MEMS, the acronym for Micro-electromechanical Systems, also known simply as “Micro-systems,” come in two main types: commodity products (the peanuts) and MEMS-enabled products (the pyramids, or, more correctly, the inverted pyramids). The economics of scale greatly affect how these two classes of products are designed, built, manufactured, and sold. The contrast is illustrated with two real-world examples: The Knowles SiSonic&tm; silicon cell-phone microphone, and the Polychromix PhazIR&tm;, a fully portable battery-operated hand-held near-infrared spectrometer. At the denouement, we will discover that in spite of their apparent differences, these two types of MEMS have something very much in common.
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