Wearables / Wellness

Whether worn as decorative jewelry, or as amulets to ward off illness and maintain wellness, or both, wearables’ history extends from simple drilled shells in the distant past to the sleek MEMS sensor-based devices we proudly wear today.  What comes next in this rapidly evolving product space?  How will wearable / wellness devices expand from the present offerings, primarily aerobic activity and body posture monitors, into a full-blown HealthKit, à la Apple’s recently announced native health tracking platform for iOS devices?  These are the topics of interest in the Wearables / Wellness session at the MEMS Executive Congress US 2014; subject matter experts, and others with strong opinions, are invited to submit abstracts, or proposals for talks.

Energy Harvesting / Low Power

It’s been said “There is undisputed scientific consensus that perpetual motion would violate either the first law of thermodynamics, the second law of thermodynamics, or both.” But no law prevents the free harvesting of available energy from local environments and no physical law prevents resourceful engineers from designing MEMS sensors capable of operating on razor-thin power budgets while still delivering some kind of useful output. In the extreme, energy harvesting-powered low power MEMS and sensor devices may seem like perpetual motion machines.  In point of fact, inventions in this field may be useful in the extreme, for example when deployed in harsh environments in remote locations where reliable electrical power from the grid isn’t readily available, and where changing batteries is not an acceptable option.  The MEMS Executive Congress US 2014 session on Energy Harvesting / Low Power is asking for abstracts or speaking proposals by knowledgeable practitioners from the device-side and from the applications-side that will educate or entertain MEMS Executive Congress attendees with examples, challenges, and commercial applications which demonstrate the practical power of Energy Harvesting / Low Power MEMS and sensors.

Agriculture & Environmental Monitoring

The statistics are staggering, and speak of a world in crisis:  According to the United Nations, 783 million people today do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation; 6 to 8 million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases; 842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat; poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year. Clearly, there’s a strong moral imperative to do right, or do good, for these underserved human beings, and there’s also compelling evidence that by doing good commercial enterprises, particularly MEMS and sensor manufacturers, can also do well in the space where “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid” meets the coming “Abundance.” The MEMS community has already developed MEMS and sensor technology fit to meet the needs of the agricultural and environmental monitoring stations that would be of greatest benefit to the world’s least-privileged population, and MEMS Industry Group is asking to hear details about that, along with asking to hear details about the related topic of increasing crop yields in large scale commercial farming, and about the MEMS-based methods being implemented to ensure food supply safety. Interested speakers for the Agriculture & Environmental Monitoring session at MEMS Executive Congress US 2014, please submit your proposals.


(Bridges, roads, buildings, garages)

The American Society of Civil Engineers rated the state of US infrastructure, from aviation infrastructure through to wastewater, as a D+ in 2013, and estimated that more than US$3.6T in cumulative investments are needed by the year 2020 to achieve and maintain a state of good repair (that is, to raise the current D+ grade to a B). That staggering required investment, and the current tenor of US domestic national, state, and local government enthusiasm for spending money on infrastructure repair projects, is creating a golden opportunity for smart infrastructure approaches to the problem.  MEMS sensor-based infrastructure monitoring will pinpoint which infrastructure systems are most needing immediate attention, or which systems are failing earlier than their design life, and will create new business models in which the MEMS sensors, and the data they generate, are strategically applied to the decaying infrastructure problem.  The MEMS Executive Congress US 2014 Infrastructure session wants to hear from enthusiastic speakers on the subject of how it is they plan to turn today’s infrastructure rust into tomorrow’s infrastructure gold.


Imagine a personal security system having these capabilities:  night vision, the ability to visually detect very slight motions, and superior on-the-fly visual pattern recognition, including near-instant friend-or-foe recognition; sound detection from 45Hz into the ultrasonic range, at faint loudness intensities, over long distances; 2 billion olfactory receptors for detecting and responding to airborne chemicals and toxins, including chemical threats and disease pathogens; self-mobilizing, capable of negotiating rough terrain, capable of reaching speeds of greater than 40mph (65kph), capable of negotiating aquatic environments, and capable of independently completing  train-release-return missions under minimal supervision; self-reproducing, and able to scavenge for energy in a variety of environments.  Such a system, if built, would contain some of today’s most sophisticated MEMS sensors, reporting to highly integrated Motion Processing / Coprocessing Units running millions of lines of code, in order to perform the same security functions as does … a well-trained dog. The MEMS Executive Congress US 2014 Security session is looking to hear from speakers active in the security space who are adding MEMS sensor-based capabilities to existing security measures or who are readying for market novel security products.

Industrial Automation

GE likes to call them “Brilliant Machines,” springing from a “convergence of the global industrial system with the power of advanced computing, analytics, low-cost sensing and new levels of connectivity permitted by the Internet.”  And it envisions, in its “Power of the 1 Percent,” achieving savings over 15 years of more than US$250B in some of the big global industrial sectors (Aviation, Power, Healthcare, etc.) by implementing performance and productivity gains with this new kind of industrial automation.  For OMRON Industrial Automation the idea is to “… help innovate worldwide manufacturing through expertise in sensing and control technology, enabling manufacturers to operate with greater productivity and streamlined efficiency.”  In both cases, it is MEMS sensors that are fundamental to the new industrial automation era envisioned by GE, OMRON, and others, and it is for the MEMS Executive Congress US 2014 that MEMS Industry Group is requesting potential speakers submit abstracts or proposals for talks in the Industrial Automation session.

Healthcare & Medical

According to The Economist, total annual health spending in the United States is USD $2.7 trillion, or 17% of GDP. And the Peter G. Peterson Foundation offers these observations: America currently pays about twice as much per capita on healthcare as its peers do in other advanced nations, yet American health outcomes are no better. Reasonably enough, many health experts believe that America can increase the quality of health care while also reducing health care costs (i.e. just completely upset the status quo). The question: how to do that? One answer: MEMS and MEMS sensors applied to personalized medicine, and used in home healthcare monitoring, might reduce hospitalization costs and improve patient outcomes. And in regions of the world where healthcare expenditures and health outcomes are already far below what is reasonable, MEMS sensors in disposable medical testing kits, for example, might greatly improve health and vitality. The Healthcare & Medical session at the MEMS Executive Congress US 2014 wants to hear from speakers who are approaching medical issues by using MEMS and MEMS sensor technology in new ways on these seemingly intractable problems in this very important subject.

Business Development (Use Cases, Funding, Innovation)

Wanted by Canaan Partners, Sand Hill Road:  “Entrepreneurs who defy convention, radically changing business models and technology in the process.”

Wanted by Sequoia Capital, Sand Hill Road: “The creative spirits. The underdogs. The resolute. The determined. The indefatigable. The defiant. The outsiders. The independent thinkers. The fighters. The true believers.”

Wanted by MEMS Industry Group, MEC US 2014:  MEMS entrepreneurs who are defying convention, and who are radically changing business models and technology in the process; creative spirits; underdogs; the resolute. The independent thinkers and true believers who are bringing new innovations to the MEMS industry. Firebrand MEMS revolutionaries who want to move fast and break things in the process. Who know how to get started, how to jump over gaps, and know how to land on their feet while maintaining forward progress. And who want to spread the fire of creative power by speaking at the Business Development session at MEC US 2014. Proposals are being accepted now.