SOURCE: Akustica, Inc.

February 13, 2007 12:00 ET

Akustica's Ken Gabriel Is Finalist for Two Electronics Industry 'Innovator' Awards

Recognized for Enabling Mass Production of MEMS Devices in CMOS foundries

PITTSBURGH, PA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 13, 2007 -- Two high-profile electronics industry publications have named Ken Gabriel, co-founder and chief technology officer of Akustica, Inc., a finalist for their 2006 innovation awards.

EE Times, the electronic industry's leading weekly newspaper, chose Dr. Gabriel as an "Innovator of the Year" finalist for its Annual Creativity in Electronics (ACE) Award. The Innovator of the Year award recognizes the "individual who has brought leadership, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to technology, a product or business."

Dr. Gabriel is also a finalist for "Innovator of the Year" in EDN Magazine's 17th Annual Innovation Awards. The 50-year-old bimonthly magazine recently called 2006 "a strong year for innovation," and noted that its editors had "scoured this year's entries for the freshest, most inventive, and most outstanding performances by engineers, products, and technologies." In addition to nominating Dr Gabriel, the magazine also nominated Akustica's first product, the AKU2000 digital MEMS microphone, for an EDN Innovation Award in the mixed-signal application-specific standard product category. (See "Akustica's Digital Microphone Nominated for EDN Innovation Award," February 13, 2007.)

CMOS MEMS Innovator

Dr. Gabriel developed a patented Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) process that allows semiconductor devices to be fabricated within a standard CMOS wafer -- which can be manufactured in any CMOS foundry. By enabling the production of MEMS devices using CMOS foundries, Akustica's CMOS MEMS platform frees designers from having to rely on captive processes for MEMS manufacturing, improving manufacturability and lowering bill-of-materials for making high- volume devices in notebook computers and consumer electronics. The use of standard CMOS also makes possible the integration of an acoustic transducer, output amplifier, and sigma-delta modulator onto a single chip -- reducing form factor and power consumption to meet the requirements of resource- and space-constrained devices.

In 2006, Akustica, led by Dr. Gabriel and Jim Rock, co-founder and chief executive officer, announced the first CMOS MEMS devices -- the first and only family of complete microphones -- from voice input to digital output -- on single surface-mountable monolithic chips. In addition to acoustic applications, Dr. Gabriel foresees the expansion of Akustica's use of its CMOS MEMS platform for many different kinds of high-volume, high-margin MEMS, including inertial sensors and radio frequency (RF) devices. Together, these application areas represent a multi-billion dollar market opportunity by 2010, according to the market research firm Yole Developpement.

The EDN Innovation Awards will be presented April 2, and the EE Times' ACE honorees will be recognized April 3. Both industry events will be held in San Jose, Calif., coinciding with the Embedded Systems Conference Silicon Valley, the largest electronic-systems design event in North America.

About Akustica

Founded in 2001, Akustica, Inc. is a privately held company based in Pittsburgh, PA. Through a revolutionary technology known as Sensory Silicon™, Akustica products enable electronic devices to sense and respond to the world around them. By leveraging standard CMOS processes and MEMS technology, Akustica's acoustic system-on-chip solutions combine the functionality of microphones with microelectronics and software onto a single chip. Only Akustica's CMOS MEMS microphones -- pioneered by Akustica chief technologist and co-founder Ken Gabriel, Ph.D., during his tenure at Carnegie Mellon University -- enable single-chip solutions with arrays of transducers and integrated signal processing that disrupt both conventional microphone and speaker technologies. Smaller and more reliable than electret condenser microphones, Akustica's silicon microphones can be customized with advanced sound-capture features and noise-reduction capabilities. Akustica digital output microphones are now reaching the market in commercial volumes, helping to fulfill demand for improved voice input in a host of voice-enabled applications, from Internet telephony on notebooks to PC camera modules and mobile phones.

More information about Akustica can be obtained via Phone: (412) 390-1730, Fax (412) 390-1737, Email: or Web:

Akustica and the Akustica logo are registered trademarks and Sensory Silicon is a trademark of Akustica, Inc. All other product and company names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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