Thursday, April 26, 2012

MEMS Industry Group to get inside look at R&D of 'miniature machines' at Carnegie Mellon

PITTSBURGH, USA: MEMS Industry Group (MIG) is bringing the global micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) supply chain to Pittsburgh for its annual meeting, giving leading MEMS suppliers an opportunity to tour Carnegie Mellon’s microsystems labs on May 8.

Having launched commercial successes such as MEMS microphone- maker Akustica, now owned by the Bosch Group, and BodyMedia, creator of MEMS information systems tracking calories and sleep patterns, CMU’s MEMS labs remain research pioneers for the ‘miniature machines’ that allow consumers to experience electronic devices and the environment in new ways.

"Our members are going to see what’s coming down the pipeline at one of the world’s leading engineering institutions," said Karen Lightman, managing director of MEMS Industry Group and a CMU alumna. "During their tour of CMU’s MEMS labs, MIG members will have the opportunity to interact with faculty and graduate students to experience the cross-pollination between the commercial business sector and academia, where R&D work often generates new products and technologies for the betterment of society. This is a unique experience, and we are honored and proud to have our members be part of it."

CMU’s Maarten de Boer, an associate professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department, and Gary Fedder, director of the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems (ICES) and a professor of the Robotics Institute, will host MIG members as they tour a cache of labs involving micro-nanofabrication, micro-nanorobotics, micro-fluidics and other technologies.

"These lab tours and demos are designed to help important industry leaders see some of our leading-edge work involving development of ultra-reliable technologies and to explore new device concepts applicable to many industry sectors from electronics to biomedical engineering," said De Boer.

Each year, MEMS devices are shipped globally in a variety of consumer products, including mobile phones, tablets, laptops, video games and cameras. They are also embedded in biomedical devices and quality of life applications, automotive safety systems and smart industrial systems. By 2015, industry analysts predict that the MEMS industry will grow to nearly $12 billion. In fact, MEMS products are so ubiquitous that their growth now outpaces growth of other segments of the electronics industry.

"We are experiencing steady and sustained market acceptance in our industry," said Lightman. "With all of our success, I strongly believe that we have barely scratched the surface of what we can achieve with MEMS. It is through the research and development being conducted at academic institutions like CMU that we will continue to tap the potential of MEMS in the future."

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