and autonomous mobility options when and where they are needed. We call this ‘mobility as a service’ and we have proven it through the first 3D-printed structural car and the first self-driving electric vehicle to integrate the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of IBM Watson. Through co-creation, we are now working on the first 3D-printed driverless car for highways.”

Cameron Coursey, vice-president of product development for AT&T’s Internet of Things Solutions, told MEMS and sensors suppliers that they play a critical role in the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’: the Internet of Things (IoT).

Democratizing airspace to defend against drones

Dan Hyman, president, XCOM Wireless and partner, Icarus Technologies, Inc. introduced attendees to the concept of “democratizing airspace to defend against drones.” Leveraging RF MEMS from XCOM Wireless, Icarus develops portable, affordable counter-drone products to stop drones used unwittingly by dangerous hobbyists as well as by willful enemies.

MEMS & Sensors Industry Group executive director Karen Lightman expanded upon themes from MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress,” In MEMS and sensors, there is a need for co-creation, standards, connectivity and audio technologies that enhance voice user interface as well as ultrasonics that redefine gesture control,” adds Lightman.

“There was a collective buzz around driverless mobility solutions and environmental sensing. Attendees also learned about future-term technologies such as perpetual energy sources for autonomous sensing devices and printed hybrid electronics. As we look to 2017 and beyond, MEMS and sensors suppliers will continue to advance the user experience with every imaginable electronic product and system,” Lightman concludes.



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