Over the past ten years, the worldwide sensors technology market has experienced tremendous growth. Today’s sensor technology has been woven seamlessly into our everyday lives through a vast array of new and exciting applications that continue to evolve at a pace never seen before. To put things into perspective, ten years ago the average automobile utilized about 35 sensors. Today, the average automobile incorporates more than 100 sensors that measure and monitor everything from speed, oxygen, and brakes, to parking assistance and airbags.

Here we provide a preview of the conference sessions, special events, and keynote presentations that you can be a part of at SENSORS Tech Forum. And get a sneak peek at the products on display by exhibitors in the SENSORS Tech Forum Exhibitor Showcase on pages 94 and 96 in this issue. Find a full exhibitor list at www.sensorstechforum.com/exhibitors.html.

To register, and for more information, visit www.sensorstechforum.com 

Opening Day Keynote Luncheon

Tuesday, October 11, 1:00 – 2:30 pm

Toward Enabling NASA’s Future Investments in Technology: Space Technology Roadmaps

Dr. Howard D. Ross, Chief Technologist,NASA Glenn Research Center
NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) has embarked on the development of a set of Space Technology Roadmaps (STRs) to identify and emphasize technologies that provide substantial enhancements in NASA mission capabilities and where significant technology investments are anticipated to be needed. The set of draft STRs introduces a proposed taxonomy of 14 Technology Areas (TAs), identifies top challenges, describes potential contributions to other national needs, and ultimately offers ways to advance the nation’s capabilities for scientific discovery and exploration of space. The set of STRs was drafted by subject matter experts within NASA, and each report is being independently assessed by the National Research Council.

Opening Night Networking Reception

(Sponsored by NASA Tech Briefs)

Tuesday, October 11, 5:30 – 7 pm

What better way to end a busy first day of the Forum than by unwinding with some great food and drink! This is the signature event of the Forum and there’s no better place to network, meet new friends and colleagues, and talk about the day you had. The Opening Night Networking Reception is open to all registered attendees.

Pre-Conference Tutorials

SENSORS Tech Forum presents two intensive, all-day, pre-conference tutorials on Monday, October 10 from 10 am to 5 pm. These tutorials were developed exclusively for this event. Gain invaluable knowledge on the latest advancements in MEMS and CBRNE technology, and new applications.

MEMS-Enabled High-Volume Commercialization Opportunities

Led by session organizer and chairman Roger H. Grace of Roger Grace Associates, this session brings together leading re - searchers from academia, laboratories, and industry to share their MEMS development activities that are expected to enable largevolume applications in the near future. Although Micro - electromechanical Systems (MEMS) have existed for many decades, it has only been recently that MEMS devices have enabled large-volume, or killer, applications. The future of MEMS continues to look bright based on the highly expected commercialization of numerous large-volume applications including consumer games, mobile phones, structural health monitoring through wireless autonomous sensor networks (WASN), medical diagnostics and point-of-care applications, guidance systems for military munitions, and analytical instruments for environmental monitoring.

Roger Grace also will present his “MEMS Industry Commercialization Report Card,” which will assess the performance of the MEMS community in addressing 14 critical success factors for 2010. A panel discussion will conclude the day, addressing key barriers to the commercialization of MEMS.

CBRNE Sensors for Safety, Security, and Sustainability

Conference Highlights

Built on the editorial foundation of NASA Tech Briefs, the world’s largest OEM design magazine, SENSORS Tech Forum features an application-driven educational conference designed for product and system design engineers, as well as other industry professionals who are advancing sensor technology. The conference offers 34 individual sessions in these four tracks:

Aerospace, Defense & Harsh Environment Sensing

This track provides a comprehensive overview of the latest technologies and methods for developing, testing, and deploying sensors and sensor platforms in aerospace, defense, and other harsh environments. Learn how NASA, the military, and industry are integrating a range of aircraft operations. Find out about wireless instrumentation systems aboard the space shuttle and International Space Station, and remote sensing techniques for radiation environments. Rounding out this track are sessions on sensors for health management under harsh conditions, and building protective containment/packaging for those products so they survive without risk of failure.

Optics & Imaging

Cameras, video, and fiber optics all play a role in real-time sensing applications such as GPS, surveillance, explosives detection, Earth science, and medical imaging. Sensing methods for materials imaging, laser-based spectroscopy for gas and vapor detection, and the fusion of acoustic and optical sensory inputs will be highlighted. Also, learn about augmented reality systems that incorporate inertial sensors and GPS electronics for airborne surveillance.

Smart Sensors

Smart sensor systems integrate basic sensing capabilities with embedded electronics, enabling new applications never before considered. Attendees in these sessions will learn techniques for designing smart sensors for applications such as the smart grid and smart buildings, and how MEMS technology is accelerating the development of smart sensors in mobile phones, laptops, and cars. Ultrasonic sensors for distance measurement, and position sensor technology for advanced robotics applications, also will be highlighted. Participants will find out how smart sensors that can be scanned with a handheld reader are finding widespread use in sensing heat, impact, and cracks in applications from car bumpers to football helmets, and how “wearable” tactile sensors are utilized in military, medical, and sports applications where space is at a premium.

Wireless Technology/Sensor Networking & Integration

Wireless sensor networks enable auto nomous operations such as system health monitoring. Issues related to autonomous sensing will be addressed in this track, including design challenges related to developing wireless sensor interfaces for real-time control. Other sensor networking topics include maintaining energy efficiency of moving sensors, and low-power wireless communications technologies that extract power from the environment to enable self-sustaining solutions.

Visit www.sensorstechforum.com/conference.html  to view the full conference program.

Closing Day Keynote Luncheon

Wednesday, October 12, 12 – 1:30 pm

Microsystem Sensors: Forces Pushing Technology Into the Future

Dr. Keith Ortiz, Manager,MEMS Technology Department,Sandia National Laboratories
Microsystems technologies, including Micro - ElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS), photonics, and other technologies, are revolutionizing sensors, sensor systems, and sensor applications. Many of these advancements are due to the innovative application of brand new technologies for new markets, i.e., technology push, rather than the incremental improvement of existing technologies to satisfy known customer needs, i.e., application pull. Forces that have pushed microsystems technology into applications include making things smaller, lower cost, working at the micro-scale, creating arrays, and integrating. This presentation will discuss these forces, describe example microsystem sensors, and speculate on where these forces will push us in the future.