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]
When MC Hammer rapped ‘You can’t touch this’ little did he know of the work being carried out by a group of scientists at Bristol University. The team led by Dr Ben Long and colleagues Professor Sriram Subramanian, Sue Ann Seah and Tom Carter have produced an ultrasonic sound system able to generate 3D shapes in mid-air that can be felt.
Tactile Holograms – [Link]
by Stanford University @ phys.org. For decades, the mantra of electronics has been smaller, faster, cheaper. Today, Stanford engineers add a fourth word – taller.
At a conference in San Francisco, a Stanford team will reveal how to build high-rise chips that could leapfrog the performance of the single-story logic and memory chips on today’s circuit cards.
Those circuit cards are like busy cities in which logic chips compute and memory chips store data. But when the computer gets busy, the wires connecting logic and memory can get jammed.
The Stanford approach would end these jams by building layers of logic atop layers of memory to create a tightly interconnected high-rise chip. Many thousands of nanoscale electronic “elevators” would move data between the layers much faster, using less electricity, than the bottle-neck prone wires connecting single-story logic and memory chips today.
Researchers combine logic, memory to build a ‘high-rise’ chip – [Link]
by Richard Moss @ gizmag.com:
We’ve already seen artificial skin capable of sensing touch and prosthetics that sense texture, but now a group of Korean scientists has come up with a stretchable electronic skin that “feels” in three dimensions. The artificial skin is made from arrays of microscopic domes that interlock and deform when pressed. It can detect the intensity, location, and direction of pressure, whether from an object or a mere gust of wind.
Electronic skin can sense the direction in which it’s being touched – [Link]
by Nick Lavars:
While the stench of rotting food would cause you to stop from chowing down, chances are it became unfit for consumption some time before those funky aromas wafted through your nostrils. Chemists at MIT have been working on a wireless, inexpensive sensor that, among other things, identifies spoiled food early by detecting gases in the air. It then shares its data with a smartphone, potentially alerting users to that soon-to-be moldy fruit in the bottom of the fridge.
Wireless sensor alerts your smartphone as food begins to spoil – [Link]
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has published the specs for the next generation of Bluetooth devices. Bluetooth 4.2 has a few improvements that will be of particular interest to developers of IoT devices. The biggest change is support for an Internet Protocol Support Profile (IPSP) which enables IPv6 for Bluetooth. This means that wearable or IoT devices (based on Bluetooth Low Energy) will not need to be paired with a smartphone or tablet to gain access to the cloud, they will have access to the internet via a Bluetooth/WiFi enabled router.
What’s new with Bluetooth? – [Link]
Amy Norcross @ edn.com:
HRL Laboratories, based in Malibu, CA, recently tested a prototype neuromorphic chip with 576 silicon neurons aboard a tiny drone measuring 6×6×1.5 inches and weighing 93 grams. The project was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
The drone, custom built for the test by AeroVironment of Monrovia, CA, flew between three separate rooms. The aircraft was able to process data from its optical, ultrasound, and infrared sensors and recognize when it was in a new or familiar room.
Smart chip mimics human brain functions – [Link]
by Ben Coxworth @ gizmag.com:
Someday soon, your milk carton may be able to tell you that the milk has spoiled, or your bandage may indicate that it needs changing. These and other things could be made possible by a new technique developed at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, which allows disposable electronics to be printed on a variety of surfaces, using an existing T-shirt printer.
Disposable electronic circuits produced with a T-shirt printer – [Link]