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www.electronics-eetimes.com

September 2016

Pixium: from retinal pixels


to visual cortex stimulation

Executive interview: Letis Marie-Nolle Semeria


Special Focus: Energy Storage

CONTENTS

4 & 49:

OPINION

SEPTEMBER 2016

6 - 27:

Uncommon Market:
OLED-based windows: lit inside, coloured outside
Last Word: Making sense of big data through graph
technology and machine learning

28 - 33: HAPTICS & WEARABLE UI


With its patent-pending LoSound engine, German
startup Lofelt is redefining how music should be felt.

42 - 45: ENERGY STORAGE


Startup SolidEnergy Systems advanced electrolyte
materials combine to produce lithium metal batteries
with twice the energy density of todays lithium ion
batteries, while being safe and long-lasting.

3 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

NEWS & TECHNOLOGY

CEO interview: Semeria ushers in change at Leti


Marie-Nolle Semeria is planning new directions and
focus for the state-owned Laboratoire dlectronique
des technologies de linformation (Leti).

34 - 41: IMAGE SENSORS &

VISION COMPUTING

A promising sensor technology for autonomous


cars, Lidar development attracts many startups.

46: READER OFFER

This month, Efficient Power Conversion is giving


away five EPC9107 demonstration boards, worth
USD 207 each, for EETimes Europes readers
to win.

50: DISTRIBUTION CORNER

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UNCOMMON MARKET

OLED WINDOWS

Devising OLED-based windows that mostly emit light inside


By Julien Happich

team of researchers from the Institute of Materials


for Electronics and Energy Technology (i-MEET) at
the Friedrich-Alexander University (Erlangen-Nuremberg) has found a way to control the light directionality of
semi-transparent OLEDs while preserving their transparency in the off-state, for future smart window applications.
Interestingly, the modified OLEDs could serve as windows
that mostly emit light towards the inside of a building, while
offering a tuneable coloured appearance on the outside for
architectural purposes.
One easy way to make an OLED unidirectional would
be to block or reflect the light on one side, but this would
defeat the purpose of OLED windows. They need to be
transparent-enough for incoming daylight when the OLED
is switched off, as well as being capable of illuminating the
interior of a building at night.
Published in the ACS Photonics journal, their paper
Semi-transparent Organic Light Emitting Diodes with Bidirectionally Controlled Emission describes how combining a semi-transparent yellow OLED stack with a precisely
designed dielectric mirror (another stack of 11 alternating
layers of materials with high and low refractive indices), the (a) Architecture of the full device including the dielectric mirror. (b)
researchers obtained a semi-transparent OLED whose light Digital images of the OLED with 15mW cm2 back illumination (top)
directionality was enhanced (on the top side), while the
and under an applied voltage of 5V.
back side of the device (on the outside of a window) could
The perceived colour on the outside varied from the origibe tuned for different colour perceptions.
nal yellow light (for mirror outside the visible region) to purple
(mirror at 550nm), dark (mirror at 590nm), or light blue (mirror
Although the first part of their work was theoretical, they valiat 640, 660, or 680nm).
dated their results with experimental investigations, combining
Here, the spectral width as well as the height of the reflection
a yellow OLED (with a transparency of 58.2%) with six different
peak of mirror depends on the refractive indices of the matedielectric mirrors configurations.
rial, the number of deposited layers, and the angle of incidence,
While the yellow colour perception remained the same for an
they report. According to their calculations, other colours such
inside observer (top view of the OLED stack), up to 80% of the
as green, red, and orange could also be realized providing the
total emitted light was directed toward the top of the stack. But
right dielectric mirrors were designed.
a bottom view of the stack (looking through the dielectric mirror
Whats more, because the colour of the OLED in its nonfrom what would be the outside of a window), offered different
illuminated state is modified by the white light illumination from
colours depending on the build-up of the dielectric mirror.
the outside (mirror varying upon the angle of incidence), such
a semi-transparent OLED window could bring dynamic colour
Here the dielectric mirror (also known as a Bragg mirror) is
changes of building facades throughout the day.
wavelength-selective at mirror, and together with the stacks
They concluded their study by noting that both the dielectric
thicknesses of the device itself, acts as a cavity resonator. This
mirror and the OLED can be fully printed, making this concept
explains it can enhance the luminance of the oncoming light it
applicable for upscaling.
reflects, while selectively narrowing the spectrum of light passing through.
The relative light enhancement mainly
depends on the overlap of the reflection
spectrum (mirror) of the dielectric mirror
and the emission spectrum of the OLED.
If the reflection spectrum does not fully
overlap with the emission spectrum, slight
variations in the colour perception will occur.
If the viewer faces the dielectric mirror
(bottom view), losses in luminance as well
as changes in colour will be observed since
the dielectric mirror modifies the emission
Colour modifications for a yellow-emitting OLED attached to different dielectric
spectrum by for example narrowing the
mirrors. (a) Top view when the OLED is switched off. (b) bottom-view (or outside view
emission line, the researchers write.
in a window application) when the OLED is switched on.

4 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

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NEWS & TECHNOLOGY

EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW

Semeria ushers in change at Leti


By Peter Clarke

port is flat, said Semeria. Leti has 350 industrial partners and
arie-Nolle Semeria is planning new directions and
about 55 percent of them are small or medium-sized enterprises
focus for the state-owned Laboratoire dlectronique
(SMEs). There are 1,300 people on the Leti payroll but when you
des technologies de linformation (Leti). Semeria was
include assignees the number of researchers goes up to 1,900,
appointed to lead Leti as CEO in October 2014 and EE Times
Semeria said.
Europe caught up with her at a Leti-organized conference on
The company has also produced more than 60 startups and
IoT reliability and security, held in Lyon, France, in June and
is currently creating them at a rate of 5 or 6 a year. But has the
conducted this interview.
level of startup success achieved by Leti justified the hundreds
Leti, based in Grenoble, will be 50 years old in 2017. Over its
of millions of francs and euros spent over Letis history? In rehistory it has been substantially funded by the French governsponse to this question Semeria references STMicroelectronics,
ment and has built up a reputation for excellence in fundamenSoitec and Sofradir as just a few examples of the spin-off of Leti
tal electronics and semiconductor research as well as generattechnologies. One can dispute the levels of success these and
ing numerous spin-off startups. But with Semeria taking the
many other Leti spin-offs have achieved, including PixTech, but
CEO position there has also been a re-evaluation of the best
Semeria argues that the training of engineers in leading-edge
way to achieve its purpose. The conclusion is that Leti is still
technology also brings direct and indirect benefits.
about R&D to achieve miniaturization and energy efficiency but
The ecosystem around Grenoble is now part of the offer of
with a recognition that the industry is global and has moved to
CEA-Leti. We have now reached the point where 50 percent
the system-on-chip and Internet era and that applications are
of local technology startups
changing rapidly.
are out of Leti and 50 percent
Semeria is an experienced administrator
are independent and come
but at heart an engineer. In her early career
for access to our technology
she worked on magnetic memory with
platform and services, such
Sagem and then moved to become chief
as engineering on 200mm
architect with PixTech Inc., a now-closed
and 300mm wafers, argued
1992 Leti spin-off that developed flat panel
Semeria. This Grenoble clusdisplays based on arrays of micro-tip electering effect is also generating
tron emitters.
interest to invest in startups
Semeria then spent from 1996 to 2012
created by Leti, she added.
within Leti, rising to the position of deputy
And such boldness credirector before spending three years as
ates its own momentum.
chief scientist at Letis parent organization
So now entrepreneurship is
CEA Tech. The French government owned
entering into second and third
and controlled CEA is the Commissariat
generations. Semeria gives
lnergie atomique et aux nergies alternathe example of eLichens SA
tives.
(Grenoble, France) formed by
We need to take a global view and not
Letis CEO Marie-Nolle Semeria.
managers who had previously
just about the device. The technology-push
formed Movea SA (Grenoble, France) and then sold it to US
approach is not enough, Semeria told EE Times Europe.
company InvenSense Inc. Movea, founded in 2007, developed
The near 50-year history of Leti can be characterized in two
sensor-hub software and firmware that gathers data from inertial
phases, Semeria said. The first was one of scientific and engisensors. Now eLichens is developing optical MEMS technology
neering study to develop electronic technologies of strategic
for measuring air quality.
interest to France and to underpin the French communications
and computer industry sectors. The second phase added to
that the responsibility to help move such technology out into
European expertise
society partly through the creation of startup companies.
Letis areas of microelectronics expertise currently include:
Now there is a third-phase; of customer pull. We need to unfully-depleted silicon-on-insulator (FDSOI) chip production and
derstand the applications and use cases, build the specification
circuit design; MEMS and NEMS; magnetics, packaging and 3D
and then supply the technical building blocks to meet systemtechnologies and photonics. And all of these areas are active,
level requirements, Semeria said.
Semeria said. FDSOI we have demonstrated down to 7nm.
That doesnt mean any turning away from developing hardMEMS we are moving in to biology platforms. Magnetics is
ware technologies, Semeria said. We still need to be first to
evolving into spintronics and how to use spin for memory, logic
pioneer technologies but you have to bring value to your partand sensors; and photonics is coming on chip, she said.
ners. Letis work will include much more software and systemLooking forward: We are working on the next platform for
level design, she agreed.
semiconductors based on nanowire transistors, we have also
Last year Letis budget was 315 million (about $350 million)
demonstrated a quantum bit [computing element] on a 300mm
of which only 17 percent was paid by the CEA. Of the remaining
CMOS wafer. Quantum computing is part of high performance
83 percent about half came from collaborative research grants
computing and it is now up to Leti to begin transferring quaneither supplied by the French national government or the Eurotum computing to industry. But it cant be a technology-push
pean Union. The remainder comes from the industrial compaapproach. For example embedded security has to be considnies Leti partners with. We are free to grow but the direct supered at the very beginning. And embedded computers will be

6 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

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a mix of quantum, neuromorphic and von Neumann computer
architectures. However, we must start with a vision of the application.
This will undoubtedly place demands on Leti, just as it does
on other research institutes, because applications are numerous and diverse, particularly for the Internet of Things (IoT), and
markets fragmented. But this is a nettle that Leti has to grasp,
Semeria indicated, because system knowledge is now getting
integrated within in SoCs and other basic building blocks.
IoT covers industrial process control, agriculture, food;
automotive, autonomous driving and highly connected vehicles;
medical devices may be slower to arrive because of legal requirements but still digital medicine and diagnostics will come.
Semeria made the point that just as the electronics industry has
moved up to an application-specific platform-style of design
that includes hardware and software, so must Leti. We must
make the move to the convergence of physics, technology and
embedded software. We have to be in touch with the different
application domains. So it is policy to recruit staff from these
areas from agriculture, from banking, from industry and so
on, Semeria said.

European R&D

We asked Semeria if there


is a policy to perform R&D
that is complementary to
that of other European
research institutes such
as IMEC in Belgium and
the Fraunhofer Institutes in
Germany.
Semeria said that she
had just come back from
a meeting with Fraunhofer
and Finlands VTT and that
they meet several times a
year to exchange understanding about the research
environment. And comple- The Leti campus in Grenoble.
mentarity is clearly more
efficient than duplication. Take the example of the FDSOI process, which STMicroelectronics transferred to Globalfoundries
in Dresden. We supported ST so it is natural that we support
Globalfoundries which we do in the front-end, while Fraunhofer
provides support in the back-end.
IMEC is quite different. Proximity to ASML and the pioneering of extreme ultraviolet lithography is their main differentiator. But they also have a different business model. Whereas
IMEC tends to create industry affiliation programs with multiple
industrial partners working on pre-competitive research Letis
partnerships tend to be two-party affairs, Semeria said.
And a partnership with Intel is an example of this, Semeria
said. We decided to work together with Intel on IoT. We have a
similar partnership with Globalfoundries on FDSOI. We have to
deal more and more with international companies. We are leaders in healthcare, automotive, aerospace, and companies need
help with all the silicon-based components and not just with the
digital part.

European manufacturing

Leti may help France and Europe punch its weight in technology research but we asked Semeria if she is concerned that Leti
is running out of European partner companies that can receive
its technology and run with it. After all European tax payers
8 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW

might prefer that their euros end up benefiting European rather


than foreign companies. We also pointed out that Leti partners
Intel and Globalfoundries, although two of the biggest semiconductor manufacturers in Europe, are controlled from outside
Europe and their wafer fab sites in Leixlip, Ireland and Dresden,
Germany, are mature.
Semeria said manufacturing is important and Europe has
world-class players such as STMicroelectronics and Robert
Bosch. We need manufacturing in Europe. It is a key for innovation, she said. Innovation is in the hardware but there is also
great space to innovate in integration, in firmware, in sensing
and security. Thats an opportunity for Europe, she said.
Semeria added that part of Letis function is to enable a rebirth of industry in Europe. New businesses can leverage new
approaches in things like augmented reality, artificial vision, in
micro-displays, she said. I want to move Leti to a more solution-oriented approach, a more system-level approach. Leti will
be a technology provider in a system and usage context, she
said. Demonstrators are key to showing that full solution.
That presents a challenge because different parts of the system-level solution will have different time-lines in R&D. Quantum
computing is potentially still
years away from commercial deployment whereas a
breakthrough application
developed in software could
be produced in weeks or
months. Semeria acknowledged that challenge and
said that Leti has to work
on these different timescales.
Semeria gave the
example of how years of
work on FDSOI at Leti has
been complemented by the
formation in 2015 of Silicon
Impulse, a Leti initiative to
ease access to FDSOI and
help companies move to
mass production. Silicon Impulse is a one-stop shop for most of
the engineering support needed to make a successful IC design
in FDSOI; feasibility studies, foundation libraries, essential IP,
multiproject wafer runs, packaging and test. Silicon Impulse can
even provide design services to help with IC designs.
France was one of the pioneers of consumer internetworking with the development and launch of the Minitel terminal and
services in the 1970s and 1980s. It was a nationally-backed
Videotex online service accessible over telephone land lines
that allowed users to have electronic mail, make online purchases, check sports results and stock prices, all long before
the introduction of the world-wide-web.
We asked Semeria if France is likely to make a similar
national commitment to provide infrastructure for the Internet
of Things. She answered that the way forward was more likely
to be numerous test beds. The key would be to develop pilot
schemes for domestic, urban, automotive and industrial IoT, to
make them work and then be able to scale them up, she said.
And end-to-end security and security certification would be
an essential part of such Internet of Things applications, she
added. And that, in turn, was the reason she had been eager to
promote cooperation between cyber security players, including
Intel, at the Leti Innovation Day in Lyon where our interview was
conducted.
www.electronics-eetimes.com

CROWD-FUNDING

Arrow to secure makers supply


chain on Indiegogo and more
By Julien Happich

s well as being first to step into the supply chain, Arrow


seems ready to invest
quite a lot into the startups it considers as promising
innovators.
With an original crowdfundto-production service jointly
launched with crowd-funding
portal Indiegogo, Arrow
Electronics aims to certify the
manufacturability and supply
chain completeness of startups
new designs. But thats not all.
Entrepreneurs can apply for
Arrow certification on the Indiegogo platform and the electronic
components distributor will have its engineers analyze the
design and the manufacturability of each application. Projects
deemed ready for manufacturing will be denoted with official
Arrow Certified badges on their Indiegogo campaign site to
let potential backers know the project is ready for production.
Arrow Certified campaigns on Indiegogo will lock-in up to
$50,000 in benefits that help entrepreneurs succeed in prototyping and manufacturing their innovative products, says the
distributor. In some instances, it will offer customized marketing
and promotional support on its website and through its extensive technology-focused media network.
Remember that last summer, Arrow bought EE Times and
EDN in North America and Asia, Embedded.com and TechOnline.
Through this certification program, it may offer 10 percent
off and free shipping on millions of products available on its
catalogue to help accelerate prototyping and bring innovations
to market.
The goal of the initiative is not to invest in these companies.
In general we cannot fully exclude that a company on Indiegogo
becomes a potential company to be acquired later on but this
is not our intention with this cooperation. The campaigns will
receive components and services benefits as well as consultancy that could have a positive impact on the financial risks and
time-to-market, but without any ulterior motive. We do not lay
claim on the company`s intellectual property and this is included
in the terms and conditions, Arrow wrote EETimes Europe.
We want to do business with these companies. We hope for
customer loyalty towards Arrow when their business will be
evolving. One of the barriers entrepreneurs are facing once they
successfully managed their first steps is to cope with the complex implications of the supply chain. Arrow is well positioned to
address these requirements.
Companies that go through analysis and review arent obligated to use Arrow. We think they will want to because of the great
experience. Companies that get high degrees of certification will
commit to utilize Arrow in some degree to ensure that the value
of certification is protected. When we certify a campaign it
means we can ensure something can be made, and so we want
to make sure the community knows that a certification badge is
a sign that the campaign and Arrow are committed to bringing
the product to market together if it is successfully funded.
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NEWS & TECHNOLOGY

PHOTONICS

Nano-structured InGaN LED yields white light


By Julien Happich

he holy grail of LED lighting, achieving white light


in the most efficient and
cost-effective way is a hot topic,
both among established manufacturers and in academia. Traditional approaches include colour
down-conversions, combining
high energy LEDs emitting in the
blue or near ultra-violet band with
a mix of phosphors that re-emit
at different wavelengths. Generally, this approach emulates an
incomplete white light spectrum
at a lesser quantum efficiency
than the original emitter (the LED
covered in phosphor). The phosphors limited lifetime compared
to that of the actual LED illuminating them can also negatively
impact the overall longevity of the
white light.
Other solutions combine
multiple LED dies emitting at different peak wavelengths, but here
again, white is a short-lived illusion, missing out on the natural
continuum of true white light.
A team of researchers from the
University of Hong Kong is confident broadband white light could
be obtained from monolithic LED
dies. In their recently published
ACS Photonics paper Monolithic
Broadband InGaN Light-Emitting
Diode, the researchers disclose
promising results using high
indium content InGaN-GaN quantum well structures grown on a
sapphire substrate.
The whole stack is then
etched-through using a mix of
silica nano-particles as a mask
layer, leaving a mix of nano-pillar
patterns throughout the LED die,
ranging nanotips about 150nm
in diameter to microdisks about
7m in diameter. Because the
grown InGaN-GaN quantum
well structures suffer from lattice
mismatch induced strain, the
whole idea is to leverage the difference in strain profiles across
the nanotips (strain-relaxed) and
the microdisks. A phenomenon
known as the quantum-confined
Stark effect (QSCE), peak wavelength is affected by a strain-

induced piezoelectric field which


reduces the effective bandgap
energy, leading to a red-shift
of the emission spectrum. This
colour shift can be partially alleviated by releasing the strain
through nanoscale structuring of
the InGaN-GaN QWs stack, what
the researchers did.
The nanotips emitted at
wavelengths about 80nm shorter
than the as-grown structures,
while the larger 7m micro(a) The monolithic phosphor-free white LED structure
disks emitted at the same wafer
comprises arrays of nanostructures of different dimensions,
nominal wavelength of 575nm
(b) SEM images of the fabricated structure before and (c) after
(as-grown).
planarization.
By nano-patterning their
monolithic LED die, the researchers mixed the long wavelength light from the strained
InGaN-GaN QWs with the
shorter wavelength light from the
strain-relaxed Nano-tips.
The resulting die emitted
concurrent blue, green and yellow light randomly distributed as
per the nano-structuring process
(using a random mix of silica
spheres for the masks).
This is only a proof-of-concept, the researchers explain in
their paper, though they hope
to improve the uniformity of
the light and colour distribuThe nano-structuring process flow using dispersed silica
tion through the use of precise
beads (a, b) as nano-masks for a dry etch (c) yielding a
nano-patterning techniques such
combination of randomly distributed nanotips (d) which is
as electron beam or nanoimprint
then planarized.
lithography. Emission is also
tuneable along the colour gamut
by adjusting the relative concentrations of the nanotips and microdisks, while more continuous
emissions could be achieved
through the use of multiple
nanotip sizes each exhibiting a
different degree of strain-relaxation (and emission shift versus
the plain InGaN-GaN QWs structures). Lead researcher Anthony
H.W. Choi, Associate Professor
from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
at the University of Hong Kong,
filed a US patent back in 2013 as
the main inventor. It was recently
granted and since then has been
Close-up photograph of a nano-structured monolithic LED,
extended to China, Europe and
showing distinctive blue-green-yellow emissions.
the World.

10 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

www.electronics-eetimes.com

BIG DATA

Smartphones to accelerate urban planning


By R. Colin Johnson

them seven-figure prices). By feeding Ford and MITs algorithms


y harnessing the anonymous locations of the smartthe realtime anonymous data already available from cellphone
phones that nearly everyone carries nowadays Ford
carriers, the years- to even decade-long urban planning cycles
Motor Company and the Massachusetts Institute of
are over.
Technology (MIT) believe they can plan a better future, at least
Because most smartphones have not only location data but
for urban areas, with near realtime analytics. In the Proceedings
accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer readings, Ford
of the National Academy of Sciences the worlds most cited
and MITs algorithms can also determine whether their users are
general scientific journal Ford and MIT demonstrated how a
walking, biking, taking mass transit (and which kind bus, trolmere six weeks of historical cell phone location data could be
ley, train) or driving in a car. They can even determine whether
nearly instantly analyzed to provide optimal plans for infrastructhose traveling by car are alone or car-pooling (by merely countture development and resource allocation that city planners
ing the number of smartphones in
might take years to sift out.
the vehicle). Likewise, the softThe great advantage of our
ware can determine how many
framework is that it learns mobilriders there are on each particular
ity features from a large number
bus/trolley/train.
of mobile phone users, without
In the past, all these data types
having to ask them directly about
had to be gathered and correlated
their mobility choices. Based on
from massive surveys, which
that we create individual models to
were notoriously inaccurate since
estimate complete daily trajectories
people tend to lie (exaggerate)
of the vast majority of mobile phone
about their use of mass transit to
users, professor Marta Gonzalez
impress the surveyor.
at MIT told EE Times in an excluMITs Human Mobility and
sive interview in advance of the
Networks Lab in its Department of
announcement. Likely, in time, we
Civil and Environmental Engiwill see that this brings the comneering worked with Shounak
parative advantage of making urban
Athavale, an information technoltransportation planning faster and
Ford and MIT use smartphone where-about tracking
smarter, and even allowing to com- data to plan urban societies at the scale of cities and their ogy manager at Ford Motors
Palo Alto Research and Innovamunicate the recommendations
surrounding regions in hours instead of months or years.
tion Center. In cooperation with
directly to the devise users.
(Source: MIT)
MIT professor Daniele Veneziano,
By giving EE Times advance nodoctoral candidates Yingxiang Yang and Siddharth Gupta, the
tice of its breakthrough analytics, Ford and MIT were probably
group analyzed six weeks of data from the Boston area to prove
expecting an article crammed with buzzwords like Big Data,
the concept to their peers who admitted their paper to the
Crowdsourcing and Disruptive Technologies. The significance
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They also
of their feat, however, is more important than stringing together
compared their data with that collected the old fashioned way
tech-talk to describe it. City planners today get paid six-figure
with comparable results, albeit with faster and smarter conclusalaries to provide this caliber of accurate commuter surveys
sions from the algorithmic version.
(which they usually farm out to consultancies which charge

Mapping pedestrian flow helps on-demand car services


By Julien Happich

ogether with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology


(MIT), car maker Ford Motor has launched a new research
project to measure how pedestrians move in urban areas.
The aim is to improve certain public transportation services,
such as ride-hailing and point-to-point shuttle services by mapping zones of affluence in real time and ultimately help predict
demand for the shuttles. The research is being conducted at
MITs Aerospace Controls Lab (ACL). As part of the project, a
fleet of on-demand electric vehicle shuttles will operate on both
city roads and campus walkways on the universitys campus
in Cambridge, Mass. The vehicles will use lidar sensors and
cameras to measure pedestrian flow, helping researchers and
drivers route shuttles toward areas with the highest demand to
better accommodate riders.
The predictive shuttle service will be offered to a group of
students and the faculty starting in September.
www.electronics-eetimes.com

While sensors and cameras on-board vehicles typically serve


anti-collision and ADAS features, here they will gather pedestrian data to estimate the flow of foot traffic, explained Ken
Washington, vice president of research and advanced engineering at Ford.
This helps us develop efficient algorithms that bring together relevant data. It improves mobility-on-demand services
and aids ongoing pedestrian detection and mapping efforts for
autonomous vehicle research.
Through the mobility-on-demand system being developed
for MITs campus, ACL can investigate new planning and prediction algorithms in a complex, but controlled, environment,
while simultaneously providing a testbed framework for researchers and a service to the MIT community, said professor
Jonathan How, ACL director.

Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016 11

NEWS & TECHNOLOGY

FABS

Intel Foundry embraces ARM;


the start of the end?
By Peter Clarke

ntel Custom Foundry has made a statement of intent that it


is serious about competing with the likes of TSMC, Samsung
and Globalfoundries by agreeing a full support package for
ARM intellectual property on the upcoming 10nm FinFET manufacturing process.
The deal could also mark the start of the disaggregation of
Intel and its eventual splitting up into separate manufacturing
service and technology sales constituents, in other words the
end of Intel as we have known it.
In the short term the deal is an acknowledgement that at
least in mobile ARMs architecture rules the roost and it is
what chip developers insist on for their system chips. Despite
billions of dollars spent trying to get into mobile Intel Corp. has
concurred and let its foundry manufacturing operation cut a
deal.
The deal means that ARMs Artisan physical
libraries and as a result POP optimizations of
its cores will be available to third parties on
Intels 10nm FinFET process. Spreadtrum and
LG Electronics are already customers of Intels
foundry. Intel has now accepted that although
those companies may have tinkered with Atom
system-chips to please Intel, their commercial architectural choice was ARM and Intels
foundry had to get with the program or risk losing customers.
The adoption of Artisan and POP is vital if Intel is to build its foundry customer base because
the flexibility this engenders speeds the design
of core implementations and SoCs, reduces
time to tape-out and thereby reduces risk. It is
part of the standard design flow set by ARM
with foundries such as TSMC. The initial POP IP
on Intels 10nm FinFET process will be for two
yet-to-be-announced Cortex-A processor cores designed for
mobile computing applications in either big-little or stand-alone
configurations.
Of course Intels foundry has already been making ARMbased chips for the likes of Netronome and may soon do so
for Altera, which of course is now a wholly-owned subsidiary
of Intels. However, these were essentially arms-length legacy
engagements. What the latest agreement indicates is that Intel
acknowledges it must engage with ARM if it is to be credible as
a foundry manufacturer, even at the risk that it will undermine
the position of its own processor architectures.

The risk

The risk to Intel is that this deal casts Intel as a whole, rather
than just the foundry operation, as complementary to ARM.
Marketing is a relatively blunt exercise and already it can be
argued that ARM is seen as a leader in processor and physical
design and Intel seen as a leader in the capital-intensive business of chip manufacturing at the leading edge.
Thats kind of what Will Abbey, general manager of ARMs
physical design group in San Jose, said in a blog, although he
12 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

was careful to ascribe the manufacturing talent to Intels Custom Foundry unit.
However, once these distinctions start getting made for an
aggregated company there can be an almost inevitable flow of
consequences. It sets a tide running.
It starts thus, with Intel having to continually strengthen the
walls and distance between its foundry operation and its mainstream chip product business. It does this to provide potential
foundry customers with assurance that their designs and commercial intelligence is safe with Intel Custom Foundry.
Having achieved a degree of separation the free-market
arguments develop. If Intel Custom Foundry is allowed to
service potential rivals to Intel and support competing architectures, then Intels product divisions should be free to get chips

manufactured where they can get the best deal, which may not
be Intels manufacturing operation. That is already happening to
an extent with Intel going outside the company for some chip
manufacturing.
And then come the financial arguments. Intel will find that
with chip manufacturing and process development representing 90 percent of R&D cost but only 10 percent of sales revenue
and the same percentages flipped round for chip design and
product sales, shareholders will start to see value in splitting the
business.
I am not saying that such a disaggregation of Intel is inevitable. Samsung is aggregated at a higher level in that it sells
chips AND systems as well as providing chip foundry services.
And it seems to be making a decent fist of all three, but it faces
the same issues described above. In the other camp is TSMC
whose chairman Morris Chang has always vowed TSMC will
remain the specialist manufacturer and never compete with its
customers.
One should not see Intels agreement with ARM as a cause
of disaggregation but yet another symptom that there is a tide
running here.
www.electronics-eetimes.com

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NEWS & TECHNOLOGY

AUTOMOTIVE

Safer automotive software through Open Source?


By Christoph Hammerschmidt

inux is about to conquer one of the last blank spots in


the world of open source software: the car.
EE Times Europe talked with Dan Cauchy, General
Manager of Automotive at the Linux Foundation, about
intentions and status of Automotive Grade Linux.
So far, automotive software is dominated by highly
proprietary, functionally limited software with virtually no
software reuse. All this is accompanied by a patchwork of selective and isolated operating systems a nightmare in terms of
productivity and software economy.
Yes, there are currently efforts to establish the open source
operating Linux in the car, mostly in the infotainment space. But
none seems to have as much momentum as Automotive Grade
Linux (AGL) .
Launched as a workgroup within the Linux Foundation, AGL
is an initiative of mostly Japanese proponents such as automotive OEMs Mazda, Toyota and Honda as well as semiconductor
manufacturer Renesas, tier one supplier Denso and consumer
electronics giant Panasonic. Since its inception in 2012, a
large number of technology and automotive companies have
joined in; today, the members list includes Qualcomm, Pioneer,
Mitsubishi Electric, Nissan and Ford as well as software vendor
Wind River, supplier Continental and chipmakers NXP, nVidia,
Texas Instruments and Intel to name just a few. Notably absent: The European auto industry, including the Germans who
otherwise see themselves as the avant-garde.
The AGL community is determined to bring the automotive
software world up to the same level of productivity as the large
rest of the IT world, said Cauchy in an interview with EETimes
Europe. The automotive industry has fallen behind the smartphone industry in terms of software, he said. Many customers and suppliers ask themselves why they should pay so
much money for software, in the first place in the infotainment
segment. There is very little software reuse, which makes all
developments extremely expensive.
Traditionally, tier one suppliers provide some kind of black

box with some software inside to their


customers, the auto makers. These
black boxes remain in service until
many years later the successor will hit
the market. At that time, the hardware
basis has changed several times, making
it necessary to develop a completely new
generation of software. Our goal is to provide a single, consistent platform for the entire car industry, Cauchy said. This
platform, running Linux as the operating system, would provide
a basic functionality; OEMs would be able to implement their
distinctive features on top.
Such a platform would create a win-win situation for all players involved, promised Cauchy. Plus, it would enable longer
lifetime for old hardware.
But what about Genivi? Isnt the Genivi consortium already
readying such a vendor-independent platform, at least as far
as the infotainment segment is concerned? There are several
significant differences, said Cauchy who in his former career
was member of the board at Genivi. Genivi is a bring-yourown-platform software, Cauchy judged. It is a specification
for many platforms, but it is not one platform, with one of the
reasons for this diversity lying in the wide spectrum of hardware
platforms to be served. AGL is one single software platform,
downloadable now. In contrast, Genivi is not available to the
world, not really open.
Both Genivi and AGL aim at the infotainment domain. AGL
however has wider goals. If it goes to the AGL community, the
operating system will also run in domains like instrument cluster, ADAS, MOST (hence MOST proponent Microchip is member
of the AGL community), navigation, and eventually automated
driving. However, to get there, the development process will
have to follow the rules of the ISO 26262 standard for functional safety. But this will be feasible. We see no contradiction
between the development processes established in the open
source world and the strict rules of ISO 26262, Cauchy said.

Audi suspension captures energy from road bumps


By Nick Flaherty

ar maker Audis move to a 48V power system is allowing


an innovative way of capturing energy from a vehicles
suspension. Audis eROT prototype uses electromechanical rotary dampers instead of the current hydraulic dampers to recharge a battery.
The eROT actively controlled suspension adapts to irregularities in the road
surface and the drivers driving style
and feeds a high-output 48V electrical system with a 0.5kWh lithium-ion
battery that produces a peak output of
13 kilowatts. A DC converter connects
the 48-volt electrical subsystem to the
12-volt primary electrical system, which
includes a high-efficiency, enhanced
output generator.
A lever absorbs the motion of the wheel carrier and transmits this force via a series of gears to an electric motor, which
14 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

converts it into electricity. This generates 100 to 150 watts on


average during testing on German roads from 3W on a freshly
paved motorway to 613W on a rough secondary road. The
technology needs a 48V power system which is the primary
electrical system in a new high-performance mild hybrid drive
in an Audi model in 2017. This will offer
potential fuel savings of up to 0.7 litres
per 100 kilometers.
The damper can also be software
controlled to configure the compression
stroke to be comfortably soft without
compromising the taut damping of the
rebound stroke. Another advantage of
the new damper system is its geometry.
The horizontally arranged electric motors
in the rear axle area replace the upright
telescopic shock absorbers, which allows for additional space
in the luggage compartment.
www.electronics-eetimes.com

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NEWS & TECHNOLOGY

WIRELESS

Interscatter tech lets implants talk Wi-Fi


By Junko Yoshida

niversity of Washington researchers have developed


what they call interscatter communication technology
that backscatters (or reflects) existing signals like Bluetooth in the air, transforming wireless transmissions from one
technology to another.
Specifically, the team of UW electrical
engineers and computer scientists has
demonstrated for the first time that Bluetooth transmissions can be used to create
Wi-Fi and ZigBee-compatible signals.
As a result, the new technology can now
give power-constrained devices like medical implants the ability to talk to other
devices using standard Wi-Fi communication.

Contact lenses are even more extreme in that their tiny


batteries may not even be able to power normal Wi-Fi and
Bluetooth chip. Interscatter enables Wi-Fi for these implanted
devices while consuming only 10,000x less power than a normal Wi-Fi chip, he added.

Implants that can talk

Many implant devices thus far


have been voiceless. Due to their
size and location within the body,
they have not been able to send
data using Wi-Fi to smartphones
and other mobile devices.
Giving implanted devices the
ability to communicate with others
can transform how we manage
chronic diseases, said Iyer.
Recycle radio signals
For example, a contact lens
Picture tiny devices such as smart contact
could monitor a diabetics blood
lenses, brain implants or credit cards, said
sugar level in tears and send noVikram Iyer, a UW electrical engineerInterscatter communication generates lowing doctoral student who co-authored
power Wi-Fi transmissions using everyday mobile tifications to the phone when the
blood sugar level goes down.
the paper. They cant use Bluetooth or
devices. In one example, Bluetooth signals from
Asked why the team chose to
Wi-Fi chips because they consume too
a smartwatch (left) transmit data from a neural
reflect Bluetooth signals, Iyer said,
much power in generating their own radio
device that can be implanted in a patients brain
Because it is widely available on
signals.
(right) to a smartphone via Wi-FI.(Source: Mark
mobile devices and its frequency
Enter the world of interscatter commuStone/University of Washington)
shift keying protocol makes it easy
nication. Instead of generating their own
to use our technique to convert it Wi-Fi.
radio signals, those interscatter devices can recycle radio
He added, We think Bluetooth to Wi-Fi is cool because of
signals transmitted by nearby devices like smart watches.
its high data rates, but we have also demonstrated the same
We allow a device like a smartwatch or smartphone to do
technique can convert Bluetooth to Zigbee, or even a different
the power expensive generation of radio signals, and then our
Bluetooth packet.
low-power contact lens, implant or credit card reflects this
signal in a way that encodes its own data, he explained. The
transmitter of such interscatter devices isnt a normal radio. Its
Challenges
just a switch connected to an antenna, Iyer added.
In developing the intercommunication technology, the team enTurning on and off this switch allows us to change how the
countered some challenges. Among these issues, the backscatantenna reflects energy. Just by turning on and off this switch
tering process creates an unwanted mirror image copy of the
at the right rate, our interscatter device is reflecting a Bluetooth
signal, which consumes more bandwidth as well as interferes
signal created by something like a smartwatch to make it look
with networks on the mirror copy Wi-Fi channel.
like a Wi-Fi packet that can be received on your
But the team developed a technique
phone.
called single sideband backscatter
In one example, the team demonstrated a
to eliminate the unintended by-prodsmartwatch transmitting a Bluetooth signal to a
uct.
smart contact lens outfitted with an antenna. To
That means that we can use just
create a blank slate on which new information
as much bandwidth as a Wi-Fi netcan be written, the UW team developed a way
work and you can still have other Wi-Fi
to transform the Bluetooth transmission into a
networks operate without interfersingle tone signal that can be further manipuence, said co-author and electrical
lated and transformed.
engineering doctoral student Bryce
By backscattering that tone signal, the conKellogg in a statement.
tact lens can encode data such as health inThe researchers built three proofformation it may be collecting into a standard
of-concept demonstrations for previWi-Fi packet readable by a smartphone, tablet
ously infeasible applications, including
or laptop.
a smart contact lens and an implantThe first smart contact lens antenna that
Preserving battery life is paramount for
able neural recording device that can
implanted medical devices. If you have a radio can communicate directly with devices
communicate directly with smartlike smartwatches and phones. Mark
that quickly drains the battery then you might
phones and watches.
Stone/University of Washington.
need surgery to replace it, said Iyer.
16 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

www.electronics-eetimes.com

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NEWS & TECHNOLOGY

PHOTONICS

Grown on silicon: blueviolet InGaN laser


diode operates at room-temperature
By Julien Happich

What they designed in the end, was a blueviolet Multirowing direct bandgap III-V semiconductor lasers
quantum wells InGaN laser diode sandwiched between two
directly on Si through heteroepitaxy, researchers at the
GaN layers acting as the waveguide, the whole device being
Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics (SINdirectly grown on silicon through
ANO) in the Chinese Academy
Metal-Organic Chemical Vaof Sciences (CAS) have manpour Deposition (MOCVD). The
aged to circumvent the defectas-grown GaN-on-Si laser diode
inducing material mismatches in
epitaxial wafer was processed into
lattice constant and Coefficient
ridge-shaped devices measuring
of Thermal Expansion (CTE).
4800m2.
In a paper recently published
in Nature Photonics Letters
Emitting at the 413nm wavetitled Room-temperature
length under continuous-wave
continuous-wave electrically
current injection at room temperainjected InGaN-based laser
ture, the whole device build up is
directly grown on Si, they
around 6 m thick (for an active
describe how a carefully engilayer just under 50nm thick). This
neered Al-composition stepincludes both the upper and lower
graded AlN/AlGaN multilayer
optical cladding layers. The device
Schematic architecture of the InGaN-based laser diode
buffer between the Si and GaN
lased with a threshold current
directly grown on Si.
successfully eliminated crack
density of 4.7 kA cm2.
formation while also reducing
The researchers also reported
the dislocation density.
a very small wafer bow (under
Often, one way to circum10m), which means the devices
vent the large lattice mismatch
could be produced reliably in
between GaN and Si (around
volume with a high yield.
17%) is to integrate GaN laser
Another process simplification
diodes on silicon through hetis that because the waveguide
erogeneous chip-bonding, or
and cladding layers confine
designing the whole laser and
most of the stimulated emission
driving circuitry on costly GaN
photons in the active region,
wafers for later SiP integration.
the stimulated photons are not
On monolithically integrated
absorbed by the underlying Si,
devices, because GaN shrinks
making its removal unnecessary.
twice as fast as Si when cooling
Operational lifetime was limited
down from the high process
though, due to excessive heating.
The fabrication process of the GaN-on-Si laser.
temperatures necessary for
But the researchers hope to
epitaxial growth (due to the
improve the devices lifetime by
difference in their CTE), defects
further reducing the TD density
and networks of micro-cracks
in the GaN film through epitaxial
propagate through the device,
lateral overgrowth on Si and by
drastically lowering operation
optimizing the growth conditions
efficiency and yield.
of the active region.
Here, the multilayer stack
They see this novel GaN-on-Si
was build up so as to effectively
laser construction as a potential
manage mismatch-induced
on-chip light source for future
lattice stress. By inserting the
monolithic-integrated Si photoncarefully designed Al-compoics.
sition step-graded AlN/AlGaN
The corresponding author of
Cross-sectional high-angle annular dark-field scanning TEM
multilayer buffer, the scientists
the
paper, Professor Qian Sun
image of the device (left), and a close-up image of the InGaN
were able to build up enough
from SINANO, CAS told EETimes
MQW active region (right).
compressive strain to not only
Europe that he does plan to comcompensate for the tensile stress due to the CTE mismatch durmercialize GaN-on-Si laser diodes and has patented a few key
ing cool down, but also to induce the inclination and annihilation
technology pieces relating to their fabrication.
of threading dislocations (TDs) at the interfaces.
He is also interested in collaboration with industrial partners
to speed up their commercialization.

18 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

www.electronics-eetimes.com

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NEWS & TECHNOLOGY

BIOELECTRONICS

IBM emulates neurons with phase-change materials


By Julien Happich

cientists from IBM Research in Zurich have leveraged


the properties of phase-change materials to emulate the
behaviour of firing neurons. The work stems from prior
research carried out at IBM on phase-change materials applied
to memory devices.
Here the artificial neurons consist of phase-change materials, including germanium antimony telluride, which exhibit two
stable states, an amorphous one and a crystalline one. In the
published demonstration, the team applied a series of electrical pulses to the artificial neurons (corresponding to streams
of data), which resulted in the progressive crystallization of the
phase-change material, ultimately causing the neuron to fire.
In neuroscience, this function is known as the integrate-andfire property of biological neurons (when a cumulated stimulus threshold is met). This is the foundation for event-based
computation. Therefore, the artificial neurons are not used to
store data as a given state, but instead are used for their analogue behaviour, just like the synapses and neurons operate in
the brain. By exploiting this integrate-and-fire property, even a
single neuron can be used to detect patterns and discover correlations in real-time streams of event-based data.
In a paper published in Nature Nanotechnology, the researchers describe how they organized hundreds of artificial
nano-scale neurons into populations and used them to represent fast and complex signals. In a video, they demonstrate
how feeding pixel data from random images to thousands of
synapses connected to only two level-tuned neurons, they were
able to detect recurring patterns (two distinctive logos) out of
the average noise. They also claim these nano-sized neurons

can sustain billions of


switching cycles, which
would correspond to multiple years of operation
at an update frequency
of 100Hz. The energy
required for each neuron
update was less than
five pico-joule and the
average power less than
120uW. Densely packed arrays of such neurons could be used
to analyse high volumes of sensor data, searching for data correlation or to detect patterns in neuromorphic coprocessors.

A wafer with large arrays of phase-change devices emulating


neurons, probed by sharp tips.

Google partners with pharma giant on bioelectronic medicines


By Peter Clarke

he company formerly known as Google Life Sciences LLC


and GlaxoSmithKline plc (Brentford, England) have agreed
to form a joint venture to develop bioelectronics including
such technologies as implanted neuro-stimulators.
Galvani Bioelectronics Ltd. will be headquartered in the UK
and GSK will own 55% and Verily
Life Sciences LLC, previously Google
Life Sciences, will own 45%. The two
parent companies are contributing
existing intellectual property and plan
to invest up to $700 million (about
540 million) in Galvani over the next
seven years subject to the company
meeting discovery and development
milestones, GSK said.
GSK has been active in bioelectronics since 2012 and said it believes
that chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and asthma
could potentially be treated using electronic stimulation of nerve
pathways.
Initial work will focus on establishing clinical proofs of
principle in inflammatory, metabolic and endocrine disorders,
including type 2 diabetes, and developing associated miniaturised, precision devices.
20 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

Moncef Slaoui, GSKs Chairman of Global Vaccines, who


was instrumental in establishing GSKs investments in the field
of bioelectronics, will chair the board of the new company.
He said: Many of the processes of the human body are controlled by electrical signals firing between the nervous system
and the bodys organs, which may
become distorted in many chronic
diseases. Bioelectronic medicines vision is to employ the latest advances
in biology and technology to interpret
this electrical conversation and to
correct the irregular patterns found
in disease states, using miniaturised
devices attached to individual nerves.
If successful, this approach offers the
potential for a new therapeutic modality alongside traditional medicines
and vaccines.
Galvani Bioelectronics will be fully consolidated in GSKs
financial statements and headquartered within GSKs global
R&D centre at Stevenage in the UK, with a second research hub
at Verilys facilities in South San Francisco. It will initially employ
around 30 expert scientists, engineers and clinicians.
The deal is expected to close before the end of 2016.
www.electronics-eetimes.com

Harwin Archer EETimes Europe Sept 16.qxd:Layout 1

PROGRAMMING

Teaching kids how to code:


Googles tangible offer
By Julien Happich

he Project Bloks initiated at the Google Creative Lab aims to entice kids to code
through recreational problem solving, providing colourful tangible blocks that
once snapped together, send their equivalent in compiled code to a nearby
robot or application.
Learning coding skills is not just about being
able to program a computer, the researchers say,
it is about acquiring a skillset useful for solving all
sorts of real life problems, expanding kids literacy
and ways of thinking.
In their position paper, the Google researchers acknowledge that a number of block-based
coding tutorial aids have already been developed
The core components of the
and commercialized, but their goal is to come up
Project Bloks system.
with a more versatile and open hardware platform.
Tangible reconfigurable blocks that researchers, developers and designers will be able
to use to build fully interoperable physical coding experiences (that is, coding through
the playful assembly of kid-friendly hardware
blocks).
This approach leverages kids natural inclination to play and learn by using their hands, making
code physical in order to help them acquire computational thinking skills. This tangible programming interface is somewhat a hardware emulation
of Googles Blockly on-screen block programming.
Project Bloks is a research collaboration between Google, Paulo Blikstein (Stanford University) Pucks can be customised to
and design firm IDEO. The collaborators have almatch any domain-specific
ready built some a working prototype, consisting of
physical instruction.
three core components: the Brain Board, Base
Boards and Pucks, that once connected together, create a set of instructions.
Built on a Raspberry Pi Zero, the Brain Board is the processing unit of the system,
it provides the other boards with power and contains an API to receive and send data
to the Base Boards. It is the unit that will ultimately
compile and sends the code to any device with a
WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity. Each Base Board
is fitted with a haptic motor and LEDs that can be
used to give end-users real time feedback (this
could be green when a code is valid, or red when
there is a compile error or a bug). The Base Boards
can also trigger audio feedback from the Brain
Boards built-in speaker. While the Base Boards
The Coding Kit including
can be connected in different orientations to creseveral Base Boards, a Brain
ate different programming flows, they take their
Board and colourful Pucks.
instructions from the Pucks, inexpensive, customisable physical instructions that seat on top of them. The Pucks are swappable, they
share their instructions written as patterns of conductive ink, whose orientation and
direction can be sensed by the Base Boards capacitive sensor. These cheap physical
instructions could be made of paper or cardboard or take the shape of many different
interactive forms, they help bring the infinite flexibility of software programming commands to tangible programming experiences, write the researchers in their blog.
Together with IDEO, the Google Creative Lab has designed a coding kit for kids to
learn basic concepts of programming (putting code bricks together to create a set of
instructions).
The researchers are now looking for participants (educators, developers, parents
and researchers) from around the world to remotely take part in their research studies.
www.electronics-eetimes.com

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Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016 21

NEWS & TECHNOLOGY

MEMS

Piezo-MEMS hybrid speakers to challenge


coil-based alternatives
By Julien Happich

nder non-disclosure agreements, German startup


USound Gmbh has just started sampling its first commercial products with OEM partners well-established in
the field of intra-auricular hearing aid devices.
USound was founded in 2013 by three former executives
from SensorDynamics, at a time when their former employer
was being bought by Maxim Integrated Products.
Looking for new product ideas, FerruccioBottoni now
USounds COO, Andrea Rusconi-Clerici (CTO) and JrgSchnbacher (CFO) noted that the micro-speakers found in mobile
phones were among the few sizeable electromechanical parts
that hadnt been shrunk yet with a solid state approach. Searching for IP relevant to that subject, possibly including MEMS
since all three had plenty of experience on the matter. They
eventually found what would suit their needs in the IP portfolio
from Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology
(ISIT) and secured the exclusivity to develop their
own products.

Going head to head with incumbent players such as Knowles


or Sonion who pretty much own the micro-speaker market, the
startup will first focus on intra-auricular hearing aids and highquality noise-cancelling headsets.
We need to start somewhere, but of course, there will be
a much wider market if we go into smartphones and general
audio micro-tweeters, noted Renaud-Bezot. Well be close to
price parity by next year, and pricing will go down depending on
volume.
If you do a teardown of the HTC10 or the HTC1, youll find
that there is 2cm3 of back volume designed around the speaker,
for a better sound. Thats 2cm3 wasted, so to speak. We are
investigating speaker integration to reduce that back volume to
500mm3, a quarter of the current volume used, while achieving
the same sound quality.

It was mostly IP from lab experiments, a concept really, and they had to do the whole product
development clarified Nick Renaud-Bezot, Business Development Manager at USound.
Since then, the company has raised two
rounds of venture capital with matching government funding.
We are going to bring to market the worlds
first piezo-MEMS speakers, Renaud-Bezot
boasted, offering an audio performance comparable to that of coil-based products, but with
much more consistent audio characteristics.
USounds Ganymede piezo-MEMS micro-tweeters and Moon receivers
This is important because if you look at the
hearing aid market, todays coil-based balanced target hearing aids.
armature receivers (speakers) from the left and right intra-auricWhen asked about what more the piezo-MEMS implementaular devices need to be very well matched so they can consistion could enable, Renaud-Bezot gave us an interesting fact.
tently produce exactly the same sound from a same signal he
It came up as a surprise to us, but the Piezo-MEMS speaktold EETimes Europe.
ers work up to 40kHz, in the ultrasound. This was not intended,
but you could use them for proximity sensing. Most microTheir manufacture requires the very precise positioning
phones on smartphones can pick up ultrasound, so you would
of tiny coils and magnets onto a movable arm. If anything is
only need to replace the coil-based speaker with our piezodisplaced by a micrometre, then you have a different acoustic
MEMS solution. That would replace your touchless controller
performance. Our target is to offer a much better matching,
and you could also save space by removing the IR emitter in
with simplified binning since we could build hundreds or even a
use today.
thousand absolutely identical piezo-MEMS elements per wafer.
The company is also exploring different form of Systemin-Package solutions, combining multiple actuators working
USounds MEMS-based speakers consist of a piezoelectric
on different membranes, or combining a microphone and a
layer actuating a MEMS armature, itself driving the speakers
speaker.
membrane. Because there are no coils and magnets, the deThe first products to hit the market will be a 5x4x8.5mm
vices are lighter than any of todays speakers, they dont suffer
MEMS-based balanced-armature replacement for consumer
from heating or coil-burning issues and their manufacture is
earphones and hearing aids, and a 4.7x6.7x1.5mm micro-tweeteasily scalable.
er for consumer and array applications, requiring a back volume
The company has had its first samples from a multi-project
of only 0.25cm3. A Bluetooth-headset reference design is under
and is still working on optimizing the speakers geometries and
development, as well as other receivers and micro-speakers.
mechanical characteristics, hoping to qualify its first commercial
products by the end of summer 2016.
22 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

www.electronics-eetimes.com

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NEWS & TECHNOLOGY

PHOTONICS

Cubic GaN grown out of silicon


By Julien Happich

esearchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana


Champaign have developed a new method for making
brighter and more efficient green LEDs, by growing gallium nitride (GaN) cubic crystals directly onto a silicon substrate.
Typically, GaN forms in one of two crystal structures: hexagonal or cubic. Hexagonal GaN is thermodynamically stable
and is by far the more
conventional form of
the semiconductor,
however, it is prone to
a phenomenon known
as polarization, where
an internal electric field
separates the negatively charged electrons
and positively charged
holes, preventing them
from combining, which,
in turn, diminishes the
light output efficiency.
Until now, the only
way researchers were able to make cubic GaN was to use
molecular beam epitaxy, a very expensive and slow crystal
growth method when compared to the widely used metalorganic chemical vapour deposition (MOCVD) method that the

researchers used.
Can Bayram, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois, and his graduate student Richard Liu
made the cubic GaN by using lithography and isotropic etching
to create a U-shaped groove on Si (100). This non-conducting
layer essentially served as a boundary that shapes the hexagonal material into cubic form.
Our cubic GaN does not
Hexagonal-to-cubic phase
have
an internal electric field
transformation. The scale
that
separates
the charge
bars represent 100 nm in all
carriersthe holes and elecimages. (a) Cross sectional and
trons, explained Liu.
(b) Top-view SEM images of
So, they can overlap
cubic GaN grown on U-grooved and when that happens, the
Si(100). (c) Cross sectional and electrons and holes combine
(d) Top-view EBSD images of
faster to produce light.
cubic GaN grown on U-grooved
According to the researchers, the new cubic GaN
Si(100), showing cubic GaN in
fabrication method may lead
blue, and hexagonal GaN in
to LEDs free from the droop
red.
phenomenon, where lightemission efficiency declines as more current is being injected.
Their work was published in the Applied Physics Letters in a
paper titled Maximizing Cubic Phase Gallium Nitride Surface
Coverage on Nano-patterned Silicon (100).

Zinc doping to boost GaAs nanowire lasers


By Julien Happich

ered suitable for optical applications. Here the GaAs NWs were
cientists at ANU (The Australian National University) have
grown by metal-organic vapour phase epitaxy at 575C, with
improved the performance of unpassivated GaAs
a low V/III ratio of 1.4. The addition of zinc during the growth
nanowire (NW) lasers more than a hundred folds, by addprocess turned the
ing zinc as a dopant,
pure wurtzite crystal
changing the crystal
structure (SEM image
structure and increasing
d) to a zincblende
the devices radiative
twining superlattice
efficiency.
(TSL) structure (SEM
Gallium arsenide is
image f).
extensively in smartThis doping and
phones and other
crystal structure
electronic devices, but
change increased
typically GaAs nanoradiative efficiency
wires require surface
without the need for
passivation to minifurther fabrication
mize surface defects
steps, combining
and to minimize the
excellent radiative
rate of non-radiative
efficiency with an ulrecombinations. Such
trashort lifetime in the
passivation adds to the (d) SEM image of an undoped GaAs NW. Scale bar, 500nm. (e)
picosecond range.
complexity of device
Photoluminescence spectra collected from single undoped and doped GaAs
The unpassivfabrication and may be NWs under identical excitation and collection conditions. Emission from the
ated but zinc-doped
incompatible with other
doped NW is seen to be orders of magnitude brighter. (f) SEM image of a doped
GaAs NWs exhibited
processing steps, exGaAs NW. Scale bar, 500nm.
a radiative efficiency
plain the researchers in
several hundred times better than that of undoped GaAs NWs,
their Nature Communications paper, Doping-enhanced radiawhile being more than two orders of magnitude brighter, contive efficiency enables lasing in unpassivated GaAs nanowires.
sidering that the doped NW is also spectrally broader than its
Unpassivated GaAs NWs on the other hand, are usually charun-doped counterpart.
acterized by a very low radiative efficiency and are not consid24 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

www.electronics-eetimes.com

LI-FI

Fujitsu
Electronics
Europe
fujitsu.com/feeu

2 GB/s on white light


By Jean-Pierre Joosting

Foundry
GaN
FPGA Services MCU Resistors Transistors Sensors LEDs

AUST researchers have developed


a nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue
light overcoming the data rate limitations of using LEDs in visible-light communication
(VLC).
Many VLC applications require light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that produce white
light. These are usually fabricated by combining a diode that emits blue light with
phosphorous that turns some of this radiation into red and green light. However, this
conversion process is not fast enough to match the speed at which the LED can be
switched on and off.
VLC using white light generated in this way is limited to about one hundred million
bits per second, said KAUST Professor of Electrical Engineering Boon Ooi.
Instead, Ooi, Associate Professor Osman Bakr and their colleagues use a nanocrystal-based converter that enables much higher data rates.
Even though Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are well established, a key advantage gained
by shortening the wavelength of the electromagnetic waves used for transmitting
information is that VLC makes use of parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that are
unregulated and is potentially more energy-efficient.
The team created nanocrystals of cesium lead bromide that were roughly eight
nanometers in size using a simple and cost-effective solution-based method that
incorporated a conventional nitride phosphor. When illuminated by a blue laser light,
the nanocrystals emitted green light while the nitride emitted red light. Together, these
combined to create a warm white light.
The researchers characterized the optical properties of their material using a
technique known as femtosecond transient spectroscopy. They were able to show
that the optical processes in cesium lead bromide nanocrystals occur on a time-scale
of roughly seven nanoseconds. This meant they could modulate the optical emission
at a frequency of 491 MHz, 40 times faster than is possible using phosphorus, and
transmit data at a rate of two billion bits per second.
The rapid response is partly due to the size of the crystals, said Bakr. Spatial
confinement makes it more likely that the electron will recombine with a hole and emit
a photon.

Expertise throughout your development process

Faster LED phosphors to boost Li-Fi


By Julien Happich

n a paper published in the ACS Photonics journal, a team of cross-disciplinary


researchers from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)
of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reported phosphor-based white light converter
with a modulation bandwidth about 40 times higher than todays LED phosphors.
By mixing solutionprocessed CsPbBr3
perovskite nanocrystals
(NCs) with a conventional red phosphor,
they obtained what they
describe as a CsPbBr3
NC phosphor-based
white light converter with
a modulation bandwidth
of 491MHz, which could
support high data rate up to 2 Gbit/s, much faster than Wi-Fi.
This would brake todays VLC bottleneck when using white LEDs, poor phosphor
modulation capability due to intrinsically long phosphorescence lifetimes.
Whats more, as well as exhibiting a shorter excited lifetime, the red phosphor and
perovskite composite material yields a white light with a high colour rendering index
of 89 and a correlated colour temperature of 3236 K, which makes the white LED suitable for comfort lighting applications.
www.electronics-eetimes.com

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Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016 25

NEWS & TECHNOLOGY

PHOTOVOLTAICS

Perovskite solar cell process boosts efficiency, manufacturing


By Nick Flaherty

esearchers in China and the US have developed a


technique to boost the efficiency and manufacturing of
perovskite solar cells.
The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
worked with the Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) on hybrid
halide perovskite solar cells. Treating them
with a specific solution of methyl ammonium bromide (MABr) repairs defects and
improves efficiency so that a low-quality
perovskite film with pinholes and small
grains is converted into a high-quality film
without pinholes and with large grains.
This boosted the efficiency of the
perovskite film in converting sunlight to
19% and also made the manufacturing
process more reliable. Other process enhancements using vacuum have achieved 20% efficiency while
manipulating the grain boundaries has seen efficiency reach
30%.
Perovskite films are typically grown using a solution of precursor chemicals that form the crystals, which are then exposed
to a second anti-solvent that removes the precursor solvent,
and the fast-crystallization process is regarded as almost an
art. NREL researchers found that, because of the narrow time

window for properly adding the anti-solvent, it is easy to miss


that window and perovskite crystals with defects such as
non-continuous crystals and non-uniform crystals form. These
significantly reduce the effectiveness of a perovskite cell.
The researchers use a new process called Ostwald ripening. This involves small crystals dissolving
and then redepositing onto larger crystals. The researchers were able to induce
the Ostwald ripening process by treating
the perovskite with a MABr solution. The
amount of the solution proved key, as the
ideal was proven to be about 2 mg/ml.
With the Ostwald ripening process,
different-sized nanocrystals formed with
different film qualities could then grow into
pinhole-free perovskite films with similar large crystal sizes, say the researchers. Thus, this new
chemical approach enhances processing tolerance to the initial
perovskite film quality and improves the reproducibility of device
fabrication.
The improved film quality made the cells more stable, as
untreated cells had an efficiency of about 14 percent to 17
percent, while cells treated with the MABr solution had an efficiency of more than 19%.

Mass produced polymer solar cells move closer to reality


By Nick Flaherty

n international team of researchers has developed a way


of mass producing high efficiency flexible polymer solar
cells in rolls.
The team, led by the US National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST), used a mock-up of a high-volume, roll-to-roll
processing method to produce cells with a power conversion
efficiency of 9.5%. This is just short of the minimum commercial
target of 10%.
The mass-produced versions showed molecular packing and
texture significantly different from spin-coated cells developed
in the lab with around 11% efficiency. While this is a lower efficiency that cells on a solid substrate which approaches 30%,
the lower manufacturing cost and ease of use for the flexible
polymer cells is attractive.
The rule of thumb has been that high-volume polymer
solar cells should look just like those made in the lab in terms of
structure, organization and shape at the nanometre scale, said
Lee Richter, a NIST physicist who works on functional polymers.
Our experiments indicate that the requirements are much more
flexible than assumed, allowing for greater structural variability
without significantly sacrificing conversion efficiency.
Efficient roll-to-roll fabrication is key to achieving the lowcost, high-volume production that would enable photovoltaics
to scale to a significant fraction of global energy production,
added He Yan, a collaborator from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
The team experimented with a coating material composed of
a fluorinated polymer and a fullerene (also known as a buckyball). This PffBT4T-2OD polymer achieved power conversion
efficiency of more than 11% in the lab and can be applied in

26 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

relatively thick layers of 250nm for roll-to-roll processing.


A series of X-ray-based measurements revealed that the
temperature at which the PffBT4T-2OD was applied and dried
significantly influenced the resultant coatings material structure - especially the orientation, spacing and distribution of the
crystals that formed.
The substrates blade-coated at 90 degrees C were the highest performing, achieving power conversion efficiencies that
topped 9.5%. Detailed real-time measurements during both
blade-coating and spin-coating revealed the different structures
arose from the rapid cooling during spin-coating versus the
constant temperature during blade-coating.
Real-time measurements were critical to developing a
proper understanding of the film formation kinetics and ultimate
optimization, said Aram Amassian, a collaborator from Saudi
Arabias King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
(KAUST).
Applying PffBT4T-2OD on a flexible plastic sheet using a slotdie roll-to-roll coating line directly mimicked large-scale production. Measurements confirmed that the material structures made
with blade-coating and those made with slot-die-coating were
nearly identical when processed at the same temperatures.
Its clear that the type of processing method used influences
the shape of the domains and their size distribution in the final
coating, but these distinctly different morphologies do not necessarily undermine performance, said Harald Ade, a collaborator from North Carolina State University.
We think these findings provide important clues for designing polymer solar cells optimized for roll-to-roll processing.

www.electronics-eetimes.com

PIC MCUs Driving Displays

Graphical and Segmented Display Solutions

www.microchip.com/eugraphics
www.microchip.com/eulcd

PIC MCUs Driving Displays


Digital displays improve the user interface of just about
any application. Segmented LCDs have historically been
a popular choice of display technology and their use
continues to grow in a variety of medical and industrial
applications. In recent years there has been a significant
rise in the use of graphical displayssuch as TFT, OLED
and CSTNin consumer, appliance and automotive
applications. Users prefer intuitive menus, vivid graphics,
touch panel interaction and, in some cases, the ability
to interact remotely with a system. Designers migrating
toward graphical displays face several challenges such as
cost of components associated with driving the display,
complexity of software needed for updating graphics,
battery life and remote connectivity.
If you are looking to add newer and feature-rich interfaces
to your products in an aesthetically pleasing manner,
Microchip has a broad portfolio of solutions that include
touch sensing and display technologies. Microchip delivers
these latest advancements as complete hardware and
software solutions to get your design to market faster at a
lower total system cost.

Display Controller Solutions


Segmented LCD
Direct drive of inexpensive displays
Up to 512 segments
Integrated analog for sensor applications like
temperature sensing in thermostats
Touch sensing function
Integrated cryptographic engine with secure RAM key
management for secure applications

Graphical Displays

Up to WVGA (800 480) resolution


Up to 24 bit per pixel
Graphics Display Design GUI and free graphics library
PIC24 DA family features integrated graphics
acceleration and display controller
High-performance 32-bit MCUs with integrated Ethernet
and CAN for remote interfaces
USB OTG and mTouch sensing solutions

Direct Drive for Segmented Displays


Display Solutions for Segmented LCD
Segmented displays are used in a wide variety of
applications, ranging from meters to portable medical
devices to thermostats to exercise equipment. PIC
microcontrollers with integrated LCD drivers can directly drive
segmented displays with letters, numbers, characters and
icons. The main features of Microchips LCD portfolio include:
Flexible LCD segments
28 pins, up to 72 segments
40 pins, up to 116 segments
64 pins, up to 240 segments
80 pins, up to 368 segments
100 pins, up to 480 segments
121 pins, up to 512 segments
Variable clock inputs
Integrated voltage bias generation
Direct drive for both 3V and 5V powered displays
Software contrast control for boosting or dimming for
different temperature or lighting conditions
Drive LCD while conserving power in Sleep mode
Integrated real time clock and calendar for displaying
time and date information
mTouch capacitive touch sensing capability

Direct Drive for Segmented Displays


The LCD PIC microcontrollers support direct LCD panel
drive capability with no external components needed,
lowering total system cost. They have integrated voltage
bias generation which allows the MCU to generate the
different voltage levels that are required to drive the LCD
segment pins and provide good contrast for the display.

Graphical and Segmented Display Solutions

The LCD MCUs support a range of fixed and variable bias


options as well as variable clock inputs that enable the
flexibility to work with many different glass vendors.

Contrast Control
Software contrast control is a key feature using firmware
to either boost or dim the contrast of the display. Boost
the contrast up to VDD or beyond if you are using one
of the MCUs with an integrated charge pump. Software
contrast control allows you to vary the contrast on the
LCD to account for different operating conditions such
as temperature, lighting and humidity. Software contrast
control can also be invaluable for portable applications. As
the battery level starts to drop, the firmware can apply a
boost to the contrast, helping extend the battery life while
still producing a crisp image on the display.

Direct Drive for Segmented Displays


Positioning Graph

Size of Displays

Hardware Cryptographic Engine,


mTouch Cap Sensing,
Peripherals, RTCC,
Hi-Speed USB OTG (GR Family Only)

PIC18FXXJ9X

Crystal-Free FS USB 2.0


Device, 12-bit ADC, 4 X UART
w/IRDA, mTouch Cap
Sensing Peripherals, RTCC

16-bit ADC, 2 X 10-bit DAC,


mTouch Cap Sensing
Peripherals, RTCC

mTouch
Cap Sensing
Peripherals

mTouch
Cap Sensing
Peripherals

Max 480 Segments

PIC18FXXK9X

Max 192 Segments

PIC16(L)F19XX

Max 192 Segments

PIC16(L)F190X

Max 116 Segments

64100 pins
16128 KB Flash
2.03.6V

mTouch Cap
Sensing
Peripherals,
RTCC,
Host/Device/OTG

PIC24FJXXXGAXX
Max 480 Segments

64100 pins
64128 KB Flash
2.03.6V

USB, 16-bit
Delta Sigma
ADC, mTouch
Cap Sensing
Peripherals, RTCC,
Hi-Speed USB

PIC24FJXXXGB/
GA4XXX

64121 pins
64256 KB Flash
2.03.6V

PIC24FJXXXGCXX

64100 pins
64128 KB Flash
2.03.6V

Max 512 Segments

Max 480 Segments

6480 pins
32128 KB Flash
1.85.5V

2864 pins
728 KB Flash
1.85.5V

2840 pins
3.514 KB Flash
1.83.6V

Performance
Maximum Number of Segments
Product Family

Pins

1 Common

2 Commons

3 Commons

4 Commons

8 Commons

PIC16(L)F1902/3/6
PIC16(L)F1933/6
PIC16(L)F1904/7
PIC16(L)F1934/7/9
PIC16(L)F1946/7
PIC18F6XJ90
PIC18F6XJ93
PIC18F6XJ94
PIC18F6XK90
PIC18F8XJ90
PIC18F8XJ94
PIC18F8XJ93
PIC18F8XK90
PIC24FJXXXGA306
PIC24FJXXXGC006
PIC24FJXXXGA308
PIC18F9XJ94
PIC24FJXXXGA310
PIC24FJXXXGC010
PIC24FJXXXGB/GA4XX

28
28
40
40
64
64
64
64
64
80
80
80
80
64
64
80
100
100
100
121

19
16
29
24
46
32
33
34
33
48
50
48
48
34
34
50
64
64
64
64

38
32
58
48
92
64
66
68
66
96
100
96
96
68
68
100
128
128
128
128

57
48
87
72
138
96
99
102
99
144
150
144
144
112
112
150
192
192
192
192

72
60
116
96
184
128
132
136
132
192
200
192
192
146
146
200
256
264
264
256

240

368

240
240
368
480
480
480
512

Graphical and Segmented Display Solutions

Direct Drive for Segmented Displays


Development Tools for Segmented LCD
PIC24F Intelligent Analog Starter Kit (DM240015)
This development kit
featuring the PIC24F
GC family of 16-bit
microcontrollers offers an
analog header, allowing
clean analog signals to
be accessed to preserve
signal integrity. To complement the header, the board
also features on-board sensors including a light sensor,
potentiometer, microphone, temperature and capacitive
touch. The custom LCD display features a 296 dot-matrix
array for text display and 17 special icons. The board
includes connections for microphone and headphones
as well as on-board light and temperature sensors. The
segmented display showcases custom icons and a scrolling
banner. The board also includes cap touch buttons, USB
connection and easy connection for RF modules.

LCD Explorer Development Board (DM240314)


Supports Microchips

100-pin microcontrollers
with 8 common segment
LCD drivers
Provides an ideal platform
to evaluate a MCU with an
8 common LCD driver on
a 38 segment 8 common
LCD display
PICtail Plus connections enable evaluation of selected
MCUs in a complex system by adding PICtail Plus
daughter boards
PIC18F97J94 PIM (MA180034)

Graphical and Segmented Display Solutions

PICDEM LCD 2 Demo Board (DM163030)


Illustrates and supports the
main features of Microchips
28-, 40-, 64- and 80-pin LCD
PIC microcontrollers
LCD glass with icons,
numbers, alphanumeric and
starburst display
Demonstrates booster capability for contrast control
and dimming
Separate Processor Plug-in Modules (PIMs) are
available to evaluate all of the LCD products
PIC18F87J90 PIM (MA180025)
PIC18F87K90 PIM (MA180027)
PIC16F1947 PIM (MA160016)
LCD PIM Pack (PIC16) (MA180019)

Application Notes for LCD Displays

Low Power Techniques for LCD Applications, TB1098


Implementing an LCD Using the PIC16F1947
Microcontroller, AN1354
Solving Sensor Offset Problem, AN781
Low-Power Real-Time Clock, AN582
LCD Biasing and Contrast Control Methods, AN1428
LCD Fundamentals and the LCD Driver Module for 8-bit
PIC Microcontrollers, AN658

Graphical Displays
Graphical Displays
Microchip offers varying levels of solutions to drive
everything from simple monochrome LCDs to full-color
WVGA user interfaces. Graphics support includes the
following approaches:
PIC24F DA integrated graphics controller
PIC32 controllerless graphics
Support for PIC MCU with external graphics controllers
The silicon offering is complemented with powerful, free
and easy-to-use graphics library, display designer GUI
and hardware development kits with flexible interface to
various glass sizes.

Supported Screen Sizes and Colors


Microchip graphics solutions support various screen sizes
and colors ranging from small monochrome OLED displays
up to WVGA displays with vivid color. The table below
shows the bits per pixel required to represent color.
Display
Representation

Color Examples

Color Depth
(bits per pixel)

Mono

Black and White

Grayscale

4 shades
16 shades

2
4

Color

256 colors
65K colors
16 million colors

8
16
24

As the color depth and display resolution increase, the


frame buffer grows. Depending on the size, the frame
buffer can be stored in the microcontroller RAM, in external
SRAM or integrated into an external graphics controller.
The table below shows examples of the frame buffer sizes
required for some popular resolution and color depths.
PIC24 DA family supports up to 96 KB on chip
PIC32 MCUs support up to 512 KB on chip
External SRAM can be used for larger frame buffers
For advanced graphics, external graphics controllers
have additional frame buffer storage

FREE Microchip Graphics Library


The Microchip Graphics
Library is highly modular
and is optimized for
Microchips 16- and 32-bit
microcontrollers. It is easy
to use and has an open
documented interface for driver or controller support. The
library supports the following features:
Pre-made graphics objects
Multiple fonts and languages
User interface for mTouch sensing solutions
Includes buttons, charts, check boxes, scroll bars, list
boxes, images and basic animation
For PIC32 MCUs the graphics library is available as a
part of MPLAB Harmony
For 16-bit MCUs the graphics library is available
through the Microchip Library for Applications (MLA)

Screen Size and Colors


Display Resolution
Typical Sizes

Colors

Color Depth/
Memory Requirement in (bytes)
1 bpp

2 bpp

4 bpp

8 bpp

16 bpp

24 bpp*

16

256

65K

16.7M

WVGA

800480

48,000

96,000

192,000

384,000

768,000

1,152,000

VGA

640480

38,400

76,800

153,600

307,200

614,400

921,600

WQVGA

480272

16,320

32,640

65,280

130,560

261,120

391,680

QVGA
Common for
OLED

320240

9,600

19,200

38,400

76,800

153,600

230,400

12864

1,024

2,048

4,096

8,192

16,384

24,576

Internal SRAM on PIC32MX

PIC32MZ Internal SRAM

External SRAM

*The minimum required for 24 bpp is more because of our 32-bit word length

Graphical and Segmented Display Solutions

Visual Design Tools


Microchip provides several visual design tools to help you with the development of graphics firmware. These GUI-based
tools reduce the need to memorize graphics object information, improve the edits-compile-execute cycle and allow
developers to work in the same space as users.

MPLAB Harmony Graphics Composer (MHGC) for 32-bit


Microcontrollers
MPLAB Harmony Graphics Composer (MHGC) is Microchips industry-leading
GUI design tool for PIC32 microcontrollers. As a fully-integrated component of
MPLAB Harmony Configurator (MHC), MHGC will accelerate your applications
front end design without leaving the MPLAB X IDE.
Concept to glass in minutes without writing a single line of code
Congure project for your GUI requirements
Drag and drop widget and objects directly into the design
Extend your brand by importing custom images
Design directly for MPLAB Harmony Graphics Primitive Library
MHGC is fully integrated into MHC which is available as an MPLAB X IDE plug in.

SEGGER emWin Pro Library


emWin from SEGGER Microcontroller GmbH and Co. KG is a software graphics library that provides efficient GUI building
blocks for applications that operate with a graphical LCD.
Complete ANSI C code, no need to C++
Alternative for MPLAB Harmony Graphics Object Library
and Primitive Layer
RTOS independent
User SEGGER development tool chain and utilities
GUIBuilder drag-and-drop design interface
Integrated with MPLAB Harmony Congurator
Robust graphics widget and shape drawing library

Visual Graphics Display Design (VGDD) for 16-bit Microcontrollers


The Visual Graphics Display Designer is a standalone third-party graphics display designer tool with a companion VGDD-Link
MPLAB X IDE plug in, supporting 16-bit PIC24 MCUs and dsPIC Digital Signal Controllers. Compatible with MPLAB Code
Configurator (MCC), VGDD utilizes the Microchip Graphics Library available as part of Microchip Libraries of Applications
(MLA) to produce output source files that can be compiled using Microchips XC16 Compilers to create interactive GUIs.
VGDD-Link is available as an MPLAB X plug in for GUI
design, providing a seamless development experience. The
VGDD-Link tool can be directly downloaded and installed
from the MPLAB X IDE Plug In menu.
Concept to glass in minutes without writing a
single line of code
Congure projects for your GUI requirements
Drag and drop widgets and objects directly into the
design (WYSIWYG design simplicity)
Extend your brand by importing custom images
Designed directly for Microchip Libraries
of Applications

Whats New?

Key Features

What You See Is What You Get


(WYSIWYG) design
Multi-platform (Windows, Linux, Mac)
Improved design tools
Drawing grid, auto widget alignment
and other drawing shortcuts/
productivity features
Cut, copy, paste properties
Improved screen navigation
PowerPoint style screen listing

Allows you to resize, align and move widgets, create color schemes and
add fonts and images to your application
Generates source code ready for PIC24F microcontrollers and digital
signal controllers
Provides the same visual representation of the embedded screen to
draw objects on the PC screen
Eliminates the need to manually calculate the (x, y) coordinates for onscreen object placements
General guidance and information on selected screen elements (e.g.
memory resource impact, color placement, etc.)
Information box to provide context-sensitive information
Multi-screen thumbnails enable quick switching amongst screens to
develop the ow of your graphical user interface

Graphical and Segmented Display Solutions

Display Controller Solutions


Target Applications
Applications that benefit from attractive and easy-to-use
graphical displays include:
Consumer: Thermostats, cordless phones, remote controls
Home Appliance: Coffee makers, washing machines,
refrigerators, ovens
Industrial: Digital instrument gauges, storage controls,
remote terminals
Portable Medical: Glucometers, blood pressure monitors,
portable ECGs

Application Notes and Documentation for


Graphical Displays

PIC32 Low Cost Controllerless Graphics:


32-bit Performance, Flexibility, Integration

512 KB RAM
Frame Buffer

DMA

Microchips PIC32 line of 32-bit microcontrollers offers


up to 330 DMIPS and high-performance DMA to render
graphics directly to displays. This enables PIC32 devices
to drive a display without an external graphics controller.
Uses <5 MIPS and DMA to render graphics
Direct interface to STN, TFT displays
Integrated up to 512 KB RAM for frame buffering
Works with any PIC32 microcontroller

Fonts in the Microchip Graphics Library, AN1182


How to Use Widgets in Microchip Graphics Library, AN1136
How to Create Widgets in Microchip Graphics Library,
AN1246
Using a Keyboard with the Microchip Graphics Library,
AN1227
Developing Graphics Applications using an
MCU with Integrated Controller, AN1368
Using PIC32 MCUs to Develop Low-Cost
Controllerless (LCC) Graphics Solutions, AN1387

These devices offer up to 2 MB Flash and 512 KB


RAM, giving you plenty of space for application code,
communications stacks and data buffering. In addition
to the graphics capabilities, PIC32 MCUs also have
integrated peripherals for USB, CAN, Ethernet, I2C, SQI,
EBI, Crypto Engine and capacitive touch sensing.

PIC24F with Integrated Graphics Controller:


Low Cost, Easy to Use

External Graphics Controller: PIC24 or


PIC32 with Parallel Master Port (PMP)

PIC24FJ DA
(Optional)
External
Frame
Buffer

Frame Buffer

GPU

PIC24 and PIC32 MCUs can also work with an external


graphics controller to support larger screen sizes or more
advanced graphical features. Many external graphics
controllers are supported by the graphics library; a few that
we support with development tools are highlighted below.

Display
Controller

The PIC24F DA family makes it easy and cost-effective to


add advanced graphics to your application by eliminating
the need for external frame buffers or display controllers.
Dedicated graphics clock for a continuous, clean display
On-chip display controller provides direct interface to
TFT, STN and OLED displays
Easy-to-use Graphics Processing Units for
hardware acceleration
Move and copy rectangles with smooth, fast
memory transfers
Decompress images without CPU intervention
Render text without CPU intervention
Color look-up table and 96 KB frame buffer to support
multiple colors
Supports QVGA 8 bpp with internal frame buffer
Supports WQVGA 16 bpp with external frame buffer
using PMP (Parallel Master Port)
With the hardware acceleration, this family is able to
process and render graphics without using any MCU MIPS.
The dedicated graphics engine is able to continuously drive
a display without being shared with any other function.

PIC24 or PIC32
MCU

Graphics
Controller
Frame Buffer

The Solomon Systech SSD1926 Graphics Controller has


hardware graphics acceleration to free up the MIPS of the
PIC MCU. This controller includes an SD Card interface
and JPEG decode engine as well as 256 KB RAM. The
Graphics PICtail Plus SSD1926 Board (AC164127-5)
includes serial Flash for data storage and interfaces to
either Explorer 16 or PIC32 Starter Kits.
The Epson S1D13517 Graphics Controller includes alpha
blending, picture-in-picture and supports up to WVGA
(800 480) at 24 bpp. This controller has an SDRAM
interface for connection to low-cost external memory. The
Graphics Controller PICtail Plus Epson S1D13517 Board
(AC164127-7) includes 128 MB SDRAM frame buffer and
64MB serial Flash and interfaces to either Explorer 16 or
PIC32 Starter Kits.

Graphical and Segmented Display Solutions

Tools for Designing Graphical Displays


PIC24 DA Integrated
Graphics Controller

PIC32 Controllerless
Graphics

External Solomon Systech


Graphics Controller SSD1926

External Epson Graphics


Controller S1D13517

Display*

WQVGA 480272

WVGA 800 480

WQVGA 480272

WVGA 800480

Graphics

HW Acceleration: rectangles,
characters, images

Alpha-blending, speed,
picture-in-picture, layering

HW Acceleration, SD Card,
I/F, JPEG engine

SDRAM, I/F, alpha-blending,


picture-in-picture

Frame Buffer

Color Lookup Table +


96 KB on MCU + Ext SRAM

512 KB on MCU +
Ext SRAM

256 KB on Solomon Systech


Controller

Ext SDRAM

16

330

Better

Good

Good

Good

$$

$$$

Core MIPS
Power
Cost
*Max resolution at 16 bpp

Low-Cost Solution Without External


Graphics Controller
PIC24FJ256DA210 Development Board (DM240312)
This board is a low-cost and efficient
development board to evaluate the
features and performance of the
PIC24FJ256DA210 with integrated
graphics, mTouch sensing and USB.
The development board requires a
display board to complete the two-board setup. It has a
Microchip display connector V1, and allows you to match
it with any of the listed 3.2", 4.3" TFT displays, or the
graphics prototype board available from Microchip.

Low-Cost Controllerless (LCC) Graphics PICtailTM


Plus Board (AC164144)
This board enables development of
graphics solutions without an external
graphics controller. The board is designed
to attach to a PIC32 Starter Kit or an
Explorer 16 Development Board and one
of Microchips LCD modules.

PIC32 GUI Development Board with PCAP Touch


(DM320015)
This board enables development of
cost-effective multi-touch graphical
user interfaces. It is based on the
PIC32MX795F512H with 105 DMIPS
performance, 512 KB Flash and
128 KB RAM. The PIC32 is coupled with a low-cost PSRAM
as a high-speed graphics frame buffering and a 4.3"
WQVGA touch display enabling development of graphics
solutions without an external graphics controller.

Multimedia Expansion Board II (DM320005-2)


This board is a highly-integrated, compact
and flexible development platform which
works with PIC32MZ Starter Kits. This
kit features a 4.3" WQVGA PCAP touch
display daughter board and supports
detachable display boards allowing for
a variety of resolutions. The kit also has an on-board 24-bit
stereo audio codec, VGA camera, 802.11b/g wireless
module, Bluetooth HCI transceiver, temperature sensor,
microSD slot and analog accelerometer.

Graphical and Segmented Display Solutions

Solutions with External Graphics Controllers


Graphics LCD Controller PICtail Plus SSD1926
Board (AC164127-5) (Includes Solomon Systech
SSD1926 Controller)
The Graphics LCD Controller PICtail Plus
SSD1926 Board is a demonstration
board for evaluating Microchips graphic
display solution and graphics library
for 16- and 32-bit microcontrollers.
It is an expansion board compatible
with the Explorer 16 Development
Board (DM240001) or one of the PIC32 Starter Boards
(DM320001, DM320003). The controller board has a
connection for the display boards, such as the Graphics
Display Truly 3.2" 240 320 Board (AC164127-4). The
features include:
Solomon Systech SSD1926 Graphics Display Controller
supporting 4/8-bit STN, 4/8-bit CSTN, 18-bit HR-TFT
and 9/12/18/24-bit TFT interface
SD/MMC Card socket, connected to SSD1926 via
4-wire interface
16 Megabit (2M 8) serial Flash memory for additional
data storage
Display connector for interfacing with different
display boards
PICtail Plus Interface for connecting to Explorer 16
Development Board
PIC32 Starter Kit Connector

Multimedia Expansion Board (DM320005)


(Includes Solomon Systech SSD1926 Controller)
The Multimedia Expansion Board is
an integrated, yet flexible, solution
for development of high-impact user
interfaces. The board comes with a
3.2 color TFT touch-screen display
and interfaces to a PIC32 Starter Kit*
allowing you to choose the device
family that works best for you. The Multimedia Expansion
Board comes with an on-board FCC certified Wi-Fi module
and includes a 24-bit stereo audio codec, a three-axis
accelerometer, a joystick and a MicroSD memory card slot.
*A PIC32 Starter Kit is required to use this expansion board.

Tools for Designing Graphical Displays


Graphics Controller PICtailTM Plus Epson S1D13517
Board (AC164127-7)

Graphics Display Truly 7" 800480 Board


(AC164127-9)

The Graphics PICtail Plus


Epson S1D13517 Board is a
demonstration board for evaluating
Microchips graphics-display
solution and graphics library for
16- and 32-bit microcontrollers.
This expansion board is compatible
with the Explorer 16 Development
Board (DM240001) or one of the PIC32 Starter Boards
(DM320001, DM320003). The controller board has a
connection for display boards such as Graphics Display
Truly 5.7" 640 480 Board (AC164127-8) and the
Graphics Display Truly 7 800 480 Board (AC164127-9).
Features include:
Support for VGA, WVGA, QVGA, WQVGA displays
Alpha blending
Support for 24 bpp
Touch interface
128-megabit (8M 16) SDRAM for frame buffering
64-Megabit serial Flash memory for additional data storage

The graphics Display Truly 7"


800 480 board is a demonstration
board for evaluating Microchips
graphics display solution and
graphics library for 16- and 32-bit
microcontrollers. This expansion board is compatible with
LCD controller boards such as the Graphics Controller
PICtail Plus Epson S1D13517 Board (AC164127-7).

Graphics Display Prototype Board (AC164139)


The Graphics Display Prototype
Board (set of three) provides an easy
path to integrate a graphics LCD
panel of your choice to one of the
following platforms:
PIC24FJ256DA210 development
board (DM240312)
Graphics LCD Controller PICtail Plus SSD1926 Board
(AC164127-5)

Additional Graphics Development Boards

Display Boards

Remote Control Demo Board (DM240315-2)

Graphics Display Truly 3.2" 240320 Board


(AC164127-4)

Microchips Remote Control Demo


Board integrates Graphics, mTouch
technology, USB and RF4CE
into a single demo. The board
demonstrates a remote populated
with a PIC24FJ256DA210 MCU, 3.5
Graphical TFT LCD with resistive
touch screen, capacitive touch keys with plastic overlay,
MRF24J40 2.4 GHz transceiver and ZENA wireless adapter.
The Remote Control Demo Board offers the complete
software and hardware including bill of materials, schematics
and reference code.

The Graphics Display Truly 3.2"


240 320 Board is a demonstration
board for evaluating Microchips graphic
display solution and graphics library for
16- and 32-bit microcontrollers. It is an
expansion board compatible with the LCD controller boards
such as the Graphics LCD Controller PICtail Plus SSD1926
Board (AC164127-5).

Graphics Display Powertip 4.3" 480272 Board


(AC164127-6)
The Graphics Display Powertip 4.3"
480 272 Board is a demonstration
board for evaluating Microchips graphic
display solution and graphics library for
16- and 32-bit microcontrollers. It is an
expansion board compatible with the
LCD controller boards such as the Graphics LCD Controller
PICtail Plus SSD1926 Board (AC164127-5).

Graphics Display Truly 5.7" 640480 Board


(AC164127-8)
The Graphics Display Truly 5.7"
640 480 Board is a demonstration
board for evaluating Microchips
graphics display solution and
graphics library for 16 and 32-bit
microcontrollers. This expansion board
is compatible with LCD controller boards such as the
Graphics Controller PICtail Plus Epson S1D13517 Board
(AC164127-7).

Pervasive Displays E-Paper EPD PICtail Plus


Daughter Board (Sold by Pervasive Displays
#S0000AS0T3)
Microchip has partnered with
Pervasive Displays to introduce
an e-paper PICtail Plus Board that
connects to Microchips Explorer 16
development platform. The sample
Microchip MPLAB X IDE project
provides an open source driving waveform, including
global update and partial update capability with command
interface to update content on the EPD panel without a
graphic display controller or timing control board. The EPD
PICtail Plus Daughter Board features:
Support for driving 1.44", 2" and 2.7" EPD panels; all
three sizes are included
Direct-drive EPD by a Microchip PIC24 or PIC32
microcontroller without the need for any external
graphic or timing controller
Open documentation and driving waveform for EPD panel
Microchip MPLAB X IDE project source code with
Microchip Graphic Library

Graphical and Segmented Display Solutions

Tools for Designing Graphical Displays


Visual Design Tools
MLA Graphics
Library v3.XX
(PIC24/dsPIC/PIC32MX)

MLA Graphics
Library v4.00+
(PIC24/dsPIC)

VGDD with VGDD-Link MPLAB X


IDE Plug In
(VGDD-Link Plug In requires VGDD
v9+ and MPLAB X IDE v3.00+)

MPLAB Harmony
v1.03 and older
(PIC32MX/MZ)

MPLAB Harmony v1.04+


(PIC32MX/MZ)

MPLAB Harmony Graphics


Composer
(requires MPLAB X IDE v3.00+)

Microchip Graphics Solutions


These tables shows the out-of-the-box support for the following development boards and kits. With proper software and
hardware configuration, compatibility of certain hardware combinations and other PIC devices can be achieved.

PIC32 Starter Kit-Based Tools


Starter Kits

PIC32 Starter Kit (DM320001)

Graphics
Display
Truly 3.2"
240 320
Board
(AC164127-4)

PIC32 USB Starter Kit II (DM320003-2)


PIC32 USB Starter Kit III (DM320003-3)
PIC24E USB Starter Kit (DM240012)

Graphics LCD
Controller PICtail
Plus SSD1926 Board
(AC164127-5)

Graphics Controller
PICtail Plus Epson
S1D13517 Board
(AC164127-7)

Low-Cost Controllerless
(LCC) Graphics PICtail
Plus Daughter Board
(AC164144)

Multimedia
Multimedia
Expansion
Expansion
Board
Board II
(DM320005) (DM320005-2)

PIC32 Starter Kit (DM320001)

PIC32 USB Starter Kit II (DM320003-2)

PIC32 USB Starter Kit III (DM320003-3)

PIC24E USB Starter Kit (DM240012)

dsPIC33E USB Starter Kit (DM320012)

(4)

dsPIC33E USB Starter Kit (DM320012)

PIC32 Starter Kit (DM320001)

Graphics
Display
Powertip 4.3"
480 272
Board
(AC164127-6)

PIC32 USB Starter Kit II (DM320003-2)


PIC32 USB Starter Kit III (DM320003-3)
PIC24E USB Starter Kit (DM240012)
dsPIC33E USB Starter Kit (DM320012)
PIC32MZ EF Starter Kit (DM320007)
PIC32MZ EF Starter Kit with Crypto Engine (DM320007-C)
PIC32 Starter Kit (DM320001)

Graphics
Display
Truly 5.7
640 480
Board
(AC164127-8)

PIC32 USB Starter Kit II (DM320003-2)


PIC32 USB Starter Kit III (DM320003-3)
PIC24E USB Starter Kit (DM240012)

(4)

+ (4)

(6)

(6)

+ (3)

+ (3)

+ (3)

PIC32 Starter Kit (DM320001)

+ (3)

PIC32 USB Starter Kit II (DM320003-2)

+ (3)

PIC32 USB Starter Kit III (DM320003-3)

+ (3)

dsPIC33E USB Starter Kit (DM320012)

PIC32 Starter Kit (DM320001)

(2)

(2)

(2)

(2)

PIC32 USB Starter Kit II (DM320003-2)

(2)

(2)

(2)

(2)

(2)

(2)

(2)

+ (2)

+ (2)

+ (2)

+ (2)

(2)

+ (2)

+ (2)

+ (2)

(2)

(2)

(2)

(3)

(2)

(2)

(2)

(3)

(2)

dsPIC33E USB Starter Kit (DM320012)

Graphics
Display Truly
7" 800 480
PIC32MZ EF Starter Kit (DM32007)
Board
PIC32MZ EF Starter Kit with Crypto Engine (DM320007-C)
(AC164127-9)
PIC24E USB Starter Kit (DM240012)

PIC32 USB Starter Kit III (DM320003-3)


PIC32MZ EF Starter Kit (DM32007)
PIC32MZ EF Starter Kit with Crypto Engine (DM320007-C)
PIC24E USB Starter Kit (DM240012)

Graphics
Display
Prototype
Board
(AC164139)

dsPIC33E USB Starter Kit (DM320012)


= Compatible (out of the box)
+ = Compatible (will need firmware modification)
= Incompatible

10

Notes:
4. 8 bpp or less using internal memory, 8 bpp or 16 bpp using external memory.
1. SSD1926 supports up to WQVGA (480 272) displays.
2. Manually assemble chosen display panel to the prototyping board. 5. 8 bpp or 16 bpp with external memory.
6. Only works with PIC32MZ Starter Kits.
3. Run at 8 bpp with external memory.

Graphical and Segmented Display Solutions

Tools for Designing Graphical Displays


Other Development Tools
Explorer 16 Development
Board (DM240001) +
Plug-In Modules (PIMs)
PIC24FJ256DA210
Development Board
(DM240312)

Graphics LCD Controller


PICtail Plus SSD1926 Board
(AC164127-5)

Graphics Controller PICtail


Plus Epson S1D13517 Board
(AC164127-7)

(4)

(5)

(3)

(2)

PIC24F PIMs

(2)

PIC32MX PIMs

(2)

PIC32MZ PIM

(2)

PIC24EP and
dsPIC33P PIMs

(2)

PIC24H and
dsPIC33F PIMs

(2)

PIC24F PIMs

(2)

PIC32MX PIMs

(2)

PIC32MZ PIM

(2)

PIC24EP and
dsPIC33EP PIMs

(2)

PIC24H and
dsPIC33F PIMs

(2)

PIC32MX PIMs

(4)

(3)

(2)

PIC32MZ PIM

(2)

PIC24H and
dsPIC33F PIMs

PIC24F PIMs
Low-Cost Controllerless
(LCC) Graphics PICtail Plus
Daughter Board (AC164144)

Graphics Display Graphics Display Graphics Display


Graphics
Graphics Display
Truly 3.2"
Powertip 4.3"
Truly 5.7"
Display Truly 7"
Prototype
240320 Board 480272 Board 640480 Board 800480 Board
Board
(AC164127-4)
(AC164127-6)
(AC164127-8)
(AC164127-9)
(AC164139)

= Compatible (out of the box)


+ = Compatible (will need firmware modification)
= Incompatible

Notes:
4. 8 bpp or less using internal memory, 8 bpp or 16 bpp using external memory.
1. SSD1926 supports up to WQVGA (480 272) displays.
2. Manually assemble chosen display panel to the prototyping board. 5. 8 bpp or 16 bpp with external memory.
6. Only works with PIC32MZ Starter Kits.
3. Run at 8 bpp with external memory.

Stand-Alone Development Boards


Development Board

Description

Remote Control Demo Board with ZENA Wireless Adapter


(DM240315-2)

Stand-alone development board with built-in display that comes with the ZENA Wireless
Adapter.

MPLAB Starter Kit for PIC24H MCUs (DM240021)

Stand-alone development board with a built-in display.

MPLAB Starter Kit for PIC24F MCUs (DM240011)

Stand-alone development board with a built-in display.

PIC24F PIMs

PIC24FJ128GA010 PIM (MA240011)


PIC24FJ256GA110 PIM (MA240015)
PIC24FJ256GB110 PIM (MA240014)
PIC24FJ256GB210 PIM (MA240021)

PIC32MZ and PIC32MX PIMs

PIC32MX360F512L PIM (MA320001)


PIC32MX460F512L PIM (MA320002)
PIC32MX795F512L PIM (MA320003)
PIC32MX450/470 PIM (MA320002-2)
PIC32MZ EF PIM (MA320019)

PIC24EP and dsPIC33EP PIMs

dsPIC33EP512MU810 PIM (MA330025-1)


PIC24EP512GU810 (MA240025-1)

PIC24H and dsPIC33F PIMs

PIC24HJ128GP504 PIM (MA240016-2)


dsPIC33FJ128GP804 PIM (MA330019-2)

Graphical and Segmented Display Solutions

11

Support

Training

Microchip is committed to supporting its customers


in developing products faster and more efficiently. We
maintain a worldwide network of field applications
engineers and technical support ready to provide product
and system assistance. In addition, the following service
areas are available at www.microchip.com:
Support link provides a way to get questions
answered fast: http://support.microchip.com
Sample link offers evaluation samples of any
Microchip device: http://sample.microchip.com
Forum link provides access to knowledge base and
peer help: http://forum.microchip.com
Buy link provides locations of Microchip Sales Channel
Partners: www.microchip.com/sales

If additional training interests you, then Microchip can


help. We continue to expand our technical training options,
offering a growing list of courses and in-depth curriculum
locally, as well as significant online resources whenever
you want to use them.
Technical Training Centers and Other Resources:
www.microchip.com/training
MASTERs Conferences: www.microchip.com/masters
Worldwide Seminars: www.microchip.com/seminars
eLearning: www.microchip.com/webseminars

Sales Office Listing


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PHOTOVOLTAICS

Ferroelectric materials push solar cell past theoretical limit


By Nick Flaherty

erroelectric materials are pushing solar cells above a


theoretical limit for conversion efficiency while only using ultraviolet light. The team of researchers from Drexel
University, the Shubnikov Institute of Crystallography of the
Russian Academy of Sciences, the University of Pennsylvania
and the US Naval Research Laboratory are using barium titanate crystals to convert sunlight into electric power much more
efficiently than the theoretical Shockley-Queisser limit predicts
for a bandgap material that absorbs almost no light in the visible spectrum. This could also be a boost for the development
of transparent solar cells.
The energy collection mechanism relies on collecting hot
electrons, those that carry additional energy in a photovoltaic
material when excited by sunlight, before they lose their energy.
This bulk photovoltaic effect could open up new cell design

techniques.
Barium titanate absorbs less than a tenth of the spectrum
of the sun. But our device converts incident power 50 percent
more efficiently than the theoretical limit for a conventional solar
cell constructed using this material or a material of the same
energy gap, said Dr Jonathan Spanier, a professor of materials
science, physics and electrical engineering at Drexel University
in the US and one of the principal authors of the study.
The new approach also makes use of the screening effect in
ferroelectric materials. The nanoscale electrode used to collect
the current in a solar cell enhances this field, boosting impact
ionization and carrier multiplication to create a cascade of
electrons. This boosts the efficiency past the Shockley-Queisser
limit that assumes the excess energy is lost as heat.

Mimicking plants to improve solar cells


By Julien happich

cientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) found


their inspiration in rose petals, whose epidermal cells
have particularly good antireflection properties, to boost
the efficiency of organic solar cells.
Published in the Advanced Optical Materials journal, their paper Flower Power:
Exploiting Plants Epidermal Structures for
Enhanced Light Harvesting in Thin-Film
Solar Cells details how the researchers
molded the structure of these epidermal
cells (using polydimethylsiloxane) before
replicating the structure by pressing the
mold into optical glue, cured directly onto
an organic solar cell.
Prior to this experiment, the researchers
at the Light Technology Institute (LTI), the
Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT),
the Institute of Applied Physics (APH), and
the Zoological Institute (ZOO) of KIT had investigated the optical properties and antireflection effect of the epidermal cells of
different plant species. They found these properties particularly
evolved in rose petals. Further scrutiny under an electron microscope revealed a disorganized arrangement of densely packed
microstructures, which they decided to imprint onto the face of
www.electronics-eetimes.com

a solar cell.
This seemingly simple pattern transfer resulted in power conversion efficiency gains of twelve percent for vertically incident
light and even
higher efficiency
gains at very
shallow incidence angles.
The excellent
omnidirectional
antireflection
properties of the
replicated epidermis is not only
able to reduce
surface reflection
to a value below
five percent,
but each replicated epidermal cell works as a microlens that
extends the optical path within the solar cell, increasing the
photons probability to be absorbed.
The researchers see their findings applicable to any solar cell
technology, they also envisage that other plants surface properties could be combined into one optimized layer.
Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016 27

DESIGN & PRODUCTS

HAPTICS & WEARABLE INTERFACES

When haptics let you feel the music


By Julien Happich

According to the startup, other acver the summer, German


tuators were inefficient and produced
startup Lofelt GmbH has
much heat when playing bass for an
raised just about 600,000
extended period of time. Eccentric
euros through a Kickstarter campaign
motors dont provide independent
to finalize and mass produce what
amplitude and frequency control.
the company describes as a wearable
Even an array of ERMs (which
subwoofer.
would be huge and inefficient)
A 17x20x6mm wrist-worn device,
wouldnt deliver the accuracy of what
Basslet incorporates the companys
we were aiming for. Our actuator adpatent-pending LoSound engine that
dresses multiple frequencies, coverfaithfully and silently reproduces the
ing the whole bass spectrum and you
punch feel of bass lines, in direct
Lofelts wearable subwoofer, the Basslet.
can really feel the difference between
contact with the wearers skin. Based
deep bass and mid-bass. Whats more, our motor is completely
on a voice-coil principle, this haptic device lets the wearers
silent, there is no humming or buzzing sound as it would be the
experience the music in a more immersive way, as if they were
case with an eccentric motor.
at a live concert, albeit only wearing their headphones and the
The Basslet is a standalone product, although it comes with
Basslet. It is designed to transmit the full bass spectrum, from
a small sender that plugs into the audio jack of any headphones
10 to 250Hz directly to the skin, and is felt as a whole external
(to transmit the synchronization data).
music vibration.
How about further integration and other use cases? We
Founded in 2014, the startup is headed by CEO Daniel
Bttner, a former sound engineer at music creation software
and hardware provider Ableton. Before joining Lofelt as its
CTO, co-founder Gwydion ap Dafydd was product designer
at Abletons main competitor Native Instruments, a company
producing software and hardware for computer-based audio
production and DJing.
With a degree in Electronics Engineering from the University
of York (England), Dafydd had spent six years at Texas Instruments prior to joining the music industry. The two met through
mutual friends when Bttner was looking for partners to develop
the Basslet.
He gave me a demo two years ago, at the time it was a
bulky and crude prototype, but it convinced me, remembers
Dafydd. For Lofelts first year of existence, the two co-founders
An exploded view of the LoSound engine.
bootstrapped the company, before receiving Angel seed funding
asked. Surely headset manufacturers would want to offer this
at the end of last year which helped them pay wages and build
incredible immersive sound experience to their customers.
up their team.
This is something we are considering, admitted Dafydd.
The recent Kickstarter campaign then provided Lofelt with
You could have the sender part of our solution directly integratthe cash flow necessary to go to production.
ed into headphones rather than being an extra plug-in. Although
But how did this haptics for music idea came up?
the LoSound engine was specifically designed for the music use
Bttner is a long time musician. As a double bass player
case, we are actively looking at other haptic use cases.
he was always interested in this gap between live music where
Our patents are independent of scale, so we could reduce
you feel the vibrations in your body, and listening to music with
the moving mass and shrink our device to integrate it into haptic
headphones, Dafydd told EETimes Europe.
interfaces. Say you interact with your fingertips, they are super
Typically, you forget you miss this element until you reinsensitive, they pick up much more information. We could build
troduce it. You wouldnt get that feeling with headphones, he
the LoSound engine into wearable devices to play any haptic
added.
signature through them without any sound, explained the CTO.
Basslet bridges this gap in a mobile way, it gets some of this
One practical example put forward by Dafydd is the game
feeling back into the mobile experience.
controller market.
But why design a new vibration engine, couldnt eccentric
This is potentially a much bigger market, said Dafydd,
rotating mass (ERM) vibration motors do the job?
and compared to eccentric motors or linear actuators found
Dafydd says the LoSound engine was specifically designed
in todays game controllers, the LoSound engine makes a huge
to offer a very good bass frequency response with high acceldifference. It is similar to comparing Retina displays with noneration and a large dynamic range to handle peaks.
Retina displays. Once youve experienced the high resolution,
Our office is littered with samples of haptics. Weve tried
any other display looks blurred. Even today, after two years of
eccentric motors, linear actuators, flat piezo-actuators to name
development, the market is still missing this kind of haptic techa few. The flat piezo actuators are good at high frequencies, but
nology, concluded Dafydd.
they tingle, with no punch to feel the bass line, noted the CTO.
28 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

www.electronics-eetimes.com

HAPTICS & WEARABLE INTERFACES

Microsoft gives peek at HoloLens chip


By Rick Merritt

wind up with is not what you need, said


icrosoft gave the first peek inside the custom
Nick Baker, a distinguished technologist at
vision processor it designed for its HoloLens augMicrosoft who described the HPU in a talk
mented reality headset. The chip handles a trillion
at the Hot Chips event held in Cupertino.
pixel-operations/second in a power budget lower than the
The chip uses a mix of standalone
4W Intel Atom-based Cherry Trail SoC that acts as its host
accelerators and ones tightly coupled to
processor.
its DSPs, getting an overall 200x speedup
The HoloLens processing unit (HPU) fuses input from
over a software-only version. We used
five cameras, a depth sensor and motion sensor, comprogrammable elements wherever pospacting and sending it to the Intel SoC. It also recognizes
sible and fixed function hardware where
gestures and maps environments including multiple rooms. Compute engines use a mix
we needed it to meet our performance
Microsoft described the guts of HoloLens earlier this
of Tensilica DSP cores and
year, but has not until now publicly detailed its HPU. The
various accelerators. (Image: goals, Baker said.
The code includes a diversity of
company evaluated merchant computer-vision chips
Microsoft)
algorithms with varying maturity, math,
including those from Movidius but found none that handled
branching and memory-access patterns, he said.
all its algorithms at its performance, latency and power targets.
Separate hardware, software, experience and performance
The TSMC 28nm chip packs 24 Tensilica DSP cores and 8
teams worked in parallel. We took co-design to an extreme with
Mbytes cache into a 12x12mm package with 65 million logic
this project, he said, noting Microsoft has an internal ability to
gates. A GByte of LPDDR3 is included in the HPUs package.
transform simulation tests into emulation routines that can also
The Tensilica cores were picked in part due to their flexibility.
run on the final hardware. The chip is used in the $3,000 HoloMicrosoft added 300 custom instructions to the cores.
Lens developers kit released in March.
If you cant add custom instructions, the math density you

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www.electronics-eetimes.com

Electronic Engineering Times Europe September03.02.16


2016 18:00
29

DESIGN & PRODUCTS

HAPTICS & WEARABLE INTERFACES

Myo armband: wearables design focuses


on packaging
By Patrick Mannion

esigning wearable devices can be as much about


dealing with packaging issues as it is about leveraging
cutting-edge silicon, sensors, and developing secret
sauce software. Such was the case with Thalmic Labs Myo
gesture-control armband, which went through at least seven
iterations before settling on the current version. Lets go inside
and find out why.
The Myo is one of many new devices for gesture control, a
market that Global Industry Analysts expects to top $12.7 billion
by 2020. It could be argued that movies like Minority Report
may well have inspired many with its portrayal of mid-air computer control, but the attraction of gesture control is magnetic,
as we look for different ways to communicate and interface with
our machines.
The main market drivers are gaming, healthcare, automation,
consumer devices, and automotive. However, the key enablers
are the availability of low-cost, low-power silicon for processing and wireless communications; the falling cost of advanced
sensors and sensor-fusion capabilities; the wide availability of
open-source hardware and software; and rapidly advancing
embedded vision.
Some inhibitors continue to be the lack of standards for
gesture movements, a lack of awareness of the possibilities,
and the high costs of development. However, those inhibitors
crumble in the face of the fertile imaginations of the many innovators and up-and-coming designers who are dreaming up the
next man-machine interface methodology.
Two of the most recent intriguing examples are VocalZoom,
an Israeli startup that has invented a means of optically converting human voice to digital signals that paradoxically get more
accurate in the presence of loud ambient noise. The second is
Ultrahaptics, which has developed a means of adding mid-air
touch-less haptics to gesture recognition and control systems.
In the specific realm of gesture control, there are many startups, such as ChiTronic with its smart ring and Apotact with its
Gest, which puts an inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor on
every finger (see figure 2).

Fig. 1: Sci-fi movies are always fun sources of inspiration, and


for gesture control, Minority Reports creative mid-air antics
certainly stirred the imagination.
30 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

Fig. 2: There are many companies using IMUs to detect


motion and translate that to a control signal. ChiTronic has
its smart ring and Apotacts Gest puts a sensor on all four
fingers. (Images courtesy of Chitronic and Apotact.)
However, for their gesture-control design, the team at
Thalmic Labs took another approach, choosing to dive into the
world of electromyography (EMG) to directly sense the bioelectric pulses that run down the arm as the hand is moved,
and then correlate those signals with specific hand movements,
such as moving the hand side to side, up and down, or making
a fist.
The idea was to combine the EMG signals with those from
an IMU that tracks that motion of the arm, and then fuse the
signals to control devices. After manymanyiterations, they
ended up with the Myo (see figure 3).
The current form of the armband weighs 93g, is 11.5 mm
thick, uses medical-grade stainless steel sensors and has an
LED lighting up the logo, as well as one indicating status at the
bottom. It connects to the controlled device via Bluetooth.
Beside the novelty of the device, the interesting aspect of
Myo is the SDK that the developers provided, which allows
anyone to develop a Myo application. Originally intended for
controlling presentations on laptops or gaming, the community
has taken the SDK and run with it, with over 100 Myo-controlled
devices now on the market, including the Parrot 2.0 drone,
GoPro Hero camera, and the Oculus Rift.

Fig. 3: The current form of the Myo (right) is substantially


lighter and also more sensitive to bioelectric signals, having
moved to medical-grade stainless steel sensors instead of
copper-based capacitive PCB sensors. (Image courtesy of
Bashny.Net)
www.electronics-eetimes.com

2 527 O CT 2 016, A L PEX PO, G RENO B L E , F RAN CE

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DESIGN & PRODUCTS

HAPTICS & WEARABLE INTERFACES

Contact-free virtual keyboard targets AR


By Julien Happich

t the International Modern Hospital Show which took


place in Tokyo last July, NEC Corporation was exhibiting
the ARmKeypad Air, a video processing-based solution
that creates interactive keyboards out of thin air (and the smart
glasses computing resources).
In November last year, the company had introduced ARmKeypad, where a modified watch could turn the arm of a wearer
into a virtual keyboard by detecting
touch through vibrations. But the new
version is a pure
software-based
solution, relying
entirely upon the
camera and videoprocessing capability of whatever head-mounted Augmented Reality (AR) display
being worn.
The smart glasses camera feed is processed to track the
wearers fingers and gestures, to allow the projection of a virtual
keyboard on the forearm for contact-free operation.
In its brochures, NEC clearly aims the virtual keyboard at

health professionals
who must perform
clinical or healthcare
procedures in sterile
environments. Here
the virtual keyboard
frees them from
direct contact with
objects and clothes.

4m thin oxide TFT active backplane


By Julien Happich

esearchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of


Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed ultrathin, transparent oxide thin-film transistors that could
address wearable displays.

Published in the journal of Advanced Functional Materials, their findings Skin-Like Oxide Thin-Film Transistors for
Transparent Displays relate to the fabrication of ultrathin and
transparent oxide thin-film transistors (TFT) using the inorganicbased laser lift-off (ILLO) method they had already successfully
developed for energy-harvesting and flexible memory devices.
The research team fabricated a high-performance oxide TFT
active-matrix backplane on top of a sacrificial laser-reactive
substrate, which after laser irradiation from the backside of the
substrate, separated from the sacrificial substrate. The TFT
array layer was then transferred onto an ultrathin plastic film
carrier (polyethylene terephthalate), only 4m thin.
32 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

When transferred
conformally to a
heavily textured
surface such as
the human skin or
artificial leather, they
found the ultrathinoxide driving circuit
to have an optical
transparency of 83%
while maintaining a
fairly high mobility of
40cm2 V1 s1 even under several cycles of severe bending tests.
With their ILLO process, the researchers claim they have
overcome the technological barriers for high performance
transparent flexible displays at a relatively low cost, removing
expensive polyimide substrates.
They also demonstrated that the TFT active-matrix backplane obtained could be easily transferred onto skin-like or any
flexible substrate for
wearable applications without suffering any structural
damage.
This, they hope,
will open the door
to pervasive display
applications.

www.electronics-eetimes.com

HAPTICS & WEARABLE INTERFACES

Passive matrix OLEDs go transparent


A provider of Passive Matrix OLEDs (PMOLED) solutions, Taiwanese manufacturer WiseChip has showcased a number of flexible Transparent OLEDs (TOLED)
applications at Touch Taiwan 2016, reports CTIMES.
With a diameter of 27mm, one of the round flexible and
transparent PMOLEDs exhibited at the show could find
use in Head Up Displays (HUD), near eye and even
augmented reality applications and wearables such as
smartwatches. PMOLED are cheaper than AMOLEDs

(Active Matrix OLED) and could be attractive for


small displays. WiseChip is aiming to customize its TOLEDs to achieve the best transparency.
The company is also focusing on flexibility,
presenting PMOLED products with a minimum
bend radius from 60 to 40mm which makes
them applicable to hand band, medical and tool
control devices.
WiseChip
www.wisechip.com

Touch-enabled foldable
AMOLEDs in Taiwan
The Industrial Technology Research
Institute (ITRI, Taiwan) has developed

a foldable on-cell touch AMOLED that


integrates a low temperature polysilicon (LTPS) TFT back panel based on
its FlexUP technology but also features gate driver-on-array (GOA) and
chip-on-plastic (COP) technologies.
The Taiwanese research centre adopted a transparent plastic cover plate
with gas barrier and touch functions
on top of the flexible display it aims at
foldable tablets and smart handheld
devices. The new display was demonstrated at Touch Taiwan 2016 last
week along with other flexible display
and touch technologies, including an
organic 350C-withstanding un-yellowed flexible transparent substrate,
high temperature resistant transparent
filling material and a foldable abrasion
resistance protective layer for OLED
touch panels. And along with large
area submicron patterned equipment.
The research centre has licensed its
technology to display makers such as
AU Optronics who also showcased a
foldable touch-enabled AMOLED during the exhibition, winning the goldpanel award for 2016. With 1280x720
pixels, the 5 display boasted
resolution of 295 PPI while being only
0.1mm thin, including the in-cell touch
layer. The touch-enabled flexible OLED
panel is said to withstand over a million folding cycles at a radius of 4mm.
ITRI
www.itri.org.tw

www.electronics-eetimes.com

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Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016 33

DESIGN & PRODUCTS

IMAGE SENSORS & VISION COMPUTING

Rivals chasing Velodyne in Lidar race


By Junko Yoshida

s lidar emerges as one of the most sought-after sensor


technologies for autonomous cars, startups specializing
in lidars are popping up everywhere in Israel, Germany,
Canada, New Mexico and California.
Velodyne Lidar, Inc. (Morgan Hill, Calif.), which shipped its
first products in 2007, remains by far the most experienced and
best funded lidar tech company. Velodyne announced earlier
this week a combined $150 million investment from co-investors Ford Motor Company and Chinas leading search engine
company Baidu, Inc.
Velodyne has a number of new product lines sampling today,
including those based on VLP 16 and VLP 32. Mike Jellen,
president & chief operating officer, isnt ready to announce design wins due to non-disclosure agreements, but revealed that
Velodyne lidar technology is already in 25 different autonomous
car programs today.
Mike Demler, senior analyst at The Linley Group, told EE
Times, Velodyne claims their lidar sensors are used by virtually
every car manufacturer and tier 1 supplier in the business.
Reportedly, Baidu, Ford, Google, Nissan, and Volvo use Velodyne in their autonomous test vehicles, and they have also been
used in some autonomous transport vehicles, such as Navya
Arma, which makes a 100 % electric and autonomous transport
vehicles.

Wave of startups

The automotive industry, however, is still in early days with autonomous cars. The battle of cheaper, smaller lidars has begun
with a wave of startups, all poised to compete with Velodyne in
the lidar race.
Among the competitors are Quanergy (Sunnyvale, Calif.),
Innoviz Technologies (Kfar Saba, Israel), Aerostar (Syosset, NY),
LeddarTech (Quebec, Canada), Phantom Intelligence (Quebec,
Canda), Strobe (Pasadena, Calif.), TriLumina (Albuquerque, NM)

Velodyne LiDAR Pucks (Compact VLP 16) to serve as Eyes


for NAVYA driverless ARMA shuttles.
34 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

Quanergy LiDAR Point Cloud (Source: Quanergy)


and Ibeo Automotive Systems (Hamburg, Germany).
Quanergy, which officially launched the worlds first solidstate lidar for self-driving cars at the Consumer Electronics
Show this year, discussed a plan for dramatically lowering costs
to $250 per sensor. The company announced last fall a partnership with Delphi Automotive Systems in lidar development, but
has not launched the product yet.
Ian Riches, director of global automotive practice at Strategy
Analytics, noted, Quanergy has not publicly announced any
design wins for production vehicles, but has Public partners
that include Mercedes Benz, Hyundai and Renault-Nissan.
Asked to compare Velodynes lidar to that of Quanergy,
Riches explained, The key difference is that the Velodyne units
are still solid state hybrid LiDARs. This means that actuation
and detection are solid state, but the scanning is mechanical.
The Quanergy units are fully solid state, with no moving parts.
In August, Innoviz Technologies emerged from stealth mode
and announced it raised $9 million in a Series A financing round.
LeddarTech has developed LeddarCore IC sensor technology
for OEMs, Tier-Ones, component and subsystem providers and
system integrators to develop proprietary, differentiated lidars
for ADAS/AD solutions, according to the company.
Strategy Analytics Riches added, LeddarTech unveiled
its solid state lidar IC Roadmap towards Autonomous Driving in June this year. It is working with Valeo to produce what
has been described as least expensive LiDAR sensor on the
market.
Phantom Intelligence has teamed with Osram on a compact, less expensive LIDAR unit that can be used for low-speed
obstacle detection in city driving. The two companies are zeroing in on a solution that can meet 2018 Euro NCAP Automatic
Emergency Braking requirements.
TriLumina announced a few months ago an undisclosed sum
of investment from Denso International America. The startup is
developing chips to advance time of flight capabilities while reducing power requirements and size. The startup is hoping the
strategic investment from the big Tier-One will open the door to
more customers in the automotive market.
Meanwhile, Ibeo Automotive Systems, a developer of lidar
technology founded in 2009, was snatched up earlier this month
www.electronics-eetimes.com

IMAGE SENSORS & VISION COMPUTING

by ZF, a global leader in driveline and chassis technology as


well as active and passive safety technology. ZF enlarged its
presence in the automotive market by acquiring TRW Automotive in May, 2015.
ZFs CEO said lidar complements the companys current
sensor portfolio of radar and camera technologies. He noted,
Ibeos fusion of these three sensor technologies provides
outstanding results in environmental awareness and forms the
basis for autonomous driving.
There are still a lot more startups focused on the development of lidars, according to Riches. They include Photonic
Vision, Princeton Lightwave, Scanse and Slamtec.
Photo Vision is a small UK-based start-up seeking to develop
what it claims is a unique low cost LiDAR + vision sensor technology for automotive, industrial and defence/security markets.
Princeton Lightwave (Township, NJ ) announced in July
2016 that it was setting up a new business division focused
on Geiger-mode LiDAR technology for the emerging market of
autonomous vehicles.
Scanse (San Leandro, Calif.) is a small start-up producing
an affordable scanning LiDAR for 360 degree horizontal field
of view with application to small Unmanned Ground Vehicles
(UGV) and drones for guidance, obstacle avoidance, mapping,
etc., explained Riches.
There is also Slamtec, a small start-up company based in
China, specialising in the area of LiDAR and localisation technologies.
Meanwhile, incumbents working on their own lidars include
Bosch who is working on the technology and wants to sell lidars
by 2020, and Continental, who acquired Hi-Res 3D Flash lidar
from Advanced Scientific Concepts Inc. in March 2016, Riches
explained.
Continental has supplied its existing lidar sensors to brands
such as Citroen, DS, FIAT, Ford, Geely, Honda, Mazda, Peugeot,
SEAT, Skoda, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo for AEB
systems, he added.

Broader adoption

Asked about an uptick in demand for lidars after Teslas fatal


crash, Velodynes Jellen said, Absolutely. The accident in May
highlighted the fact carmakers need not just good functioning
sensors but never fail sensors.
Still, the biggest obstacle to lidar adoption is cost, said The
Linley Groups Demler. Simple lidars can be used to complement or replace radar for basic distance measurements, such
as in adaptive-cruise control, but 360-degree scanning for
autonomous vehicles is more complex.
That also requires more powerful processors to analyze the
point cloud that you get from the scan.
Strategy Analytics
Riches agreed. Basic,
low-cost lidars with a relatively narrow field of view
are already in use at many
OEMs for applications
such as autonomous emergency braking. For higherresolution, longer-range,
higher field of view LiDARs
suitable for supporting automated driving to
become more mainstream,
then cost reduction is the
biggest hurdle along
Palm-sized VLP 32
www.electronics-eetimes.com

Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016 35

DESIGN & PRODUCTS

IMAGE SENSORS & VISION COMPUTING

with overall system robustness that makes the application


feasible in the first place.
Davide Santo, NXPs ADAS microcontroller and processor product line general manager, agreed. In a recent EE
Times blog, Santo wrote:
Lidar, short for light detection and ranging, is a technology that measures distance using laser light. The technology can scan more than 100 meters in all directions,
generating a precise 3D map of the cars surroundings.
This information is then used by car to make intelligent
decisions about what to do next. The problem with lidars
is that they generate a large amount of data and are still
quite expensive for OEMs to cheaply implement.
Meanwhile, Santo talked about radar as follows.
Radar, short for radio detection and ranging, is a sensor
system that uses radio waves to determine the velocity, range and angle of objects. Radar is computationally
lighter than a camera and uses far less data than a Lidar.
While less angularly accurate than lidar, radar can work in Lidar data points from Fords Fusion hybrid research vehicle.
every condition and even use reflection to see behind obstacles.
Well, we are talking about a car that drives itself, Jellen
By referring to Googles self-driving car, Santo said, Modern
said, implying that the first generation of autonomous cars can
self-driving prototypes rely on radar and lidar to cross validate
surely fold in the cost of lidar.
what theyre seeing and to predict motion.
As Demler explained, All the lidar companies, including
Velodyne, are looking to reduce cost by replacing mechanical
So, how costly is lidar today?
parts with electronics.
Velodynes Jellen said, If you buy Velodynes VLP 32 in big volume (one million units, for example), the price will fall between
For example, Quanergy is using a phased-array laser steer$500 and $350 per unit.
ing technique that replaces rotating mirrors, but with a smaller
Its important to note that VLP 32s patented 360 surround
vertical field of view and fewer scanning/detector elements than
view technology is Velodynes most advanced lidar to date.
Velodynes, according to Demler. Thats a big part of the tradIt features a range up to 200 meters and support for 32 lidar
eoff in reducing parts count and cost. He also added, Some
channels, providing enhanced resolution to identify objects.
companies are using micro-mirrors (like TIs DLP technique) to
Jellen stressed, Velodyne offers the only real-time 3D lidar
reflect laser beams in their lidars.
available in the industry.
While there are lidars more suitable for ADAS, Velodyne
All in all, Velodynes rivals are promising that their lidars will
takes pride in going after top-of-the-line quality products for
become available at a much lower cost.
hands-free self-driving cars. Our lidar is being used as a gold
standard by many in the automotive world to calibrate their
technologies, said Jellen.
Tradeoffs
Obviously, when compared with the $75,000 lidar first inJellen, however, cautioned that Velodynes competitors, mostly
troduced in Google Cars, $500 sounds cheap. But is it still too
startups, are still in various developmental stages. They have
expensive compared to radars and cameras?
the luxury of making promises without specifying the date of
delivery, he said.
In the end, this is about trade-offs. The
cost of a lidar depends on the quality of
optics, quality of components, a number of
lasers used, a range and resolution it can offer, said Jellen.
It also depends on how carmakers plan to
use lidar. There are lidars with a narrow field
of view, which can be embedded in the side
of a car, Jellen said. There are sensors with a
wide field of view which can be installed on
the roof. Velodyne is developing lidars that
can scale up and down, he explained.

The 64-laser lidar unit on the Google self-driving car is very visible.
36 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

With its latest $150 million investment,


Jellen noted, We are really accelerating our
product plans, so that we are ready for Car
OEMs autonomous car rollout, which has
now moved forward to 2021 or even 2020.
www.electronics-eetimes.com

IMAGE SENSORS & VISION COMPUTING

From implantable retinal pixels


to visual cortex stimulation
By Julien Happich

rench Startup Pixium


Vision is moving fast
in the field of vision
restauration. The company
is not only developing two
distinct retinal-implant technologies to circumvent retinal degenerative diseases,
it also hopes to be able one
day to feed visual stimulation
(from its proprietary bioinspired neuromorphic imaging
sensor) directly to the visual
cortex.
Created late 2011, the
company has successfully
carried out several clinical
trials with its Pixium Vision
implants IRIS I (with approximately 50 electrodes) and in
February this year, it realized
its first retinal implant of an
Pixium Visions CEO Khalid Ishaque shows a sample
improved version, IRIS II featuring 150 electrodes. IRIS is of the IRIS implantable device, in front of the
only the implantable part to wearable goggles and their wired pocket processor.
be affixed outside the retina.
It consists of tiny electrodes on the tip of a flexible circuit, an infrared photodetector cell, and a small ASIC in charge of multiplexing and mapping the IR signals
received by the photodetector to the relevant electrodes. The electric signals then
stimulate the ganglion cells whose
terminations form
directly the optic
nerve fibres, sending the perceived
signal to the brain.
The IRIS implantable device: electrodes are at the tip
A wearable part,
of the flexible foil, controlled by the encapsulated ASIC.
in the shape of
goggles equipped
with a proprietary
event-based camera, processes the
visual information in
front of the wearer
and fires the encoded information
to the IRIS through
the eye.
The ASIC is
powered wirelessly through two
inductive coils (one
is in the goggles
casing).
Close up of the PRIMA photovoltaic cells.
www.electronics-eetimes.com

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Postal code: 100089
Phone: 86-10-88825716/17
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Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016 37

DESIGN & PRODUCTS

IRIS and PRIMA: two product lines and two strategies for vision
restauration.
IRIS was developed for patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa
(RP), a genetic disease that affects about 1/4000 of the population and turns the patients blind by their forties. The surgery
procedure takes about 2.5 to 3 hours, and patients can start
seeing patterns and train their brains to make sense of that
newfound vision within a couple of weeks after their operated
eye has recovered from the operation, seeing hugely simplified
black and white sceneries. Training procedures include identifying shapes, localizing light blocks on a screen, and in some
cases, a complete software remapping of the signals to the
electrodes may be necessary to cater for less receptive areas of
the retina.
Why only 150 electrodes?, I candidly asked Khalid Ishaque,
Pixium Visions CEO during an interview at their impressive R&D
centre and headquarters in central Paris next to Institut de la
Vision and Hpital Quinze-Vingts.
The electrodes are not the limiting factor here, but it is very
complex to route all the signals from the ASIC to the electrodes
on such a narrow flexible foil tip. We could not make the flexible
foil much larger as it would make surgery more challenging, a
larger slit in the eye would be riskier for sealing the scleral opening, Ishaque explained. Indeed, the ASIC and powering coil are
hosted outside the eye ball.
We already have ASIC design to manage over a thousand
electrodes, but further shrinking the wires on that flexible foil is
a challenge, he conceded, but we can advance with IRIS to

Pixium Visions roadmap, pushing for more visual acuity.


38 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

IMAGE SENSORS & VISION COMPUTING

over a thousand electrodes within the next two to three years.


The company is expecting a CE mark for commercialization
in Europe within the next few months.
Now, taking the same visual inputs from its head-mount
ATIS sensor, the company is concurrently developing PRIMA,
in effect tiny modular arrays of wireless photovoltaic cells to
be implanted just under the retina, and whose electrodes are
placed in close proximity with the eyes bipolar cells.
Potentially, the surgery to implant PRIMA would take less
than an hour and would be much less risky too since the device would be contained within the eye, with no other control
circuitry, wires or cables.
Here, there is no more guess work nor any need for a
multiplexing ASIC, explained the CEO, the photovoltaic cells
receive the input as an Near Infra Red (NIR) beam from the
head-mounted goggles and fire directly their electrical signal
from their surface electrodes into the bipolar cells of the retina.
In Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), these cells
are still functional Ishaque noted, so by stimulating these
cells, we keep most of the natural signal chain up to the optic
nerve, this should make it easier for the brain to figure out
what the visual stimulus corresponds to, and we would have
much less pre-processing or encoding to do, also arguably
faster learning.
AMD is a much more prevalent condition, with over 4 million
cases across Europe and the US, but patients are also typically
older, usually over 70. That is why PRIMA with its low-risk surgical intervention could advantageously replace IRIS. PRIMA is
designed as hexagonally-shaped clusters of photovoltaic cells
(2 or 3 in series for one central electrode). The company has
designed them at various sizes, ranging from 140m to 70m.
The average diameter of a bipolar cell is about 10m. The
scale of the downsizing in PRIMA and much higher pixel concentration together with local returns enable finer stimulation,
each pixel would stimulate fewer cells, compared with currently
used larger electrode arrays for stimulating the ganglion cells.
The signal codification will be different and is expected also to
take advantage of more physiological processing and network
mediation. The invisible Near Infra-Red (NIR) light would directly
draw the visual data from our sensor onto the centre of the
retina covered with these modular photovoltaic cells, and the
brain will interpret these new artificial signals, said Ishaque.
The technology for PRIMA was first developed by Daniel
Palanker and his group at the Stanford University School of
Medicine, and they are already working on 40m clusters.
If proven successful PRIMA could address a much larger
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) market and hopefully
at a much more attractive price too, each wafer yielding thousands of implants. Having published a number of pre-clinical
safety studies, Pixium Vision hopes to initiate its first human
feasibility study by the end of this year, followed by a larger
pivotal trial starting in 2017.
With potential of several thousand electrodes, we are looking at higher resolution visual acuity to a degree of face-recognition, commented Ishaque. With AMD, patients lose their
central vision, we aim to give them artificial central vision.
Eventually, PRIMA could even supersede IRIS completely.
Talking about stereoscopic vision, Ishaque sees this as a natural
progression. Once technology is stable, we would equip the
goggles with two sensors and address both eyes at the same
time.
But the startup does not want to stop there.
What about glaucoma where the optic nerve inhibits retinal
signals to the brain? how about neuropathies or traumatic brain
www.electronics-eetimes.com

IMAGE SENSORS & VISION COMPUTING

lion neurons and stimulating more than 100 thousand neurons


injuries? Or conditions where the eye is missing altogether?
in the human sensory cortex commented Ishaque.
asked Ishaque before providing a futuristic answer.
Regarding pricing, the IRIS systems could cost around 90
In our global scientific and medical network, we have
100K euros, and the startup thinks it could break even after
ophthalmic surgeons but also neuro surgeons interfacing the
selling a few hundreds of them, subject also to reimbursements
eye and the brain from photons to neurons. The next step
speed in socialized healthcare systems. This system could also
would be to stimulate directly the surface of the visual cortex in
be reimbursed as part of your private healthcare insurance,
the brain with vision signals. The EU research framework and
peanuts compared to the direct and indirect costs to healthcare
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the US
system and society of supporting a blind person today. Ishaque
for example are very interested in this said Pixium Visions CEO.
cited an average cost of 40,000 euros per year that links back
Having hardware and software is not enough, you have to
to society, to insurers.
also understand wetware and how the visual cortex receives
and processes the signals. In ongoing research with partners at
Institut de la Vision, CEA and Stanford,
visual pathways from retina to the visual
cortex are being mapped, identifying
what sort of visual signals activate what
regions of the visual cortex. So eventually, we would send the pre-processed
data from our vision sensor, safely and
selectively, directly to the visual cortex
he continued.
Key to succeeding with such an
approach is the companys bioinspired
asynchronous visual sensor ATIS (Asynchronous Time-based Image Sensor).
Its autonomous pixels are built to record
transient events, rather than contribute
to a static greyscale image like ordinary cameras. Just like in the biological
eye, the sensors pixel circuits encode
transient information (light changes)
into the precise timing of spikes while
sustained information (light intensity) is
encoded using a simple spike rate coding scheme. The continuous stream of
spikes encodes the visual information in
a language the brain can directly interpret, at the native temporal resolution of
retinal ganglion cells (around 1ms) and
at a dynamic range exceeding that of
the human eye, writes the company on
its website.
Depending on research progress
and of course funding, first human clinical trials could become feasible within
the next 2 to 3 years. Of course, here
you would have to implant electrodes to
directly stimulate the visual cortex, and
such interventions are more invasive
and the visual cortex is much more
complex. But DARPA is pursuing something similar with its recently announced
Neural Engineering System Design
(NESD) program the CEO added.
DARPA has called for proposals to
create a real-time implantable neural
interface and could award up to US$60
million in funding to the right candidates
WWW.PCBCART.COM
for this four-year program.
sales@pcbcart.com
DARPA directly contacted specific
international consortia, including Vision
Institute and CEA. Their moon shot is to
develop and validate a neural interface
system capable of recording from 1 milwww.electronics-eetimes.com

-1 1

Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016 39


16-8-22 9:48

DESIGN & PRODUCTS

IMAGE SENSORS & VISION COMPUTING

Real-time 3D SLAM reaches


millimetre-level accuracy
By Julien Happich

rench startup Pixmap is officially launching


what it describes as a revolutionary 3D real-time
robotics localization and mapping technology,
Reality Capture.
The companys embedded solution is based on
over 11 years of academic research undertaken at the
I3S/CNRS (Centre National de Recherche Scientifique)
laboratory by the companys CTO, Maxime Meilland
together with Andrew Comport, Pixmaps Chief Scientific Officer, a researcher at INRIA Sophia Antipolis
where he pioneered work on dense localisation and
mapping algorithms.
Both founded the company early 2015 with robotics
expert Benoit Morisset (the startups CEO) shortly after
their paper On unifying key-frame and voxel-based
dense visual SLAM at large scales received the best
scientific publication award at IROS 2013 (International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems).
The work detailed in that paper stemmed from French DGAs
Fraudo project (FRanchissement AUtomatique DObstacles or
automated obstruction clearance), requiring dense localisation
and mapping techniques for robots to traverse uneven ground
and surfaces autonomously.
Available under licensing agreements, the algorithms at play
unify two approaches commonly used to define dense models,
volumetric 3D modelling (using voxel grids) and image-based
key-frame representations, into a compact low-memory bandwidth solution supporting refresh rates up to 2kHz.
Reality Capture enables robots and drones to robustly map
their environment in 3D and in a photorealistic manner to know
their position within the world with a millimetric accuracy.
Because the 3D maps are metrically accurate and provide a
photo-realistic rendering of the environment, they can be used
not only by the robot for path optimization and collision avoidance, but also by remote operators willing to visually revisit sites
mapped by a robot.
The company typically integrates the 3D real-time robotics
localization and mapping technology on the specific hardware
(RGB-D sensors, CPU/GPU, architecture) of each customer
according to the specifications that they require. Only once the
integration is complete, Pixmap gets royalties on the sales of
products embedding its algorithms.
The Reality Capture technology is applicable to any type of
robot, whatever its shape, size or mode of locomotion. Todays
robots are nearly blind, reduced to living in a 2D world, and executing basic functions. With the launch of our Reality Capture,
robots can open their eyes for the first time and see the world
in 3D. Pixmaps Reality Capture gives robotics developers the
technology to create a new universe of exciting applications for
their robots and drones, said Benoit Morisset in a company
statement.
The company makes its Reality Capture technology available to robotics developers and programmers in the form of
a Software Development Kit (SDK) called PX2M (short for
PixMap&Motion), using low cost sensors. PX2M provide a multi-

40 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

sensor fusion mechanism to take into account any additional localization information provided such as odometry, IMU or GPS.
It can be fully embedded and rely on on-board processing, but
for lighter systems such as drones, it can also be cloud-based
and remotely connected to the robots.
The startups objectives is to adapt its technology to different segments of the robotics market including personal robots,
service robots and drones, before moving into the virtual reality
and augmented reality markets, either to generate 3D content or
to bring millimetric localization capability to VR or AR headsets.

Dense reconstruction of an entire floor obtained in realtime from a 100 meters trajectory containing 67 key-frames:
(top) bird eye view, (bottom) side view of the reconstruction.
Illustration taken from Pixmaps IROS 2013 paper.
www.electronics-eetimes.com

IMAGE SENSORS & VISION COMPUTING

LeddarTech plans two Lidar signal


processor ICs
By Peter Clarke

eddarTech Inc. (Quebec, Canada), a developer of solidstate Lidar technology for autonomous vehicles, has
announced it is developing two signal processing cores to
handle Lidar information for ADAS and
autonomous driving applications.
The LC-A2 targets automation layers
1 to 3, with the first samples scheduled

in a statement.
LeddarTech was founded in 2007 as a spin off from Canadas
National Optics Institute (INO).

Connecting Global Competence

for the second half of 2017. The LC-A3,


which will meet the specifications for
automation layers 2 to 4, is expected to
sample in 2018.
LeddarTech is developing technology
with a range of up to 250 meters, a field
of view up to 140, and up to 480,000
points per second with a resolution
down to 0.25 both horizontal and vertical, the company said. The LeddarCore
processing ICs will provide the ability to
map the environment over 360 degrees
around the vehicle.
The ICs are intended to provide
ADAS and autonomous functions,
where Lidar replaces or complements
camera and/or radar.
The company is adopting an ARMlike business model and is in the
process of selecting partners for the
design, manufacturing and commercialization of the chips.
Rather than commercializing a onesize-fits-all Lidar as a finished product,
LeddarTech provides best-in-class
Lidar core technology packaged into
chipsets. We put our unique expertise
in Lidar at the service of our clients,
enabling them to develop optimized
Lidar designs to drive proprietary, differentiated ADAS/AD solutions, said
Charles Boulanger, LeddarTechs CEO,
www.electronics-eetimes.com

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Engineering Times Europe September27.06.16


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41

DESIGN & PRODUCTS


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By Julien Happich

pun-out from the MIT in 2012, startup SolidEnergy


Systems has developed advanced electrolyte materials
which it combines to produce lithium metal batteries with
twice the energy density of todays lithium ion batteries, while being safe and long-lasting.
Because the new battery design only uses an ultra-thin lithium
metal anode (shrinking the battery drastically by not having
to rely on bulky
Li-ion intercalation
compounds such
as graphite), the
company describes
these Gen 3 Li-Metal Comparing successive generations of Libatteries as anode- metal and Li-ion batteries.
free.
The new battery stack
consists of the anode (an
anode-lyte coating on
lithium/copper) and the
cathode-lyte, together
with separator and a
cathode. Anode-lyte and
cathode-lyte themselves
consist of salts, proprietary ionic liquids and
other chemicals to form
A SolidEnergy prototype battery
a solid and liquid hybrid
(left) packing 400 Wh/kg and 1200
electrolyte solution.
Wh/L, twice the energy density of an
The company took
Apple iPhone 6 battery (right).
a worldwide exclusive
license from MIT and has secured strategic partnerships with
manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion batteries A123 Systems
as well as consumer electronics companies. While it sources
raw materials from the chemical industry to produce the anode
and the cathode-lyte, SolidEnergy leverages the existing manufacturing infrastructure of Li-ion battery manufacturers. It sells
them the key battery materials as well as helping them develop
the engineering and manufacturing processes for target battery designs. Historically, the startup made its first prototypes in
A123s once-idle facilities in Waltham, which forced SolidEnergy
Systems to accommodate its materials to the available manufacturing equipment. This means the new battery can be produced
on traditional Li-ion manufacturing lines, making it virtually ready
for high volume production.
In October last year, SolidEnergy demonstrated its first working prototype of a rechargeable lithium metal smartphone battery,
delivering 2.0A hours at half the size of the lithium ion battery
used in an iPhone 6 (with a capacity of 1.8A hours). This successful demonstration helped the startup raise over $12 million
from investors. The company is now ramping up production to
officially launch its first commercial product by the end of the
year. The new batteries are expected to enter smartphones and
wearables early 2017, before entering the EV automotive market.
www.electronics-eetimes.com

ENERGY STORAGE

Stencil-printed Li-ion batteries take any shape


By Julien Happich

The materials used allowed the researchsing a simple stencil printing process
ers to circumvent solvent-drying and liquidfollowed by ultraviolet cross-linking,
electrolyte injection process steps, while
researchers from the Ulsan National
removing the need for conventional micropoInstitute of Science and Technology (UNIST,
rous separator membranes. This makes the
South Korea) have demonstrated a new type
printable batteries truly shape-conformable,
of Printable Solid-State (PRISS) Lithium-ion
opening new design opportunities for better
batteries designed through successive layers
battery integration.
of curable composite materials.
Leading this research, UNIST professor
Published in ACS Nano Letters in a paper
titled Printable Solid-State Lithium-Ion Bat- A heart-shaped PRISS cell printed on a Sang-Young Lee expects the PRISS batteries to alleviate design constraints in wearable
teries: A New Route toward Shape-Conform- transparent glass cup.
devices, removing the need for a pre-desable Power Sources with Aesthetic Versatility
ignated battery space with fixed dimension
for Flexible Electronics, the PRISS Batteries
and shape.
consist of a solid-state composite electrolyte
One example being shown is the inte(SCE) layer and SCE matrix-embedded elecgration of the PRISS batteries directly onto
trodes, which can be printed on just about
smart glasses frames.
any object of any shape, as it is possible with
Conventional battery integration (left)
Whats more, after characterizing the electodays stencil processes.
versus a conformal approach (right). A
trochemical behaviour of PRISS batteries,
The researchers were able to tune the
rheological properties of the SCE paste and square-shaped Li-ion battery on a pair of the researchers found that these batteries
exhibited a 90 percent capacity retention
electrode slurry to give them thixotropic fluid paper glasses.
after 30 cycles, with no significant loss in charge or discharge
characteristics suitable for complex deposition patterns on noncapacities, a capacity retention which beats that of conventional
flat objects. They also had to design a high boiling point electroLi-ion batteries.
lyte to make the PRISS batteries compatible with heat curing.

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ENERGY STORAGE

Airlines challenge lithium ion battery shipments


By Nick Flaherty

he International Air Transport Association (IATA) has


partnered with lithium battery suppliers to demand stricter
enforcement of international transport regulations.
IATA is working with PRBA, the US Rechargeable Battery Association, RECHARGE, the European Advanced Rechargeable
and Lithium Battery Association, the Global Shippers Forum
(GSF) and the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) to call
for lithium battery safety regulations to be enforced at the point
of origin including the initial shipper and the battery manufacturer. This is widely acknowledged as aimed at Chinese suppliers.
The move comes as new regulations come into force to
prevent fires on aircraft.
The groups have also called for cooperation between governments to enforce the new regulations, as batteries made in
one state can be driven over a border to be flown from another
state to avoid them. The global associations also called for
significant fines and prison for those who circumvent the regulations, saying otherwise shipment of lithium batteries could be
banned.
Airlines, shippers and manufacturers have worked hard
to establish rules that ensure lithium batteries can be carried
safely, but the rules are only effective if they are enforced and
backed-up by significant penalties, said said Tony Tyler, Direc-

tor General and CEO of IATA which represents 265 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic. Government authorities must
step up and take responsibility for regulating rogue producers
and exporters. Flagrant abuses of dangerous goods shipping
regulations, which place aircraft and passenger safety at risk,
must be criminalized.
The actions of a minority threaten to undermine confidence
in legitimate battery and product manufacturers. This is a matter
of deep concern for our members, said George Kerchner, Executive Director of PRBA which represents most of the worlds
largest manufacturers of lithium ion and lithium metal batteries.
Lack of enforcement is increasing pressure on airlines and
regulators to unilaterally ban all forms of lithium battery shipments from aircraft. This would add to the cost of global supply
chains and consumer goods, and encourage those who flout
the law to increase mislabelling of batteries, further increasing
safety and security risks.
A ban on the shipment of lithium ion batteries aboard
aircraft would put lives at risk by slowing delivery of life-critical
and lifeenhancing medical equipment and jeopardize the
security of many countries because a large number of military
applications are powered by lithium batteries, said Kerchner.

3D polymer/ceramic composite promises hightemperature energy storage for EVs


By Julien Happich

In their paper Sandwich-structured polymer nanocomposesearchers from Penn State University have found a way
ites with high energy density and great chargedischarge efto prevent the dielectric breakdown and leakage of highficiency at elevated temperatures published in the Proceedings
density supercapacitors as they are submitted to the
of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS),
high temperatures found in hybrid and electric
the scientists reported high temperature opvehicles, while increasing their energy density.
eration for 24 hours straight over more than
While commercial solutions exist based
30,000 cycles, without degradation.
on Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP)
Compared to BOPP, the new sandwich
typically used in hybrid and electric vehicles,
nanocomposite structure dubbed SSN-x
they cannot stand up to the high operating
(x being the percentage of barium titanate
temperatures without considerable additional
nanocomposites in the central layer) exhibits
cooling equipment.
the same charge-discharge energy when
The researchers managed to increase a
operating at 150C as what BOPP would offer
polymers dielectric constant while reducing
when running at 70C.
its propensity to leak energy in the form of
But the new SSN-x has several times the
heat.
energy density of BOPP, claim the researchTo do so, they developed a sandwich
ers, making it a promising material for electric
structure with top and bottom layers that
vehicle and aerospace applications as the
block charge injection from the electrodes and
supercapacitors could be shrunk significantly
a central layer hosting a mix of high dielectric Boron nitride nanosheets (blue and
while performing more stably at high temconstant ceramic/polymer filler materials.
white atoms) act as insulators to
The outer layers are composed of boron
protect a barium nitrate central layer peratures. Whats more, the new composite
material does not heat-up, making cumbernitride nanosheets in a polymer matrix, excel(green and purple atoms) for high
some and expensive cooling equipment
lent insulators that strap a central layer made
temperature energy storage. Credit:
unnecessary.
up of barium titanate. By blocking the charge
Wang Lab/Penn State.
The researchers are now looking for ininjection from the electrodes, the unique
three-dimensional sandwich-like structure effectively protects
the dense electric field in the polymer/ceramic composite from
dielectric breakdown.
44 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

dustrial partners to perform manufacturability studies and figure


out how the new material could be produced competitively at a
larger scale.
www.electronics-eetimes.com

ENERGY STORAGE

Graphene micro-supercapacitor
By Nick Flaherty

team of researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore has developed a flexible supercapacitor using ribbons of graphene, naming it a microsupercapacitor
Most power sources, such as phone batteries, are
not stretchable. They are very rigid, says Dr Xiaodong
Chen. My team has made stretchable electrodes, and
we have integrated them into a supercapacitor, which
is an energy storage device that powers electronic gadgets. Supercapacitors have a higher power density and
longer life cycle than standard capacitors or batteries
but less storage time, so Chen and his team sought to
develop a micro-supercapacitor from graphene.
Graphene can be flexible and foldable, but it cannot
be stretched, he said. To fix that, Chens team took a cue from the wave-like microstructure of skin. We started to think of how we could make graphene more like a wave, he
said. The researchers first step was to make graphene micro-ribbons using a chemical
process. We have more control over the graphenes structure and thickness that way,
he said. Its very difficult to control that with the physical approach. Thickness can really
affect the conductivity of the electrodes and how much energy the supercapacitor overall
can hold.. The researchers created a stretchable polymer chip with a series of pyramidal
ridges, placing graphene micro-ribbons across the ridges in a wave-like structure. The design allowed the material to stretch without the graphene electrodes of the superconductor detaching, cracking or deforming. In addition, the team developed kirigami structures,
which are variations of origami folds, to make the supercapacitors 500 percent more
flexible without decaying their electrochemical performance. As a final test, an LCD from
a calculator was powered with the micro-supercapacitor. These stretchy supercapacitors
can also be used in pressure or chemical sensors.

Transient battery self-destructs in water


By Nick Flaherty

esearchers at Iowa State University have developed a battery that can selfdestruct to protect the integrity of systems it powers.
Reza Montazami, an Iowa State University assistant professor of mechanical engineering and an associate of the U.S. Department of Energys Ames Laboratory, has developed a self-destructing, lithium-ion battery capable of delivering 2.5 V
and dissolving or dissipating in 30 minutes when dropped in water. The battery can
power a desktop calculator for about 15
minutes and could be used to drive a
secure device for a fixed, short period of
time.
Montazami said its the first transient
battery to demonstrate the power, stability and shelf life for practical use. Any
device without a transient power source
isnt really transient, he said. This is a
battery with all the working components.
Its much more complex than our previous
work with transient electronics.
The transient battery is made up of eight layers, including an anode, a cathode and
the electrolyte separator, all wrapped up in two layers of a polyvinyl alcohol-based
polymer. The battery measures 5x6mm and is 1mm thick, and when it is dropped in
water, the polymer casing swells, breaks apart the electrodes and dissolves away.
Montazami is quick to say the battery doesnt completely disappear. The battery
contains nanoparticles that dont degrade, but they do disperse as the batterys casing breaks the electrodes apart. Larger batteries with higher capacities could provide
more power, but they also take longer to self-destruct, he says, although higher power
levels could be achieved by connecting to several smaller batteries.
www.electronics-eetimes.com

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PICO Electronics, Inc

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www.picoelectronics.com
E-Mail: info@picoelectronics.com

Pico Representatives
Germany

ELBV/Electronische Bauelemente Vertrieb

E mail: info@elbv.de
Phone: 0049 89 4602852
Fax: 0049 89 460205442

England

Ginsbury Electronics Ltd.


E-mail: rbennett@ginsbury.co.uk
Phone: 0044 1634 298900
Fax: 0044 1634 290904

Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016 45

DESIGN & PRODUCTS


Hardened OS turns Raspberry Pi into VPN
gateway and firewall
Infotecs has developed a cost-effective cyber security solution
based on Raspberry Pi, turning the credit card-sized mini-PC
into a fully-functional
VPN gateway and
firewall based on
ViPNet technology.
The solution for the
Raspberry 3 model B
consists of a hardened Linux-based
operating system and
ViPNet Coordinator. In combination
with Raspberry Pi, the image forms a hardware appliance.
The solution provides highly secure protection against both
external and internal threats at a reasonable price. It may also
be implemented to encrypt networked computer cash register
systems in retail, or protect VoIP, printers, building infrastructures, and IP video cameras. Another example of an area which
can benefit from the solution is telecommunications, where
Infotecs enabled secure Raspberry Pi can provide secure and
cost-efficient systems access. ViPNets unique symmetric
key and peer-to-peer capabilities enable it to establish direct,
secure, end-to-end connections without key exchanges or
handshakes, thus reliably preventing Man-in-the-Middle (MITM)
attacks and protecting from insider threats.
Infotec
www.infotecs.biz

7x7mm GNSS receiver


targets covert asset tracking
u-blox EVA-M8Q GNSS receiver is a TCXO-based GNSS receiver optimized to provide the highest acquisition and tracking
sensitivity, making it suitable
for use with small antennas
either in covert applications
such as asset tracking and
stolen vehicle recovery, or in
portable devices.
The EVA-M8Q differentiates
itself from other cost effective EVA variants through its
high sensitivity and accuracy
provided by the concurrent reception of three GNSS constellations. These two qualities enables an end-system and its antennas to be easily hidden within a vehicle or other high-value
asset that need to be tracked, claims the Swiss manufacturer.
The ease of manufacturing offered by the QFN-like package
suits requirements for medium to high volume production.
While the highly integrated module of the EVA-M8 series allows
OEMs to achieve a faster time-to-market. EVA-M8 series are
the smallest GNSS modules featuring GPS, BeiDou, Galileo
and GLONASS reception. The series also features anti-spoofing and anti-jamming technology to provide superior security
and integrity protection. Samples of the EVA-M8Q are available
now with full production expected in Q4 2016.
u-blox
www.u-blox.com

46 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

MISCELLANEOUS

Reader
O f fer

Boost your power conversion with eGaN FETs


This month, Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) is giving away
five EPC9107 demonstration boards, worth USD 207 each,
for EETimes Europes readers to win. With a 9V-28V input and
capable of delivering up
to 15A at 3.3V, this board
is a fully functional 1MHz
buck power conversion
demonstration circuit. It
uses the EPC2015 eGaN
FET in conjunction with the
LM5113 100V half-bridge
gate driver from Texas
Instruments. The EPC9107
is 3 square and contains
a fully closed-loop buck
converter with optimized
control loop. The complete power stage including eGaN FETs,
driver, inductor and input/output caps is in an ultra-compact
0.5x0.5 layout. Despite its small size, the board has peak
power efficiency greater than 96%.

Check the reader offer online at


www.electronics-eetimes.com

$5 Linux IoT compute module targets


connected hardware applications
Omega 2 is a Linux compute module designed specifically for
building connected hardware applications. It combines the tiny
form factor and power-efficiency of the Arduino, with the power
and flexibilities of
the Raspberry Pi.
The base module
is an SoC-based
board with builtin Wi-Fi, and
extends through
levels of added
connectivity, and
peripherals for
example, there is
a dock card that provides compatibility with Arduino-format
hardware. Part of Onions offering is a cloud service, so that
an Omega 2-based project can be fully cloud connected and
enabled. The chipset is the MediaTek MT7688, which uses
a MIPS 24K core. Specifically, a 580 MHz MIPS 24KEc CPU
with 64 KB I-Cache and 32 KB D-Cache. The SoC includes
the 802.11n Wi-Fi among numerous other peripheral functions.
Omega 2 (the one with the base price of $5) includes 64 MB of
memory and 16 MB of storage; the $9 Omega 2 Plus ups this
to 128/232 MB and adds an SD card slot. Both have USB 2.0,
15 GPIOs, 2 PWM and 2 UART channels, I C, SPI and I S.
There is already a range of third-party add-ons, for example a
company called Hologram has a cellular radio expansion car,
itself based around a u-blox radio module. Deliveries of the
Omega 2 and associated hardware are scheduled to begin in
November 2016.
Onion
https://onion.io/

www.electronics-eetimes.com

MISCELLANEOUS

Transformers
and Inductors
mall!
O
s
C
I
P
..think

25V, 600 mA buck-boost DC/DC with 1.6 A Iq


LTC3130 and LTC3130-1 are synchronous current mode buck-boost converters
that deliver up to 600 mA of continuous output current from a wide variety of input
sources, including single- or multiple-cell batteries as well as solar panels and
supercapacitors. Their 2.4V to 25V input voltage
range and 1V to 25V output range (LTC3130
is adjustable) provide a regulated output with
inputs above, below or equal to the output.
User selectable Burst Mode operation lowers
quiescent current to 1.6 A (1.2 A at no load)
improving light load efficiency and extending
battery run time. The proprietary buck-boost
topology incorporated in the LTC3130/-1 provides low noise, jitter-free switching
through all operating modes, for RF and precision analogue applications that are
sensitive to power supply noise. The device also includes programmable maximum
power point control capability, ensuring maximum power delivery from non-ideal
power sources such as photovoltaic cells.
Linear Technology
www.linear.com

Solid-state relays enable self-powered control


in IoT applications
Semtechs (Camarillo, CA) TS13102 and TS13103 solid state relays in the NeoIso product range have added features to aid design of energy-harvesting and
self-powered control systems in Internet of Things
applications. The TS13102 solid state relay can
autonomously harvest energy even when its switch
is closed and without the assistance of a microcontroller. The harvested energy is stored in a system
capacitor (Csys) and can be shared across multiple
channels in the system driving several loads simultaneously. The TS13103 is outfitted with a Power
Transfer Output pin (PTO) to transfer the harvested
energy on the other side of the isolation barrier to the controller of the system. This
design allows for much smaller systems that can last decades without needing battery replacement. It also eliminates the need to include costly transformers and AC/
DC power supplies with the system, which significantly reduces the BOM cost.
Semtech
www.semtech.com

Smart audio modulator targets green microphones


According to IP provider Dolphin Integration (Grenoble, France) the trend for intuitive and simple user interfaces is driving the growing demand for voice control,
either for complementing or for replacing keyboards, touchscreens and other traditional controls. This need for a new generation
of green microphones leads to embedding the
capability for waking up the rest of the system
as soon as a voice activity is detected, possibly once a keyword has been spotted, while
enhancing the recording quality with high sensitivity in far field and near field environments.
The combination of a complete analogue-todigital converter (ADC) with a voice processing DSP has, Dolphin asserts, reached
its limits for lowering power consumption. Voice detection by a DSP in always-listening mode is proving to be unsatisfactory for IoT applications powered by small
batteries or even on a smartphone.
Dolphin Integration
www.dolphin-ip.com

www.electronics-eetimes.com

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and tested to MIL-PRF-27
requirements. QPL units
are available. Delivery
stock to one week for
sample quantities.

PICO

Electronics,Inc.

143 Sparks Ave. Pelham, N.Y. 10803

E Mail: info@picoelectronics.com
www.picoelectronics.com
Pico Representatives
Germany
ELBV/Electra Bauemente Vertrieb
E mail: info@elbv.de
Phone: 49 089 460205442
Fax: 49 089 460205442
England
Ginsbury Electronics Ltd
E-mail: rbennett@ginsbury.co.uk
Phone: 44 163 429800
Fax: 44 163 4290904

Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016 47

DESIGN & PRODUCTS

MISCELLANEOUS

9x14mm OCXO boasts +/- 5 ppb stability


over -40 to +85C range

Box volume measurement made easy


through Time-of-Flight

Answering many requests for a small format OCXO with tighter


temperature stability, Raltron Electronics Corp. has released
the OX2114-D3, an
Oven Controlled Crystal
Oscillator with a temperature stability of +/5 ppb over an operating
temperature range of
-40 to +85C. With a
footprint of 9x14mm,
the OX2114-D3 is
suitable for many applications such as wireless infrastructure,
transmission, precision instrumentation, broadcasting, utility
metering, and IEEE-1588 standard master and slave clock.
Standard nominal frequencies are 10MHz and 20MHz with a
supply voltage of 3.3V at 300mA steady state. In parallel with
its outstanding small size and frequency precision, the OX
2114-D3 features a low current consumption of 750 mA during
warm-up. The units are Stratum 3E compatible and are in full
compliance with RoHS Regulations.
Raltron Electronics
www.raltron.com

With 3D EyeVolume, EVT now supports 3D volume measurement using the Bluetechnix Time of Flight sensor and a new user
interface based on
the EyeVision image
processing software.
The Time of Flight 3D
scanner measures
the volume of boxes
and other containers.
The new EyeVision Process Mode
Layout Editor eases the handling of the EyeVolume commands.
First the container or box has to be put under the 3D scanner
with closed lids. Then the EyeScan BT 3D scanner is measuring
the height, length and width of the box and also the position.
The box is then configured. Each container has to be configured
or respectively taught-in only once, as the data of each box is
saved to the data base from where the data can be loaded again
when using similar boxes. After the teach-in, the box has to be
opened. And the user only has to click onto measure volume
and then start to carry out the volume measurement of the
EyeVision software. The container doesnt have to be aligned as
the system detects the container in any rotation and position.
When filling the box, the software immediately measures and
calculates the remaining volume in the box.
EVT Eye Vision Technology GmbH
www.evt-web.com

Optically isolated measurement system


with 1 GHz bandwidth
The IsoVu measurement system form Tektronix, previewed
earlier this year at the APEC 2016 show, is now shipping and
available for worldwide delivery to
customers. It combines wide common mode range, 120 dB common
mode rejection and 1 GHz bandwidth,
enabling previously hidden signals to
be made visible.
The IsoVu platform uses an electrooptic sensor to convert input signals to
optical modulation, electrically isolating
the device-under-test from a Tektronix
oscilloscope. The system incorporates four separate lasers, an
optical sensor, five optical fibers, and sophisticated feedback
and control techniques. The sensor head, which connects to
the test point, has complete electrical isolation and is powered over one of the optical fibers. Ten patent applications
have been filed for this ground breaking technology. A critical
advantage this technology offers for designers, such as those
working on power devices involving GaN and SiC technologies,
is superior common mode rejection that makes signals previously buried in common mode noise visible for the first time.
IsoVu offers 1,000,000:1 (120 dB) common mode rejection
(CMRR) up to 100 MHz and 10,000:1 (80 dB) CMRR at 1 GHz.
By comparison, competitive systems at 100 MHz offer approximately 20 dB CMRR at 100 MHz, making IsoVu 100,000 times
better. Using IsoVu, engineers can accurately measure small
differential signals (5 mV - 50 V) in the presence of large common mode voltages from DC to 1 GHz. IsoVu is the first signal
acquisition product where the common mode voltage capability does not de-rate over bandwidth.
Tektronix
www.tektronix.com

48 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

Hall-effect sensors for cars, industry,


white goods
Infineon has developed a family of Hall-effect sensors that excel through high integration and low power consumption. The
TLx496x family is available in
three variants for automotive electronics, for industrial
applications and for consumer electronics.
The new sensors consume
no more than 1.6 mA, about
50 % less than comparable
products, claims Infineon.
The 5V which are designed for automotive applications
content themselves with even less - 1.4 mA. According to the
vendor, all models of the TLx496x series feature high ESD robustness and precise, stable magnetic switching points which
makes them suitable for for systems where energy efficiency,
robustness and precision matter. Due to their high integration,
the devices make two to four of the previously needed passive
components redundant; the TLx496x Hall sensors therefore
help reducing system costs as well as the PCB space needed.
All of the TLx496x Hall sensors integrate the Hall element, a
voltage regulator, choppers, an oscillator and an output driver.
The voltage regulator powers the Hall element and the active
circuits. The chopper ensures that the temperature remains
stable and minimizes the effects of process fluctuations. The
sensors operate across the -40 to 170C temperature range.
Infineon
www.infineon.com/hall-switches

www.electronics-eetimes.com

LAST WORD

Making sense of big data through graph


technology and machine learning
By Jonathan Wilkins

he theory of six degrees of separation, first proposed in


1929, suggested that every individual in the world was
connected to anyone else in no more than five links.
Today, social networking tools and graph technology can accurately map and extract valuable insights from the relationships
between various entities in a network. Networks can also be
analysed by machine learning, a technique in which a computer
can adapt its own algorithms.

able insights into processes. Whether its condition monitoring


or predictive maintenance of a process plant, demand forecasting in automotive manufacturing or digital twinning a type
of virtualisation machine learning facilitates better decision
making in an increasingly complex business environment.

Modern manufacturing equipment has been advancing rapidly; plants are filled with sensors to monitor equipment performance. The number of sensors that allow devices to connect to
the internet is growing and so too is the volume and complexity
of data available to plant managers. The collection, storage and
analysis of this data is vital in unlocking the benefits big data
can provide.

Graph databases

Traditionally, data has been stored in table-structured relational


databases, but development in this field has led to the introduction of the next generation of relational databases, graph
databases, a type of NoSQL database. In a graph database,
information is stored and represented with nodes, edges and
properties. Nodes represent individual entities, edges are lines
that connect nodes to each other and properties represent
information relevant to the nodes. Unlike relational databases,
which form a square structure, graph databases are much more
flexible.
Graph databases can be used to quickly access information
and identify trends in large data sets, such as supply chain patterns, logistics and new business leads. The system is naturally
adaptive, allowing new nodes to be easily added. The analysis
can be done in real time to address problems in manufacturing.

Machine learning

Machine learning is a concept that has been around for many


decades. In machine learning the computer doesnt rely on
rule-based programming, rather the algorithms can adapt and
learn from the data. This means that manufacturers using this
software dont need to rely on the time and expense of dedicated data analysts to find patterns and make predictions. Companies like Amazon have also used cloud based machine learning
to make warehouse logistics more efficient by being able to
quickly and seamlessly adapt to changes in inventory demand
at peak times and during seasonal highs and lows.
Machine learning can incorporate hundreds of causes, effects and non-linear responses. This model can adapt itself over
time to continually improve the quality of predictions. Machine
learning can be combined with graph databases to gain valuJonathan Wilkins is marketing director at EU Automation www.euautomation.com
www.electronics-eetimes.com

Machine learning is commonly used for predictive analytics,


which can give insight not only into customer intentions, but
also into the state of machines on the factory floor. Information
analysed from the sensors can relay any potential suboptimal
performance that may lead to unplanned down time if left unaddressed. This leaves plant managers time to order replacement
parts, such as an obsolete or refurbished part from EU Automation, or perform other necessary maintenance to prevent system
failure.
Machine learning is particularly useful in largely automated
systems, where equipment is required to make its own decisions. The continuous learning process makes data more
reliable, analysis techniques more repeatable and ultimately improves the human input into any system. Aside from predictive
analytics it can also be applied to optical part sorting, failure
detection, analysis and product testing.
Although machine learning and graph technology both offer
a powerful way of analysing the ever increasing volume of data
available to us, much of the technological potential is yet to be
realised. To gain the most valuable insights, its important that
business leaders embrace a thoroughly modern form of analysis. In doing so, it may come as less of a surprise that competitive advantage is less than a mere six degrees of separation
away.
Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016 49

DISTRIBUTION CORNER
PUBLISHER
Andr Rousselot
+32 27400053
andre.rousselot@eetimes.be
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Julien Happich
+33 169819476
julien.happich@eetimes.be
EDITORS
Christoph Hammerschmidt
+49 8944450209
chammerschmidt@eetimes.be
Peter Clarke
+44 776 786 55 93
peter.clarke@eetimes.be
Nick Flaherty
+44 7710 236368
nick.flaherty@eetimes.be
Jean-Pierre Joosting
+44 7800548133
jean-pierre.joosting@eetimes.be
CIRCULATION & FINANCE
Luc Desimpel
luc.desimpel@eetimes.be
ADVERTISING PRODUCTION &
REPRINTS
Lydia Gijsegom
lydia.gijsegom@eetimes.be
ART MANAGER
Jean-Paul Speliers

Conrad gets distribution exclusivity for BeagleCores starter kit


Conrad Business Supplies and BeagleCore have established a global distribution
partnership that will see the BCM1 embedded computing module and BCS1 starter-kit
exclusively available to Conrads customers world-wide.
Heavily based on the popular BeagleBone development
board, these devices provide small, simple and powerful
building blocks for creating and testing new technologies for
industrial and IoT applications. The BeagleCore BCM1 is a
miniaturised computer module for industrial or commercial
applications that incorporates the core features of BeagleBone Black on a stamp-sized soldering-module (LGA). It
can be integrated into custom PCBs.
Conrad Electronic
www.conrad.com

APEM Halo LED illuminated indicators in stock at RS Comp


Distributor RS Components is first to market with a new range of Halo LED illuminated
indicators from APEM. The QH indicators are designed to be highly versatile and supports a variety of cut-outs from 16mm to 22mm with a
choice of body and lens colours. Exceptional light output
is provided by the 12 single and dual coloured hyperbright LEDs. Other features include: sealing to IP67
standards; operation over the 40 to +70C temperature
range; zero depth from behind the panel; supply voltage of 12 to 24VDC; and 200mm 26AWG UL1061 wire
termination.
RS Components
www.rs-online.com

ACCOUNTING
Ricardo Pinto Ferreira

e-paper displays extension kit piggybacks onto


various dev boards

REGIONAL ADVERTISING
REPRESENTATIVES
Contact information at:
http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/
content/sales-contacts.

Pervasive Displays (PDi) has released a second-generation extension kit to support the
evaluation and development of its e-paper displays
(EPDs). With its PDi Apps utility, the EPD Extension Kit
Gen 2 (EXT2) allows equipment designers to explore
EPD technology to understand how it works and explore
features like global updates and fast partial updates.
Available from Digi-Key, the kit can also be used as a
bridge to replace an existing display while developing a
new application.
Digi-Key
www.digikey.com

ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES EUROPE


is published 11 times in 2016
by EUROPEAN BUSINESS PRESS SA
Chausse de Louvain 533,
1380 Lasne, Belgium
Tel: +32-2-740 00 50
Fax: +32-2-740 00 59
european
email: info@eetimes.be. business press
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VAT Registration: BE 461.357.437.
Company Number: 0461357437
RPM: Nivelles.
Volume 18, Issue 8 EE Times P 304128
It is free to qualified engineers and managers
involved in engineering decisions see:
http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/subscribe
2016 E.B.P. SA
All rights reserved. P 304128

Panasonic BLE Experimenter Kit available at Mouser


Distributor Mouser Electronics has Panasonics PAN1740 Experimenter Kit, which is a
development tool for the PAN1740 Series Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) module, aimed
at consumer applications as well as wireless sensors, cable
replacement applications, instrumentation, heart rate monitors,
and blood glucose meters. The kit consists of a Dialog DA14580
motherboard and three PAN1740 daughter boards, plus all
required cables. The kit provides access to all of the PAN1740
modules general-purpose inputs and outputs (GPIOs), and an
integrated Segger chip gives complete debugging capability.;p;
Mouser
www.mouser.com

50 Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2016

www.electronics-eetimes.com

FUTURE HORIZONS
Presents

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Market Outlook & Forecast
Get The Proven Experts View At Future
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o 2016 Overview ...

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o 2017 Outlook ...


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o Supply & Demand ...


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o Key Market Drivers ...


Programme Includes:
-

Automotive, IoT, 5G, & Industry 4.0

o Technology Outlook

Scaling Trends & Structures

Essential Information
Plus Meet New Business Contacts & Share Views With Peers
Convenient Timing
When People Want The 'No-Nonsense' Analysis
Easy Access Location They Come To Future Horizons
Presentation Slides
Sep 20, 2016
Lunch & Refreshments

Holiday Inn Kensington, London, SW7


Register for the conference at:

http://www.futurehorizons.com/page/132/SemiconductorMarket-Forecast-Seminar-EETimes
Supported By:
Future Horizons Ltd, o 44 Bethel Road o Sevenoaks o Kent o TN13 3UE o England
Tel: +44 1732 740440 o Fax: +44 1732 464270
e-mail: mail@futurehorizons.com o www.futurehorizons.com
Affiliates in Europe, India, Israel, Japan, Russia & The US

Infineons solutions for PLCs


Superior control and switching components
for industrial automation
PLCs (programmable logic controllers) are an integral part of each industrial automation application, controlling a wide
range of functionalities. Working under harsh conditions over years, PLCs need to be reliable, system stable and have a
100% interoperability. Infineon understands the needs of its industrial customers and offers dedicated semiconductor
solutions.
Product highlights:

XMC1000 and XMC4000 series Infineons industrial microcontroller family


PROFET, HITFET, OptiMOS and ISOFACE Infineons switches for digital input and output modules

To learn more about Infineons PLC solutions


please visit: www.infineon.com/plc