In a recent MarketWatch column John Dvorak puts his finger on what he has called "the MEMS juggernaut" claiming "A Silicon Valley revolution is coming."
Hot and about to get hotter, MEMS stands for Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and is, according to MEMS Exchange "the integration of mechanical elements, sensors, actuators, and electronics on a common silicon substrate through microfabrication technology."
Whereas electronics are fabricated using integrated circuit (IC) process sequences (e.g., CMOS, Bipolar, or BICMOS processes), the micromechanical components are fabricated using compatible "micromachining" processes that selectively etch away parts of the silicon wafer or add new structural layers to form the mechanical and electromechanical devices.
As astute a Silicon Valley observer as there is, Dvorak noted that "The recent publicity for Hewlett-Packard and its new MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system) accelerometer sent a message to Silicon Valley. The message was that MEMS technologies have indeed taken root and may be the target of the next generation of high tech venture investments after we're done with "green." "
He claims there has not been a big push in the valley for new MEMS start-ups, probably due to the "moribund IPO market."
But MEMS profile as a promising industry segment may be about to take off.
This week the MEMS Executive Congress held its fifth event in Sonoma, CA, a gathering that attracted business leaders from a broad spectrum of industries (automotive, consumer goods, industrial, medical, telecom, and more) to promote this industry. The Congress is said to provide end users and MEMS companies a forum to interact and share experiences relating to the commercialization of MEMS. The congress is organized by the MEMS Industry Group.
In one panel discussion, MEMS Executive Congress panelists explored how MEMS is driving energy efficiency, safety and the driver experience in automobiles as well as its impact on other market sectors. It also explored some of the many initiatives promoting the manufacture of energy-efficient cars, including the Association for European NanoElectronics Activities' E3Car.
Other Congress keynotes included a look at RF MEMS for the 4G handset industry from NTT DOCOMO, and a pesentatuion from from Dr. Mauro Ferrari Chair of the Dept of NanoMedicine and Biomedical Engineering at the Univ of Texas Medical School at Houston.
Learn more about MEMS by visiting the Congresse's website where you can also
download all the presentations from the Congress.
And for a quick online tutorial on MEMS see the video below.