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Ann Arbor Spark

45 Years of MEMS Startup Companies

Friday, November 15 2019 at 1:30pm - 2:30pm

ECE Distinguished Seminar Series | WIMS Seminar by Dr. Kurt Petersen
Co-Chair of HardTech Group at Silicon Valley Band of Angels
2019 IEEE Medal of Honor Recipient

While MEMS devices have been on the market in limited industrial, aerospace, and medical applications since the late 60’s, about 50 years, only in the pat 10-12 years have MEMS devices migrated into everyday consumer electronic products, with the volume shipments sky-rocketing into billions per year. 15 years ago, the MEMS market size was about $2 billion. Today, the MEMS market size is over $20 billion per year. With the advent of our IoT age, these numbers are continuing to grow.

In this presentation, we will track the evolution of this industry since the late 60’s, particularly focusing on MEMS startup companies and their contributions to the industry. The introduction of over 20 different product categories over this period will also be discussed and analyzed. We will speculate about future new products and applications with the potential to multiply MEMS volumes even more dramatically.

About the Speaker

Kurt Petersen received his BS degree cum laude in EE from UC Berkeley in 1970, and a PhD in EE from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975.  Since 1982, he has co-founded five successful, high-tech companies in Silicon Valley, including Cepheid (was on NASDAQ: CPHD; acquired by Danaher in 2016 for $4B) and SiTime (acquired by MegaChips in 2014).  In 2001, he was awarded the IEEE Simon Ramo Medal for his contributions to MEMS.  In 2019, he was awarded the prestigious IEEE Medal of Honor.  Dr. Petersen is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is a Life Fellow of the IEEE in recognition of his contributions to “the commercialization of MEMS technology”. In 2011, Dr. Petersen joined the Silicon Valley Band of Angels, the oldest angel investment group on the west coast.  Today, he spends his time helping and mentoring early stage, high-tech startup companies.


1500 EECS Building
1301 Beal Avenue Ann Arbor MI 48109