Sensors Expo 2016 In San Jose Wraps Up Quite Successfully

The echoes of accolades from Sensors Expo 2016 are still reverberating along with the continuing influx of compliments. This is also leading to great expectations for Sensors Midwest coming up in September. Here is a brief recap and final wrap of the San Jose Event.

Kickoff Party – Tuesday June 21, 2016

After the pre-conference sessions, the expo got off to a great start with the evening’s kickoff party. Drinks were served and networking with old and new colleagues briskly got under way. And the highlight of the event was the awards given to those making significant contributions to the engineering community.

The engineering Excellence Award went to the engineering team at Sensuron, made up of Michael Heflin, Chief Executive Officer, Pierrick Vulliez, President and Chief Technology Officer, Justin Braun, Systems Engineering Manager, and Alex Tongue, Optical Sensing R&D and Application Engineer. The team of engineers is solving global-scale problems using light-based technologies that ensure equipment is functional, reliable and safe. Their work enables engineers to collect and analyze material and structural data based on diminutive changes in tens of thousands of points of light. As a result, engineers are able to consolidate several technologies into a single platform while continuously testing, controlling, and monitoring the health of materials and equipment.

An additional feather in the team’s cap, team member Alex Tongue took home the Rising Star Award. Based on acknowledgement by his peers, Alex has made significant contributions to his team and the design engineering world in terms of creativity, the ability to communicate a unique vision to colleagues, and then follow through with completed goals.

Another high point of the affair, this was the first year Sensors Magazine issued its Industry Impact Award. In recognition of his contributions to both Sensors Expo and the sensors and MEMS community, Roger Grace of Roger Grace Associates received the first Industry Impact Award. Of note, Roger was instrumental in orchestrating the University Program at Sensors Expo 2016.

The awards were followed by brief and informative presentations from Coby Kleinjan, Director of Special Accounts & Educational Sales at Mouser Electronics who enlightened the audience about how his company caters to design engineers worldwide. Ron DeSerranno, CEO at B-SCADA followed with a discussion of the ins, outs, and in betweens of wireless sensors and cloud services.

Next up, Stephen Whalley, Chief Strategy Officer of the MEMS Industry Group (MIG), discussed a variety of key points. These dealt with the crucial issues surrounding product differentiation.


On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, Dr. Ken Gabriel, considered the founder of the Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) industry, delivered one of the most concise and insightful twenty-minute keynotes in tradeshow history. This is a precedent in tradeshow lore, where most speakers go the distance, leaving little time for audience questions.

Dr. Gabriel offered a wealth of information in that brief period. He easily led the listeners to a greater understanding of how end users view and rely on sensors.  He made it clear that once this was understood, OEMs could produce sensors that make end devices stand out. He also described the tools available to help OEMS differentiate their products. Even with plenty of time for a Q&A, Dr. Gabriel was fielding requests for some time after. And the compliments on his keynote are still coming in.

A true giant in the industry, Ray Zinn took the stage on Thursday, June 23, 2016. Mr. Zinn is often referred to as one of the primary architects of Silicon Valley. His longevity is legendary, having more than 50 years in the tech business, and a 37-year stint as CEO of Micrel. As a result of this reasoning, Mr. Zinn has much to offer in terms of envisioning the future of technology and Silicon Valley.

Mr. Zinn’s keynote focused on doing the tough things first, a practice he has proven to be more than just effective. He covered the semiconductor business cycle, its ups, downs, spins, and predicable turns, i.e., innovations, adoptions, growth, and consolidations. He then demystified the industry’s current taste for consolidations and how China will figure into the future, tying it all together with the aforementioned cycles and how it will drive both sensor technology and the IoT.

Once again, the audience was more than receptive and appreciative with its generous applause.

Best of Sensors and Sensors Applications - Wednesday, June 22

A major highlight of the show, which took place in the live theater right on the show floor, is the Best of Sensors and Best of Sensors Applications Awards. These awards go to the makers of the best sensors and sensor products of the past year and to the most creative and vital applications for sensors.

The Best of Sensor Application Awards

For the best sensor applications, honorable mentions went to Pico Technology for its NVH PicoDiagnostics NVH kit and TE Connectivity for its Piezo Cable.

The bronze for best sensor applications went to First Sensor for its modular Area View Kit (AVK) for the setup of 360° all-round view systems in special vehicles and machines. Parker Hannifin’s family of SensoNODE Blue and Gold Sensors and SCOUT Mobile Software took the second-place Silver Award.

For top honors in apps, the gold award went to NASA’s Fiber Optic Sensing System (FOSS) that provides real-time monitoring. FOSS uses optical fibers encoded with thousands of sensors to measure real-time engineering parameters of a physical structure during operation.

The Best of Sensors Awards

Honorable mentions went out to Texas Instruments for its FDC2214 capacitive sensing integrated circuit. The capacitive sensing IC is immune to a wide range of environmental noise sources. Nimbelink got hearty applause for its versatile sensor interface, the Skywire 4G LTE CAT1 Embedded Modem as well as Siargo for its FL1000 Time-of-Flight MEMS flow sensor.

The top honors in this category were third-place Bronze going to the Gocator 3109 3D Smart Snapshot Sensor from LMI Technologies. It debuted as the industry’s smallest industrial structured light sensor that allows users to carry out full-field 3D acquisition of manufactured parts for quality control inspection.

The second-place silver award went to ams’ NanEye, a 1 mm x 1 mm x 1.4 mm size, fully digital camera head that can be embedded in endoscopic devices or other minimally invasive medical probes.

And the first-place Gold award was taken by Bosch Sensortec for the industry’s first custom programmable nine-axis motion sensor, the BMF055.

University Poster Contest – Thursday, June 23, 2016

Another first for Sensors Expo, the University Poster Contest was offered as part of the Non-Profit & University Program. The top three winners were:

  • First Place – Integrated Strategies for Magnetic Field Detection at the Nanoscale

Diana C Leitao, Ana V Silva, Elvira Paz, Ricardo Ferreira, Susana Cardoso, Paulo P Freitas; INESC-MN and IN, Rua Alves Redol 9, 1000-029 Lisboa, Portugal Instituto Superior Tecnico (IST), Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1000-029 Lisboa, Portugal INL, Av. Mestre Jose Veiga, 4715-31 Braga, Portugal

  • Second Place – Highly Sensitive Biosensor Device for Monitoring Colorectal Cancer

Cihan Yilmaz, Malima Asanterabi, Jaydev Upponi, Vladimir P. Torchilin, Ahmed Busnaina; NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing, Northeastern University

  • Third Place – Field Disruption Harvester

Karim El-Rayes, Salam Gabran; University of Waterloo

Sensors Design Challenge – Thursday, June 23, 2016

Yet another first for the expo, the Sensors Design Challenge invited graduate students and entrepreneurial types to design sensor-based devices/products from the ground up using products offered by expo exhibitors. The winners and the vendor products used in their winning designs are as follows:

First Place, Caretech: designed by team members from Sonoma State University. Technologies used included temperature and humidity sensors from Anaren and Cypress Semi

Second place, Sleep Tight: Himanshu Joshi and SangramSingh Kardekar from Santa Clara University. Technologies used included temperature and humidity devices from ST Micro and Anaren

Third Place, Daddy's Special Medicine: Kurt Larson from NimbeLink Corp.Technologies used include STM32F401 Nucleo, ARM mBed, Cellular LTE CAT1, Strain Gauge, Buglabs DweetDatabase, Verizon Freeboard dashboard, and HTTP POSTs with JSON

Best Choice Award winner from Cypress Wireless was the TPMS Device from designer Jacek Pieczaba at Whirlpool Corp. Technologies used a pressure sensor from Cypress Semi working with Wireless TPMS

Women in Sensor Engineering (WISE) Breakfast - Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sensors Expo 2016, for the first time, initiated and hosted the Women in Sensor Engineering (WISE) Breakfast. Deemed a major success and breakthrough, the breakfast was enhanced by presentations from Rogue Valley Microdevices Founder and CEO Jessica Gomez and several other women executives in the Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and sensors industries. Other speakers included Susana Cardoso de Freitas, PhD, senior researcher, INESC Microsystems & Nanotechnologies, Petrina Zaraszczak, director, Industrial Vertical Market, Sensor Solutions, TE Connectivity, Margit Harting, PhD, director, PST Sensors, and Mary Ann Maher, CEO and founder, SoftMEMS.

The speakers explored greater and diverse professional opportunities for women in the MEMS and sensors industry. They also discussed and challenged the reasons why women represent under 12% of electrical and mechanical engineers as well as sharing insights on what women bring to the table in engineering professions.


The most important and vital ingredients of any successful tradeshow are the exhibitors. They are the component makers who fuel the OEMs that drive and supply the market with new and innovative products. Without them, the pre-conferences, educational tracks, and other vital events would no longer be vital.

Sensors Expo 2016 hosted 300+ exhibitors, all of which had something significant to offer the tech community. Obviously we can’t discuss each individually here. For a complete list, CLICK HERE

Also read:

To Those About To Exhibit, We Salute You

Sensors Expo 2016 Keynotes Draw Highest Accolades

Sensors Expo Presenters Inform, Enlighten And Inspire

And That’s A Wrap and What You Should’lve Come Away With

The one ideal, or concept if you will, that seemed to pervade Sensors Expo 2016 was that sensor makers are in a golden position, the same they’ve always been in. Sensors were, are, and always will be in great demand.

Sensor makers are not plagued by security concerns, software concerns, and all that many standards and regulations. All they need to do is listen to what their customers need in terms of function, output, size, accuracy, and durability. Then just keep up the good work. And if we can keep the MBAs and marketing people away from bywords, acronyms, and trends, we’ll all have nothing to worry about.

I hope to see you at Sensors Midwest in September. ~MD