Kurt Petersen has been called a "founding father of MEMS" because of his pioneering research work on microelectromechanical systems at IBM Corp. in the 1970s. He has co-founded four MEMS startups, the most successful of which, NovaSensor, has delivered hundreds of millions of MEMS sensors worldwide. Petersen also pioneered the fusion of MEMS and microfluidic technology in a biological detection system made at another of his startups, Cepheid. It's now used by the U.S. Postal Service to screen mail for possible anthrax contamination. Petersen's most recent startup, SiTime Corp., plans to substitute MEMS and CMOS chips for all the billions of bulky quartz-crystal oscillator cans that maintain time bases for everything from watches to the electronics on printed-circuit boards. He recently told EE Times' R. Colin Johnson where he sees MEMS going in the future.