MAE Group Captures Outstanding Paper Award

July 2, 2015 – A paper written by three members of UC Irvine’s Microsystems Lab recently won an Outstanding Paper Award at an international conference. “Miniature Origami-like Folded MEMS TIMU,” written by mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate student Alexandra Efimovskaya, recent doctoral graduate Doruk Senkal and their adviser, MAE professor Andrei Shkel, captured the honor at the 18th International Conference on Solid-State Sensors, Actuators and Microsystems (Transducers 2015) held last month in Anchorage, Alaska.

A folded MEMS Timing & Inertial Measurement Unit is a tiny, self-contained device comprised of three gyroscopes, three accelerometers and a reference clock, which enables measurement of motion and time, including situations in which a GPS signal is not available. The folded TIMU approach is based on wafer-level fabrication of sensors connected by flexible hinges and then folded origami-style into a 3D configuration. Its small size and high-performance characteristics allow it to be integrated into miniature platforms for personal navigation and unmanned air- or underwater vehicles.

The paper, which won in the Oral Presentation Category, was presented by Efimovskaya, who acknowledged DARPA, UCI’s INRF cleanroom staff and her colleague Sina Askari of the Microsystems Lab, who helped with the printed circuit board design and fabrication. Unfortunately, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake occurred while she was mid-presentation, but according to Shkel, she carried on with aplomb. “Despite some panic … in the audience, Alexandra strongly held her ground and completed the presentation with great confidence,” he said.

Senkal, who graduated last month with his doctorate degree, quipped: “We think that Alexandra had a truly ‘earth-shattering’ presentation in Alaska.” He now works in San Jose, Calif. as a senior MEMS design engineer at InvenSense, a provider of MEMS products with an emphasis on motion sensors, specifically MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers.

As for Efimovskaya, she was stoic, focusing instead on the honor. “I am very excited and proud of bringing the Transducers 2015 Best Outstanding Paper Award to UCI,” she said. “This award was received at one of the biggest conferences in the MEMS sensors and actuators field. It has brought motivation and gratification, reminding me that our hard work does pay off.”

-- Anna Lynn Spitzer

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