Beyond Smart Dust-Evolving Sensors to Micro-Instruments

October 24, 2003
Professor Norman Tien, Chair, Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of California, Davis

Distributed wireless sensor networks as exemplified by the Professor Pister?s ?Smart Dust? program at UC Berkeley is a ?hot spot? in technology as there is continuous improvement in functionality and performance as well as a vast range of new applications to tackle. Advances in MEMS technology will allow expansive and rapid deployment of these sensors for all forms of Environmental monitoring, and the resulting distributed networks will bring new challenges to systems and network design. But further out in the future, what will these sensor nodes look like? As we move toward adding more function and complexity for higher capability and performance, we will move away from simple sensors to advanced micro-instruments at the nodes in the network. Enabling devices such as micro-actuator driven tunable structures and early work on an air particulate monitoring micro-system will be presented.

Norman C. Tien is the dean and Nord Professor of Engineering at Case Western Reserve Universitys Case School of Engineering. He is also the Ohio Eminent Scholar in Condensed Matter Physics. Tien joined the Case faculty in January as the Nord Professor of Engineering and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). As chair, Tien facilitated the opening of the state-of-the-art, multimillion-dollar Sears Undergraduate Design Laboratory in EECS, which provides electrical engineering students with an environment that promotes and encourages hands-on engineering and design. The $6 million donation from alumni Larry and Sally Zlotnick Sears was the largest outright gift from an individual in the engineering schools history. In addition, he oversaw the building of new departmental facilities in EECS. Prior to coming to Case, Tien served as chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California at Davis and held a joint appointment at the University of California at Berkeley. He also served as co-director of the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center. He previously held faculty positions in Cornell Universitys Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Tien received his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego, his MS from the University of Illinois, and his BS form the University of California at Berkeley.