Thanks Rob. There is more research to do on further miniaturizing the vacuum pump as well as packaging and ruggedization for specific applications, but we're already at a stage where it could be paired with a gas sensor and mounted on a UAV to be used with bio-terror or bio-hazard detection. Industrial and consumer applications will take longer because the vacuum pump must be much smaller. However, I am confident we'll see some of these applications in the next few years. We continue to explore development possibilities within Honeywell, but would also welcome interest from other companies that may have a particular application idea.
It sounds like this research is just the seed of a potentially promising tree of ideas. Micro-turbine technology for vacuum pumps are one application. I suppose small pumps for extremely hazardous fluids is another. Fluids do funny things at small length scales. Growing small silicon turbine blads is a neat area of research. Keep us informed on this!
These things really suck, Rob. Sorry, it's late and I could not resist. In fact, this is VERY fascinating and begs all sorts of questions. Like, how fast do these micropumps spin? What sort of bearings support the impellers? Would such a micropump in a mobile phone be audible?
Nice article, Wei. Seems like there would be a wide range of applications for a micro vacuum pump. You mentioned a number of possible applications. Do you know if these additional applications are in the works?
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Noting that we now live in an era of “confusion and ill-conceived stuff,” Ammunition design studio founder Robert Brunner, speaking at Gigaom Roadmap, said that by adding connectivity to everything and its mother, we aren't necessarily doing ourselves any favors, with many ‘things’ just fine in their unconnected state.
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