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About David V. Kerns

Areas of Interest: electrical and computer engineering, microelectronics, MEMS, entrepreneurship, intellectual property.
Microelectronics and MEMS: I have a background and interest in analog integrated circuit design, VLSI design and layout and computer simulation of complex integrated circuits. Recently I have focused on MEMS (Micro-electromechanical systems) research. This is an exciting area that uses integrated circuit fabrication techniques to design and build mechanical and electrical systems on a chip. Examples include sensors of various kinds, such as force, acceleration, and rotation sensing devices, but also more complex integrated systems, such micromachined motors, gears, and the electronics to control them on a single chip. I also have used unusual materials in some of this work, such as diamond for a hydrogen gas sensor on a chip based on a patent I co-authored.
A related area is the design of integrated circuits that are immune to particularly harsh environments. This includes research on circuits that operate in extreme radiation environments or at very high temperatures. Applications include electronic circuits that must operate for reasonable times in space, circuits that must operate through a nuclear disaster, or circuits that operate in a furnace or fire.
I've been interested for many years in technological entrepreneurship and intellectual property (IP). I wrote my first patent with my father, who is an attorney. Many patents and high-tech company start-ups later, I've enjoyed learning about the differences in IP and technology entrepreneurship around the world. Technological entrepreneurship is now one of my special interests, particularly the identification, development and commercialization of intellectual property.


Present Franklin and Mary Olin Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Olin College of Engineering
Present Olin College Founding Provost, Olin College of Engineering

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • Outstanding teacher and author of acclaimed undergrad EE texts
  • Founder of several successful technology start-ups and former member of Bell Labs technical staff
  • Chaired Vanderbilt's EE Department, directed Management of Technology Program and served as associate and acting engineering dean
  • Holds patents on tennis ball-spotting sunglasses and other inventions
  • Prolific researcher and consultant with over 100 technical publications
  • Bernard M. Gordon Prize


  • Modeling and Control

Contact Information


Articles (17)