Formation of the IEEE Sensors Council

Most electronic devices interface somehow to the “real world”; and the interface essentially is a sensor or actuator, although it may not be called that. Despite the prevalence of sensors today, the IEEE currently has no society that is dedicated to the topic. Many IEEE publications and conferences publish selected papers on sensors and their applications that are relevant to their technical area, but they are usually organized around a particular technology (e.g., semiconductors) and not the problems faced with sensors in general.

The newly formed IEEE Sensors Council hopes to serve the sensor community with new publications, conferences, and technical committees. Its fields of interest and activities are the theory, design, fabrication, manufacturing, and application of devices for sensing and transducing physical, chemical, and biological phenomena, with emphasis on the electronics and physics aspects of sensors and integrated sensor-actuators. A majority of IEEE societies including the SSCS, have joined the new Council and sent representatives to the first meeting in November 1999. Dr. John Vig, who originally proposed the formation of the Council, was elected president.

The first objective for the new Council is to launch an IEEE publication devoted to sensors. Unlike integrated circuits, where we are observing a concentration on only a few key processes, sensors deal with an ever-increasing variety of physical, chemical, and biological phenomena. The field of interest statement of the proposed journal reflects this variety and includes mechanical, thermal, optical, magnetic, radiation, microwave, chemical, and biological sensors. Also of interest are packaging, interconnects, telemetry, characterization, noise, CAD, and, of course, applications. The proposed journal is quite a bit broader than many other IEEE publications. This gives it an opportunity to bring together a wide range of expertise; however, a special effort may be required to form a loyal author- and readership.

A new IEEE publication must complete several steps before the first issue is in the hands of the readers*. The first step is approval by the IEEE Technical Advisory Board (TAB). The necessary documents are now being prepared and include detailed objectives and a financial plan, which includes a request for a $100,000 loan from TAB to cover startup expenses during the first three years. After that the publication is expected to be self-supporting. Publication is expected to start in the first half of 2001.

Bernard Boser
Representative to Sensors Council
IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society

*The IEEE Sensors Council received all the necessary approvals, and the loan, in early 2000.