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Imec_nl
Imec_nl
6/24/2013 1:06:15 PM
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Newbie
Re: A few thoughts
Our industrial partners bring our designs to the market as part of their Product offering. Of course they add memory, microntroller etc. to the production design so the whole radio (and in some cases even the complete sensor solution) will be in one package. Unfortunately I cannot comment on their timelines. Our designs will not become available as open source. However we do sometimes contribute to the community by making proposals for new standards, writing white papers etc.

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eafpres1
eafpres1
6/24/2013 10:39:07 AM
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Blogger
Re: A few thoughts
@IMEC--thank you for the additional details.  All of your points are valid assuming the predictions of IoT are accurate!

Perhaps we are touching on a relatively new distinction being drawn between M2M and IoT.  In the M2M space, which in my definition includes short-range wireless like  Zigbee, there has been significant emphasis on adding capabilities and integrating the wireless functions with micro processors or micro controllers to make a single chip solution for a diversity of applications.  On the other hand, the design you are describing is a building block that would be integrated into, say, a revision of an existing, non-wireless design.  I note that your radio design has no processor or memory associated with it, so those functions would be external, if needed.

Can you comment on how this design would come to market?  Would it eventually be open source, or will it reside at particular foundarys which would be available to customers?  I noted elsewhere references to a partnership with Renesas on these designs, but am unclear if this design would belong to Renesas or be made available through some other model.

Thank you again for your comments.  IMEC is involved in a lot of cutting edge technologies, perhaps this forum can get early views of your other work in the future.

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Imec_nl
Imec_nl
6/24/2013 5:42:13 AM
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Newbie
Re: A few thoughts
Thanks for liking our design.

Internet of things, making all devices (also small sensoric ones) talk to each other and deliver context information and smartness to your personal environment, dictates that all devices, also very small sensoric devices, are able to wirelessly communicate to each other in the near future. By 2020, the number of short range radios sold per year will be higher than the number of mobile radios. Though there are many radio solutions already in the market today, most of them cannot be used for long lifetime sensor applications running on a small battery or harvester. Radios on the market today are either low power enough to work on a coin cell or harvester,  OR standardized, but then not realizing a long lifetime when running on a coin cell or harvester.

In sensoric nodes, the overall percentage of the system power consumption consumed by the radio today is often as high as 50-85%. This leads to an enormous market demand for short range radios which are (multi-)standardized for interoperability, and which have a power consumption 3-50 times lower than radios on the market today.

As imec, we do not deliver radio ICs to the market, but help semiconductor companies to realize their goals and roadmaps. Only approximately 15 percent of our funding is public and that part is normally spent on longer term research and infrastructure. The other 85% is covered by industrial contributions, e.g. for this radio design by semiconductor companies who like to productize our prototype design.

We contribute to the internet of things revolution by delivering new innovative short range radio designs where we combine our IC technology, application and IC design competence. While a company like TI is without a doubt able to have a full research and design team on this topic, nearly all semiconductor companies will need short range radio solutions as it is going to be an add-on IP block in nearly every design within a few years from now. Not for many of these companies it will a differentiator in the market, it will just become a basic requirement. This makes short range radios an excellent topic for an imec program: we develop the generic solutions, and many companies can benefit from the results (at a fraction of the cost and risk compared to in-house R&D), adapting them to their individual needs.

Hope this explanation helps, when we are successful you will indeed get even more choice in radios as a design engineer, but they will have significantly lower power consumption and better specifications!

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steve.taranovich
steve.taranovich
6/22/2013 11:50:45 AM
User Rank
Blogger
Re: A few thoughts
Excellent point regarding the dual use of a shield and heat-spreader, easpres. My thought was to save money, little cost as it might be, for a shield plus assembly step to install with proper IC design thermally and EMI-wise---if that can be effectively done. Otherwise, your point is well taken and certainly valid.

 

I will let imec comment on your other point---stand by

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eafpres1
eafpres1
6/22/2013 11:07:50 AM
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Blogger
A few thoughts
The design you highlighted seems a nice achievement.  For me, given the massive industrial efforts in innovative chip designs, including heavyweights like TI along with many others, I'm confused by IMECs choice to spend resources here.  Why spend public funding on wireless technologies when the industry is doing a great job of putting huge numbers of choices in front of design engineers already?

I wanted to comment on one point regarding die-design.  While I would agreee that it is desireable to avoid needing shielding, it may not be wholly accurate to say that adding a shield degrades heat dissipation.  There are several compnaies that provide shielding with thermal interface materials between the inside top of the can and the chip, and have nearly continuous contact around the perimeter (vs. other designs with lots of "feet"), thereby making the shield can a highly effective heat spreader.  Proper board design to capitalize on this can result in lower temperatures than a bare chip.

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