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Wireless integrated microsystems promise to become pervasive during the coming decade in applications ranging from health care and environmental monitoring to homeland security. Merging low-power embedded computing, wireless interfaces, and wafer-level packaging with microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), the resulting button-sized...
Wireless integrated microsystems promise to become pervasive during the coming decade in applications ranging from health care and environmental monitoring to homeland security. Merging low-power embedded computing, wireless interfaces, and wafer-level packaging with microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), the resulting button-sized modules will serve as smart information-gathering nodes that will effectively wire the planet, extending communication networks to a wide range of new information-gathering applications. These microsystems will be 1cc or less in size, dissipating less than 1mW and communicating over ranges from 1cm to 1km. Such devices will be built on generic platforms that are digitally compensated and self-testing, customized by software and by front-end sensor selection. This talk will highlight two emerging microsystems that serve as examples. A chronically-implantable neural microsystem integrates high-density three-dimensional microelectrode arrays with embedded signal processing and wireless telemetry, offering new hope for the treatment of disorders such as deafness, paralysis, epilepsy, and Parkinsonâs disease and representing an electronic interface to the nervous system. A wristwatch-size environmental monitor is also being developed to measure parameters such as pressure, temperature, humidity, position, and air quality. The microsystem includes an integrated gas chromatograph capable of analyzing complex gaseous mixtures with sensitivities in the parts-per-trillion range, offering exciting possibilities for enhancing homeland security and reducing global pollution.