by Ransom Stephens @ edn.com:
Moore’s Law, famous for predicting the exponential growth of computing power over 40 years, comes from a simple try-fail/succeed model of incremental improvement. The predictive success of Moore’s Law seems uncanny, so let’s take a closer look to get an idea of where it comes from.
Moore conceived his law for computational power but Moore’s-like growth laws permeate human endeavor—a fact that had never occurred to me until I went to a presentation by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab energy researcher, Robert van Buskirk. He showed several technologies that improve according to Moore’s law, but with different timescales than the original. You can read his paper here, notably co-authored by Nobel Laureate and former Secretary of the Department of Energy, Steven Chu.
Moore’s Law extends to cover human progress - [Link]
by David Nield @ gizmag.com:
The batteries inside our smartphones and laptops are fighting a losing battle when it comes to keeping these devices juiced up, but researchers from ETH Zurich have discovered a new type of glass material that could make a major difference: vanadate-borate glass. The glass can be used as an electrode material in lithium-ion batteries to almost double the amount of time they last between charges.
A new type of glass could double your smartphone’s battery life - [Link]
Alex Lidow @ edn.com:
For the first time in 60 years, a new higher-performance semiconductor technology is less expensive to produce than the silicon counterpart. Gallium nitride (GaN), has demonstrated both a dramatic improvement in transistor performance and the ability to be produced at a lower cost than silicon. GaN transistors have unleashed new applications as a result of their ability to switch higher voltages and higher currents faster than any transistor before. These extraordinary characteristics have ushered in new applications capable of transforming the future. But this is just the beginning.
GaN field effect transistors (FETs) are now available as discrete transistors and as monolithic half-bridges, with performance 10 times better than the best commercial silicon MOSFET. But what happens when many devices are integrated to create a system on a single chip? What happens when the performance of that chip is 100 times better than silicon?
GaN technology will transform the future - [Link]
Scientists have created a new generation of biosensors that could potentially allow machines to sniff out subtle differences in smell with more accuracy than our own human noses. From University of Manchester:
Every odour has its own specific pattern which our noses are able to identify. Using a combination of proteins coupled to transistors, for the first time machines are able to differentiate smells that are mirror images of each other, so called chiral molecules, something that has not been possible before. The human nose can distinguish between some of these molecules and the different forms of the same molecule of carvone, for example, can smell either like spearmint or caraway. Previous machines would not have been able to distinguish between the two.
The development will allow the creation of a new generation of biosensors with an acute ability to sniff out problems. These could have many industrial uses such as telling when food has gone off, and they could even be accurate enough to smell how much pollution is in the atmosphere.
A collaboration of academics from The University of Manchester and the University of Bari in Italy, have created a biosensor that utilises an odorant binding protein. The team’s findings are published today in the journal Nature Communications.
New Sensors Could Allow Machines to Smell More Accurately Than Humans - [Link]
by Amy Norcross @ edn.com:
Researchers at Scandinavian research organization SINTEF have made progress in developing components that dissolve in water. Printed on a silicon wafer, the components contain extremely thin circuits — only a few nanometers thick — that are designed to transfer energy. They are made of a combination of magnesium, silicon, or silicon with a magnesium additive; are water-soluble; and disappear after a few hours.
Eco-friendly electronics of the future will be designed to disappear - [Link]
by Jessica Lipsky @ edn.com:
Intel announced at CES 2015 the Broadwell family, its fifth-generation Core processors. The 14 new chips are essentially versions of the company’s 22nm Haswell architecture made in its new 14nm process, providing enhancements it hopes encourages PC and notebook users to upgrade.
Intel will offer dual and quad-core chips — 10 processors at 15W (both Core i5 and i7 chips) with Intel HD graphics, and four 28W products with Intel Iris Graphics spanning i3, i5, and i7 lines. The dual-core chips have 1.9 billion transistors, a 35% increase over the prior generation, and a 133 mm2 footprint that is approximately 50mm2 smaller than its predecessors. The 15W chips have data rates up to 3.1 GHz while 28W i7 cores hit up to 3.4 GHz.
Intel rolls 14nm Broadwell in Vegas - [Link]
by Dario Borghino @ gizmag.com:
Scientists at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have developed a smart window that is able to tint itself blue, partially blocking incoming light, without the need for an external power source. The device also functions as a small transparent battery that recharges on its own simply by interacting with the oxygen in its surroundings.
Self-tinting “breathing” window doubles as a transparent battery - [Link]
At the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) 2014 held in San Francisco last week the laboratory for advanced research in microelectronics (Imec) announced they had designed an 8-bit RFID transponder chip that used so little power it could run for 20 years on a single AAA battery. If predictions about the interconnectivity of all ‘things’ in the future are to be realized then it will be necessary to optimize the design of sensors and electronics so that they do their job using as little energy as possible.
Ultra Low Power Chips - [Link]
by Cabe Atwell @ edn.com:
Love it or hate it, there’s no question that Apple’s iPhone line is popular, and while the numbers haven’t officially been announced yet, the company has already broken its record for pre-orders online (roughly 4 million in a 24-hour period compared to the iPhone 5’s 2 million). The new smartphone comes in two flavors — the 6 and the 6 Plus. In this teardown, we focus on Apple’s flagship, the larger “phablet” 6 Plus.
Teardown: Inside the iPhone 6 Plus - [Link]
by Hanne Degans @ phys.org:
At this week’s IEDM 2014, held in San Francisco, California, nanoelectronics research center imec demonstrated an ultra-low power RFID transponder chip. Operating at sub 1V voltage and realized in thin-film transistor technology (TFTs) on plastic film, the chip paves the way for universal sensing applications, such as item level RFID tagging, body area networks (BAN) and environmental monitoring, that require prolonged remote autonomy, and ultimate thinness, flexibility and robustness.
One of the major drivers of the semiconductor industry is the Internet of Things (IoT). Market studies envision a society where billions of autonomous sensor nodes are seamlessly integrated into objects, in the environment and on human bodies, operating independently for months, interacting with each other and connecting to the internet. This IoT is expected to improve and enhance daily-lives through smart houses and smart cars, personal health monitoring and much more.
Ultralow-power RFID transponder chip in thin-film transistor technology on plastic - [Link]