technology every day. For example, there have been
some developments in MEMS oscillators, MEMS energy
harvesting, BioMEMS, and RF MEMS switches of late.
Even MEMS devices that have been around for a
long time, such as pressure sensors, are finding new
uses in combo products, where they are integrated with
temperature and humidity sensors to comprise a new class
of environmental sensors.
As the technology has evolved from miniaturized, single-function systems into increasingly complex integrated
systems, the latest generation of smart systems has become
self-sufficient intelligent technical systems, or subsystems,
with advanced functionality, which brings together
actuation, sensing, data processing, and informatics.
There are already many applications for MEMS in smart
driving, smart environments, and smart things.
Over the course of the past few decades, MEMS
developers have showcased a large number of
microsensors for almost every sensing modality, including
pressure, chemical species, inertial forces, temperature,
magnetic fields, and radiation. In recent years, the developers
have demonstrated a number of microactuators.
The industry is looking forward to the day when
microsensors, microactuators, and microelectronics can
be integrated onto a single microchip. When this happens,
augmenting the computational ability of microelectronics with
the perception and control capabilities of microactuators and
microsensors will enable increasingly smarter products.
In Lightman’s perspective, the future of MEMS technology
will also be able to solve some of our planet’s most
worrisome healthcare and wellness problems. “I honestly
think that it will play a role in helping cure cancer (as DNA
sequencing is enabled by MEMS) and will combat other
deadly diseases,” she adds. “I believe that MEMS and
sensors will help us to live independent and healthier lives in
a smarter and safer world.”
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mCube offers the world’s smallest MEMS accelerometer. The first
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available in a 2 x 2 mm package. (Images via MEMS Industry Group).