By Karen Lightman, managing director, MEMS Industry Group
If I must tell the truth, the genesis of MEMS Technology Showcase began (as many great ideas do) at a bar over beers, the closing night of MEMS Executive Congress 2010. I was talking with Bryan Hoadley of Movea, who had just spoken on the MEMS in Consumer panel. He and I talked about what the MEMS industry needs – a way to show how cool the MEMS inside is – to showcase the “MEMS in the machine” (a marketing theme that we at MEMS Industry Group had just launched earlier that year). And viola! The concept for MEMS Technology Showcase was born.
My vision was to create a carnival-type atmosphere where OEM/end-user companies would compete to come up on stage while the moderator would be the ringmaster, virtual whip in hand, taming the masses who want a glimpse at the wonder of those magnificent MEMS-enabled products. My ultimate goal was to have companies not wait to release their products at CES in January, but instead, at MEMS Technology Showcase in November. I fantasized that someday even Apple would want to release their latest iPhone at the Congress! (Well you must admit there are a lot of MEMS in there!)
Last year the MEMS Technology Showcase was a huge success – so big that others even tried to replicate it at their events (I guess it’s that expression: “imitation is the best form of flattery,” right?) We crowned Recon Instruments’ MOD-Live heads-up display for goggles as our winner, and they’ve gone on to great commercial success and recognition.
This year we have six finalists, and I am confident that our winner will receive accolades and customer orders galore, and it’ll be due in part to those fabulous little MEMS chips inside, enabling all that functionality in a smaller, faster and lower-power form factor with heaps of intelligence to boot.
I am equally confident in this year’s moderator, Shawn G. DuBravac, chief economist and senior director of research, Consumer Electronics Association (BTW nothing will come close to CES, I was just kidding, Shawn. No hard feelings, right?). Shawn has mastered similar types of competitions for CEA and has already shared his advice on how to mange the “flow” of the competition/panel; his biggest suggestion was to get a HUGE DIGITAL CLOCK like the ones they have at finish lines for marathons. I thought we’d get the whip from my original ringmaster idea…
Here’s a peek at who will be competing in our second annual MEMS Technology Showcase:
BodyMedia’s VUE Patch is a seven-day, disposable body-monitoring patch that measures calorie burn, activity levels and sleep patterns, creating a snapshot of lifestyle habits to guide recommendations for weight loss, diabetes management, sports/fitness, corporate wellness, and more.
12-axis Xtrinsic Sensor Platform for Windows 8
Freescale Semiconductor’s 12-axis Xtrinsic sensor platform for Windows 8® extends sensor fusion in tablets, slates, laptops and other portable devices. This complete hardware and software reference platform fuses accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope data using a Freescale ColdFire+ MCU. It also features a ‘smart’ pressure sensor that provides pressure and altitude data. Certified for Windows 8.
Intel Atom Z2760 for Windows 8 tablets and convertibles
The Intel® Atom™ processor Z2760 (“Clover Trail”) was architected specifically for Windows 8. It is based on Intel’s 32nm process technology, powers lightweight tablets and convertibles that meet the demands of consumers and business users, and includes outstanding battery life, always-on technology, connected standby and the sleekest designs available. This touch-enabled tablet features a sensor hub microcontroller with an array of physical and logical motion sensors (including accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, fusion sensors (compass, device orientation, and inclinometer), proximity, additional location systems (ALS) and GPS. Certified for Windows 8.
Light Bohrd, LLC, is looking to make revolutionary contributions in skateboarding and snowboarding style and safety by adding the world’s first motion-activated LED lights to each sport’s respective boards. The Light Bohrd LED design uses patent-pending technology to store energy and activate LED lights to illuminate the board’s graphics. With technology completely embedded, Light Bohrd’s boards are charged wirelessly through magnetic induction and are brought to life by the wave of a magnet. The lights are then activated with motion. A fully charged Light Bohrd will stay lit for up to six hours.
LUMOback is a wearable sensor and smartphone app that provides feedback on posture and movement. The sensor band is worn around the waist and gently vibrates when the wearer slouches to remind him/her to sit or stand up straight. The smartphone app displays an avatar that mimics the wearer’s movements and posture in real time, capturing that information when he/she sits, stands, walks, runs and sleeps. It is compatible with the iPhone 5, 4S, new iPod touch (5th gen) or new iPad (3rd gen).
Orbotix’s Sphero is the first robotic-ball gaming device controlled with a tilt, touch or swing from a smartphone or tablet. It immerses users in a new type of gameplay called “mixed-reality,” in which real and virtual elements are seamlessly merged. Sphero interacts with mobile apps, giving people new ways to test their skills, play games with friends, and more. Users can even employ Sphero as a controller for on-screen gameplay. With free apps being developed continuously, including a mixed-reality version of golf, Sphero provides plenty of gaming thrills.
Please join us Thursday, November 8, 2012, 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. for MEMS Technology Showcase at MEMS Executive Congress. This panel is sponsored by Movea.