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A Place to Dry Your Nanoclothes

The next thing after MEMS is… OK, time’s up… NEMS. Of course. From micro to nano.

One of the materials that seems inextricably linked to NEMS is carbon, even if carbon isn’t a defining element of NEMS. More explicitly, at UC Irvine, they’re doing work on what Prof. Marc Madou calls Carbon-MEMS (or C-MEMS).

Manufacturing techniques at the nano level can be quite different from what we’re used in at the MEMS level. C-MEMS uses organic precursor chemicals to lay down a structure. When processed/ … Read More → "A Place to Dry Your Nanoclothes"

Sixty years plus

Almost every presentation that I go to talks about the fast moving development cycle and the rapid obsolescence of products. So it was a real change to get a release that talked about longevity.

Foster Transformers are boasting about product returns, not normally an issue that people are proud of. In this case the first example was a door bell transformer that was making strange noises. It was indeed making a humming noise, as the wax that protected the core from moisture and damped the intrinsic hum had broken down. Since the wax was put in place … Read More → "Sixty years plus"

Tunable RF

One of the more delicate parts of a cellphone is the RF circuitry responsible for getting the signals into and out of the phone.  According to UCSD’s Prof. Gabriel Rebeiz (who presented at the MEMS Business Forum, and who’s actually a pretty entertaining presenter), RF performance has been degrading from generation to generation as the number of bands has increased. From 4G on, he points to the need for better antennas, power amps, and filtering – as well as MIMO technology & … Read More → "Tunable RF"

Another Cloud Offering

Analog tool vendor Symica has announced that it will provide cloud access to its tools, starting with SymSpice. They’re using Nefelus, a company that appears to be building cloud infrastructure specifically for the semiconductor design market.

This is all in beta right now, so it’s still kind of quiet and mysterious. I contacted Nefelus to see what the timing is for coming out of beta. He describes SymSpice as a critical piece for determining the readiness for launch. They are … Read More → "Another Cloud Offering"

Locus of (Con)Fusion

At the MEPTEC MEMS conference a couple weeks ago, one sensor fusion question kept coming up over and over: Who’s in charge of sensor fusion?

On the one hand, IMU makers in general are giving away sensor fusion packages that help integrate the data from the individual sensors in their combo units. Then there are guys like Movea that don’t make sensors themselves, but integrate across a wide variety of sensors for both high- and low-level motion artifacts (motion … Read More → "Locus of (Con)Fusion"

Harvesting Lunch for Free

I saw a presentation today at the Sensors Expo by Soobum Lee, Research Assistant Professor at Notre Dame, regarding an energy harvesting approach for tire pressure sensors. I should say at the outset that, while I’m going to do some academic nitpicking, my point isn’t to question his research; practical follow-up may confirm his ideas as useful. But it got me thinking.

The problem he was trying to solve was that of powering the sensors that detect whether your tire pressure is low using a system that doesn’t involve batteries. He … Read More → "Harvesting Lunch for Free"

The Elusive Trillion

The MEMS industry held a couple of interesting conferences last week. A number of noteworthy things came from them, which I’ll be covering over a few posts here. But, while it wasn’t my major takeaway from the events, there was one high-level aspect that I found rather unusual in this type of environment, where group-think tends to drive people on inexorably – even if it ends up taking them over a cliff like so many buffalo.

The theme of this year’s MEPTEC conference was clearly about getting to a trillion. Dollars … Read More → "The Elusive Trillion"

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