By Paul Werbaneth
A journey of a trillion sensors begins with a single step.
The TSensors Summit, held at Stanford University on 23 – 25 October 2013, was a showcase for the ideas and strategies that will lead the electronics industry to produce very high volumes of Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)-based sensors for use in new applications likely to enter the market in the coming decade.
There are currently several mega platform markets for MEMS sensors (and for the application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC), used to interface with them); most notable of these mega platform markets are smartphones, tablets, automobiles, and handheld consumer electronics products. Together, along with all other markets for MEMS sensors, the unit volume of MEMS devices shipped in 2013 will be on the order of billions, or the low tens of billions. (Nowhere close, yet, to 1 trillion.)
What will drive MEMS sensor growth from the billions to the trillions? Entwined with the vision of producing a trillion sensors per year is the vision of the uses to which these sensors will be put to bring about a world of ‘Abundance.’ “Imagine a world of nine billion people with clean water, nutritious food, affordable housing, personalized education, top-tier medical care, and nonpolluting, ubiquitous energy. Building this better world is humanity’s grandest challenge.”
Per Dr. Janusz Bryzek, Fairchild Semiconductor, chair of the TSensors Summit, achieving Abundance needs revolutions in the following areas: Health Care, Food, Energy, Water, Education and Freedom.
It was against this background that the 250 registered TSensors attendees, representing 100+ organizations from 14 countries, listened to 54 speakers describe visions for a trillion sensor world of Abundance.
(And to keep the Summit momentum going, TSensors has issued a call to action for those wishing to participate in what comes next.)
TSensors was also the background for catching up with Dr. Stephen Breit, V.P. of Engineering at Coventor, a provider of design automation solutions for micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and virtual fabrication of MEMS and semiconductor devices.
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