Shh! The Walls Have Ears…

In this day and age, when technology seems to keep getting smaller and smaller, is it any wonder that someone would introduce a wireless-enabled sensor the size of the dot in this letter "i"? Regardless, the technology is already here, and it's called MEMS (micro electro mechanical system). Kevin Osburn, head of product marketing and development for Siemens Building Technologies, discussed the ...

07/01/2003


In this day and age, when technology seems to keep getting smaller and smaller, is it any wonder that someone would introduce a wireless-enabled sensor the size of the dot in this letter "i"?

Regardless, the technology is already here, and it's called MEMS (micro electro mechanical system). Kevin Osburn, head of product marketing and development for Siemens Building Technologies, discussed the technology in front of an audience of journalists from around the world at the firm's annual press forum in Dallas last month.

The tiny silicon devices combine five capabilities that make them ideal for future BAS (building automation system) configurations: sensing, wireless networking, processing, power efficiency and self-configurability.

The technology has already been proven in other industries. Automotive firms uses MEMS to sense tire pressure while a car is in motion, as well as to control the power of an airbag based on the size and weight of a passenger. In the healthcare realm, MEMS is being used to continuously monitor blood pressure and CO2 in respirators.

Osburn expounded on the possibilities of the sensors for building automation, suggesting that they could potentially eliminate the need for signal wires and power supplies and be placed in multiple areas of a room—perhaps even in the paint on the wall.

Osburn acknowledged that MEMS is expensive in the development stage, but the eventual, potential savings in maintenance and energy, once the technology is applied, are very high.





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