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Competition provides MEMS design experience for students from 13 schools

11 July 2013

SPIE logo adjacent to pop-up micromirror
The SPIE logo, in micro form, has been
placed on two MEMS chips that will be
produced by Sandia. Above, a 3D design
image of the logo placed adjacent to a
pop-up micro-mirror in chip designed by
Texas Tech. The chip will go into
Class-on-a-Chip systems used in
educational venues. The dynamic devices,
viewed under a microscope, provide vivid
demonstrations of the micro-world.
Educational labs can be conducted with this
device and more than 20 others on one chip.
Below, a chip developed by Texas Tech and
Utah universities, to be packaged into small
portable microscopes circulated at the
elementary, middle, high and university levels.
Combined Univ. of Utah and Texas Tech Univ. design competition chip

The recently completed 2013 Sandia National Labs University MEMS Design Competition provided a focal point for MEMS education and research endeavors for more than a dozen universities in Mexico and the USA. Teams competed in two judged design categories, with Texas Tech University winning the Education category and Carnegie Mellon University the Novel category.

The annual competition takes place over the course of nearly an entire year, culminating in a symposium in May where students present their work, interact with representatives from other universities, and hold technical discussions with Sandia engineers and scientists.

The competition itself, along with the supplying of fabricated devices, allows participating universities to provide students with an important educational experience, said MEMS University Alliance Director and SPIE Member Tim Dallas.

SPIE sponsored travel to the symposium for nine schools. "This support is critical to the success of the symposium and permits many more students and faculty to attend than would otherwise be possible," Dallas said. The program is one of numerous STEM education and outreach programs supported each year by the society in accordance with its mission.

Teams participating in the ninth annual design competition included students from:

  • Air Force Institute of Technology
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Centro de Ingenieria y Desarrollo Industrial
  • Centro de Investigación en Ciencia Aplicada y Tecnología Avanzada, Instituto Politécnico Nacional
  • Centro de Investigación en Computación, Instituto Politécnico Nacional
  • Centro de Investigation en Ciencia y Tecnologia Aplicada, Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez
  • CNM, East Mountain High School
  • Texas Tech University
  • Universidad de Guadalajara
  • Universidad de Guanajuato, Departamento de Ingeniería Mecánica
  • University of Utah, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Bioengineering
  • Universidad Veracruzana
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Utah.

More information is on the MEMS University Alliance website: http://memsua.org/.