IMS 2015 Wrap Up
Another International Microwave Symposium is now history.
Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!
The Microwaves101 booth crew!
Once again, we shared a booth with our partner and friend, Everything RF. As you can see, we were showing off our newly reformatted site on a variety of devices, AND giving out candy, AND raffling off an iPad mini! We were also a media sponsor of the event, and they gave us this lovely plaque:
Congratulations to the iPad winner Tawna from Cadence. Unfortunately, we weren't able to find Tawna at the end of the show, so we gave her iPad to two of her co-workers who promised to send it along to her. Tawna, if you don't have your iPad by now, track down these two guys:
What's new in Microwaves (on the exhibition floor)
Here's something that is long overdue, and has been shown at the last three IMS exhibition... the solid-state microwave oven. The reason it is better than a conventional "microwave" is the ability to vary the frequency (done intelligently by the oven, not a knob you turn), reducing hot spots and other good things. NXP's web site provides further details. By the way, NXP and Freescale annouced a merger back in March, to create a $11.8B company. They are promising shareholders huge cost savings, so expect some layoffs... Now would you hurry up and get that oven out before Chrictmas?
NXP's solid-state oven
Perhaps the biggest thing going on in microwaves is V-band and E-band radios. Two systems are shown below. You can expect >1GB/second data rates around your house. The last mile of the internet could also use millimeter-wave radios to pick up the pace. What arguably started as a Darpa program (MObile Hot Spots) is near-ready for prime time, owing to silicon, II-V's and advanced packaging techniques. One unfortunate problem that may cost the U.S. is that some of the devices that have been developed may be ITAR-controlled. This could be a great way to hand off another industry to Europe and Asia, before it even takes off.
Qeos V-band radio
IBM (soon to be Global Foundries) V-band radio
The next generation of microwave engineeers
There were many opportunities for young people to participate at IMS. At the college level, we saw volunteers helping at every turn. The students get a free pass to the event (and a super cool student volunteer t-shirt) and exposure to the latest in microwave techniques. IMS gets their labor, staffing info booths and running errands. Here's a group from the University of Hawaii, participating in the Red Nose Day fundraiser. Eh, shaka brahs!
Red Nose Day
Several groups of younger students also made the rounds with mentors introducing them to microwave technology. The best thing about these groups is that they were picked to be predominantly female, which eliminates the high-school dynamic of boys stealing attention for themselves. If we were ask, what's one word to describe microwave engineering, we would say it is an "art". Owing to its analog nature, there is no singular correct answer to any problem.
Noel Heiks from Nuvotronics describes micro-fabrication to a group of students.
Also on one end of the Exhibition was an actual science fair. Below, a student's poster board on a solar-powered backpack. The used of graphs, images, procedures and conclusions puts this author at the top of his/her class. The hand-drawn pictures of "current measurer" and"volt measurer" bring tears to the Unknown Editor's eyes, showing that kids still have interest in electronics itself, as opposed to entertainment and other applications of billions of transistors hidden all around us that cannot possibly be understood without voltage and current measurments. Also, you can tell the student did not "get help" from his parents, which is a good thing... to many science fair projects look like they are reaching for a Nobel Prize.
All in all, it was a great show. Thanks for stopping by and chatting with us from the entire Microwaves101 team. See you next year!
Check out the Unknown Editor's amazing archives when you are looking for a way to screw off for a couple of hours or more!