MANHASSET, NY -- The International Solid State Circuits Conference boasts advanced circuit design developments from around the globe. The 2011 conference to be held in San Francisco in February breaks down this way: out of 669 papers submitted to ISSCC 2011, 211 have been accepted, with 80 from North America, 69 from the Far East, and 62 from Europe.
Among the emerging technology papers a few stand out.
Researchers from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have come up with a personal sleep monitoring system that can continuously and silently monitor the EEG, EMG, EOG, and ECG signals during sleep.
The system uses 15 penny-sized patches attached on the face before sleep. A network controller patch includes an integrated 10mAh coin-battery. Each patch weighs less than 400mg and collects and stored personal physiological conditions automatically.
Each of the 14 sensor patches consumes 25microW and the network controller patch consumes 75microW. The total system power consumption is 425microW. An RFID-type reader is used to extract the information from the network controller patch prior to its disposal.
KAIST researchers have also developed a transceiver that uses the physics of signal propagation through the human body, according to the researchers.
The transceiver has an energy consumption of 0.24nJ/b and a receiver sensitivity of 250microV. The resultant body area network uses a low-power double-FSK-modulation scheme compatible with the recently defined body area network standards.
Less intrusive use of electronic circuits for body monitoring is the application of ultra-high frequency terahertz mm-wave imaging technology as an alternative to traditional x-ray technology. The technology can be applied in not only non-invasive medical diagnostics, but security screening, and many other applications for imaging through thin materials.
At ISSCC 2011, cutting-edge results in THz imaging will provide some perspective on processing sub-millimeter THz signals in practical systems.
Researchers from CEA and Université Montpellier will present a two-dimensional wideband antenna array for 3-D imaging that has a rectifier detector frontend followed by a low frequency (30-100 KHz) low-noise amplifier.
Meanwhile, researchers from the University of Wuppertal and IHP will detail an 820GHz frontend with sub-harmonic mixers implemented in silicon germanium BiCMOS, and using multiple antennas for beamforming.
Researchers from the University of Tokyo and Dai Nippon Printing will describe a 100 volt ac power meter implemented as a System-on-a-Film (SoF) using organic electronics. The design uses 100V organic PMOS rectifiers to generate a 20V supply voltage for logic, generates a line-frequency clock signal for the logic, and implements the logic using 20V CMOS organic transistors. The logic consists of a frequency divider and high-gain pseudo-CMOS inverters, all compensated for variations using a novel concept of floating gates. The design also integrates organic light-emitting diodes for display purposes.
The prototype consumes 2W at 100V. The research results have the potential for bulky power meters ro be replaced with inexpensive organic System-on-a-Film technology, according to the researchers. The solution provides the first-ever power measurement capability using organic electronics, according to Ken Smith, an ISSCC organizer.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.