June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.635.1 - 13.635.11
Future of Microsystems Technology Education, Research and Outreach as applied to 21st century manufacturing
Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) or simply the Microsystems are about tiny electro mechanical devices. These devices are finding their applications in consumer products such as automobiles, communication devices and medical devices. Microsystems are finding rapid growth in their applications and usage. This prompts the need for trained human power to sustain the growth of this nascent technology. This paper explores the opportunities and ways to incorporate Microsystems curriculum in the Engineering Technology programs.
Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) or Micro Systems Technologies were developed in parallel with the semiconductor industry, but are now experiencing global growth on their own. Microsystems are miniature devices with components smaller than a human hair that can sense, think, communicate and perform complex tasks. Common micro devices include crash sensors used in air bag deployment, ink jet print heads, and biosensors based on nanoprobes. On the sophisticated front, Digital Light Processing (DLP) projection systems are getting popular. At the heart of every DLP projection system is an optical semiconductor known as the DLP chip, which was invented by Dr. Larry Hoenbeck of Texas Instruments in 1987. The DLP chip is probably the world’s most sophisticated light switch. It contains a rectangular array of up to 2 million hinge-mounted microscopic mirrors; each of these micro mirrors measures less than one-fifth the width of a human hair. When a DLP chip is coordinated with a digital video or graphic signal, a light source, and a projection lens, its mirrors can reflect a digital image onto a screen or other surface. The DLP chip and the sophisticated electronics that surround it make up the DLP technology. It is being used extensively in projectors, TVs and movie theatres.
The continued growth in Microsystems or MEMS devices has prompted many Universities to develop graduate-level MEMS research programs as well as some introductory undergraduate courses. However, there is a profound need for standardized materials and technological support and training for academia and industry. A steady stream of highly skilled engineers and technologists produced in this field is very important for the leadership in this nascent technology.
One of the major problems with the adoption of MEMS related courses at the undergraduate curriculum is the need to cover a broad spectrum of introductory information that is essential in understanding the principles. Also there is the need to have sufficient access to design, simulation and manufacturing of these MEMS devices to stimulate the interest in the students. If the students get excited at an early stage, then there is a good probability that they would pursue a career in MEMS related programs which will be the need of the century.
Edinbarough, I., & Rao, P. (2008, June), Future Of Microsystems Technology Education, Research And Outreach As Applied To 21 St Century Manufacturing Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3233
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