Six R&D projects in the spotlights
Minalogic’s second mission is to transfer technological advances to industries likely to bolster their competitive advantage through intelligent miniaturized solutions. As part of the press tour program, six Minalogic R&D projects were presented.
. An ultra-miniature energy-harvesting cardiac pacemaker.
Led by a consortium consisting of CEA-Leti, the Sorin Group, TIMA, Cedrat Technologies, Tronics, and EASII IC, the Heart Beat Scavenger (HBS) project aims to develop a low-power cardiac pacemaker (5µW instead of 25 µW in current pacemakers), powered by mechanical energy from a patient’s own heart beats.
The objective of the $13.75 million project is to eliminate the need for batteries, which must be surgically replaced every six to ten years in conventional pacemakers. A second objective is to develop a cardiac stimulator eight times smaller than conventional designs from 8 cm3 to 1 cm3. Achieving such miniaturization would allow for the attachment of the pacemaker directly to the epicardium, which would, in turn, eliminate the need for the introduction of cardiac probes via IV.
Started in 2010 for three years, the project has entered the prototyping stage, said Martin Deterre, scientific engineer at Sorin, to EETimes
. High-resolution miniature spectrometers
: The SWIFTS project used stationary-wave integrated Fourier-transform (SWIFTS) technology to develop high-resolution miniature spectrometers for measuring wavelengths between 400-1100 nanometers, which extends from invisible light into the mid-infrared range.
“The spectrometer is half the size of a shoe box and replaces six tons of material,” noted Etienne le Coarer, technical director at IPAG and co-inventor, specifying that the aerospace industry has expressed interest.”
Initial prototypes were developed from 2008 to 2011, and the first products are expected to reach the market this year. A company was created to commercialize the spectrometers. It anticipates the sale of 400 to 5,000 spectrometers by 2015, resulting in 8 million euro ($12.4 million) to 25 million euros ($38.8 million) revenues and the creation of 40 to 150 jobs.
. X-Ray tomography for industrial high-speed quality control: T
he Delpix project developed rapid X-ray tomography for use in quality control on the production line. While X-ray tomography, or CT-scan, has been used for years in the medical field, it is rarely employed in manufacturing because the reconstruction of volume images is slow and the resolution is too low. The project has shortened the time required to inspect products on a manufacturing line to only a few seconds, researchers claim.
. Using synthetic sapphire for extremely durable analog graphic-data storage:
The goal of the NanoForm project was to create an archival storage medium that can endure 2,000 years or more, while resisting flood, fire, and other disasters in a format that remains accessible regardless of changing storage technologies.
Project partners selected 1.5 mm-thick wafers of synthetic sapphire. And, instead of digitizing the data, they said they developed a way to etch detailed, microscopic analog images onto 200mm sapphire discs, each of which can store about 10,000 printed A4 pages. These images can be viewed through a simple optical system.
. Parallel computing
: The objective of the CILOE project was to develop a complete computational infrastructure, including methodologies, software, and security mechanisms in order to facilitate SMEs access to this kind of technology. These tools are so compute-intensive that they require supercomputers, clusters and grids, which are out of range for SME mainly for financial reasons. Project partners include Bull, Inria, edXact, Infiniscale.
. Human-machine interface on future mobile devices:
The Nomad project is exploring new kinds of interfaces for mobile devices – by using MEMS motion sensors and 3D graphics – while also creating hardware and software platforms and an open-source community to further develop the resulting technology.
It has developed several solutions for future human-machine interfaces on embedded systems:
•“Interaction” SW toolbox that allows the creation of innovative user interfaces with integrated 2D and 3D graphics rendering to create alternatives to the traditional window, icon, menu and pointing-device interfaces
•“Motion” SW toolbox that uses motion sensors (accelerometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes) for implementing new “in-air” cursor control and gesture-based media content navigation
• HW and SW platform (Linux & Android) for the development of future smartphones
•A development kit, "Snowball", accompanied by an open- source web community, Igloo (www.igloocommunity.org