Tuesday, August 31, 2010

#Freescale Forms Joint Lab with Chinese Automaker

China is the world's largest automobile maker, but its models are unique to its market, prompting the #1 commercial vehicle maker in China, Foton Motor, to team with Freescale to soup up its mills with silicon. Look for Chinese automobiles to pioneer green automotive innovations, with the help of Freescale, over the rest of the decade and beyond. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Foton manufactured over 600,000 commercial vehicles like this tractor-trailor rig for the Chinese market last year.

Here is what EETimes says about Foton + Freescale: Engineers from Beiqi Foton Motor Co. Ltd. and Freescale Semiconductor Inc. will work together at the newly anointed Foton/Freescale Automotive Joint Lab in Beijing to integrate Freescale microcontrollers and sensors into automotive control systems for the powertrain, chassis, safety and "green" aspirations of the Chinese automakers. Foton Motor claims to be the biggest commercial vehicle maker in China, manufacturing 600,000 commercial vehicles in 2009—making it the fourth largest automotive maker worldwide. Following the model already established by Freescale in its work with other automotive power-houses in the U.S. and Europe—from Delphi to Robert Bosch—Foton and Freescale will jointly develop microcontroller and sensor technologies that meet the unique needs of Foton's target market—namely Chinese vehicles....
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#HP, #Hynix to Commercialize the #Memristor

Memristors promise to replace DRAM, flash and even hard disks eventually, as a result of HPs licensing of its super-dense resistive random access memory (ReRAM) technology. Look for ReRAMs to compete with phase-change, FeRAM and MRAM as next-generation memory technologies over the next five years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Memristors locate a material between the gaps in a cross bar switch, storing bits as resistance values.

Here is what EETimes says about memristors: Seeking to commercialize its memristor technology, Hewlett-Parkard Co. has entered into a joint development agreement with South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor Inc. HP and Hynix will jointly develop new materials and process integration technology to transfer HP's memristor technology from R&D to commercial development in the form of resistive random access memory (ReRAM). The deal is non-exclusive, according to HP, who said HP may work with others in the ReRAM arena. HP itself does not want to be in the ReRAM business...eventually HP hopes to use ReRAMs in its own, undisclosed products...
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RF-MEMS to Boost NTT's Cell Phone Signals

Radio-frequency micro-electro-mechanical systems (RF-MEMS) can dynamically tune a cell phone's filters to optimize signal reception instead of expecting the user to move to a better location. Look for improved reception and fewer dropped calls from better cell phones using #RF #MEMS filters over the next three years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

WiSpry's MEMS capacitor arrays allow for dynamic tuning of filter functions to improve reception and mitigate dropped calls.

Here is what EETimes says about RF-MEMS for cell phones: MEMS RF filters will be designed with NTT DoCoMo Inc. for its popular mobile phone network in Japan in a joint development agreement with WiSpry Inc. Both companies will pursue MEMS tunable filters to improve reception and mitigate dropped calls, thereby increasing performance and expanding capacity on NTT's mobile networks. WiSpry's MEMS capacitor arrays allow RF applications to dynamically tune their circuitry to adapt to changing circumstances while a handset user moves about, touches the antenna portion of the case and encounters obstacles or reflections down urban canyons. Today, most tunable RF functions are set at the factory with discrete components, whereas putting those functions into a capacitor array allows microcontrollers to optimize performance in real time...
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Monday, August 30, 2010

Graphite Foam Cools Hi-Intensity #LEDs

Most light-emitting diode (LED) used as indicators generate so little heat that they have lifetimes measured in decades, but high-intensity LEDs used for solid-state lighting will burn-out in just a few hours unless they use heat sinks to lower their temperature. Look for novel cooling methods for LEDs as solid-state lighting comes online over the next ten years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

ORNL researcher James Klett shows street light fixture retrofitted with an LED array cooled by ORNL's graphite foam material (bottom) that can extend their lifespan.

Here's what EETimes says about keeping high-intensity LEDs cool: Light-emitting-diodes (LEDs), once quoted to have 100,000-hour lifetimes, are still working today in some front-panel indicators after 30 years of service. But the advent of high-intensity LEDs for solid-state lighting sacrifices longevity by operating at temperatures too high for lifetimes much longer than a few years. Now Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) claims to have rolled back the calendar on LEDs with a graphite foam material that keeps even high-intensity LEDs as cool as those used for front-panel indicators, thereby reclaiming their long lifetimes. ORNL recently granted an exclusive license for their graphite foam technology to LED North America (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) an ORNL-spinoff located in the adjacent Technology 2020 "incubator" park...
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Friday, August 27, 2010

China Researchers Claim Faster MRAM

Magnetic random access memory (MRAM) can match DRAM speeds by adopting a simplified bit-cell stack according to Chinese researchers. Look for MRAM densities and speed to beat out flash and DRAM respectively to become a 'universal' nonvolatile memory architecture within seven years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Traditional MRAMs (shown) use a complicated stack structure, but the Chinese fast-MRAM uses just a two-layer bit cell.

Here is what EETimes says about MRAM: MRAM speed can be boosted and power consumption cut by using a new electrical switching technique that requires much less energy to write bits, according to Chinese researchers. The basic idea is to switch magnetic domains "halfway" rather than to completely reverse their magnetic orientation, which the researchers at Tsinghua University (Beijing) claim still enables MRAMs to store binary bits, but at much faster switching speeds and using a fraction of the energy normally required...
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

#3D Social Media Augments Reality with Crowd-Sourced Geo-tags

Augmented reality (AR) overlays information about the real world right on top of the real objects, but of course you can only see them by looking at the world through your smartphone's camera. Look for everything in the world to be covered with digital post-its that can only be seen after entering AR within two years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Tokyo's skyline is already brimming over with information icons left by Sekai Camera users

Here is what Smarter Technology says about AR: The emerging spate of augmented reality apps—of which Sekai Camera is the first—uniquely meld social media, geo-tagging and crowd-sourced entertainment to allow iPhone, iPad and Android smartphone users to look through their handset's camera and see the world around them augmented with informational icons added by other users...
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#Graphene Fabrication Boosted by National Lab

Oak Ridge National Lab says they have found a way to fabricate perfect carbon sheets--graphene--for next generation semiconductors. Look for chip manufacturers to make the transition from silicon- to carbon-based electronics over the rest of the decade. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

ORNL simulations demonstrate how loops (blue) between graphene layers can be minimized using electron irradiation (bottom).

Here is what EETimes says about graphene: Graphene, which promises to solve many problems as silicon design rules approach the atomic scale, performs better when these pure carbon devices are made smaller. The catch is that at the nanoscale level, features must have atomic accuracy, including near perfect edges and monolayers. The Energy Department's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is creating a set of tools for fabricating perfect graphene sheets, including the recent finding that electron irradiation prevents connections between monolayers...
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

#3D Modeling Automated by #MEMS Pico-Projectors

Micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) pico-projectos can be used to project calibrated stripes of light whose deformation reveals the 3D dimensions of the objects being imaged. Look for automatic generation of detailed 3D models, just by aiming your smartphone's pico-projector at it, within three years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Structured light illumination (left) permits 3D models, here of a patient's chest, to be automatically generated (right).

Here is what Smarter Technology says about SLI: 3D models, which usually require tedious manual measurements, can now be automatically created from real-life scenes using structured light illumination (SLI) technology with micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) pico-projectors. The algorithms for applications from video gaming to medical diagnosis are being pioneered at the Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments at the University of Kentucky and commercialized by Seikowave (Lexington, Kentucky)...
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Freescale Boosts its QorIQ Comm Processors

When you think microprocessor "Intel" pops into mind first, but that's only for PCs, whereas Freescale is actually king of the communications processor. Look for communications to outpace personal computing in processing power and abundance over the rest of the decade. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

The quad-core P2040 utilizes e500mc Power Architecture core, DDR3, Serial RapidIO, PCI Express, SATA 2.0 and five Ethernet controllers.

Here is what EETimes says about Freescale's comm processors: Freescale Semiconductor has filled in the bottom two tiers of its QorIQ communications processor line with accelerated models. Using the same Data Path Acceleration Architecture (DPAA) as higher-performance models, the new P1 model for wireless LAN access points, SMB gateways and fixed routers along with the P2 models for fixed routers, LTE channel cards and enterprise security round out the five-tier QorIQ one- to eight-core processor line...
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Monday, August 23, 2010

McGill Harnessing Piezo Effect In #Quantum Dots For Nano Sensors

Speakers, microphones and sensors already use piezoelectric materials to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy, and visa versa, for a wide variety of applications. Look for piezoelectric effects to be increasingly utilized at the nanoscale for ultra-small sensors and actuators over the next five years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Migration of charges to the surface of the quantum dot produces a piezoelectric force.

Here is what EETimes says about nanoscale piezoelectric materials: Piezoelectric effects translate mechanical motion into electricity and vice versa, energizing a variety of electronic transducer applications as well as promising to cut power consumption in MEMS devices. Now McGill University researchers are harnessing the piezoelectric effect in quantum dots, aiming for nanoscale sensors and power supplies that translate vibration into a usable signal.
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Exoskeletons Enhance Soldiers' Muscle Power

Scaled-down personalized versions of the exoskeleton featured in James Cameron's movie "Alien" (in a fight between Sigourney Weaver and the extraterrestrial) as well as in Cameron's "Avatar" (again as an offensive weapon) will soon be multiplying the muscle power of U.S. soldiers. Look for exoskeleton's that to act as both prosthetics for the disabled as well as muscle-multipliers for the able-bodied within three years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

The Lockheed-Martin Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) exoskeleton uses power-assisted straps to act as arms when picking up heavy objects.

Here is what Smarter Technology says about exoskeletons: In nature, many species have exoskeletons—from scorpions to lobsters—but most animals, including people, have embedded skeletons that are not always up to the task at hand. Soldiers in the field, for instance, sometimes need to carry a fallen comrade over great distances, testing the limits of their muscle power. And millions are wheelchair-bound worldwide because their muscle power comes up short. Now with the help of powered exoskeletons, loads can be born that are impossible to lift with muscle alone. Lockheed Martin (Bethesda, Md.) recently announced that its Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) exoskeleton had landed a $1.1 million contract to conduct human trials. Lockheed's HULC will enable solders to multiply their strength and endurance...
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

#Freescale Adds Low-End PowerQuicc Processors

Freescale aims to extend is dominance in communications processors with new low-end Power Architecture models at under $10 each. Look for Freescale's communications processors to dip below the $5 point within three years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

The PowerQUICC features an e300 Power Architecture core at a lower price point and with reduced power consumption.

Here is what EETimes says about under-$10 communications processors: Freescale Semiconductor unveiled a low-end addition to its family of Power Quicc II Pro communications processors at the Freescale Technology Forum, held Aug. 18-19 in Bengaluru, India. The highly integrated MPC830x chips offer lower price/performance points as well as lower power consumption for applications such as line cards, WLAN access points, intelligent network interface cards, smart energy meters and industrial control...
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Compressed Sensing Ups Data Acquisition Resolution, Cuts Cost

Compressed sensing allows signals 10-times higher frequency than the analog-to-digital converter's (ADC's) sampling rate to be captured, according to Technion. Look for handheld ultrasound diagnostic devices to achieve the resolution of much larger office models within two years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

GE's handheld ultrasound machine will be getting a resolution upgrade from Technion.

Here is what EETimes says about compressed sensing: Compressed sensing has been a laboratory curiosity for several years, but now the technology has been cast in an inexpensive hardware prototype that could enable ultrasound, radar and other data-acquisition applications to increase resolution while reducing costs. In medical applications, the technique could also reduce the exposure time for patients undergoing MRI, X-ray and CT scans...

Professor Yonina Eldar, an electrical engineer at the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion, Haifa), is the brains behind compressed sensing.

Compressed sensing can let lower-speed hardware acquire data just as accurately as existing systems or can be used to make systems more accurate at the same sampling speed. Defense contractors are working with Technion to increase the resolution of existing radar systems; medical contractors are seeking to downsize their hardware at the same resolution...
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Research Consortium Touts #AirGap for PC Boards

Air-gaps are the ultimate insulator and have been applied to advanced semiconductor chips from IBM and Panasonic, but now the Semiconductor Research Corp. claims to have adapted the technique for use with printed circuit boards. Look for air-gaps developed at SRC member Georgia Tech in a new breed of ultra-low capacitance PCB interconnects within three years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Sacrificial organic polycarbonate (grey) is patterned using traditional photolithography atop the copper wires (orange), then evaporated away after the PC boards assembly (bottom).

The holy grail of low-k dielectrics—air-gap interconnections—will migrate from chip-level to board-level, according to the Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC), a technology research consortium based in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Ultra-low capacitance air-gaps on printed circuit boards—along with new solder-less copper connections—will allow higher frequency operation while simultaneously lowering power requirements, according to SRC's Focus Center research program and the Georgia Institute of Technology...Now any SRC member has access to air-gaps...including #AMD, #IBM, #Intel, Texas Instruments (#TI), #Freescale and Global Foundries...
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Intel Spreading High-Speed Fiber Optics Everywhere

Fiber optics carries the high-speed signals moving data across the nation and around the world, but soon will be expanding its reach to every aspect of communications between computers, between chips on boards and even around the house. Look for fiber optics communications everywhere by the end of the decade. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Here is what Smarter Technologies says about silicon photonics: Intel promises to revolutionize communications everywhere from data centers to home networks with a cheap fiber-optic technology that casts photonic devices into cheap silicon chips. Within five years, Intel promises to obsolete copper wires for most communications applications...Today, most communications are carried by copper wires, even though fiber optics are smaller, lighter, faster and higher-speed. The problem is that converting electronic signals to and from optical signals is expensive, since converters require expensive photonic devices using exotic materials like indium gallium arsenide. Now Intel claims to have found a way to create photonic devices that compute with light using the cheap, plentiful silicon techniques it uses to create normal processor chips. Within five years, Intel promises to obsolete copper wires for most communications applications...
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Monday, August 16, 2010

#MEMS-Packed #Smartphones Creating World's Biggest Wireless Sensor Net

Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) impart the smarts in smartphones, but have also created the world's fastest growing wireless sensor network. Look for an expanding palette of applications harnessing the wireless sensors in smartphones for everything from earthquake prediction to smog alerts. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Freescale's MEMS accelerometer houses the MEMS chip (right) alongside its CMOS circuitry (left) in the same package.

Here is what EETimes says about smartphones as wireless sensors: The ever-expanding ecosystem of smartphone apps owes a great deal to MEMS sensors. Indeed, smartphones, with their always-on Internet access and growing complement of sensor technologies, are quickly becoming the planet’s premier wireless sensor network. MEMS sensors in mobile handsets are allowing apps that not only dazzle users but could one day monitor the pulse of the planet. Apple began the revolution by equipping the iPhone with an accelerometer to switch its display automatically from portrait to landscape orientation. The competition quickly followed suit. Now Apple has a storeful of novel apps that exploit the iPhone’s accelerometer for gaming, health monitoring, sports training and countless other uses thought up by legions of developers...
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Sekai Camera Taps Smartphone Sensors For 3D Social Networking

Augmented reality usually means that somebody is paying Google to overlay information designed to get you to buy something, but the cool thing about Sekai Camera is that all the tactical information overlaid on the world is crowd-sourced. Look for a plethora of applications using crowd-sourced augmented reality over the next three years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Sekai Camera app lets users leave geo-tagged tactical information hanging in mid-air around the objects they describe.

Here is what EETimes says about augmented reality: For a glimpse of the lighter side of our sensor-driven future, check out a new 3-D social networking application called Sekai Camera (sekai means “world” in Japanese)...When using Sekai Camera, you merely aim your cell phone’s camera around your location and watch your screen for information to pop up that other Sekai Camera users have left at the same locale. Using geotagging, Sekai Camera users can, for instance, stand outside a movie theater and leave a review of the movie they just saw. Other users can then read the review on the spot before they buy a ticket, just by pointing a phone at the theater...
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#HP #MEMS Platform Promises Ultrasensitive #Sensors, on the Cheap

Micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) accelerometers were originally designed for automobile impacts to trigger air bags, but HP claims that's the wrong approach for sensing seismic events like earthquakes. Look for HP to produce all-in-one sensors with ultra-sensitivity within the next five years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

HP's prototype of a sensor network node, using its own MEMS accelerometer, that will be deployed as part of HP Labs' Central Nervous System for Earth (CeNSE).

Here is what EETimes says about HP's new ultra-sensitive MEMS sensors: Hewlett-Packard has developed a sensor platform that taps its experience as the largest supplier of the tiny mechanical structures in inkjet printheads. HP claims its MEMS process technology enables sensors a thousand times more sensitive than the models in use today, which were designed to trigger airbags during the violent motion of an automobile accident. HP is prototyping a multisensor module, using its accelerometer with other sensors, that it hopes to market for all types of wireless sensor networks. HP argues that even the most complex sensor can be cost-reduced by mass producing it on a scale rivaling that for the disposable electromechanical structures in inkjet printheads. HP’s current deal with Shell Oil to disperse ultrasensitive seismic sensors could drive such volume manufacturing, but consumer markets ultimately would be the best avenue to global domination.

Cross-section of HP's MEMS accelerometer, which uses a three-wafer chip stack with a large proof mass in the middle to achieve its ultrasensitivity.
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Forecast: #MEMS Rising to $1.5 Billion Market in 2010

Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) is the fastest growing semiconductor chip segment, boosted by wide proliferation in consumer electronics devices like smartphones. Look for MEMS chips to make every consumer electronics device smarter over the next five years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

iSuppli breaks down its seven year market prediction for MEMS chips by application categories.

The micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) chip market is booming along with the high-profile consumer electronics devices using them, propelling a $1.5 billion MEMS chip market in 2010, according to market forecaster iSuppli Corp. Cell phones dominate this growth, led by the phenomenal successes of Apple's iPhone and other smartphones which copy its sensor complement, according to iSuppli (El Segundo, Calif.) MEMS accelerometers and gyroscopes are already used in digital cameras, gaming controllers and automobiles, but by 2014 Apple's iPad will have pioneered the new touchscreen tablet space, helping to propel the MEMS chip market to over $3 billion by 2014, according to the firm.
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Friday, August 13, 2010 Unveils Silicon Roadmap

Power Architecture microprocessors are running communications networks worldwide, with a big slice of the business in other embedded spaces too. Look for the Power Architecture to continue to grow as detailed in the graphic below. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Here is what EETimes says about Standards group recently revealed its Power Architecture Silicon Roadmap, including the microprocessor plans of its members including AppliedMicro, Freescale, IBM, LSI, GDA Technologies, IPextreme, Synopsys, Virage Logic and Xilinx. claims that the Power Architecture is still leading the world in 32-bit microprocessors. The group hopes to keep things that way, as well as expand its reach into 64-bit commercial cores on the high-end and low-power consumer-grade cores on the low end.
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Electronic Nose Detects Cancer in Patient's Breath

Future annual medical checkups could include a breathalyzer test for cancer, courtesy of Technion in Israel. Look for nanotechnology to unlease all sorts of similar point-of-service medical diagnosis tests over the rest of the decade. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Researcher Hossam Haick led the Technion team in designing gold-nanoparticle sensors whose electrical conductivity changes when exposed to cancer markers in a patient's breath.

An electronic nose may soon be able to detect cancer using a nanosensor array designed at the Israel Institute of Technology, according to researchers. The breathalyzer-like device used gold nanoparticles arrayed on a silicon substrate to identify not only the presence of cancer, but the specific kind detected. The nanosensor array was fabricated from inter-digitated gold electrodes which were arranged in a circular pattern and deposited by an electron-beam onto silicon wafers capped with a thermal oxide. The millimeter-sized device separated its electrodes by just by 20 microns—each coated with nanoparticles created with "guest" receptors designed to attract a different type of cancer-marker molecule in breath. The assembly was them mounted on a printed circuit board inside the breathalyzer-like device.
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Magnetism Discovered to Pattern #Graphene #Semiconductors

Pure carbon semiconductors made from graphene promise to obsolete silicon chips, prompting scientists to test it every-which-way, here by subjecting graphene to magnetic fields. Look for crystalline graphene semiconductor chips later in this decade. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

The arrows denote the magnetic field, while hills and valleys are small potential fluctuations. Electrons that move along an equipotential become localized (right).

Here is what EETimes says about graphene in a magnetic field: The perfect crystalline structure of epitaxial graphene rearranges into a moire interference pattern of local band gaps when subjected to a magnetic field, according to researchers. The position-dependent atomic alignments between adjacent monolayers of graphene creates a regular pattern of regions where conduction is not allowed. The alignment could be magnetically switched in future carbon-based electronic devices...

Stacking of graphene sheets creates regions where the moiré alignment is of normal (blue), while nearby regions (red and yellow) are nonconductive when subjected to a magnetic field.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

#Superconductivity Enhanced by Electron Variations

Variations in the distribution of electron charge in superconductors could be the key to their resistance-less conduction of electricity. Look for advances in superconductivity over the rest of the decade. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Here is what EETimes says about superconductivity: Room-temperature superconductivity has been a research goal since resistance-less conduction of electricity was discovered in 1911. Unfortunately, researchers have yet to find a theoretical framework for explaining why some materials exhibit superconductivity at higher temperatures than others. Now, the Energy Department's Oak Ridge National Laboratory claims to have discovered a theoretical explanation for why some materials have been found experimentally to superconduct at higher temperatures than others, opening the door to crafting designer materials that superconduct at room temperature...
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Monday, August 09, 2010

#Solar Hybrid Air Conditioner Cuts Costs/Emissions

Solar powered air-conditioners should be a no-brainer, since its nearly always sunny when its hot enough to turn on the AC, but it took until now to create the world's first solar-powered air conditioner. Look for an increasing number of applicances to be powered by dedicated solar cells as their price plummets over the next five years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

LG's hybrid air conditioner saves nearly 15 percent in energy consumption by adding dedicated solar cells.

The Korean electronics giant LG has demonstrated the world's first "hybrid" solar-powered air conditioner that adds a photovoltaic module atop the unit to supplement its traditional power supply, thereby providing energy savings that LG claims significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The world's first solar-powered air conditioner is billed as eco-friendly because it has a silicon photovoltaic array mounted atop the residential unit. The standing-style air conditioner is also called a "hybrid" by LG because its power supply uses both standard house current and the solar array. The solar array is capable of generating enough energy for sustained operation of its air circulation and air filtration system, but when the compressor kicks in to cool the air down, it draws from the power line.
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Friday, August 06, 2010

'Rocking' #Robot Mimics Human, Ape Climbers

Climbing robots to date have concentrated on methods of grappling up different types of surfaces, but this one aims to increase the efficiency of the energy used to climb. Look for super-efficient robotic climbers within five years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

A rocking-climbing robot uses a pendulum-like tail (utilizing its battery as ballast) to gain height which it uses to ratchet upward, claw-over-claw style.

Here is what EETimes says about climbing robots: Robotic technology that climbs walls using Tarzan's "swinging rope" technique was demonstrated recently by the University of Utah. The rocking-oscillating-climbing robot (ROCR) is claimed to be the world's most efficient climber, and is aimed at applications such as inspection of buildings, bridges, dams, storage tanks and nuclear facilities as well as reconnaissance within buildings...
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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Light Amplifier Boosts Silicon's Optical Diagnoses

Detectors that can spot hazardous chemicals in the air today are expensive, but casting the technology onto cheap silicon chips could enable breath analyzers that diagnose disease from a puff of breath. Look for cheaper sensor for semiconductor inspection, test and measurement, chemical and petrochemical detection, homeland security as well as medical apps within five years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Here is what Smarter Technology says about its optical sensor technology: From atmospheric pollution to signs of disease in human breath, IBM Research has retooled its silicon chip processing capabilities to tackle light amplification for the mid-infrared band. Used in trace gas-sensing systems, it can detect minute amounts of nearly any substance. Mid-infrared beacons cause molecules to vibrate in distinctive patterns, allowing that substance's composition to be read from its signature. IBM's mid-infrared optical amplifier is designed to boost the signal from these slight vibrations, making these detectors much more sensitive. In theory, if mid-infrared light could be amplified sufficiently, then spectroscopy could be made sensitive enough to diagnose a patient's disease from the molecules in his/her breath. Today, mid-infrared sensors are used for applications like semiconductor inspection, test and measurement, chemical and petrochemical detection, and homeland security. Unfortunately, the equipment used to sense with mid-infrared wavelengths presently is bulky and expensive. By crafting silicon chips with waveguides, optical gratings, and mixers, IBM Research hopes to lower the price, power consumption, and size of mid-infrared sensors...
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#Google #Android to Beat #Apple #iPhone 2012

Analysts are bullish on Google's Android operating system for smartphones eventually beating out the iPhone--this report says by 2012--but they always act like Apple will stand still and wait! Look for every major smartphone vendor to target Apple's iPhone with Android work-a-likes only to have Apple consistently outpace them with 'must-have' new capabilities. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Android-based smart phones (light blue) will slowly overtake Apple's iPhone, beating it by 2012, according to iSuppli.

Here is what iSuppli says about its own report: Google Inc. is expected to prevail in a key battleground for its wireless war with Apple Inc., as the smart phone market share of the Android Operating System (OS) rises to surpass that of the iPhone’s iOS in 2012, iSuppli Corp. predicts. Android will be used in 75 million smart phones by 2012, up from 5 million in 2009. Meanwhile, iOS usage will amount to 62 million in 2012, up from 25 million in 2009. This will give Android a 19.4 percent of the global market for smart phone OSes in 2012, up from 2.7 percent in 2009. In contrast, Apple’s iOS for the iPhone will see its share shrink to 15.9 percent in 2012, up from 13.8 percent in 2009. In 2014, Android’s share of global smart phone OS usage will rise to 22.8 percent, while iOS will decline to 15.3 percent...
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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

#Clear #iSpot Connects iPhone/iPad with 4G

#Apple makes you think the iPhone 4 is 4G but its not--unless you use Clear's iSpot to make your connections. Look for iPads to become the first touchscreen tablets to house their own internal WiMAX 4G connection by next year. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Clear's iSpot allows iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch to run full speed using 4G connections at 6Mbps.

Here is what Clear says about iSpot: Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ: CLWR), a leading provider of wireless broadband services and operator of the largest 4G network in the country, today announced the introduction of the CLEAR iSpot™, a personal hotspot with dedicated support for Apple’s line of mobile devices*, including the iPad™, iPod touch® and iPhone®. The iSpot brings the speed and mobility of true mobile broadband to a user base primed for the rich online experience of 4G...The iSpot is CLEAR’s first 4G personal mobile hotspot made exclusively for Apple mobile products, including iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch devices. iSpot users can share 4G speed with up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled Apple mobile devices simultaneously. The CLEAR iSpot’s ergonomic design and white casing were specifically designed to complement the iconic image of Apple products...
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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

#Fuelcell Breakthrough Aims at Commercialization

All-electric cars today must lash together hundreds of lithium-ion batteries to get enough power, but fuel cells would fix that if only they could overcome poisoning problems that limit their lifetime, which these researchers claim to have done. Look for longer-lived fuel cells to begin replacing traditional batteries within five years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Hydrogen fuel cells use platinum anodes that fail if poisoned, but nanotech materials could solve that problem.

Fuel cells have been ready for commercialization for years, albeit only for use with pure hydrogen—easy to purchase for the lab, but expensive to mass produce. Even the best fuel cell designs become poisoned by impurities in hydrogen derived from natural gas—the most abundant source—causing them to fail prematurely. Now Cornell University scientists working for the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) believe they have a cure using nanotechnology that could make hydrogen fuel cells commercially viable.
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#LG boosts 'green' investment

The world's first solar powered air conditioner is just a prelude to LG's green initiative. Look for LG and other electronics giants to increase sponsorship of green energy efforts worldwide over the next decade. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Solar powered air conditioner from LG (Korea) reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Here is what EETimes says about its green initiatives: LG Electronics recently unveiled the world's first solar-powered air conditioner as part of its "green" energy initiative. Over the next five years, the South Korean company will promote energy efficiency across all it business groups, including solid-state lighting. Korean giant LG hopes to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions with its solar powered air conditioner. LG recently signed an agreement with Germany's Kellendonk Elektronik to participate in the Smart Watts project, which is being sponsored by the German government to develop a decentralized, intelligent electricity network. "The deal marks the first time a Korean company has taken part in a smart grid project in Europe" LG said...
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Monday, August 02, 2010

#Semiconductor #Chip Sales Going Through the Roof!

All major trend predictors point to an explosive growth in semicondutor chip sales at all major players--from Intel to Altera. Look for semiconductor sales to rack up record sales in 2010 and be on-track for like-sized growth spurts out to 2012 as the recession continues to recede. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Every major semiconductor category—i.e., microcomponents, logic, analog, discretes and optical and sensors—is projected to rise by more than 25 percent in 2010.

Here is what EETimes says about the semiconductor market: Market research firm ISuppli Corp. again raised its forecast for the semiconductor market this year, saying it now expects revenue for the industry to hit $310.3 billion, up 35 percent from 2009. The forecasted $80.7 billion increase compared to last year would be the largest annual increase in dollar terms in the semiconductor industry's history, according to iSuppli (El Segundo, Calif.). Last week, rival market research firm IC Insights Inc. (Scottsdale, Ariz.) also predicted that chip industry revenue would rise by a record amount in 2010. Last week, market research firm VLSI Research Inc. also raised its forecast for the 2010 chip market, saying it expects the market to increase by 30 percent this year despite looking market uncertainty...
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Smart Metals for Solid-State Cooling Nix #Greenhouse Gases

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) careful formulations of common metals--like nickel and titanium--results in a solid-state cooling technology that could once-and-for-all eliminate that annoying compressor on your refrigerator and air-conditioner that keeps kicking on and off, on and off, ad nauseam. Look for silent, solid-state refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners within five years. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Smart metal runs pictured refrigeration system 175 percent more efficiently that conventional vapor compressor technology by virtue of "thermally elastic" metal alloy.

Here is what Smarter Technology says about solid-state refrigeration: The omnipresent whirring of the compressor on the refrigerator and air conditioner may soon be a thing of the past if a Department of Energy (DoE) effort successfully harnesses smart metals to enable solid-state cooling...The team is preparing a prototype refrigeration system based on a thermoelastic shape memory alloy (SMA)—a smart metal that, like refrigeration gases, gets cold when compressed but remembers its original shape when heated. This freon-free refrigeration system is estimated to be 175 percent more efficient than conventional vapor-compression systems. The new system could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 250 metric tons per year...
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