In this interview, AZOSensors speaks with Carmelo Sansone, Director of MSIG about the connected devices for wearables, robotics, cars, and other autonomous mobility devices.
Please tell us a bit about what we can expect at this year’s MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress?
The theme of this year’s MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress, “Sensor Systems Enabling Autonomous Mobility,” explores the essential role of MEMS and sensors in autonomously functioning connected devices, including autonomous vehicles, health/biomedical devices, and agricultural and environmental sensing applications.
Tell us about the topics the keynote speakers will be covering this year?
MEMS and sensors provide intelligent sensing and actuation to hundreds of billions of autonomous mobility devices proliferating across markets as diverse as wearables, smartphones, refrigerators, agriculture, health and medical devices, and military hardware.
While connected devices offer countless benefits to users, they are vulnerable simply becasue they are connected. IoT botnet attacks like Mirai — and other demonstrated cyberattacks on home devices, vehicles, and infrastructure — highlight the increasingly urgent need to address cybersecurity and privacy in MEMS-enabled devices. MITRE Corp. cybersecurity expert Cynthia Wright will discuss drivers and considerations for industry executives preparing to get ahead of this wave in her keynote at the 14th annual MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress, which is hosted by SEMI-MEMS & Sensors Industry Group.
Wright, a retired military officer with over 25 years of experience in national security and cyber strategy and policy, will highlight emerging threats targeting autonomous devices, the critical importance of device security in ensuring reliability and end-user safety, some ongoing standards initiatives, and return-on-investment considerations for industry executives.
Ron Polcawich, program manager, DARPA Microsystems Technology Office, will introduce his agency’s conceptual effort to both foster MEMS’ innovation and production— and speed design-to-development — through government-industry collaboration.
Polcawich will discuss how this effort has the potential to improve access to economies of scale for mission-critical MEMS development, increase the rate of innovation, improve the timelines for technology transition, and enable novel device designs with large-scale integration of more complex systems of MEMS.
What can attendees expect to learn from Cynthia Wright's talk on autonomous mobility devices?
Cynthia Wright will discuss emerging threats to the cybersecurity and privacy of autonomous mobility devices. She will address US national cybersecurity strategy as it may relate to MEMS/sensors-enabled devices, such as smartphones, biomedical devices and autonomous vehicles.
Wright will also explain the pertinence of US federal government legislative efforts such as the IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017 and the IoT Consumer TIPS Act of 2017 which would make the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) create educational material for consumers buying IoT devices to MEMS/sensors suppliers and their OEM customers).
This year the conference is also covering cyber security and the critical importance of device security and privacy in ensuring reliability and end-user safety. Why is this an important topic to cover at MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress?
While a hack might cause inconvenience through loss of privacy in some classes of applications (such as baby monitors or smart TVs), in others, hacked electronics could result in grave health issues or even loss of life. For example, automotive manufacturers may use hundreds of MEMS/sensors in autonomous vehicles.
At the same time, these manufacturers are targeting zero road fatality by 2028. How can automotive manufacturers prevent provoked malfunctions and compromised driver safety? They must secure the whole data flow from the sensor to the cloud, and the MEMS/sensors industry can play a role in helping to support their effort
Cyber security is equally critical in biomedical devices such as blood glucose monitors, insulin pumps and heart monitors. The MEMS/sensors industry needs to design new smart sensors with security in mind rather than patching them when a breach occurs.
Can you tell us about the special events this year at MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress?
Always a crowd favorite, the Technology Showcase at MEMS & Sensors Executive gives five finalists the chance to demonstrate their MEMS and sensors-enabled applications as they vie for attendee votes. This year’s finalists include:
- Alertgy’s Glucose Monitor, a biosensor-based wristband device that provides non-invasive, real-time blood glucose monitoring for diabetics.
- N5 Sensors’ Micro-Scale Gas Sensors on a Chip, which enable low-power, high-reliability microscale gas and chemical sensing technologies in small-footprint devices.
- NXP Semiconductor’s Asset Tracking Technology, which uses motion sensors, GPS and edge computing for precision tracking of a package’s journey from origin to the delivery point.
- Scorched Ice Inc.’s Smart Skates, which leverage STMicroelectronics’ inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensors to facilitate real-time diagnostics of a hockey player's skating technique, condition and performance.
- SportFitz’s Concussion-Monitoring Device, a wearable device that combines real-time measurements of location, position, direction and force of impact — as well as big data analytics and embedded protocols — to stream data that can help assess potentially concussive brain impacts.
Wearable devices is another hot topic this year. What can attendees expect to learn about this?
Wearables are hot because they are becoming increasingly more useful. New sensors allow us to check our body’s health conditions in real-time, even monitoring the quality of the air we breathe. Having access to more information about our personal health could spur healthier behavior.
How should consumers control their wearable devices? The jury is out as the user-interface wars continue, with suppliers advocating for solutions involving voice, touch and/or gesture as the most desirable ways for us to interact with the electronic devices in our lives.
The role sensors play in agriculture will also be a featured session this year. What can attendees expect to learn in this session?
Sensors used in agriculture are opening the doors to applications that were never thought possible before. This is a growing field that will allow us to optimize resources used to feed crops as well as avoid waste in the food chain. Pressure, temperature and humidity sensors are among those sensors that are already widely used. What new MEMS/sensors do suppliers need to develop to further improve agricultural production and food safety?
What else can attendees expect this year?
For the first time at MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress, we will have a winemaker present. Greg La Follette, winemaker of Alquimista Cellars, will explain how his vineyard uses sensors in the production of wine grapes for his award-winning wines. The day after the conference, attendees can choose to stay on to take the Bevan Cellar Tench Vineyard Winery tour. Can this get any better for those who love wine like me?
About Carmelo Sansone
As director of MEMS & Sensor Industry Group (MSIG), Carmelo Sansone leads industry-wide efforts to advance the MEMS and sensors supply chain across global markets. Carmelo previously held positions at some of the world’s leading electronics industry companies, including STMicroelectronics, Renesas, NXP Semiconductors and Xilinx.
Carmelo holds an MBA from Golden Gate University (San Francisco) and an MS degree in Electronic Engineering (Biomedical) from the University of Pisa (Italy).
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