Lab Canada

3-D micro-design challenge gets kick-off

Burbank, CA — January 15, 2003 — California-based MEMGen Corporation has launched what it says is the world’s first micro-device design contest. The 3-D MEMS Design Challenge is made possible by the company’s micro-manufacturing technology, which allows micro-devices to be designed with commonly available 3-D CAD software tools and fabricated in a matter of a few weeks using the company’s automated system.

The design contest is open to all individuals who have commercial or research interest in micro-device design, manufacturing or use, including electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, design contractors, university faculty and students. There is no limit to the number of entries per person or organization.

The company will award the top three contest winners with prototypes of their designs. In addition, the top three contestants will receive cash prizes of US$10,000, $5,000 and $2,500, and the first place winner will receive a SolidWorks Office 2003 3-D CAD package. Entries must be submitted to MEMGen by April 15, 2003, and the winners will be announced on May 1, 2003. The first 25 contestants to submit a competition application before February 13, 2003 will also receive special gifts.

The submissions will be judged by a panel comprised of independent industry experts, including Al Pisano, Ph.D. of UC Berkeley, Elliott Brown, Ph.D. of UCLA and Marlene Bourne, senior analyst at In-Stat/MDR. Selection will be based on design novelty, creative use of 3-D and commercial utility.

“This competition is the first of its kind for MEMS and micro-scale devices. Until we invented EFAB micro-manufacturing technology, truly 3-D designs were cumbersome, constrained and impractical. Micro-devices could only be created by experts using exotic silicon micromachining techniques; and even then they took a long time to design and build. The ability to create arbitrary, complex 3-D geometries with tens to hundreds of precision metal layers was a distant dream,” says MEMGen president and CEO, Vacit Arat.

He says that MEMGen’s technology allows devices to be built with multiple layers of metal, making possible a wide range of applications, including:

RF Devices
– High-Q inductors and capacitors, tunable or fixed
– Capacitive or metal contact switches
– Resonators
– Filters
– Antennas

Biomedical Devices
– Minimally-invasive surgical instruments
– Molds for plastic microfluidic parts
– Implantable devices
– Pumps, valves, fluid mixers
– Drug delivery devices

Sensors & Actuators
– High-force electrostatic actuators
– Inkjet printheads
– Multi-axis accelerometers
– Gyroscopes

Optical Devices
– Scanning mirrors
– Fiber alignment devices
– Optical module packages

In addition, the unique ability of the EFAB process to co-fabricate a package around the MEMS device — essentially building a box around the device — enables low-cost packaging, which can also be hermetically sealed.

For further details about MEMGen’s micro-device design competition and full contest rules, please visit