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MEMS: The Systems Function Revolution
October 1999 (vol. 32 no. 10)
pp. 25-31

Information systems are no longer confined to desktops but are rapidly becoming part of cars, personal digital assistants, and palmtop systems. In this context, systems must be able not only to compute but also to sense their physical environment and respond to it. These requirements move beyond even complex microelectronics, calling for a functionality that combines electrical and mechanical components. This new functionality is realized in microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS). MEMS devices are fast becoming part of everything from automobiles and fighter aircraft to printers and telecommunications switching equipment. According to the authors, despite some obvious advantages, MEMS are not well understood by the systems design and applications community-ironically, the ones to whom MEMS offer the greatest opportunities for enhancing system functionality. One area of confusion is how MEMS are produced and how that process differs from microelectronics manufacturing. In this article, the authors explain similarities and differences and identify some trends and motivations leading to a new systems functionality.

Karen W. Markus, Kaigham J. Gabriel, "MEMS: The Systems Function Revolution," Computer, vol. 32, no. 10, pp. 25-31, Oct. 1999, doi:10.1109/2.796105
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