Electrical and Computer Engineering

ECE Distinguished Seminar Series | WIMS Seminar

45 Years of MEMS Start-up Companies

Dr. Kurt PetersenCo-Chair of HardTech Group at Silicon Valley Band of Angels2019 IEEE Medal of Honor Recipient
1500 EECS BuildingMap
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 past 10-12 years have MEMS devices migrated into everyday consumer electronic products, with the volume shipments sky-rocketing into billions/year.  15 years ago, the MEMS market size was about $2B.  Today, the MEMS market size is over $20B/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 start-up companies and their contributions to the industry.  The introduction of over 20 different product categories, over this period, will be discussed and analyzed.  We will also speculate about future new products and applications with the potential to multiply MEMS volumes even more dramatically.
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 start-up companies.
Watch Dr. Petersen's lecture here.

Sponsored by

ECE Division


Ann Stals

Faculty Host

Yogesh GianchandaniDirector, Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSensing & Systems