by Paul Pyzowski, Guest Contributor
Truly transformative technologies tend to emerge from relative obscurity, where investors move quickly from manic overhype to utter despair, only to then be followed by the long and hard slog to deliver on the original promise. But ultimately the results surpass the initial hype in ways that could not have been originally imagined. Two early-2000’s vintage technology bubbles -- genomics and the Internet -- experienced such cycles, yet today genomics is genuinely transforming the practice of medicine while the Internet has transformed, well, just about everything else.
The MEMS industry’s own microfluidics technology also went through a bubble-to-bust cycle in the first half of the 2000s. Andreas Manz and his contemporaries who first developed “lab-on-a-chip” technology in the early 1990s are reputed to have dubbed their devices “bioMEMS” just to attract research financing for what at the time an obscure thrust in analytical chemistry.