Imec demonstrated a low-power (20µW), intra-cardiac signal processing chip for the detection of ventricular fibrillation at this week’s International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC 2013) in San Francisco with Olympus. An important step toward next-generation Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy solutions, the new chip delivers innovative signal processing functionalities and consumes only 20µW when all channels are active, enabling the miniaturization of implantable devices. [via]
Robust and accurate heart rate monitoring of the right and left ventricles and the right atrium is essential for implantable devices used in cardiac resynchronization therapy, and accurate motion sensor and thoracic impedance measurements to analyze intrathoracic fluid are critical for improving clinical research and analysis of intracardiac rhythm. Extremely low power consumption is also necessary to reduce the size of cardiac implants and improve the patient’s quality of life.
Carry a Chip in your Heart - [Link]
State-of-Charge Measurement for Lithium-Ion Batteries is an advanced task, but can be simplified using specific ICs able to measure accurate SOC of Li-Ion batteries. Stephen Evanczuk writes:
All energy-harvesting-based systems need energy storage for times when the energy cannot be harvested (e.g., at night for solar-powered systems). Rechargeable batteries ‒ known as “secondary” cells to differentiate them from “primary” or single-use cells ‒ are usually specified for this task.
For rechargeable batteries, however, battery management depends on the best possible measurement of what is known as the state-of-charge (SOC) of battery cells. For lithium-ion batteries, the characteristics of Li-ion cells complicate SOC measurement and can challenge engineers looking to maximize Li-ion battery lifetime. To simplify design of Li-ion battery management systems, engineers can leverage a variety of SOC measurement techniques supported in ICs from Atmel, Linear Technology, Maxim Integrated Products, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments.
Advanced ICs Simplify Accurate State-of-Charge Measurement for Lithium-Ion Batteries - [Link]
Researchers at Rice University (USA) have developed a micron-scale spatial light modulator (SLM) similar to those currently used in sensing and imaging devices, but with the potential to run several orders of magnitude faster. Their ‘antenna on a chip’ operates in 3D ‘free space’ instead of the two-dimensional space of conventional semiconductor devices.
A device that looks like a tiny washboard may clean the clocks of current commercial products used to manipulate infrared light.
New research by the Rice University lab of Qianfan Xu has produced a micron-scale spatial light modulator (SLM) like those used in sensing and imaging devices, but with the potential to run orders of magnitude faster. Unlike other devices in two-dimensional semiconducting chips, the Rice chips work in three-dimensional “free space.”
In current optical computing devices, light is confined to two-dimensional circuitry and travels in waveguides from point to point. According to the researchers, 2D systems ignore the massive multiplexing capability of optical systems arising from the fact that multiple light beams can propagate in the same space without affecting each other. [via]
“Antenna on Chip” Manipulates Light at Warp Speed - [Link]
This app note describes the common IC interface protocols like I2C, SPI, and GPIO. Also some problems covered with these interfaces that turn happy faces to sad. [via]
How can an interface change a happy face to a sad face? Engineers have happy faces when an interface works properly. Sad faces indicate failure somewhere. Because interfaces between microprocessors and ICs are simple—even easy—they are often ignored until interface failure causes sad faces all around. In this article, we discuss a common SPI error that can be almost impossible to find in a large system. Links to interface tutorial information are provided for complete information. Noise as a system issue and ICs to minimize its effects are also described.
Common IC interface problems - [Link]
This blog will contain descriptions of some of my favorite workshop techniques and projects. The subject area will include everything from woodworking to electronics to machining and project design.
Decapping ICs (removing epoxy packaging from chips to expose the dies) - [Link]
A new chip from NXP can boost the output power of micro speakers by more than five times, vastly improving the sound quality of mobile devices. By driving over 2.6 watts RMS into micro speakers that have previously been limited to 0.5 W, the TFA9887 IC will give mobile phones, portable music players and tablets much louder sound, deeper bass, and higher sound quality without risking speaker damage.
Adaptive excursion control measures the actual excursion of the speaker membrane to ensure that it never exceeds its rated limit. Real-time temperature protection measures the voice-coil temperature directly to prevent thermal damage. An advanced clip avoidance algorithm monitors audio performance and prevents clipping, even when the power supply begins to sag. Bandwidth extension increases the low frequency response well below speaker resonance. And an intelligent DC-to-DC boost converter maximizes audio headroom from any supply level despite battery undervoltage. The chip automatically adapts to any changes in the speaker – including ageing, damage to the enclosure, and blocked speaker ports – helping to optimize performance and maintain the desired sound quality. [via]
Novel Speaker Driver Delivers Hyperaudio from Mobile Devices - [Link]
To assist component and system-design engineers in selecting Texas Instruments (TI) standard-logic products, this application report is a synopsis of the information available from a typical TI data sheet. Information includes a brief description of terms, definitions, and testing procedures currently used for commercial and military specifications. Symbols, terms, and definitions generally are in accordance with those currently agreed upon by the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association for use in the USA and by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for international use.
Understanding and interpreting logic IC datasheets - [Link]
Based on scientific research, the distance of a thunderstorm can be statistically calculated from the observation of lightning flashes and thunder sounds. The US National Weather Bureau suggests the 30-30 rule when lightning is imminent: when a flash is seen and the thunder is heard less than 30 seconds later, the storm is within 10 km.
The AS3935 from austriamicrosystems is a programmable Lightning Sensor IC that detects the presence and approach of potentially hazardous lightning activity in the vicinity. It detects intra-cloud activity as well as cloud to ground flashes, often enabling risk to be evaluated for approaching storms. The new chip detects lightning activity as it approaches from up to 40 km away which provides a much longer distance for lightning warning. In addition, the device identifies and rejects interference signals from common man-made sources such as: fluorescent lighting, motors, microwave oven, switches, etc.
The flexible IC allows for configurability that allows the part to work both indoors as well as outdoors, just changing the gain setting in a register. [via]
World’s First Lightning Sensor IC Detects Lightning up to 40 km Away - [Link]
Two independent touch switches housed in a single 8 pin chip. Power supply between 2V and 5V. New version 2.0 has Individually configurable momentary or latching operation.
Have you have ever wanted to add a simple touch switch to your project? Well now you can with our touch switch IC you can now add momentary or locking touch switch functionality.
- For momentary operation connect the CFG1 / CFG2 pin to Ground.
- For latching operation, connect the CFG1 / CFG2 pin to +VDD.
Touch Switch IC - [Link]