Micro electromechanical systems–or MEMS–hold a lot of promise for the future of high tech, but they also have their drawbacks, namely that they aren’t very precise. That’s because at such small scales there are no standards by which to measure very small forces or distances. But a team of Purdue researchers has developed a way for MEMS to self-calibrate, potentially opening the door to a variety of super-precise sensors and instruments used in everything from medicine to engineering to defense.
The world's tiniest chess board and a pea-sized barber shop are the winners of a microelectromechanical systems design contest at Sandia National Laboratories. The microbarbershop can cut a single hair, and the chess board -- about the diameter of four human hairs -- comes with a full set of minuscule chess pieces.
In IBM's planned future, everything will communicate with everything. The company has now announced a new software development kit, Mote Runner, that will allow programmers to put anything from coffee makers to environmental monitoring systems on the "Internet of things."
Micro-supercapacitors could enable future geeks to go longer without recharging their smartphones or computers. Researchers have developed a way to build the energy-storing supercapacitors by using microfabrication methods similar to those which create microchips for electronic devices, according to ScienceDaily.
Tests for toxins or pathogens generally rely on chemical reactions. But a team of researchers at Cornell University have created a sensor that detects the presence of chemicals based on the mechanical disruption of a nanoscale system. The device can instantly detect as little as a single molecule of a substance.
Microelectromechanical devices (MEMS) have the potential to enable a wide range of nanomachines. Unfortunately, MEMS suffer from the critical drawbacks of an expensive manufacturing process, a high rigidity that restricts their use, and a limited pool of suitable materials for construction. Now, it seems that MIT scientists have accidentally solved all those problems by stamping gold MEMS into a sheet of plastic.