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TRILLION SENSORS | ARTICLE


IBM 5 in 5 IBM unveiled the seventh annual "IBM 5 in 5" — a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and interact during the next five years. These five sensor/actuator innovations include touch (ability to touch through your phone), sight (a pixel will be worth a thousand words), hearing (computers will hear what matters), taste (digital taste buds will help you to eat smarter) and smell (computers will have a sense of smell). The IBM’s 5 in 5 is based on market and societal trends as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s R&D labs around the world that can make these transformations possible.


Digital Health Digital Health (mHealth, eHealth) is based on broad range of fitness, wellness and health sensors connected to mobile platforms (cell phones, tablets, etc.) as a solution to the skyrocketing cost of medical care, aging population and lack of medical care in developing countries.


Visible examples of the evolving market include 2014 CES Show in Las Vegas, where there were 15 Digital Health conference sessions and about 400 exhibitors in Digital Health section. Another example is Qualcomm’s $10 million Tricorder X PRIZE , a 42-month competition to bring the sensing of 15 most common human diseases to the cell phone. Samsung announced a similar competition with a $2.25M prize.


Emergence of Trillion Sensors (TSensors) Potential In 2012 only four sensors (microphone, acceleration, gyro and compass) shipped about a billion units each. Several visionary organisations (some mentioned earlier) started to forecast sensor demand growing from billions in 2013 to trillions within the decade.


The demand is expected to be driven by global tides characterised earlier. Harbor Research considers sensor-based smart systems to be the biggest business opportunity in the history of business.


Texas Instruments outlined in its presentation13 the vision for growth of Internet connected devices to 13 trillion by 2025, with major markets being fixed and mobile communication, computers, industrial, medical, military and aerospace. They expect MEMS, specifically sensors, to be the enabling technology for such growth. Ambient Intelligence14, based on wireless sensor nodes, will adapt, anticipate, be transparent, dependable and autonomous. Several other TSensors forecasts are shown in figure 1.


<< Figure 1: Several organisations presented their


visions for a continued growth to trillion(s). Market research companies don’t yet see this growth (see


Yole’s forecast). So the explosion to trillion(s) is likely to be driven by applications not yet envisioned by leading market research organisation. >>


To support the forecasted demand for 45 trillion sensors to make Abundance a reality, likely a 67% of this volume will be represented by new sensors. Historically, each new sensor type took about 30 years to move from concept prototypes to volume production due to complexity resulting from deployed ‘multi- physics’ and ‘multi-bio-chemistry’, as well as from lack of standardisation (one product–one process–one ASIC-one package-one test system15). To accelerate this cycle and thus accelerate solutions to global problems, a TSensors (Trillion Sensor) Initiative has been launched.


44 | commercial micro manufacturing international Vol 7 No.2


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