Menlo Micro was named the winner of the most innovative product in the MEMS category of the Best of Sensors Awards 2020 for its Ideal RF Switch. Entries were judged and winners selected on the basis of value to the marketplace, uniqueness of the design, and the impact (i.e., the “bigness” of the problems solved or issues addressed).
Menlo Micro is an Irvine, California-based technology company that uses advances in material science to develop microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switches. Menlo Micro’s mission is to reinvent the most fundamental building block of electronic systems—the relay.
The electromechanical relay hasn’t experienced any significant innovation in the past 50+ years. As a result, the size, weight, cost, and performance of systems that use traditional relays has suffered due to serious limitations. It has seriously hindered the system designer’s ability to create highly integrated, high performance, and high reliability products ranging from battery chargers to medical equipment to industrial controls to electric vehicles.
Menlo Micro has lifted these limitations by developing unique materials, designs, and processing techniques to create the Ideal Switch. The Ideal Switch operates up to 1000x faster than a typical mechanical relay, can handle kilowatts of power, and is built in a structure smaller than a human hair. The unique materials allow for the creation of products that can operate for decades under high-stress conditions.
Menlo Micro’s Ideal Switch platform is a game-changer, with a market opportunity of more than $20 billion. It has the potential to serve multiple industries, including next-generation 5G mobile networks, industrial IoT markets, battery management, home-automation, electronic vehicles, and medical instrumentation.
General Electric invested over 12 years of R&D into the materials and processes for high-power, high-reliability micro-mechanical relays, producing 60 patent families and a series of GE-qualified products. GE spin-off Menlo Micro focuses on bringing this unique solution to the broader market, expanding development of the technology and its reach across industries.
“The industry has been seeking out a solution for a low-power, low-cost, ultra-miniature, reliable and high-performance high frequency RF switch for over a decade and, based on its claims, I believe that Menlo Micro has made it available. The applications for this are quite broad and include mobile handsets where the volumes are huge and other portable consumer electronics in addition to automated test equipment (ATE). I believe that the sky is the limit with this device,” said Judge Roger Grace, Founder, Roger Grace Associates.
For full list of finalists in the Best of Sensors 2020 Awards: