MEMS May Hold Key to Internet of Things

My last post commented on “The Internet of Things” becoming a topic of general interest thanks to recent coverage in publications like the New York Times. Of course, you also have the opportunity to drill down for more detailed information on the topic in specialized publications and events.

Roger Grace, a consultant who follows the MEMS market, said he sees what he calls a “MEMS-based systems solutions” approach as a key enabler of the Internet of Things. With this approach, he says, “Low cost sensors (MEMS are perfect for this) and computational power (embedded cores in ASICS) become a catalyst for MEMS suppliers to enter this market.” Mr. Grace will chair a session on the Internet of Things and smart system integration March 22 at the International Conference and Exhibition on Integration Issues of Miniaturized Systems in Zurich, Switzerland.

At the session, Kensal (Ken) Wise of the University of Michigan Wireless Integrated Microsystems and Sensors Center will deliver a keynote titled “Wireless Integrated Microsystems: Historical Retrospective and Future Directions.” In other presentations, Matthew Hopcroft of HP Labs will discuss “CeNSE: A Central Nervous System of the Earth,” and David Day of Thermo Fisher Scientific will discuss “Intelligent Sensors and Smart Systems: A Revolution in Handheld Spectroscopy.” In addition, Mr. Grace will provide an overview of smart systems integration in the US and will lead a panel discussion on emerging application opportunities and barriers to their commercialization.

Another resource on the Internet of Things, if not strictly MEMS, is the WSNblog. There, blogger Marco Zennaro does see a down-side to popularization of the topic, writing that “The Internet of Things” is a term being bandied about to the point of being “almost meaningless now it's hit the mainstream of the NYT and the BBC.” Nevertheless, he writes, “…there is a quiet revolution taking place” in with the creation of what he calls the “sensor commons,” a community oriented sensor network that could plug gaps in available data.

WSNblog provides a wealth of applications information. Recent posts include “Landslide Alert Sensors to Check Dam Breakage” (describing 150 geophysical sensors connected to 20 wireless sensor nodes in Munnar, India) and “Adperc and IntelliSAW Bring Next Generation Wireless Sensor Technology to Brazil`s Smart Grid Market” (describing a wireless-sensor system for smart-grid applications).

And of course we will be covering the topic in EE-Evaluation Engineering in 2012.

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