The switch flips

It seems like the direction of technological progress has been to reduce the number of moving parts in use, but now we may be starting a trend in the other direction. MEMS are getting hot, for example: MEMS switch tops 26 GHz, or DLP Pioneer….

[Ha, I accidentally made a funny when I said they’re ‘getting hot’. See, cuz the thing about MEMS systems is that they don’t get hot, like larger-scale mechanical systems. Ha.]

It’s pretty amazing that we’re seeing switches that thunk back and forth 26 billion times in a second, or projectors where every single pixel has its own little mirror wiggling independently hundreds of times per frame. What would Archimedes think of these?

And (of course) I see interesting roles for software coming up in concert with such systems. Whenever you can affect something in the real world at a rate of MHz or GHz, you can drive it with software and do some things you wouldn’t have believed…

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