The 20th Solid-state Sensors, Actuators, and Microsystems (Hilton Head) Workshop took place June 5 – 9, 2022 at the Sonesta Resort on Hilton Head Island, SC. This exciting multidisciplinary event has occurred biennially since 1984. The Hilton Head Workshop began as a regional meeting restricted to professionals living in North or South America. Beginning in 2020, the workshop opened to international colleagues beyond the Americas.
The Hilton Head Workshop draws up to 500 academic, industry, and government participants from diverse engineering and scientific backgrounds, including chemistry, materials science, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics, biology, and bioengineering. Previous workshops have provided a highly interactive forum for researchers to present and discuss recent advances in microfabrication technologies for sensing and actuation devices and microsystems for physical, chemical, and biological applications. Hilton Head 2020 was unfortunately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and interestingly (but perhaps not coincidentally), its theme focused on healthcare grand challenges. Given the events of the past few years and in consideration of future science and technology directions, HH 2022’s workshop theme focused on “Preparation and Prevention: Tackling our Grand Challenges,” through which we explored the potential for MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) to impact a variety of global issues and grand challenges, as well as encourage new collaborations and ideas.
Despite the obstacles brought on by a global pandemic, HH 2022 had a strong showing of over 300 meeting attendees, with 35 participants from outside the U.S.A. for our first in-person meeting open to international contributors. The workshop had robust participation from MEMS and microsystems experts from industry, academia, and government labs, and the technical program committee (TPC) and workshop organizing committees comprised diverse representatives to develop an exciting and impactful program that began well in advance of the workshop itself. Thanks to significant support from numerous universities, companies, and government institutions represented at Hilton Head, we were able to provide an unprecedented amount of significant financial support to all student presenters.
Hilton Head 2022 kicked off with a Sunday lecture series and panel highlighting technology translation from multiple perspectives (academic, startup, venture capital). Throughout the week, daily featured keynote speakers brought breadth and depth to our discussion of challenges and opportunities for MEMS and allied technologies, with topics including closed-loop spinal cord stimulation and addressing disparities in access to such therapies; applying big data analytics to sensors for smart cities; next-generation microelectronics challenges and opportunities; and multi-disciplinary research in novel nanotechnologies for early disease diagnosis. In addition, the program included invited speakers from within and adjacent to the MEMS community, who addressed important causes and grand challenges using novel, creative technologies, devices, and systems.
On Tuesday afternoon, we held a special session on Early Career Faculty Development, which provided relevant guidance and advice for new faculty as well as those pursuing an academic research career. In parallel, SEMI/MEMS and Sensors Industry Group led an industry session that offered guidance from emerging leaders, introduced a new Hilton Head innovation award (Bench to Market), as well as provided expert insight on the topic of sensorization for smart cities.
The workshop is a single-session meeting with ample time allotted for discussion of each paper, and with blocks of unscheduled time to encourage informal interactions among participants. Monday through Thursday, HH2022 held multiple oral presentation and contributed poster sessions, the proceedings of which will be published in the technical digest and made available on sponsor Transducer Research Foundation (TRF)’s website in 2023.
MEMS technology, devices, and systems have already revolutionized our world – from health care to the environment, communication, transportation, and a number of other areas. Many of our successful accomplishments also complement National Academy of Engineering (NAE) pursuits toward identifying and addressing Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st century. We hope the Hilton Head 2022 Workshop presentations and discussions will further encourage our students, researchers, and industry colleagues to team up collaboratively around today’s grand challenges and causes. Our hope is that we, as the device and technology community, will contribute significantly through active participation, mentoring, and inclusiveness to better serve people and our planet in the future.
We look forward to seeing you at Hilton Head 2024!
Photo credits: Gabriela Lomeli