A California-based start-up called NanoLambda have developed a low-cost ($10) spectrometer sensor chip called Apollo which makes possible a wide range of new sensing applications. The sensor is capable of measuring individual wavelengths of light and is accurate to 1 nm with 10 nm resolution.
Optical spectroscopy is a very powerful non-invasive diagnostic technique and has been used for decades in many fields including health care. However the equipment cost using traditional methods of spectrum analysis has limited its area of application to professional use only. Using the company’s nano fusion technology NanoLambda have fabricated a sensor from thin nanofilter arrays which reduces the size and cost to about 1 % compared with traditional sensing equipment. The sensor’s sensitivity bandwidth can be defined in the manufacturing process and even allows detection in the infra-red region. The small physical size of the sensor makes it ideal for use for unobtrusive, wearable health monitoring applications.
Spectrometer-on-a-Chip – [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 Susan Nordyk @ edn.com:
Texas Instruments is now sampling to its third-party developer network the 0.47-in. TRP Full-HD 1080p chipset—the smallest TI chipset capable of generating brighter, more efficient full high-definition projection displays from small form-factor electronics. The chipset is based on DLP Cinema technology and employs the DLP4710 digital micromirror device to deliver sharp, clear images in a compact size that enables end-user products in many form factors.
Low power consumption allows the chipset to be used in battery-powered applications, such as mobile projectors and wearable electronics. In addition, the proprietary DLP TRP architecture and adaptive DLP IntelliBright suite of algorithms deliver up to 100% higher brightness or up to 50% lower power consumption than previous DLP Pico chipset architectures.
Tiny 1080p chipset enables full HD projection – [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 Suzanne Deffree @ edn.com:
Intel announced its 4004 processor and its chipset through an ad in Electronic News on November 15, 1971, making them the first complete CPU on one chip and the first commercially available microprocessor.
The building-block 4004 CPU held 2300 transistors. The microprocessor, the size of a little fingernail, delivered the same computing power as the first electronic computer built in 1946, which, in contrast, filled a room. Full technical details for the 4004 can be found in this January 1972 EDN story on the technology: One-Chip CPU available for low-cost dedicated computers.
Intel 4004 is announced, November 15, 1971 – [Link]
by Susan Nordyk:
A four-channel PMBus digital power-system manager IC, the LTC2975 from Linear Technology, performs current, power, and energy monitoring of the intermediate-bus input to point-of-load (POL) converters. The device relieves the host of burdensome computation and poling by providing the energy consumed, reported in joules, and the elapsed time through a PMBus interface. When combined with its digital measurements of POL output voltages, current, and power, the input data enables long-term monitoring of a power system’s conversion efficiency.
Monitor IC optimizes board energy consumption – [Link]
The LTC2645 is a family of quad 12-, 10-, and 8-bit PWM-to-voltage output DACs with an integrated high accuracy, low drift, 10ppm/°C reference in a 16-lead MSOP package. It has rail-to-rail output buffers and is guaranteed monotonic. The LTC2645 measures the period and pulse width of the PWM input signals and updates the voltage output DACs after each corresponding PWM input rising edge. The DAC outputs update and settle to 12-bit accuracy within 8μs typically and are capable of sourcing and sinking up to 5mA (3V) or 10mA (5V), eliminating voltage ripple and replacing slow analog filters and buffer amplifiers.
LTC2645 – Quad 12-/10-/8-Bit PWM to VOUT DACs – [Link]
Silicon Labs have introduced a tiny 3 mm square hybrid TV tuner chip which supports reception of all worldwide terrestrial and cable TV transmission standards. According to its preliminary data sheet its design eliminates the need for an external balun, LNAs, SAW filters, and inductive power supply filtering. Some competing TV tuner solutions also eliminate the balun but can suffer from degraded NF and second-order distortion, which compromises reception. A fully-integrated 1.8 V LDO power supply regulator enables single supply operation, while a dual supply option offers additional system flexibility. Increased immunity to LTE interference and a harmonic rejection mixer filters out Wi-Fi interference and eliminates the need for external filtering.
Tiny hybrid TV Tuner – [Link]
by Rob Matheson @ phys.org:
Stream video on your smartphone, or use its GPS for an hour or two, and you’ll probably see the battery drain significantly. As data rates climb and smartphones adopt more power-hungry features, battery life has become a concern. Now a technology developed by MIT spinout Eta Devices could help a phone’s battery last perhaps twice as long, and help to conserve energy in cell towers.
Beating battery drain: Power-conserving chip may increase smartphone battery life – [Link]
by Nancy Owano @ phys.org:
Technology from a Taiwanese semiconductor foundry is to bring considerable benefits in performance and power efficiency to big.LITTLE implementations, in the name of FinFET. Hsinchu, Taiwan-based TSMC announced last month it had successfully produced the first fully functional ARM-based networking processor with FinFET technology and explained how TSMC’s 16FinFET process promises speed and power improvements as well as leakage reduction.
TSMC, ARM see impressive results with FinFET process – [Link]