PITTSBURGH, USA: MEMS Industry Group (MIG)’s first MEMS Executive Congress Europe, held March 20, 2012 in Zurich, was a resounding success. Keynotes by Audi AG and STMicroelectronics and panels on smart industrial systems, automotive, Quality of Life (QoL)/biomedical devices, and consumer products gave more than 150 attendees of MEMS Executive Congress a glimpse of the future of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) in wide-ranging applications.
Calling MEMS “the nervous system of machines,” Siemens’ Thomas Scheiter predicted that smart industrial systems will use sensors and software algorithms as “brains” that interpret data from electronic devices. VTI Technologies’ Hannu Laatikainen waxed poetic when he stated that we need to “treat the car more like a human that can see, feel, hear, smell and taste.”
Suunto’s Terho Lahtinen described the role of gyros and RF MEMS with biofeedback in complete, multi-level sensor networks that improve athletic performance. Philips Research Laboratories’ Hans Hofstraat declared that “MEMS devices are an essential component in bringing healthcare closer to the patient. They can play a key role in promoting self-management of chronic disease. Furthermore, they are at the basis of innovations in effective minimally invasive therapies.”
As host of the event, Karen Lightman, managing director of MEMS Industry Group—the trade association advancing MEMS across global markets—noted recurring themes expressed by the various speakers. “MEMS is growing at an exponential pace. That’s true in consumer products and automotive, where it is practically ubiquitous—and in smart industrial systems and QoL/biomedical devices, in which it is steadily gaining ground. MEMS is enabling functionality that we have only just begun to imagine, such as cars that drive themselves, or biomedical systems that minimize surgery and miniaturize therapy for diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson’s. While the design of these applications is vastly different, a common interest in integration, mass production, safety and reliability applies across the board.
“The fantastic success of MEMS Executive Congress Europe and the US MEMS Session at our partner conference, Smart Systems Integration, demonstrates that these issues are universal and worldwide—and that forums such as these are important to furthering the commercialization of MEMS.”