2012 Big Tech Events Calendar


There’s an overstuffed techno-nerd gift box of don’t-miss conferences and trade shows coming around the bend, along with some early bird discounts if you act soon. If I’ve missed any good ones (and I’m sure I have), please pass them along and I’ll update the list.

I expect to attend most if not all of these so drop a line if you’re going, too, maybe we can share notes and a cup of joe. Or, if you can’t make it and are interested in something in particular, speak up and I’ll put it on my “watch list”.

- Ken

* Disclaimer – I have no financial interest in any of these events, and all of the marketing blurbs in italics below are directly from the event web sites and are reproduced here as a public service.


SPIE Photonics West – “Connecting Minds. Advancing Light.”

Saturday, Jan 21 – Thursday, Jan 26, Moscone Center, SF
Rates increase after January 6

Start the new year at SPIE Photonics West, the essential photonics and laser exhibition. Register today to walk the floor, see the latest products, top companies, and industry leaders. As the flagship event for companies in the industry, SPIE Photonics West showcases the tools, applications, and innovations that are critical to your success.

Take a Course at SPIE Photonics West 2012

65 courses and workshops to choose from
• Learn from the best instructors in the industry
• SPIE Student Members get 50% off courses

MacWorld|iWorld – “The Ultimate iFan Event”

Thursday Jan 26 – Saturday Jan 28, Moscone Center, SF

Macworld | iWorld is the world’s premier event focused solely on the Apple products platform. Mac users and buyers, top media outlets and industry experts come to Macworld | iWorld annually for the unique value that comes from meeting face-to-face, seeing new products, experiencing an acclaimed technical training and educational program and participating in cultural and social opportunities that set the agenda for the Apple-products industry.

DesignCon 2012 - “Where Chipheads Connect”

Monday Jan 30 – Thursday Feb 2, Santa Clara Convention Center
Early Bird rates by December 16

DesignCon is THE event for the semiconductor and electronic design engineering community. The community relies on DesignCon to find out what the latest technologies and developments are in the industry. It is the largest meeting of board designers, and the ONLY event to address chip design engineers’ chip/system/package challenges. View the Agenda-at-a-Glance for an overview of the DesignCon schedule by day.

Medical Design & Manufacturing West – “Direct Access to the West Coast Medical Manufacturing Marketplace”

Monday Feb 13 – Thursday Feb 16 – Anaheim Convention Center
Early Bird rates by Jan. 20

Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) West is the most comprehensive resource for every aspect of medical device development. It gathers medtech professionals and leading medical OEM suppliers together to provide you with immediate hands-on access to the tools you need to accelerate your new device to market, all in one convenient location.

The flagship of the West’s largest advanced design and manufacturing tradeshow, MD&M West co-locates with Electronics West, Pacific Design & Manufacturing, PLASTEC West, AeroCon West, ATX West, WestPack, SensorTec, and Sustainability in Manufacturing to deliver the full spectrum of industry on the West Coast.

DESIGN West 2012 - “The Center of The Engineering Universe”

Monday March 26 – Thursday March 29, San Jose Convention Center
Early Bird rates by December 18

ESC Presents — DESIGN West, four-days of never-before-assembled training and education, hands-on knowledge exchanges, and the hottest new products– under one roof!  Customize your learning experience and increase your skills in the areas you need to learn now – including embedded hardware and software design, total systems integration, power management, open source software, android, embedded security. LEDs, sensors and much more. 

The Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) has been your “go-to” industry event for 24 years. DESIGN West builds on the rich foundation of training, education and products available at ESC – to deliver a revolutionary new experience, with more learning options, and more value for your money and time spent out of the office.  You can attend ESC and also add on specialized training at the DESIGN West Summits. 

Get all the latest design insights and techniques in one place, at one time.   DESIGN West Summits Include: 

  • ESC – The Embedded Systems Conference & Exhibition.  Conference Dates:  March 26 – 29, 2012.  Exhibition Dates:  March 27-29, 2012.  Learn today….Design Tomorrow when you attend the global electronics industry’s leading event.
  • Android Summit – March 28, 2012:  An immersive conference focused on everything Android: from embedded design to Apps development.
  • Blackhat – March 29, 2012:  Security risks in embedded systems are real. This one-day conference will focus on security in embedded systems.
  • DesignMed – March 28, 2012:  A conference & exhibit covering medical electronics design and regulatory issues.
  • MultiCore DevCon – March 27 & 28, 2012:  A conference and exhibit delivering practical solutions for designs involving embedded multicore and multimedia.
  • EDN’s Designing with LEDs – March 27, 2012:  A conference and exhibit covering technology design of high-brightness LEDs, in lighting and illumination.
  • Sensors in Design – March 28-29, 2012:  A conference & exhibit with how-to technical presentations on the application of sensor technology in real-world products.

AACC 44th Oak Ridge Conference - Emerging Technologies for 21st Century Clinical Diagnostics”

Thursday April 19 – Friday April 20, The Fairmont in San José

The Oak Ridge Conference is the American Association for Clinical Chemistry’s annual forum for emerging clinical diagnostic technologies. The conference focuses exclusively on pre-commercial technologies, and session topics are updated each year to reflect diagnostic trends. Now in its 44th year, the Oak Ridge Conference is firmly established as the premier forum for next generation clinical diagnostics developers.


  • Novel Lab-on-a-Chip Technologies for Clinical Diagnostics
  • Emerging Diagnostic Technologies using Mass Spectrometry
  • New Point-of-Care Technologies for the Developing and Developed World
  • Innovative Technologies for Pathogen Diagnostics

Bay Area Maker Faire – “Technology on Your Time”

Saturday May 19 – Sunday May 20 (unconfirmed), San Mateo County Fairgrounds

Maker Faire is the premier event for grassroots American innovation. As the World’s Largest DIY Festival, this two-day family friendly Faire has something for everyone – a showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness and a celebration of the Maker mindset.

Medtech startups hear dour diagnosis

Medtech startups hear dour diagnosis - by Rick Merritt, EETimes

Here’s another angle on the BIOMEDevice Conference that I wrote about a few days ago, which expands on the points about regulation and VC investment trends.

- Ken

Yoav Medan: Ultrasound surgery — healing without cuts – YouTube


“Damn it Jim, I’m a doctor, not a butcher!” – Dr. McCoy of Star Trek

 This new TEDtalk video demonstrates stunning abilities to heal with high-power focused ultrasound, in conjunction with high-accuracy 3D real-time feedback from MRI. Since a side-effect of the MR technique is a sensitivity to tissue temperature, the ultrasound beam can be set to warm up a small spot of tissue just a few degrees for a very short time, not enough to cause damage but enough to calibrate the beam’s focus in three-dimensional space. This tightly coupled feedback loop allows even large tumors and otherwise diseased tissue to be destroyed while barely affecting the surrounding healthy tissue.

The Good News: European trials show amazing results. The Bad News: In the USA, regulations and reimbursement issues seem tough to surmount, so progress may be slower than we’d like. Still, the advantages to this “next generation” technology are obviously huge and exciting, and we can only hope it will be available to us sooner rather than later.

- Ken

“Ten Rules for Maker Businesses” by Wired’s Chris Anderson

“Ten Rules for Maker Businesses” by Wired’s Chris Andersonfrom Ponoko Blog

Sage advice for future endeavors…

Next-generation electronic printing technologies

New techniques for printing antennae, memory chips, transistors, even solar cellsfrom Ponoko Blog


Amazing Stereo Tricks for Next-Gen Tablets And Cellphones

Amazing Stereo Tricks for Next-Gen Tablets And Cellphones - by Don Tuite, Electronic Design.

Here’s a clever application of psychoacoustics.  This application-specific DSP chip is configured to your particular speaker enclosure dimensions by straightforward PC-based software, thus automagically producing stunning high-definition audio from crummy little mobile device speakers. For more information on the LM4901, here’s the TI Spatial Audio site.

- Ken


BIOMEDevice San Jose 2011 – Trip Report

- by Ken McGary, KSF Labs

New international safety standards for medical equipment are on the way, namely revised IEC 60601 software validation and testing requirements, so Tuesday and Wednesday I attended the BIOMEDevice San Jose conference to get up to speed. Here’s a good background article on the new rules, which extend the concept of Basic Safety (will it directly harm me when I use it) to also include Essential Performance (for example, the accuracy of physiological reporting equipment).  Performance factors have historically been relegated to the marketplace to determine, but the ubiquity of fairly opaque and potentially fragile software systems has driven regulatory bodies to expand their scope of concern.

In addition, provision is being made for assessing the adequacy of the design process itself, in an effort to head off sloppy thinking on general principles. In essence, this makes a thorough Risk Management protocol a must, using tools like Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA), extensive user testing (a “user failure” is considered an equipment failure), and Risk Control Option Analysis. Now most of this is nothing new to serious medical device companies, but it will soon become much more rigorous, with a well-defined, intricate, and mandatory process for making sure that every last little design issue and potential “Single Point Fault” has been accounted for.

I also enjoyed presentations on human factors in medical device design, intellectual property issues, materials management, and other product development challenges. The highlight of the conference was a roundtable panel consisting of four medical device design heavy hitters: Stacey Chang of IDEO, Dr. Joseph Heanue of Triple Ring Technologies, Roger Stern of Stellartech, and Mir Imran of Modulus. Lots of war stories and sage advice was dispensed by all.

In particular, they concurred on a couple of clear trends among the medical device venture capital crowd. For one, after the 2008 market crash, investment in small initial-stage start-ups by VC firms, and thus eventually by angel investors as well, was deemed too risky and dried up considerably. The panelists expect a corresponding dearth of “ripe” biomed companies available to be acquired by the “big fish”, who in typical big fish style must continually consume the littler ones to survive. “It’s not like they are going to be developing any new technology themselves”, one of them quipped. This will conversely make those startups that do survive much more highly valued in a few years when they reach “eatin’ size”.

The second noted trend is the rise in popularity of the “one team – many companies” or incubator model, where facilities and staff are shared among several different enterprises. This leaner, more cohesive approach is now considered the standard in capital efficiency. The dot-com era standard VC pitch typically emphasized the pedigrees of the individual company officers that had been drawn to the effort. However, Mr. Imran noted, recruiting a top-quality product development team using this “star player” approach can distract start-ups for up to a year, and it can take up to another year of hard work for them to work well as a team. In this ever faster moving tech marketplace, by the time everyone gets their act together, hungry competition has likely eaten the proverbial lunch.

The sessions on clinical trials and polymer specifications were far afield from my interests, and so gave me an excuse to slip out and wander through the exhibit hall. Lots of amazing technology on display of course, much of it requiring optical magnification to fully appreciate, but here’s one of the less bleeding-edge products that I still found quite impressive…

Accelbot 500 – This ready-to-go yet bare-bones robotic XYZ stage looks to be a great starting point for automating repetitive experimental tasks. The base model will set you back $4500, but you get a roughly 500mm x 200mm x 100mm (20″ x 8″ x 4″) working volume, 0.02mm (0.0008″) resolution, a solid pre-drilled base plate for attaching your work holders, and an internal integrated controller that accepts straightforward motion commands via Python scripts or any other programming environment capable of the standard serial port protocol via USB. They were demonstrating it as a robotic pipette, but I imagined adding a small vacuum system to make a pick and place machine for loading surface mount components onto circuit boards.

No, it’s not nearly as cheap as some of the clever and awesome MakerBot kit solutions like CupCake CNC (~$1000), but it has very high precision, versatility, and ease-of-use for the price. Besides, MakerBots move the work rather than the tool head, so it’s not appropriate for many “wet” biomedical research applications, unless you don’t mind your solutions sloshed and stirred from the constant motion. I’m getting dizzy just thinking about it…

The Importance of Mind-Wandering | Wired Science | Wired.com

The Importance of Mind-Wandering | Wired Science | Wired.com.
More important than even I would have imagined in my wildest daydreams…

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Robot Domination – Look At The Making of a Memory Card | Singularity Hub

Robot Domination – Look At The Making of a Memory Card | Singularity Hub.

The evolution of deceit – Neuroscience – Salon.com

The evolution of deceit – Neuroscience – Salon.com.

Posted in DIVERSIONS NEUROSCIENCE by Ken. No Comments