Open house draws micro-tech researchers from around Pacific Northwest to view the latest prototypes and commercial products developed at WTC’s premier R&D facility in Seattle
Seattle, WA — Engineers, chief technology officers, academic researchers, and industry executives flocked to the Washington Technology Center’s open house Feb. 26 to get an inside glimpse of the organization’s Microfabrication Laboratory, the largest micro-technology R&D facility in the Pacific Northwest. More than 125 attendees from Washington and Oregon turned out to tour the Microfab Lab, which provides specialized equipment, trained personnel and other services for developing micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS)—miniaturized mechanical devices on silicon chips or wafers—a trend that is revolutionizing the technology industry.
Washington is home to a growing number of micro-technology companies. WTC is a critical partner in helping both new and established companies fabricate and test proprietary technology and prototypes in the earliest stages of development. “Having access to fully-functioning fabrication resources through WTC is enormously valuable to us,” says Matt Nichols, director of communications for Microvision, a Bothell-based company that develops high-resolution displays and imaging systems based on proprietary silicon micro-mirror technology. “The MicroFab Lab offers a controlled environment, which is critical, and we aren’t burdened with building these facilities ourselves or dividing our time among labs that only provide a portion of the functionality,” says Nichols. “As a result, we are able to move to market faster with a more stable, reliable product.”
Microvision exhibited its Nomad Expert Technician System at the open house, a wireless wearable augmented vision display that allows technicians to view detailed service information at their point of task, head-up and hands-free. CombiMatrix, Intelligent Ion, Neah Power Systems, and TraceDetect also previewed products and prototypes developed at the Microfab Lab. Industry and academic researchers have shared access to the lab, which represent nearly $20 million in facilities and equipment. Lab clients can customize their use of the facilities to best fit their needs, ranging from part time and contract use to full time R&D. “We’re pleased to offer a facility of this caliber to our industry and academic clients,” says Lee Cheatham, executive director for Washington Technology Center. “WTC will continue to deliver resources and services that foster academic-industry partnership and contribute to the growth and economic strength of technology commerce in our state.”