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business press
May 2014
Mushrooms recover gold
from mobile scrap
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May 2014
Mushrooms recover gold out of mobile scrap
A whiter shade of pale
Quantum dot solar concentrator
opens energy harvesting window
Google safeguards future wearable IP with
smart lens patents
Holst Centre and Imec shrink
wearable health patch
Custom processor tool wins
$2.8m backing
Czech EDA tool developer Codasip has raised $2.8m
in its first public offering to expand its customizable
processor technology.
ARM backs Open Sensor Platform
ECSEL Germany launched with automotive touch
A wise bet on Android’s host card emulation
Teardown reveals PrimeSense in Google’s Tango
A Dragon Fruit for test and measurement:
Red Pitaya comes to Europe
Fans of Arduino , Raspberry Pi or
Cubieboard will like this: Startup
company Red Pitaya transfers
the open approach of these
single-board computers to the
Test and Measurement arena.
Iconic Insights: chief executive conversations
with Hanns Windele
Cambridge Semiconductor is making a
name for itself as a manufacturer of chips
for energy efficient mains adaptors, mobile
phone chargers and solid state LED lighting. CamSemi CEO, David Baillie, talks to
Hanns Windele of Mentor Graphics.
4K OLED: the last status symbol before
TV obsolescence?
The content exists or can be “digitally upgraded”, the
displays are ready, but are consumers ready to fork
out for a 4K upgrade yet?
Li-Fi reaches 1Gbps: lighting the path to a new
internet model
Printoo: modular printed electronics
made Arduino-compatible
Amazon’s smartphone:
a consumers tracking tool in disguise
3 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
China’s quest for ‘MIPS in wearable’
Let ’s be blunt : Not many serious
players in the electronics industry
today are sanguine about the survival
chances for MIPS processors in a
global mobile market where in the
last decade - almost single-handedly
- ARM has built its formidable ecosystem.
What exactly is DC power
SiC power devices gain traction among electric
vehicles manufacturers
Simplified solar-based battery charging
Power management:
are you doing enough?
when the power supply to critical
equipment fails, companies are at
risk of losing out.
Silicon interposers for efficient 3D integration
The common point with
articles relating progress in
the electronic components
world is the search for form
factor reduction and high performance.
Hard wired floating point changes FPGA
Altera has developed a way to
add single precision floating point
processing to its FPGAs with
minimal overhead, opening up a
wide set of new high performance
computing applications.
Measuring angular position and velocity
Reader offer
This month Anritsu is giving
away a complete MS2711E
spectrum analyzer unit, worth
5419 Euros, for EETimes
Europe’s readers to win.
distribution corner
Mushrooms recover gold out
of mobile scrap
By Julien Happich
Gold, silver, copper and many other valuable
metals (including rare earth metals) are commonly
used in the manufacture of consumer electronics for
getting the signal from one chip to another (gold wirebonds, copper traces on printed circuits boards) or to
improve contact reliability (gold or silver electrodeposition on connectors), only to end-up into huge piles
of electronic waste.
The e-waste issue is not new, and before it became
on the European legislation agenda, it used to be
that unscrupulous “recyclers” would ship discarded
electronic devices to third world countries where
very basic and hazardous metal recovery techniques would
be used. This often includes burning and smelting the metals
from cables (toxic fumes including dioxins), or separating gold
from burnt PCB ashes using toxic cyanides solutions that then
contaminate nearby rivers. In Europe and the US, several companies have industrialised the recovery of precious metals from
e-waste, first crushing the devices and PCB boards, then using
various separation methods (magnets to take out the steel,
Eddy currents to separate non-ferrous metals from plastic)
before smelting again or using toxic chemistries (often sulphuric
acid or cyanide solutions) to dissolve the metal particulates and
recover them through chemical reactions. The processes are
similar, only better managed at industrial scale, but they are still
energy intensive and environmentally debatable.
Reportedly, such industrialised processes can yield up to
300 grams of gold per ton of discarded mobile phones, and
between 2 and 2.5 kilos of silver. By far, the most aboundant
metal in e-waste is copper, making up between 10 and 15% of
a mobile phone’s weight.
Searching for non toxic e-waste processing alternatives VTT
Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a biological filter made of mushroom mycelium mats that could recover
of as much as 80% of the gold in
electronic scrap. The researchers are
also looking at ways to extract copper
from circuit board waste by flotating
the crushed and sieved material rather
than indiscriminate smelting.
In VTT experiments, cell phones
were crushed and the particles sieved
and separated magnetically and by
eddy current into circuit board fractions. Further crushing, sieving and
flotation (a separation method that
separates hydrophobic particles from
hydrophilic particles by blowing air into
the sludge) resulted in a fraction with
high concentration of valuable metals for solution extraction experiments. The researchers say their flotation technique raised
the copper content of circuit board fraction from 25% to 45%,
while gold content increased by a factor of 1.5.
“Because it is difficult to remove the components from the
circuit boards, the first step in most recycling processes is to
4 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
crush everything into particulates and that’s how we start
too”, explained Jarno Mäkinen, Research Scientist at VTT
Technical Research Centre of
“But then, using non-toxic
water-based solutions, we have
managed to engineer myceliumbased biomass that acts as a
biosorbent specifically targeted
at gold complexes”.
Using biosorbents such as fungal and algae biomass, the
Finnish lab demonstrated that more than 80% of the gold in
the solution adhered to the biomass, compared with only 10 to
20% of gold recovery when using most commonly used harmful chemical preparations. Different filament structures can be
formed, for example, into biological filters, which could make
that specially engineered biomass useful to recycle precious
metals on an industrial scale.
Mäkinen didn’t want to say more about the biomass engineering tricks used to make the biosorbents more effective for
gold or other precious metals. But in principle, the idea would
be to engineer various biosorbents targeted at different metals
(including rare earth metals) and to cascade the e-waste recycling process through different metal absorption steps. At the
end of each step, the collected biomass is burnt or chemically
processed to recover the metal complexes inside.
“We have been most successful with gold so far, but we’ll
be working to recover other rare metals too”, commented Olli
Salmi, Research Professor at VTT, adding that the processes
relied on organic chemistry and ionic liquids to dissolve the gold
particulates and form complexes.
In other VTT experiments, the researchers were able to
recover more than 90% of the metal
solution dissolved from a circuit board
with the help of functional ionic liquid.
These results stem from the European “Value from Waste” project of the
research consortium AERTO (Associated European Research and Technology Organizations), initiated two years
ago. The Finnish lab developed both
biological and mechanical pre-treatment methods for a more efficient and
more sustainable recovery of precious
metals from electronic waste. Its findings could enable the metal refining
industry to use cleaner electronic waste in larger amounts.
VTT participated in joint technology R&D with the following
six European research institutes: Fraunhofer ICT and Umsicht (Germany), CEA (France), TNO (the Netherlands), SINTEF
(Norway), Tecnalia (Spain) and SP (Sweden). The project was
co-ordinated by SINTEF from Norway.
Quantum dot solar concentrator opens
energy harvesting window
By Paul Buckley
To overcome the problem the Los Alamos and UNIMIB
Quantum dot researchers have demonstrated that a
researchers have developed LSCs based on quantum dots
house window may be capable of doubling as a solar panel. Rewith artificially induced large separation between emission and
searchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in collaboraabsorption bands (called a large Stokes shift).
tion with scientists from University of Milano-Bicocca (UNIMIB),
The ‘Stokes-shift’ engineered quantum dots represent cadItaly have shown that the superior light-emitting properties of
mium selenide/cadmium sulfide (CdSe/CdS) structures in which
quantum dots can be applied in solar energy by helping to harlight absorption is dominated by an ultra-thick outer shell of
vest sunlight more efficiently.
CdS, while emission occurs from
“The key accomplishment is
the inner core of a narrower-gap
the demonstration of large-area
CdSe. The separation of lightluminescent solar concentrators
absorption and light-emission
that use a new generation of spefunctions between the two difcially engineered quantum dots,”
ferent parts of the nanostructure
said lead researcher Victor Kliresults in a large spectral shift of
mov of the Center for Advanced
emission with respect to absorpSolar Photophysics (CASP) at
tion, which reduces losses to
Los Alamos.
The emission color of quanTo implement the concept,
tum dots can be tuned by simply
Los Alamos researchers created
varying their dimensions. Color
a series of thick-shell (so-called
tunability is combined with high
‘giant’) CdSe/CdS quantum
emission efficiencies approaching
dots, which were incorporated
100 percent. The properties have
by their Italian partners into large
become the basis of a new technology – quantum dot displays
Fig. 1: A slab of transparent polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) slabs (sized in tens of centimeters) of polymethylmethacrylate
– employed, for example, in the
containing CdSe/CdS quantum dots make the luminescent
(PMMA). While being large by
newest generation of the Kindle
solar concentrator (LSC).
quantum dot standards, the acFire e-reader.
tive particles are tiny being about hundred angstroms across.
A luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) is a photon manage“A key to the success of this project was the use of a modiment device, representing a slab of transparent material that
fied industrial method of cell-casting, we developed at UNIMIB
contains highly efficient emitters such as dye molecules or
Materials Science Department,” explained Francesco Meinardi,
quantum dots. Sunlight absorbed in the slab is re-radiated at
professor of Physics at UNIMIB.
longer wavelengths and guided towards the slab edge equipped
Spectroscopic measurements indicated virtually no losses to
with a solar cell.
re-absorption on distances of tens of centimeters. Further, tests
Klimov said: “The LSC serves as a light-harvesting antenna
using simulated solar radiation demonstrated high photon harwhich concentrates solar radiation collected from a large area
vesting efficiencies of approximately 10% per absorbed photon
onto a much smaller solar cell, and this increases its power
achievable in nearly transparent samples, perfectly suited for
utilization as photovoltaic windows.
“LSCs are especially attractive because in addition to gains
Despite their high transparency, the fabricated structures
in efficiency, they can enable new interesting concepts such as
showed significant enhancement
photovoltaic windows that can
of solar flux with the concentratransform house facades into
tion factor of more than four. The
large-area energy generation
results indicate that ‘Stokesunits,” explained Sergio Brovelli,
shift-engineered’ quantum dots
who worked at Los Alamos until
represent a promising materials
2012 and is now a faculty memplatform that may enable the
ber at UNIMIB.
creation of solution processable
Because of highly efficient,
large-area LSCs with indepencolor-tunable emission and soludently tunable emission and
tion processability, quantum dots Fig. 2: The illustration shows how the quantum dots are
absorption spectra.
are attractive materials for use
embedded in the plastic matrix and capture sunlight to
The research paper entitled
in inexpensive, large-area LSCs.
improve solar panel efficiency.
‘Large-area luminescent solar
One challenge, however, is an
concentrators based on ‘Stokes-shift-engineered’ nanocrystals
overlap between emission and absorption bands in the dots,
in a mass-polymerized PMMA matrix’ is published online in
which leads to significant light losses due to the dots re-absorbNature Photonics.
ing some of the light they produce.
6 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
Google safeguards future wearable IP
with smart lens patents
By Julien Happich
On the 15th of April, US-based Google fans were granted
the privilege to exchange $1500 for a “pair” of Google Glass.
But the search engine giant would not want to miss on future
miniaturization opportunities. Last month, the Patent Bolt website revealed the company’s patent
application for contact lenses with an
integrated camera system, controlled
by the wearer through unique blinking patterns.
The patent is wide encompassing,
describing a multi-sensor contact
lens computer system that may work
with many future wearable devices
and other consumer electronics.
While a number of companies and
research centres work on smart lenses with integrated health
monitoring sensors, displays or optical to electrical stimuli
conversion concepts (via external video capture and processing
for visual interpretation), Google bets on yet to come integration
breakthroughs with a rather open-ended patent application to
safeguard as much wearable IP as possible.
The components are certainly not ready for building a thinfilm camera to be embedded within a contact lens, nor the
specific actuators or sensors that would interpret blinking patterns and process it locally, but the on-going research in flexible
electronics and printable circuits promises that someday, it may
be possible to combine all the relevant building blocks for such
a smart device. Trying to bulk itself up, the patent somehow
states the obvious, that the building blocks would be positioned
in visually non-obstructive areas of the lens (around the pupil).
The camera component would be aligned
so as to track and generate image data
corresponding to the gaze of the wearer,
following any shift in gaze. Then the patent
extends on what could be done with such
a lens-mounted camera, from merely detecting light (what looks more like current
state-of-the-art printed flexible electronics), to identifying colours or performing
plain face recognition or any other video
processing task. The sensors that would
be integrated on such smart lenses could be just anything the
company would see fit, including energy harvesters.
Google may not have the IP to build the actual sensing
blocks, but if this patent was ever granted, it would somehow
prevent any company with the suitable technologies to strike a
deal with competing smart lens developers, or at least it would
shrink their marketable options. I suppose that’s ok to have
Google as a licensee, except if the company’s patented smart
lenses are only a strategy to give more life to its current Google
Glass while preventing agile startups and research lab spin-offs
from coming up with better alternatives.
Holst Centre and Imec shrink wearable health patch
By Julien Happich
Relying on system in package (SiP) technology from industry partner Shinko Electric Industries, Holst Centre and imec
have built a flexible health patch demonstrator whose electronic
module measures only 17.4x17.4mm
and weighs just 10g, only half the weight
of alternative solutions. The patch logs
real-time electrocardiogram (ECG), tissuecontact impedance and accelerometer
information to accurately monitor physical
Following the trend in wearable activity monitors and fitness electronic devices
that compute the calories you burn, the
research centers have packed a 1-lead ECG, a tissue-contact
impedance sensor and a 3D accelerometer.
All the sensor data is processed and analyzed locally through
proprietary calibrated algorithms before relevant information
is transmitted via a Bluetooth Smart link to a smartphone or
another connected unit. All this is done on a minimal energy
The demonstrator was run on a rechargeable 15mAh battery
from partner Solicore, told us Chris Van Hoof, program director
for wearable healthcare at imec. The algorithms used to process
www.electronics-eetimes.com the sensor data locally are able to recognize the type of activity, he explained, which minimizes wireless data transfers and
power consumption.
“When we processed the data from all
sensors locally only to send relevant activity information, then the patch operated
two days in a row without recharge. But
if we had all the sensors streaming raw
data over Bluetooth, the same battery only
lasted two hours” Van Hoof clarified.
“If you only send knowledge to the
application running on the smartphone,
then you make huge power savings”, he
concluded. The electronic module is integrated into a flexible
and stretchable patch designed by Holst Centre, combining
system in foil technology with stretchable, integrated electrodes
to create a lightweight patch that can be worn comfortably on
the chest for extended periods. Ideally, the patch would be integrated into a skin-breathable fabric or into clothing.
The patch was developed in the framework of imec’s and
Holst Centre’s joint Human++ program. Both research centers
are prospecting for partners interested in industrializing the
Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 7
Custom processor tool wins $2.8m backing
By Nick Flaherty
Czech EDA tool developer Codasip has raised $2.8m in
its first public offering to expand its customizable processor
The Codasip Framework Studio tool and IP blocks allow
processors to be easily developed with custom instruction sets
for embedded system-on-chip applications. The investment
will be used to further develop the technology
that enables its application specific integrated
processors (ASIP) to be programed using the
same standard flows as existing processors. This
is key to eliminating the traditional complexity
associated with ASIP designs and transition ASIP
usage from a niche into mainstream design, says
the company, competing directly with configurable processor cores such as ARC from Synopsys and the Tensilica cores from Cadence Design
Funding is being led by Credo Ventures, a
venture capital firm based in the Czech Republic,
and includes additional funds from multiple private investors.
The rapid growth of mobile devices, the internet of things
(IoT) and personalized medicine is driving demand for extremely
low power processors that perform very specialized tasks.
ASIP’s address this need by optimizing the processor instruction set to the needs of the application, improving performance
by orders of magnitude over traditional processing techniques.
“Codasip is changing how ASIPs are designed today and we
are happy to help the company expand to new markets,” said
Vladislav Jez, Partner at Credo Ventures. “After being special-
ized products for many years, some form of ASIP now exists in
every semiconductor-based product,” said Karel Masarik, CEO
of Codasip.
“Codasip’s uncompromising vision to deliver the performance that ASIP’s offer, while utilizing industry standard design,
development, and programing flows, means we are perfectly
positioned to take advantage of this rapidly
growing opportunity. Additionally, our Codix
extensible processor IP and subsystems
mean that even companies that have never
dealt with this technology can benefit with
minimal effort.”
Codasip recently released version 2.0 of
the Codasip Studio ASIP platform, further
extending its technology leadership in the
market. This new funding will be used to accelerate the existing product roadmap for EDA
tools, as well as expanding the range of Codix
IP cores that it will bring to market.
In addition to expanding R&D activities the funding will be
used to enable international expansion. Codasip has recently
expanded its business development and sales presence in the
US, and Europe, and will be expanding to other regions during
the remainder of 2014.
Formed in 2006 and headquartered in Brno, Czech Republic,
Codasip currently has offices in the US and Europe. Its Advisory
Board is headed by technology commentator and investor Esther Dyson and its Investment Committee Chairman is Eduard
Mika, a prominent technology entrepreneur in Central Europe.
ARM backs Open Sensor Platform
By Peter Clarke
ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England) has offered its support of the Open Sensor Platform (OSP) for sensor hub applications, developed by startup Sensor Platforms Inc. (San Jose,
Calif.). Sensor Platforms is the developer of the FreeMotion
Library of software for sensor fusion functions.
The OSP is a framework for sensor data
acquisition, communication, and interpretation, compatible with any CPU architecture
or real-time operating system, according to
documentation on Sensor Platforms website.
OSP encourages developers to focus on
creating low-level applications for sensors
rather than reinventing the wheel on the sensor interface.
The OSP is processor architecture agnostic but was written with the ARM architecture in mind, according
to Sensor Platforms. Technical documentation states: “The first
sample of OSP implementation is an Android KitKat-compliant
sensor hub providing always-on sensor data up to the Android
hardware abstraction layer (HAL) on the application processor.
However the framework is simple and flexible enough to be
8 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
extended to more use cases. OSP developers will also be able
to seamlessly take advantage of higher-level sensor interpretation such as that available through Sensor Platforms’ own
FreeMotion Libraries that provide robust sensor fusion alwayson context awareness and pedestrian dead reckoning.”
“As an open source platform for sensor fusion fundamentals, OSP will enable a
community of developers to accelerate new
functionality for ongoing innovation in sensor hubs across applications. As a result, we
should see devices and applications that are
more aware of their user and their environment, making technology more useful for
all,” said Charlene Marini, vice president of
marketing for embedded business at ARM,
in a statement issued by Sensor Platforms.
OSP will be open sourced under Apache License, version
2.0, and will actively manage and incorporate community contributions. The initial source code release, supporting documentation, and forum support will be available at GitHub.com on or
before May 12.
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www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 9
ECSEL Germany launched
with automotive touch
By Christoph Hammerschmidt
application systems, complex Embedded Systems and CyberAs a part of the European Commission initiative to increase
Physical Systems (CPS). The group regards system integration
Europe’s share of the global semiconductor production, the
technologies as a key competitive factor. Instead of focusing on
German part of the Electronic Components and Systems for
a specific part of the value
European Leadership (ECSEL)
chain such as design or prohas been launched. In a kickduction, it intends to pursuit
off event in Munich, Infineon
a holistic approach and drive
CEO Reinhard Ploss along
innovation along the entire
with a selection of industry
value chain.
and technology managers as
Khalil Rouhana, Diwell as politicians sketched
rector Components and
an image of economic progSystems at the Directorate
ress through innovation at the
General for Communicasemiconductor and applications Networks, Content &
tion level.
Technology (DG Connect)
ECSEL is a joint undertakof the European Commising in public-private partnersion, highlighted the need
ship of the EU member states
for action. “We know that
and the industry, aiming at
the EU is not doing well in
defending and improving
all parts of the technology
Europe’s leadership position
value chain”, he said, adding
with regards to electronic
that investment in significant
components and systems.
parts of technology has
The undertaking stands for
Fig. 1: The national ECSEL organisations benefit from the results
decreased. Nevertheless,
a holistic approach and emof upstream research activities and utilise them to master future
the EU’s economy is strong
braces the segments of micro
in other specific segments,
and nanoelectronics (ENIAC);
namely automotive, components, and embedded systems - in
Embedded and Cyber-physical systems (ARTEMIS); and Smart
the latter segment, the EU stands for 30% of the world’s value
Systems Integration (EPoSS).
production. Five global technology megatrends - Big Data;
“ECSEL is a real opportunity for the European Union and for
Cloud Computing; Smart Connected Objects and IoT; BroadGermany”, said Ploss. The Infineon top manager pointed out
band and Wireless Connectivity; and Autonomous Systems
that the project is most relevant to strengthen the EU’s industrial
- translate into three areas of business opportunities for the
core. “It is not only about production - it is about technological
European countries: These
competence”, he said.
are the High-growth “Smart
The German “chapter” of
X” (IoT) markets; selected
the EU-wide ECSEL activivertical markets (automotive,
ties embraces, among others,
energy and security) as well
companies such as Airbus,
as the continuous growth of
Bosch, Carl Zeiss SMT,
mobile and wireless marContinental, Daimler, Infineon,
kets. To reverse the declinNXP Germany and Siemens
ing market share of Europe’s
as well as the universities of
electronics components proBraunschweig and Erlangen
duction, the EU should atand research institutions like
tract investments to Europe.
Fraunhofer Group for MiECSEL’s task in this context
croelectronics. “This is not
is addressing both demand
a private party,” Ploss said.
and supply, he said. “This is
“Instead, it is open to every
very important. The produccompany and institution to
tion follows the markets
join and share its expertise.”
value chain”, he emphaWithin the context of ECSEL
sized. The importance of this
at the European level, the
challenge reflects the size of
German contribution will
Fig. 2: From the ECSEL perspective, semiconductors are the most
the funding: ECSEL will have
emphasize R&D activities in
basic part of the value creation and enable far larger application
an overall budget of about
the fields of nanoelectronbusinesses.
€5 billion for the timeframe
ics for critical and real-time
10 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
from 2014 to 2020. Of this budged, €1.17 bn will come from
the EU and the same amount from the local governments of the
member states. The remaining €2.34 billion will be contributed
by the industry. As of today, 17 member states have already
committed to join the initiative.
Christoph Grote, Managing Director of carmaker BMW’s Research and Technology group, went into more details describing
the challenges electromobility as one of the technology fields
in question is facing today. “Why is this a long-distance race
rather than a sprint?” he asked rhetorically. The answer is that
electromobility requires high amounts of basic research; the
infrastructure has to undergo massive changes and motors are
still way too expensive. “Today’s electric motors are efficient,
but not affordable”, he said; more R&D efforts have to be made.
“The same holds true for power electronics” he added. For the
connected car, another field of activity for ECSEL, the industry
needs “reliable, affordable driver assistance systems” and “new
technologies for the vehicles to communicate in the Internet
of Things”. Also for autonomous driving, another challenge
the automotive industry is currently working to master, highly
reliable and exact sensors have to be developed that are much
more affordable than today’s counterparts. These sensors will
feature in-sensor data pre-processing and intrinsic communications capabilities. To meet the high requirements with regards to
functional safety, the industry also needs a certified tool chain.
But this is not the end of the industry’s wish list: cloud connectivity as an essential part of vehicle architectures requires
the creation of a joint platform. The feature of this platform list
underscores the size of the challenge: based on low-latency 5G
network technology, this platform will guarantee QoS for M2M
At the same time, it will provide a geo-reference for mobile
sensors. And this is still not enough: software needs to be
developed capable of conducting real-time traffic flow analysis, and the standards have to be created to enable all these
parts to collaborate and to work in the desired way. “All these
systems must have some sort of master plan”, Grote stated.
“Otherwise we will run into a bits-and-pieces problem”.
A wise bet on Android’s host card emulation
By Julien Happich
By acquiring encryption-related software company
Metaforic, Inside Secure adds key technologies to its secure
microtrollers IP portfolio to push for more cloud-based mobile
payments security using Host Card Emulation (HCE).
Introduced on Android 4.4 (KitKat) and publicly supported by
Visa and MarsterCard, Host Card Emulation (HCE) relies on a
secured cloud-based transaction to allow contactless payments
and services through any NFC-enabled mobile device. The mobile application connects the consumer’s bank to the retailer’s
point of sale using NFC, whilst all the sensitive user and banking data is stored and accessed from the bank’s secure cloud
servers where the transaction takes place.
By emulating a smart card, HCE bluntly takes telecom operators and smart card vendors out of the equation since banks
no longer have to retribute them for hosting some of the secure
services on the SIM card or an embedded secure element
inside the mobile phone. Instead, they implement cloud-based
secure elements so the payment processing app is not just running on its own (on a vulnerable mobile platform).
This may well put an end to the long battle between Telcos,
mobile mobile manufacturers and banks for the NFC transaction pie. Both Visa and MasterCard have announced tools and
support applications for banks to adopt HCE as an alternative
to renting memory space on the SIM. Of course for the transaction to take place, an internet connection is required, but rather
than requiring an always-on connection, digital tokens could be
issued at times of connection by the banks’ secure cloud, only
valid for short intervals of time. MasterCard who has already
been proving HCE on small scale trials with Capital One and
Banco Sabadell, plans to unveil its secure remote payment
specifications by mid-2014.
Closing the deal, Inside Secure paid USD 11.6 million in cash
and could pay an additional USD 4.5 million in 2015 subject to
completion of certain 2014 business milestones. The company
already offers hardware-based and software-based encryption solutions but it is acquiring some very interesting software
www.electronics-eetimes.com developments from Metaforic, crucial to secure Host Card
Emulation (HCE)-based mobile payments.
Founded in 2006, Metaforic took the gold award at last year’s
American Technology Awards in the Cyber Security category
for its self-defending software immune system dubbed Metaforic Core. The Metaforic software analyzes code transparently
as it runs, with thousands of so-called antibody agents distributed throughout the code to check the program and each
other. While impacting computing performance by less than
1%, Metaforic antibodies are said to be resistant to detection
and automated removal techniques, and if any change is made
to the executable, multiple antibodies detect the change and
Another interesting product now in Inside Secure’s portfolio
is Metaforic’s code concealer, which enables software developers to hide sensitive data such as encryption keys in software
and to obfuscate sensitive code. In short, code disassembly
and dissemination are used to make the software more difficult
to understand and to reverse-engineer. This code concealment
approach can be hardened with the software immunization
described above.
The acquisition will not only expand Inside Secure’s IP licensing revenues, it brings in Metaforic’s know-how and customer
base in the mobile and payment industries. Over the last two
years, Inside Secure was licensing Metaforic’s technology for its
content protection (DRM) solutions.
Chief Executive Officer of Inside Secure, Remy de Tonnac
is a firm believer of HCE-based, cloud-based mobile payment
solutions which he expects to become mainstream since they
have been endorsed by Visa and MasterCard.
“The Metaforic acquisition is superbly aligned with Inside Secure’s strategy. It will uniquely position Inside Secure as the only
company able to provide security solutions for enterprise secure
access, digital entertainment and financial services markets, the
three key market drivers for mobile security” Tonnac said in a
Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 11
Teardown reveals PrimeSense in Google’s Tango
By Peter Clarke
A deconstruction by iFixit of Google’s Project Tango
depth-sensing prototype Android phone has revealed the
presence of the PS1200 ‘Capri’
3D sensor data processor from
PrimeSense Ltd. (Tel Aviv, Israel).
The teardown also reveals two
Myriad 1 vision processors from
Movidius Ltd. (Dublin, Ireland)
and a Snapdragon 800-series
MSM8974 application processor.
Although PrimeSense was not
mentioned as one of the original
collaborators in Project Tango,
the startup was the developer
of the Kinect 3D depth sensing
system used with Microsoft Xbox
360. PrimeSense was acquired
by Apple for about $345 million
late in 2013.
The Project Tango prototype from Google has been created
in partnership with OmniVision Technologies Inc. (Santa Clara,
Calif.), inertial MEMS sensor
provider Bosch; Movidius Ltd.
(Dublin, Ireland) the vendor of
the Myriad 1 vision processor; and Paracosm (Gainsville,
Florida), vendor of software that
converts 3D scans into computer models.
The Capri PS1200 SoC works
with an infrared illuminator that
sends modulated IR light out
and then an off-the-shelf CMOS
image sensor to read the coded
light back from the scene. The
PS1200 then processes the
coded IR patterns to produce a
depth-image of the scene.
A Dragon Fruit for test and measurement:
Red Pitaya comes to Europe
By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Fans of Arduino, Raspberry Pi or Cubieboard will like this:
Startup company Red Pitaya transfers the open approach of
these single-board computers to the Test and Measurement
arena. The company now sets its foot on European soil. As the
first step, it signed an exclusive distribution agreement with RS
Since its inception in mid-2013, Red Pitaya has developed
an ecosystem of devices and software designed to support an
open approach to measurement tasks of all kinds. The ambition
is high: The platform available for less than $500 could seriously
compete against multiple expensive laboratory instruments plus, its open approach fosters the development of innovative
applications for segments where hitherto no custom offering
exists in the market.
The entire Red Pitaya ecosystem is centred on a single
board, reconfigurable, open instrument platform not much bigger than a credit card. The processing power is provided by a
Xilinx Zynq SoC which combines an ARM Cortex-A9 microcontroller with the flexibility of an FPGA. The board offers a total of
six analogue I/O ports of which two are suited for RF signals.
16 general-purpose I/Os, an Ethernet port and a Micro SD slot
ensure connectivity and expandability. In terms of software, a
cloud marketplace named Bazaar offers a set of open-source
measurement applications including an oscilloscope, a spectrum analyser and an arbitrary waveform generator. Measurement results can be displayed on a PC or tablet computer running a web browser. A repository of corresponding open-source
code and tools enables designers to share and collaborate in
12 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
developing applications.
The software is based in the GNU/Linux operating system;
the environment supports a variety of software interfaces and
languages including C/C++, scripting languages and HTMLbased web interfaces. First commercial products can be
expected later this year, RS Components says.
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ICONIC INSIGHTS: Chief executive conversations with Hanns Windele
Focusing on energy efficiency
CamSemi is making a name for itself as a manufacturer of chips for energy efficient
mains adaptors, mobile phone chargers and solid state LED lighting drivers.
CamSemi CEO, David Baillie, talks to Hanns Windele of Mentor Graphics
Hanns Windele: Revenue growth
in the semiconductor business has
been averaging in double-digits for
two decades, but has recently scaled
back to single-digit growth. How do
you expect to grow CamSemi under
this new climate?
David Baillie: One of our key
achievements is that, while in 2012
the semiconductor market was down
4 or 5 per cent, with 2013 up by a
similar amount, we were the fastest
growing semiconductor company
in the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech
Track 100, growing by at least 50 per
cent per year. We have done that by
targeting markets that are growing
dramatically faster than the industry
HW: And your primary markets are
networking and telecoms?
DB: That’s where we started. As a
start-up business the big challenge
was to get people to take the risk
of working with us. We identified the home networking market – DSL modem, hub, router – and what we found was that
traditional power adaptors in that sector were inefficient. We
saw how we could take something that was 50 per cent efficient
to 85 per cent and achieve a three-fold improvement in terms
of reduced energy waste. We felt that if we could demonstrate
that to people, they almost would have no choice but to try our
product. Energy consumption has become a major concern
What do you do for fun in your downtime?
Sport. I play tennis, run and cycle at least once a week and
I ski whenever I can.
What was the last book you read on a plane?
I was a huge fan of ‘Game of Thrones’ before it became
popularised by HBO. They are remarkable books and can
certainly fill a long flight.
Outside the tech-world what company would you
most like to be CEO of?
I do like the occasional single malt, and my favorite is Bowmore from Islay. So maybe I’d like to try to find a way to be
CEO there!
Who would you want to share a prison cell with?
My degree is in physics, so I’d like to share my cell with
Albert Einstein.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Not as many as my wife! To me they’re functional things, and
so I don’t spend a surprising amount of money on them.
14 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
from an ecological image perspective. Sometimes we measure
our growth in chips or in dollars, or at other times in the number
of power stations the world hasn’t had to build because of what
we do. These are all meaningful metrics.
HW: What advice would you give to EDA companies on our
future challenges?
DB: The challenge is much less at chip level and more to
do with how the chip interacts with the system. Today we have
no means of modeling how a layout might work. So today you
might have a situation where you turn a transistor through 90
degrees and everything dramatically changes, probably because the transistor is sitting on a lead-frame that is effectively
an aerial. If there was an efficient cost-time way of effectively
simulating these sorts of problems we would be able to get out
of trial-by-experience.
HW: Will you be looking into different markets from those
you serve today?
DB: Yes. Our first market in the networking space was about
crossing the chasm of bringing in the first partner customer. Our
second market, the mobile consumer space, was about driving
growth. But the next huge opportunity is the solid state LED
lighting market. Although the handset market is massive – 2 billion units per year – what fascinates us from a power conversion
point of view is LED lighting.
HANNS WINDELE is Vice President, Europe and India
at Mentor Graphics. www.mentor.com
visit www.camsemi.com
The Newest Products for Your Newest Designs®
Incandescent lights sold 12 billion units per year at their
peak. LEDs have the potential to be bigger than any other market that’s existed in power conversion.
HW: How will you select markets you want to work with over
the next decade?
DB: The interesting thing about the battery charging and
solid state lighting markets is that they share a common key application requirement – constant current drive. That is one of the
things we try to do. We are a relatively small organisation and so
we have to be careful about focus and leveraging what we’ve
already mastered.
HW: Do you see chargers becoming more intelligent?
DB: We’re now looking at a situation where the power supply
and the consumer product start talking to each other. The supply will identify the optimal charge profile with the result that the
user will have to wait less time for a full charge.
HW: What changes do you see happening in the next decade?
DB: We will see a situation where the switch is
no longer physically wired
to the light. It will no longer
be constrained by being
bolted to the wall. It may
not even be on the wall in
the future. But there will be
a convergence in the Internet of Everything, where all
appliances and controlling
devices will be interconnected.
HW: One way to rise
in the eco-system is to
provide more complex
solutions. Do you see a
point when you’ll provide
‘‘One thing that could
complete solutions in inteltransform market growth for
ligent lighting?
us is a stronger approach to
DB: We don’t want to
mandating energy efficiency
compete with our customat government level…’
ers. We have considered
whether there would be a bigger dollar return on shipping a
bigger proportion of the solution. Could we go from chips to
subsystems? We have always declined to do so, because our
margins would go down.
HW: Is there one change in the market that would make your
life easier?
DB: One thing that could transform market growth for us is
a stronger approach to mandating energy efficiency at government level. Clearly incandescent light bulbs are being phased
out, but that doesn’t apply to halogens, which are only marginally more efficient. And yet there is an LED alternative that is
ten-times more efficient.
HW: What changes do you see happening in the
semiconductor industry?
DB: There is increasing divergence in the semiconductor industry between companies chasing the ‘bleeding edge’
(sub-20nm) and companies like CamSemi, which simply cannot
afford to play in that space. Every product we ship is based on
a technology that is 20 years old and well proven.
We want to be involved in areas where we can leverage the
historical manufacturing infrastructure that has been left behind
by the bleeding edge.
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GlobalLoc_PanEuro_93x277.indd 1
14/04/14 15:21
4K OLED: the last status symbol before
TV obsolescence?
By Julien Happich
Ultra High Definition also known as 4K (boasting
3840×2160pixels at either 60 or 120 frames per second) was in
pretty much every announcement at the NAB Show which took
place last month in Las Vegas.
The content exists or can be “digitally upgraded”, the displays are ready, but are consumers ready to fork out for a 4K
upgrade yet?
Even if LCD or OLED TVs grow larger, flatter and thinner, my
impression is that cloud-based services and video compression
will eventually kill wall-mounted TVs as a concept.
In fact, the move to 4K could be seen as a desperate attempt by the TV industry to reverse the global market trend: two
consecutive years of decline since the 2011 peak of 255 million
units shipped worldwide.
“4K is a very important strategy for most brands, but particularly those targeting the high-end TV market,” observed Paul
Gagnon, director of global TV research for NPD DisplaySearch.
But overall TV shipments fell 3 percent in 2013 (7% in 2012)
and even newer LCD TVs declined 1 percent as early as 2012
(CRT and plasma TVs being the hardest hit technologies). But
NPD DisplaySearch expects the number of UHD TVs to reach
62 million in 2017.
The research firm sees OLED and 4K TVs as growth drivers, it expects curved TVs display shipments to reach nearly
800,000 units in 2014 and to exceed six million units by the end
of 2017, boosted by OLED TVs.
But the novelty of OLED and curved TVs will wear off too
and even the higher selling prices and higher profit margins of
such TVs will certainly fail to compensate for the overall market
What probably makes it harder to attract television buyers,
especially in saturated markets such as Europe and the USA,
is that consumers spend more time on their smartphones and
other internet-connected devices, with online content and
games at their fingertip wherever they are.
16 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
Splashing tens of thousands of dollars only to be stuck in a
room watching the same mediocre content (with a better resolution I admit) that you could access from any mobile device does
not make much sense unless you are after a status symbol.
Even as a very wealthy photographer or video maker, you would
think twice before spending that sort of money only to lose flexibility. Portable projectors are also moving into the wide-screen
space, again with unbeatable portability and projection size.
On the bright side for high-end TV makers, China will be the
new Eldorado for 4K TVs, with Chinese brands accounting for
84 percent of global 4K TV shipments which totalled 1.6 million
units in 2013 according to NPD DisplaySearch. Pricing war is
then likely to reduce the high-margin benefit of making such
large display units.
4K TV broadcasting ends-up on
Ultra High Definition also known as 4K (boasting twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of the 1080p HDTV format) was a
hot topic both for content creators, broadcasters and display
Even going beyond 4K, at NAB, Japanese public broadcaster
NHK demonstrated over-the-air transmission of 8K content (socalled Super Hi-Vision featuring 7680x4320 pixels) in a single
6 MHz UHF TV channel. In February, the company had announced an 8K sensor that could shoot video at 120 frames per
second, it has developed an 8K-capable video camera weighing
under 2 kg.
For the efficient delivery of heavy Ultra HD content boasting 3840×2160pixels at either 60 or 120 frames per second,
you must not only be able to acquire and process video at that
sort of resolution and frame rate, but you must also be able to
encode and decode it efficiently to enable data streaming. High
Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is the name of the game. H.265
/ HEVC is said to double the data compression ratio compared
to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC for the same level of video quality. It can
support 8K UHD and resolutions up to 8192x4320.
At NAB, MaxLinear and STMicroelectronics announced a
reference design for Ultra HD set-top boxes and gateways,
for satellite pay-TV operators. The reference design supports
multiple decode, multi-channel personal video recorders (PVR),
interface on an application processor, effectively converting the smartphone into
a 4K gateway for home TV.
The HDplay ICs rolled out by TranSwitch supports both HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) and DisplayPort standards, eliminating the need for
active converter cables and enabling
consumers to port 4K content from their
notebook PCs, tablets and smartphones
to Ultra HD televisions (for those who
can afford them).
video-on-demand (VOD) and multiple
transcoding for streaming to second-screen
clients. It combines MaxLinear’s MxL5xx
family of satellite Full-Spectrum Capture
receivers and ST’s pin-compatible STiH312
“Cannes” and STiH412 “Monaco” set-top
box SoC decoders.
Altera was keen to announce that its
H.265 Enhanced Motion Estimation Engine,
paired with server software from video
delivery infrastructure provider Harmonic
could enable 4Kp60 real-time performance,
cutting on rack space and CPU processing power.
Barco Silex also demonstrated 4K
Video over IP, combining its JPEG2000
compression IP cores and transport
stream solutions with Xilinx’ SMPTE
2022 cores on a single Kintex-7 device
to deliver encoded content compliant
with the VSF (Video Services Forum) for
maximum interoperability.
Earlier this year at CES, French company Kalray was demonstrating a low
power Ultra HD HEVC encoder running
on its MPPA-256 Manycore processor
(256 cores on a single chip), streaming
DivX HEVC UltraHD video to a set top
box (with live encoding and decoding)
while drawing under 50W of power. The
company sees a big market opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of
cloud infrastructures used by content
providers to encode, decode or transcode multi-format and premium videos
for multi-screen devices such as tablets
and smartphones.
DivX HEVC is part of an end-to-end
solution helping to accelerate the adoption of the next-generation compression standard across the entire video
distribution system. It includes MainConcept encoding SDKs for professional content creators, the DivX Video
Service with studio approved DivX DRM
for protected content delivery across
multi-screen devices, and popular DivX
consumer software tools for PC-based
content creation and playback. In addition, DivX HEVC is integrated into the
DivX Certification program that allow IC
and OEM customers to quickly bring to
market mobile and consumer electronics products that enable consistently
high-quality DivX HEVC video playback.
Solutions are also cropping up
to stream Ultra HD content from a
smartphone to a larger display such as
a 4K-capable TV stuck on a wall. For instance, Toshiba Electronics’ TC358840
Ultra HD HDMI to MIPI CSI-2 converter
chipset supports 4K video resolution.
The chipset converts an Ultra HD HDMI
video stream to a dual CSI-2 video
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4/1/2014 9:41:49 AM
Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 17
Li-Fi reaches 1Gbps: lighting the path to a new internet model
By Paul Buckley
Harald Haas and his team are claiming another
breakthrough in Li-Fi technology by demonstrating that up to 1.1 Gbps can be transmitted using
light waves from micro LEDs over a distance of 10
metres using less than 0.5 W power.
Haas is a Professor at the University of Edinburgh and Chief Science Officer (CSO) and
co-founder of pureLiFi. The demonstration equates
only to five percent of the power of a typical 10 W LED light
bulb but proves the point that lights can be dimmed down while
high data rates and coverage are maintained. Moreover, the
distance at which 1 Gbps can be achieved with a single colour
LED is 10 times larger than what has been reported previously.
The work was undertaken as part of the EPSRC funded
Ultra Parallel-Visible Light Communications (UP-VLC) programme grant, in collaboration with partners from the Institute
of Photonics at the University of Strathclyde, the University of
Glasgow and the University of Oxford.
The latest discovery follows the successful
demonstration by pureLiFi of the world’s first commercial Li-Fi product, Li-1st, during March at MWC
2014 and CeBIT 2014. pureLiFi added a second
production run of the Li-1st during March 2014
to meet the high demand from industry customers worldwide. This new production run is being
shipped in April.
“Li-Fi is revolutionising wireless communications and showing that Li-Fi can be the enabler of the emerging Internet of
Everything. By transmitting data at speeds above 1 Gbps and
record distances of 10 metres at a fraction of the power of typical LED bulbs, we continue to make the technological leaps and
bounds that make Li-Fi a technology that could transform the
way we use the internet in the near future,” explained Professor
Harald Haas, CSO and co-founder of pureLiFi.
Printoo: modular printed electronics made Arduino-compatible
By Julien Happich
A spin-out from YDreams, Ynvisible
was founded in 2010 with the goal to bring
more interactivity to everyday objects and
surfaces, mostly through the use of flexible and printed electronics including the
company’s fully transparent electrochromic
display. The paper-thin display, which only
becomes visible when activated can easily
be integrated with different background
Currently, the company is raising funds
through the crowd-funding platform KickStarter for the first
production batch of its Printoo Arduino-compatible printed
electronics design platform. With more than three weeks to go,
Ynvisible has already collected more than its initial $20,000
pledge which would support the production of roughly 500 kits
featuring between 10 to 12 modules.
Running Arduino software, the first Printoo packs include
novel printed modules including LED light strips from VTT lab,
1.5V printed batteries from Blue Spark and Enfucell, 0.350mm
thin organic photodetectors from ISORG, printed polymer solar
cells from Mekoprint, and Ynvisible’s own transparent printed
displays running from 1.5V. Also included are modules like
Bluetooth LE, DC motor control, flexible LED matrixes, and a
variety of sensors. The Printoo core is powered by the Atmel
ATmega328 microcontroller. A list of components can be found
at www.printoo.pt
“Flexible and printed electronics components are often only
available from labs and research institutes, and by building an
Arduino-compatible platform capable of connecting different
flexible modules, we’re giving designers a chance to try out
these novel printed electronic technologies” explains Manuel
Câmara, New Products Manager at Ynvisible.
“With Printoo, we bring printed electronics to the masses.
The Arduino user base is also more accepting, and by making
18 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
Printoo an open-source project, we encourage more people to experiment with these
relatively new technologies while they are
still maturing”, Câmara added.
“Our R&D engineers are taking printed
electronics out of research and development laboratories into the mainstream”
says Ynvisible’s CEO Inês Henriques in a
presentation video on KickStarter.
Among the various project examples
shown on the promotional video, I must admit the very basic
“girlfriend communicator” made me giggle.
The company hopes
to bring more modules
as the platform develops,
for example to include
flexible memory, printed
OLEDs, printed temperature sensors or image
sensors. It is open to talk
with all companies in the
field of flexible electronics.
Modularity means connectors. There are also quite a few
discrete components mounted on flexible foils too.
“In order to make Printoo modular and easy to experiment
with, we’ve made the compromise to rely on 2.54mm pitch
standard connectors for the different modules, so they are not
as small as they could be if only using printed electronics. But
of course, once they have proven a concept, designers can
opt for better printed integration at manufacturing level” told us
Since Europe is driving the research in printed electronics,
the Printoo kits will most likely be manufactured in Europe, so
as to stay close to the companies involved, hinted Câmara.
Amazon’s smartphone: a consumers tracking tool in disguise
By Julien Happich
well compensate the design effort. Especially so if the new augThe Wall Street Journal’s report last week that ecommerce
mented reality feature means that 3D items from Amazon’s online
giant Amazon is planning to enter the smartphone market with its
catalogue can pop-up in front of the users’ eyes, right in place of
own handset planned for June is stirring a lot of debate regarding
the real thing and at a better price. A real-time price-war could take
the company’s pricing model in what looks like a saturated and
place wherever you shop.
well served market.
If the practice ever became mainstream, would physical shops
According to the report, a smartphone with four front-facing
retaliate with special “no augmented reality” policies?
cameras or sensors has been demonstrated to developers in
Seattle and San Francisco over the last
few weeks, with the capability to track the
user’s gaze, augmented reality features
together with a glasses-free 3D-viewing
experience. The auto-stereoscopic 3D
screen would serve the on-screen effects
based on the user’s head position (as
detected by the front-facing sensors).
You could certainly extrapolate that
back-facing stereoscopic cameras would
capture the real world in 3D to support
the augmented reality features and match
the user’s gaze with the real-world items
attracting the consumer’s attention.
Once identified in the real world, these
items could be searched and matched
in Amazon’s online database to come
up with price-competitive offers. In retail
stores equipped with Bluetooth Smart
beacons, the geolocalized offers pushed
to the consumer’s smartphone could
even be used by Amazon to fine-tune its
contextual counter-offers.
Sure the smartphone market is already
dominated by a handful of players, all
trying to leverage their hardware to scrutinize and influence consumers’ spending habits. Google’s Android OS gives
the search engine giant a helping hand
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Last year, HTC and Facebook have
released a “low-cost” social-network
dedicated smartphone that turns the unit
into a full-featured Facebook engine,
ready to deliver targeted advertising. The
“First” as it is called, is said to deliver an
immersive Facebook experience with better integrated notifications.
If provided at a very attractive cost,
Amazon’s smartphone could just be
another self-serving tool, a consumer
Advanced Power
Power Supplies
tracking device purposely built to give the
merchant a competitive edge in-store as
well as online. It may come fully loaded
with Amazon’s apps and useful shortcuts
to the company’s retail services.
Even if Amazon was not directly making profit from selling this new hardware,
the user-generated data collected and
analysed by such a proprietary tool could
Powering your next design.
www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 19
China’s quest for ‘MIPS in wearable’
By Junko Yoshida
in,” says Francis Sideco, senior director of Consumer, Mobile,
Let’s be blunt: Not many serious players in the electronand IT Electronics at IHS. While Ingenic is no household name
ics industry today are sanguine about the survival chances for
in the West (but well known in China), the company undoubtedly
MIPS processors in a global mobile market where in the last
holds the key to the future of MIPS in the mobile, wearable, and
decade - almost single-handedly - ARM has built its formidable
IoT world.
Then, there’s the China factor. The world is
Against that backdrop, the industry can’t
waiting to see if China has the will (or stomhelp but ooze with pessimism as it regards
ach) to build a MIPS-based ecosystem robust
Ingenic Semiconductor, a Beijing-based supenough to rival ARM. The keys are Chinese
plier of its own MIPS-based mobile SoCs.
supercomputers (based on MIPS cores) and
Armed with a home-grown MIPS CPU
Ingenic. Although this is all still hypothesis, an
core, the Chinese fabless company, founded
industry official based in Beijing, who spoke
in 2005, flew under the radar until 2010, when
on the condition of anonymity, asked EE
it first burst into the then emerging tablet
Times last month, “What if China buys Imagiscene and went public in China. Despite
nation Technology?” The idea is that China,
initial success in e-books and tablets, Ingenic Fig. 1: Ingenic CEO Qiang Liu at the
if it sees MIPS as the nation’s crown jewel,
ended up abandoning the tablet marketing in
company’s entrance.
might see Imagination as a vital investment.
late 2012. Ingenic today is betting its life on
the yet-to-be defined smartwatch market.
As company founder and CEO Qiang Liu acknowledged in a
Meet Qiang Liu
recent conversation with EE Times, “Ingenic performed not well
Liu is by no means a typical boastful Chinese CEO. Calm and
during the past several years... Profit decreased from $10 milquiet, he talks earnestly, listens to others intently, and makes no
lion three years ago to around $4 million last year.”
predictions about what he doesn’t know. In a recent meeting at
Ingenic, back against the wall, last year rolled out a new
Ingenic’s Beijing headquarters, Liu said a lot of people in the inplatform for wearable devices and Internet of Things, called the
dustry and the investment community blame him for clinging to
Ingenic Newton Platform. At the platform’s core sits Ingenic’s
MIPS. “They say my decision to stay with MIPS is emotional.”
1 GHz MIPS-based JZ4775 CPU (a single-core MIPS CPU
running at 1.0 GHz, manufactured by using a 65 nm process
MIPS is a “business decision”
technology). Newton features flexible mobile connectivity opLiu, however, is adamant that Ingenic’s choice of MIPS is a
tions and various MEMS and bio sensors.
“business decision.” MIPS is what Ingenic teams know and how
Ingenic’s all-out attack on the wearable/IoT market won’t
the company believes it can differentiate itself and its products
end there. Ingenic is grooming a new SOC, JZ4785, complete
from others. “We are doing MIPS because we want to stay origiwith its own MIPS version of big.LITTLE architecture. The new
nal,” Liu told EE Times in Beijing.
SoC, enabled with low-power voice recognition baked in, is
Significantly, Ingenic is unlike most China fabless companies,
expected out of the foundry by the end of May. It’s designed for
which design mobile apps processors by cobbling together
smartwatches, camera glasses, and other IoT
various IP blocks licensed from elsewhere.
devices, Liu told us.
Ingenic’s team was working on MIPS CPU
In short, Liu and his team have not given
designs well before the company purchased
up the impossible dream: MIPS in wearable
licenses for MIPS architecture instruction sets
devices, if not handsets and tablets. “The toin 2009.
tal 240 employees at Ingenic still insist on our
Liu noted, “We have a MIPS architecture
belief to provide another computing platform
license, we design our own processor cores
other than ARM,” said Liu.
and multimedia elements that go into SoCs
on our own.” As for 3D graphics, Ingenic
Rise and fall
Fig. 2: Ingenic’s MIPS-powered tablet licensed it from Vivante, and more recently
PowerVR from Imagination.
To call the rise and fall of Ingenic typical of the
in the educational market.
hundreds of boom-and-bust China fabless
ventures is premature and misguided. Ingenic, more accurately,
What killed MIPS in mobile
is an underdog story about a non-”me too” apps processor
In April 2012, Linley Gwennap, principal analyst at The Linley
company (a rarity in China) that’s still pushing the envelope.
Group, wrote a piece entitled “Stranger in an ARM World,” disIn a broader context, Ingenic could be a bellwether for the
cussing the Ingenic-designed MIPS CPU for the JZ4770 mobile
mobile and wearable future of MIPS technology, now owned by
Imagination Technology.
Its MIPS-based processing core’s low-power profile aside,
Ingenic designed its own CPU, called XBurst. Implementing
Imagination’s MIPS technology “will need to get adopted by a
the MIPS32 (release 2) instruction set, this CPU uses a simple
major chip supplier in order to have the best chance of breaking
scalar design. In 65nm LP, it operates at 1.0GHz (1.2GHz at
overvoltage). The single-core JZ4770 should have performance
similar to that of single-core Cortex-A5 processors running at
Junko Yoshida is Chief International Correspondent at
the same speed.
EE Times – www.eetimes.com
20 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
scenario is that most apps will run on
the smartphone while driving content to
the watch via Bluetooth.” Under such a
scenario, “the watch needs to run only a
small amount of software, so compatibility
with ARM becomes much less important.
“For this type of watch, the processor
must be simple and inexpensive, so Ingenic’s technology should be applicable.”
IHS’s Sideco agrees. “This relatively
In the same 2012 article, Gwennap was
green field provides an opening for MIPShopeful for Ingenic, citing “millions of dolbased suppliers to break in,” he notes.
lars savings Ingenic made, compared with
“The smart watch market... doesn’t have
the cost of an ARM architecture license.” Fig. 3: Ingenic Newton Platform’s
the same entrenched designs as the
Gwennap was optimistic about MIPS in
tablet market does (given that the latter is
the Android market, noting “most Android
based on a lot of smartphone designs).”
apps are architecture-neutral and run on any instruction set.”
The Ingenic Newton platform comes with flexible mobile
In the last couple of years, Ingenic has seemingly made the
connectivity including WiFi (802.11 a/b/g/n at 2.4/5 GHz) and
right moves to get MIPS accepted in the Android world. Ingenic
Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR (including Bluetooth LE support), with
snagged support for MIPS from Google on Android 4.1 in 2012.
support for NFC and FM. It also features various MEMS and bio
It also developed a binary translator for MIPS and opened it to
sensors; 3-axis gyroscope; accelerometer
Imagination Technologies.
and magnetometer; and pressure, humidBut in the end, Gwennap’s cautious 2012
ity, temperature, and bio-signal detection
analysis was prescient about MIPS’s demise in
and processing. The small board, 3.2 mm
the tablet market. Gwennap wrote, “One drawthick, measures 21.6 by 38.4 mm.
back of this processor for tablet use is its lack of
compatibility with some Android apps. The MIPS
Imagination Technology’s Alexandru
architecture provides some technical advantages,
Voica recently blogged about Ingenic
but end users may not care about that if they
can’t run their favorite apps.”
Ingenic Newton achieves very impressive
When reached by EE Times for follow-up
this week, Gwennap said, “The large number of
Fig. 4: ToMoon recently swapped its power consumption figures under typical
apps available on ARM makes it difficult for any
smartwatch platform from Freescale workloads: standby power is a measly
4mW, generic computing tasks (think MP3
other architecture to succeed in smartphones or
to Ingenic whose design engineers
playback) take up to 100mW on average
can be seen in the background.
while peak power consumption is around
“Consider that Intel has made little headway
260mW. This means that Ingenic-powered smartwatches can
in mobile despite spending years optimizing its binary translalast for 30+ hours on a single charge.
tor and also investing heavily in getting the leading apps ported
natively to x86. The MIPS camp is well behind Intel in this type
of investment.”
Switching from Freescale to Ingenic
In China, where both system OEMs and consumers are eager
for the emerging smartwatch market, the Ingenic Newton platOnto wearable devices
form is gaining traction.
Since the company’s single-core JZ4770 launched in 2011, InBeyond Geak Watch and Z Watch, Togenic has continued to develop its XBurst-based
Moon Technology, a leading smartwatch
JZ747XX series SoCs.
vendor, has joined the Newton party. In
The Ingenic-designed XBurst CPU adopts a
fact, ToMoon recently switched its hardpipeline engine that can emit instructions with
ware platform from Freescale to Ingenic,
very little power, according to the company. Liu
after the company sold its first batch of
explained that the JZ747XX series has penetrated
smartwatches over the Internet.
into e-dictionary, PMP, e-book, tablet, and wearWhen this reporter visited Ingenic,
able devices quickly. Since its inception of the
a team of ToMoon engineers could be
series in 2007, Ingenic has shipped more than 30
seen, closeted in a conference room with
million units.
Ingenic’s engineering staff.
Although Ingenic still holds some market share
Ingenic’s foray into the IoT market goes
in the educational tablet market, the company
beyond Newton. A new SOC, designated
has switched gears since 2012, setting its sights Fig. 5: The Z Watch-designed
JZ4785, is in the hopper and expected
on the emerging market of wearable devices with
back from the foundry in May.
Newton, a platform for the Internet of Things.
Ingenic’s new IoT platform and its new SoC will be instruIndustry analysts believe that despite Ingenic’s withdrawal
mental if Ingenic survives. But the future for Ingenic and MIPS
from the tablet segment, there’s plenty of opportunity to pursue
technology will require a big idea and long-term thinking.
In that regard, Liu is hopeful for a much tighter collaboration
with Imagination. But even more imperative is a clear comAnalysts’ views
mitment by industry forces -- other than Ingenic itself -- to a
The Linley Group’s Gwennap told us, “Smart watches are still
computing platform other than ARM.
very new, and it’s not clear how they will develop... One likely
In addition to low cost, Ingenic designed
the JZ4770 for low power as well. At
1.0GHz, the XBurst CPU uses 90mW.
The entire processor consumes less
than 300mW, according to the company. These figures should help mobile
designers use smaller, lighter, and less
expensive batteries.
www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 21
POWER design
What exactly is DC power integrity?
By Benjamin Jordan
When I first learned to design digital electronics and layout a PCB, I was taught to put all the 74-series chips and the
microprocessor in neat rows, and the rule of thumb was to add
a single 0.1µF ceramic capacitor for decoupling to each device,
and sometimes adding an additional 1µF tantalum or electrolytic for the micros in parallel. I never worried too much about
getting power to each device - using a 20 or 30 mil trace was
enough for a chip that never drew more than 100mA, along with
the classic interdigitated +5V/GND “grid”. Of course, power
electronic designs are a whole different ball game. And I always
took a lot more time, care and planning with power supply and
amplifier designs - making sure to use proper (star) grounding
and keeping high-current loops as tight as possible.
Some of this was more than 20 years ago now, and of course
there has been a lot of development in the decoupling and
power network topic since then. More elaborate and carefully
placed decoupling schemes have to be designed for each new
silicon process node, each new chip package generation and
for each new PCB design as they become more densely packed
with parts than ever. It’s getting difficult to find room for all the
“rule of thumb” decoupling caps! And with BGA packaged
devices down to 0.4mm pitch, that meanwhile draw several
amps of current during use, it’s getting really difficult to plan and
design a good power network on the PCB. Whether we like it or
not, Power Integrity is a challenge that all PCB designers and
engineers have to address.
Power Integrity is talked about a lot these days. But a lot of
the talk is really on the signal integrity side - I call it AC power
integrity, which is really
about the impedances of
the power network at high
frequencies. This deals
with how the decoupling is
designed as well as return
paths for high-speed signals.
While it is non-trivial, I don’t
want to simply regurgitate
this already very commonly
discussed topic. I want to
get down to DC… why?
Well, it just seems to me that
learning to walk before trying
to run is a good idea. So
let’s talk DC Power Integrity.
At face value, it seems to be a simple enough topic - you just
need to make sure there’s enough copper to get the necessary current to each device on the board. But that’s just at face
value. When you start to work with fine-pitch device packages,
manufacturing constraints and power requirements of said
devices are almost completely at odds. Not only is it difficult to
get the current needed to all the power pins, but you are also
Benjamin Jordan is Sr. Manager for Content Marketing Strategy
at Altium - www.altium.com
22 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
working with multiple supply voltages. This means that unless
you want a high-layer-count PCB, you are going to have to get
power to your devices through various split planes, and that’s
just where the trouble begins.
But before I go too far down into the rabbit hole of designing
the power distribution networks, how can you tell if you even
have a power integrity problem? Power Integrity issues are
sneaky little blighters. Like cockroaches that rapidly scamper
into the crevices when the light turns on - the moment you try
looking for these issues is the moment they can’t easily be
reproduced. But you may have a power integrity issue if any of
the following symptoms occur to your assemblies:
The CPU is resetting unexpectedly, or when a high-utilization
thread enters execution.
Memory devices keep failing content retention / corruption
Analogue front-end circuits are randomly inaccurate or out of
design specs.
CPU or FPGA devices fail catastrophically.
FPGA configurations are corrupted during power up.
PCB Vias go open-circuit after a period of use cycles or
maybe even at first power on.
Production PCBs suffer blistering in the common locations.
PCBs suffer delamination in common locations.
Trace or polygon neckdowns are fusing.
Discoloration of laminate or solder mask material in some
regions of the PCB.
These symptoms fall into two
broad categories of DC Power Integrity problems. For example, items 1
through 5 are the more sinister misbehaviours caused by transient voltage drops across the board. Sometimes they can be fixed with better
decoupling but when talking DC,
really more copper will improve the
design. Items 6 through 10 are more
serious power integrity issues where
current density regularly exceeds the
safe limits for temperature rise and
the board is suffering from localized
heating, or copper is outright fusing.
There are some useful tools for
avoiding these sorts of problems before prototype; for example
the IPC-2152 conductor sizing charts. I would say it’s a must
that every design begins with these charts as the basis for
power network design rules for the PCB layout. However, there
are designs that now approach a part density that make it necessary to design “on the edge” and work with means and duty
cycles to make sure the board doesn’t fail.
So, DC Power Integrity is the concern over making sure
that each device in the design gets the power it needs, without
suffering the problems mentioned, all while ensuring a reliable
power network on the PCB.
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POWER design
SiC power devices gain traction among
electric vehicles manufacturers
By Dr. Thomas Barbieri
Schottky devices virtually eliminates diode
As the market demand for electric veswitching losses and permits increased
hicles continues to increase – driven in part
switching frequencies, making the overall
by government regulations on fuel efficiency,
power management system much more efescalating fuel costs and an overall trend
toward “greener” transportation options – a
Another critical area for enhancing EV pergrowing number of automotive manufacturers
formance is also in the design of the vehicle’s
are incorporating the latest power electronic
charging system. Plug-in vehicle owners want
technology in their designs to improve overall
rapid charging from readily accessible electriperformance, increase efficiency, and reduce
cal outlets and hybrid owners desire reliable
cost, weight and complexity.
and long-lasting battery charging systems.
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in
The key to both of these performance enhybrid electrical vehicles (PHEVs) and battery
Fig. 1: EV charging systems benefit
hancements is the design of power electronics
electrical vehicles (BEVs) all contain several
from the improved efficiency and
systems that feature high efficiency power
critical systems that stand to benefit from
thermal characteristics of Cree’s SiC conversion, high operating temperature capawide bandgap power devices; these devices
bility and high charging current and power.
have the potential to enhance both the energy Schottky diodes.
A significant increase in system efficiency can be achieved
efficiency and performance of electric vehicles, which could
by replacing the silicon PiN diode with a SiC Schottky diode
enable early adopters to achieve a significant market advantage
in the buck-boost converter of a 6.6kW charging system. In a
over their competitors.
recent study by Global Power Electronics, this drop-in replaceAs one of the leading wide bandgap semiconductor materiment of SiC diodes for silicon diodes in an IGBT-switched
als, silicon carbide (SiC) offers a number of proven performance
power module increased the system efficiency by approximately
advantages over conventional silicon technology, including
2 percent (for a maximum observed conversion efficiency of
higher voltage blocking capability, faster switching speed, lower
96.4 percent), compared to the system employing all silicon
on-state and switching losses, higher thermal conductivity,
and higher surge resistance. These characteristics provide the
Cree’s 600V and 1200V SiC Schottky diodes have already
platform for advanced power electronics subsystems that are
been implemented in several EV charger designs, and the diode
at the heart of electric vehicle drivetrains, power converters and
portfolio has recently been expanded to include packaged decharging systems.
vices and bare die in voltage ratings ranging up to 1700V.
In a typical electric drivetrain vehicle, sophisticated power
Cree SiC Schottky diodes feature a proprietary internal
electronics are employed to manage the flow of energy between
design with a Merged PiN Structure (MPS), providing extreme
energy storage devices (batteries) and motor drive inverters.
surge resistance against the most intense fault events. As seen
Improving the efficiency of these power electronics systems,
in figure 4, a 10A, 1200V Schottky diode with the MPS structure
which currently depend on conventional silicon power devices
exhibits surge resistance greater than 700A at 25˚C under a
with limited voltage and power ratings, is critical for improving
overall electric vehicle efficiency and reliability. By using the performance advantages of SiC power devices, electric drivetrains
can achieve increased efficiency, higher power levels and power
density, and reduced cooling system requirements. These
system-level benefits yield increased vehicle performance, driving range per charge and decreased energy and/or fuel cost.
The significant performance enhancement that SiC can provide in an electric vehicle application can be shown by replacing
the conventional silicon PiN diodes with SiC Schottky diodes
in both the high voltage DC/DC boost converter circuit of the
traction drive system and also in the onboard battery charging system. Note that these applications require high voltage
devices (> 300V) with ultrafast switching speed. Conventionally,
silicon PiN diodes are used since high voltage silicon Schottky
diodes are not available. However, these bipolar silicon PiN diodes have poor reverse recovery characteristics, which reduce
achievable switching frequency and efficiency. In comparison,
the zero reverse recovery characteristic of the unipolar SiC
Fig. 2: SiC Schottky diodes show zero reverse recovery
Dr. Thomas Barbieri is product marketing engineer at Cree, Inc
– www.cree.com
24 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
charge (Qrr), which is a result of silicon carbide’s ability to
support high voltage with unipolar devices.
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Fig. 3: The latest SiC Schottky diodes from Cree are rated
for 50A and 1700V blocking voltage, providing superior
rectification in power electronics systems.
10-microsecond pulse. This high surge capability will contribute
to increased reliability in the systems that incorporate SiC components. For example, the susceptibility of the boost converter
to damage from high inrush current would be greatly reduced
if the silicon PiN boost diode were to be replaced with a SiC
Schottky diode.
Another advantage realized by substituting SiC Schottky diodes is that, unlike silicon devices which experience significant
switching performance degradation with a rise in temperature,
the switching characteristics of SiC Schottky diodes are virtually unchanged at elevated temperatures. Consequently, as the
operating temperature of the charger or inverter increases, the
switching efficiency of silicon diodes decreases, but the switching efficiency of SiC diodes remains unchanged. SiC as a material also has inherently higher thermal conductivity, meaning that
smaller heatsinks are required, and in many cases, secondary
cooling technologies such as fans can be eliminated from the
design. Since vehicle charging systems are subject to high
operating and ambient temperatures, this makes SiC devices a
better choice.
Finally, SiC power devices are capable of much higher power
density than silicon devices. This feature includes the potential
to save significant space and weight by reducing component
count, size, and circuit complexity, and improving the thermal
management of the overall system, as noted above. Ultimately,
these performance improvements, in combination with the
space and weight reduction in the power electronics systems,
enable automotive designers to provide better efficiency,
eliminate auxiliary
cooling systems,
and deliver increased battery
range for their
electric vehicles.
By reducing circuit
complexity and
thermal management requirements
and enabling higher
power density and
more efficient operation, SiC power
Fig. 4: Forward surge current resistance has the potential
to drive the perforof Cree’s 1200V Schottky diode versus
mance of electric
surge pulse time, showing the impact
vehicle systems to
of the Merged PiN Structure on surge
new levels.
POWER design
Simplified solar-based battery charging
By Steve Knoth and Albert Wu
Solar power is green and abundantly “free,” but often times
it can be less than reliable. Varying temperature effects that
shift the solar panel’s optimal power delivery point, in addition
to device aging, partial shading, the sun going down, animal
waste, etc. can all impede a panel’s performance. Due to these
reliability and variability concerns, nearly all solar-powered
devices feature rechargeable batteries for backup power purposes. Once just lead-acid based, these batteries have now
expanded to include Lithium-based chemistries too. The goal of
the solar-based recharging system is to extract as much of the
solar power as possible to charge the batteries quickly, as well
as maintaining their state of charge. Furthermore, drain on the
battery when the panel is lightly, or not illuminated, is important
and should be minimized whenever possible.
Clearly, solar powered applications are on the rise. Solar
panels of various sizes now power a variety of innovative applications from crosswalk marker lights to trash compactors
to marine buoy lights. Some batteries used in solar powered
applications are a type of deep cycle battery capable of surviving prolonged, repeated charge cycles, in addition to deep
discharges. These type of batteries are commonly found in
“off grid” (i.e., disconnected from the electric utility company)
renewable energy systems such as solar or wind power generation. System up time is paramount for off-grid installations due
to proximity access difficulties.
Solar panel basics
For a given amount of light energy and operating conditions, a
solar panel has a certain output voltage at which peak output
power is produced. Figure 1 shows the characteristics of a 72
cell panel at a panel temperature of 60ºC. The blue line shows
the I-V curve of the panel with the x-axis being the panel voltage. The dashed red line shows the resulting output power of
the panel as the panel voltage is swept from 0V to the open circuit voltage of the panel using a simple load box to accomplish
the sweep. For this particular case of conditions, the maximum
power point is at 32V and the panel can deliver 140W. Once the
panel temperature is allowed to vary, which it certainly will in a
real world setting, the maximum power point can vary between
28V on a hot day to 44V on a cold winter’s day.
Many simpler solar charging systems set the panel voltage
operating point to a fixed level. In the case of this particular
panel, these simpler systems would set the operating point
of the panel to be 32V in order to extract the most power at a
given temperature, 60°C in this case. However, when the panel
temperature changes, significant power is wasted because the
panel is no longer operated at its true maximum power point.
Upwards of 20% to 30% of the available power can be wasted
in these cases.
Steve Knoth and Albert Wu are Senior Product Marketing
Engineer and Design Manager respectively, for the Power
Products Group at Linear Technology Corporation –
26 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
To make matters worse, most
panels are required,
by safety standards
set in place, to have
bypass diodes built
into the solar cell array. The reason for
this has to do with
what occurs when
only portions of the
panel are shaded
from sunlight, while Fig. 1: With no partial shading, a simpler
other areas get full
power curve exist for a given solar panel
sun. When this occurs, the solar cells that are shaded become reverse biased but
still have high currents flowing through them because the other
illuminated cells are providing the current. High temperatures in
the shaded cells can occur and this can pose a fire hazard. To
help lower the risk of fire, manufacturers place bypass diodes
throughout the panel. Figure 2 shows how bypass diodes can
be placed in the 72 cell panel.
With bypass diodes in the panel, complex power versus voltage characteristics can occur when partial shading is present.
Figure 3 shows such a scenario where two local power maxima
are present, one at 21V and the other at 37V. If the above 32V
simple power point method were used, 79.4W of power would
be available compared to 90.1W available at the true maximum
power point of 21V. This represents a significant loss of 13.5%
in this case. Clearly, a system that can operate and track the
true maximum power point would be a superior approach.
Design challenges
Typical solar panel efficiencies range from about 5% to 15%
Combined with the fact that larger (i.e., more powerful) panels
cost more, solar powered designs must maximize efficiency to
minimize total system cost.
To effectively harvest energy from the sun in a solar based
product, the design must manage a widely varying input while
also finding a way to operate the solar panel at or near its maximum power point. Furthermore, the design must safely charge
the battery chemistry of choice used in the product.
Fig. 2: 3 bypass diodes placed in a 72 cell solar panel for
safety considerations
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There are also
other design problems encountered
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systems. For any
given solar-powered
system, firmware
development and
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huge amount of
A more complex
buck-boost topology is needed if
the panel’s optimal Fig. 3: With Partial Shading, More
power delivery
Complex Power Curves Exist for a Solar
point can be below,
equal to, or above
the battery voltage (this is a very common scenario). A buckboost topology allows true isolation in both directions (when
compared to a step-down or “buck” topology only, if the panel
is dark it might drain the battery through the body diode of
the NMOS through the inductor). Proper voltage termination is
needed to protect the battery. Finally, since the panel is not a
reliable source of power, in-situ charging of the battery (where
the charger feeds the battery, and a load is connected to battery) is needed—the battery is the power source but also acts
as a “buffer” in this case.
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What is maximum power point tracking
(MPPT) and why is it needed?
Maximum Power Point Tracking is a technique that helps
extract the highest amount of power from the panel under all
operating conditions. Some of these non-ideal operating conditions include:
- Panel is partially shaded (leaves, bird droppings, shadows,
snow, etc)
- Panel’s temperature variation
- Panel’s ageing
For example, in off-grid solar panel systems, failure of the
power system is costly. Customers want to extract the most
power they can from the panel. Further, they want to maximize
the time interval needed between maintenance visits to the
solar installation.
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POWER design
True active MPPT will seek out the optimum operating point
under all conditions. This results in less overall system cost
because the smallest panel or smallest battery can be used,
reducing the need to over design the system. True MPPT will
find the best peak power point and reject false local maximum
common in partially shaded panels (note: partial shading power
patterns are determined by the number and arrangement of
bypass diodes inside the panel).
A simple IC solution
All charge termination algorithms are provided on chip,
eliminating the need for software or firmware development, thus
reducing design cycle time.
The LT8490 operates over a wide 6V to 80V input voltage range and can produce a 1.3V to 80V battery float voltage output using a single inductor with 4-switch synchronous
rectification. The device is capable of charging currents as high
as 10A depending on the choice of external FETs. The LT8490’s
MPPT circuit enables a sweep of the full operating range of a
solar panel, finding the true maximum power point, even in the
presence of local maxima points caused by partial shading of
the panel. Once the true maximum power point is found, the
LT8490 will operate at that point while using a dithering technique to quickly track changes in the
local maximum power point. With this
methodology, the LT8490 fully utilizes the
power generated by a solar panel even in
non-ideal operating environments.
An IC charging solution that solves the problems outlined above
needs to possess many, if not all, of the following attributes:
Minimal software and firmware development time
Flexible buck/boost topology
Active MPPT algorithm
Simple, autonomous operation (no µP
Termination algorithms for various battery
In-situ charging - to power a load while
the battery is being charged
Wide input voltage range to accommodate various power sources
Wide output voltage range to address
multiple battery stacks
High output/charging current
Fig. 5: Global MPPT sweep from the
Small, low profile solution footprints
LT8490 (Yellow – Panel Voltage, Red –
Advanced packaging for improved thermal Panel Current, Green – Control Signal
performance and space efficiency
from LT8490)
Cost-effective solution
Typical convoluted competing solar battery charging systems consist of a DC-DC
switching battery charger, a microprocessor
plus several ICs and discrete components
in an attempt to replicate maximum power
point control / tracking functionality.
A global MPPT sweep is shown in Figure 5. The yellow trace shows the panel
output voltage. The LT8490 commands
the panel voltage to go to the open circuit level then subsequently commands
the panel to ramp down linearly to the
minimum level. The red trace shows
the panel current as the panel voltage
changes. The current is measured by
the LT8490 and the power is calculated
inside the IC. Once the sweep is completed, the panel voltage is returned to
the point at which maximum power was
The dithering technique is used to
track smaller changes in the maximum
power point between global sweeps.
This is shown in Figure 6. About midway
An alternative solution could be a solar
through the scope shot, a change to the
module; however these are costly, not simple
power point is applied to the panel to
to design in (require software, firmware,
simulate a cloud moving in the sky thus
etc.) and tend to lock on to false solar panel Fig. 6: Local dithering by the LT8490,
changing the amount of sunlight striking
maxima and therefore do not operate as
between global sweeps (Yellow – Panel
the panel.
efficiently as possible. Fortunately, a simpler Voltage, Red – Panel Current, Green –
The LT8490 continually moves the
solution is at hand, thanks to Linear TechControl Signal from LT8490)
panel voltage a small amount above and
nology’s LT8490 buck-boost solar powered
then below the current MPPT point to check if a better operatbattery charging controller.
ing point exists. If it finds one, it properly tracks to the new
point and repeats the process. In this way, the LT8490 is able
An efficient solar-powered solution
to track changes without having to do a global sweep too often.
Linear Technology has developed a simple, innovative high
voltage buck-boost charging controller IC specifically for solar
The LT8490 performs automatic temperature compensation
applications, one which requires neither software nor firmware
of the battery charge voltage by sensing an external thermisdevelopment, thus greatly reducing time-to-market.
tor on the battery. The STATUS and FAULT pins can be used
to drive LED indicator lamps. Charging current limits can be
The LT8490, shown in Figure 4, is a synchronous buck-boost
adjusted by changing as few as 1 or 2 resistors, and a charging
battery charging controller for lead acid and Lithium battertime scale can be selected with the appropriate resistor divider.
ies, featuring automatic maximum power point tracking and
Other features of the device include: input and charge current
temperature compensation. The device operates from input
limit pins, a 3.3V regulated LDO output, status pins and a synvoltages above, below or equal to the regulated battery float
chronizable fixed switching frequency from 100kHz to 400kHz.
voltage. The LT8490’s full-featured battery charger offers many
The LT8490 is available in a 0.75mm high 64-pin 7x11mm QFN
selectable constant-current constant-voltage (CC-CV) charging
package and is guaranteed for operation from -40°C to +125°C.
profiles, making it ideal for charging a variety of Lithium or lead
acid chemistry types, including sealed lead acid, gel cells and
flooded cells.
28 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
Power management:
are you doing enough?
By Rob Morris
when the power supply to critical equipment fails, companies are at risk of losing out. In a retail environment, this can
result in tills breaking down and lost customer orders; in manufacturing, power outages can mean downtime, wasted manhours and failure to deliver on time. We all know how annoying
a power cut at home can be, but in a business environment this
frustration is magnified many times over with damage incurred
to reputation, customer satisfaction and to the bottom line.
However, the fact is that, while potentially catastrophic,
blackouts and power outages are relatively rare events. In fact
they are only one small, but very visible, part of a wider power
problem. Poor quality power events such as spikes, surges and
electrical noise often unnoticed and, worryingly, can be more
damaging to a business in the long term. Power disturbances
have the ability to erode electrical components, scramble computer systems and cause sudden failures in critical equipment.
But what exactly is poor quality power and what can be done to
prevent it?
What is poor quality power?
In simple terms, poor quality power is any irregular variation
in the voltage magnitude of a power source or in an electrical
circuit. This can include things like surges, spikes, transients,
electrical noise, electrical pollution and brownouts. It can be
caused by many different factors – both internally and externally. A lightning strike, for example, can have a current as high as
100,000 Amps, which can cause irreparable damage to internal
circuits. Lightning strikes increase the ground voltage, inducing electromagnetic fields, which subsequently cause surges in
voltage and current in the power supply.
Equipment inside buildings can also create pollution within
a circuit, sending potentially damaging spikes and transients to
other equipment. For example, lifts in office buildings or flashfreezers in restaurants can send massive spikes around the
circuit when being turned on and off.
Most businesses are alive to the problem of power outages
and blackouts and often take action to prevent them from damaging their business, installing uninterruptible power supplies
(UPS) which provide backup power in the event of failure. However, UPS do not always safeguard against poor quality power
and therefore don’t offer full protection against power problems,
despite what many business owners believe.
All of these disturbances, from the problems in the power
supply coming from the grid to the pollution introduced by electrical equipment, can cause serious problems for a business,
both immediately and in the long-term. These power quality
problems can be defined by the 3 D’s:
The three D’s
estruction occurs when a disturbance is so significant that
it causes a component to fail instantly. This sort of problem
Rob Morris is UK Country Manager at Powervar –
www.electronics-eetimes.com Fig. 1: A blown chip due to an uncontrolled power surge.
is easily identifiable by the charred remains of the part
Low amplitude disturbances affect semiconductors within
electronic equipment by causing degradation of the material
over time. When power disturbances exceed the low voltage
tolerance of a semiconductor junction, the material erodes
over time, eventually causing the failure of the component.
Some power disturbances can mimic genuine signals, causing disruption. Disruption can also be a result of a secondary fault created when surge diverters shunt excessive voltages to ground. This sort of problem is difficult to identify
and is often diagnosed as a software bug.
The best guard against the 3D’s is to use a combination of
components in one overall power conditioning system, providing full overall protection from poor quality power.
The optimal combination will include the following components:
Surge diverter to shunt any high voltages away from sensitive equipment.
Low-impedance isolation transformer to protect against the
common-mode caused by a surge diverter. This is the biggest problem modern computers face and is the one which
leads to lockups and data losses
Noise filter to remove any low amplitude disturbances that
pass through the surge diverter. Low amplitude noise can
affect the operation of digital systems by causing the circuit
to misinterpret the noise as a signal
Voltage regulator to remove any dips or swells
Frequency regulator for occasions when the frequency is
not stable. This is especially problematic in electricity in
developing countries or from generators
Uninterruptible power supply to provide backup power in
the event of a power outage
Ground loop control technology prevents the formation of
current loops when a circuit has more than one ground.
Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 29
POWER design
Significant ROI, fewer service calls
Planmeca, the American manufacturer of dental imaging equipment, found a 60% reduction in service calls after it integrated
Powervar’s power conditioning equipment into its dental imaging units.
Fig. 2: Powervar’s power conditioner.
Previously, the company’s customers were experiencing
repeated equipment failures. Understandably, this was frustrating for staff and patients alike. The problem actually lay in the
other equipment in the dental surgeries. Large compressors and
vacuum systems created noise pollution in the power supply
that caused slow degradation of components in the imaging
units. Eventually, these components would fail, causing equipment failure.
Planmeca initially thought their existing power management
solutions were enough to protect their equipment. They had
included UPS systems in their dental imaging units but this
proved insufficient to protect their high-tech devices from poor
quality power. The result, a high number of hardware failures,
Surge protection against 10,000A
on an 8/20 µS waveform
Bourns has added the Model 1840 surge protective device
(SPD) for signal and data line applications, a heavy-duty,
multi-stage protector designed to safeguard sensitive electronic circuits and components from damaging surge
voltages and currents.
The new model features extremely fast response and
low clamping voltages. The
Bourns Model 1840 supports working voltages of
5, 12 and 24 volts, and may
be used directly with RS232, RS-422, RS-423 and
RS-485 standard EIA interfaces as well as with 4-20 mA and
50 mA instrumentation loops. Bourns’ solid-state, third stage
protection device works by intercepting the leading edge
of a surge within a sub-nanosecond response time. Within
micro-seconds thereafter, a primary stage, three-electrode
common-chambered Gas Discharge Tube (GDT) activates
and crowbars the majority of the surge energy to ground. The
new model also utilizes Bourns TBU High-Speed Protector
(HSP) technology as a key second stage.
30 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
The Powervar’s UPS selection and demo tool.
was costing Planmeca 6% of the total cost of the product
through service calls. Integrating power conditioning solutions
in their imaging equipment reduced this by 70%. In real terms,
this equated to a return-on-investment of US$7,650,000 over
the 1,200 units installed per year.
This example shows that existing power management solutions might not always be enough to protect sensitive and
critical equipment. The best power conditioning solution will
provide all the benefits of individual power management components, without any of the negative consequences. It can save
users and manufacturers time and money by ensuring equipment receives clean, continuous power.
Smallest conduction cooled power supply
focuses on LED lighting
SL Power Electronics has introduced a single output,
conduction cooled, wide temperature range LED power
supply that provides 130 watts of energy efficient power at
90 percent efficiency in an
ultra-compact 3 x 5 x 1.3
inch package. The LB130 is
a single output power supply
that is ideal for high intensity
entertainment applications
such as stage lighting and
theatre control systems due
to the ability to operate efficiently in extreme temperature conditions and tight spaces.
The LB130 is designed to operate from -40°C to 70°C providing optimum thermal performance. Delivering 130 watts at
70°C ambient, the LB130 power supply is the smallest in the
industry featuring conduction cooling that eliminates space
and associated costs needed for fans. Meeting EN55015
standard for Electro Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) immunity
and Class B Conducted EMI, the LB130 does not require an
external Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) module. In addition, the power supply can turn on at -40°C, eliminating the
need for a costly heating element.
SL Power Electronics
Battery sensor integrates MCU, CAN
and analogue front-end
Freescale has an AEC-Q100 (automotive) qualified intelligent
battery sensor that combines three measurement channels, a
16/32-bit MCU, and a CAN protocol module in a single package. Designed to support both
conventional and emerging battery
chemistries for automotive and industrial applications, the MM9Z1J638
battery sensor measures key battery
parameters for monitoring state of
health (SOH), state of charge (SOC) and state of function (SOF)
for early failure prediction. A flexible four-cell front end architecture supports conventional 12V lead acid batteries as well as
emerging battery applications, such as 14V stacked cell Li-Ion,
high voltage junction boxes, and 24V truck batteries. Integrating
a 16/32 bit S12Z microcontroller with 128K Flash, 8K RAM and
4K EEPROM together with a CAN protocol module, LIN interface and a three-channel analogue measurement front end, the
MM9Z1J638 battery sensor combines analogue, processor and
communication functions in a single package to help lower total
bill of materials and accommodate advanced battery monitoring algorithms. The analogue front end includes a two-channel,
16-bit sigma delta (ΣΔ) analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) for
simultaneous measurement of battery voltage and current, as
well as a third 16-bit ΣΔ ADC for temperature monitoring using
the integrated sensor and redundant measurement plausibility
checks to support functional safety.
DC-DC converter boasts internal
Maxim Integrated has posted information on a device that
it believes to be the only available 60V, 1.7A, internal FET,
synchronous buck converter in its class. MAX17505 is a
high-efficiency, high-voltage, synchronously rectified stepdown converter with dual integrated MOSFETs that operates
over a 4.5V to 60V input. It delivers up to 1.7A and 0.9V to
90% VIN output voltage. Built-in compensation across the
output voltage range eliminates the need for external components. The feedback (FB) regulation accuracy over -40°C
to +125°C is ±1.1%. The device is available in a compact (4
x 4mm) TQFN lead(Pb)-free package with an exposed pad.
Simulation models are available. The device features a peakcurrent-mode control architecture with a MODE feature that
can be used to operate the device in pulse-width modulation
(PWM), pulse-frequency modulation (PFM), or discontinuousconduction mode (DCM) control schemes. PWM operation
provides constant frequency operation at all loads, and is
useful in applications sensitive to switching frequency. PFM
operation disables negative inductor current and additionally
skips pulses at light loads for high efficiency. DCM features
constant frequency operation down to lighter loads than PFM
mode, by not skipping pulses but only disabling negative inductor current at light loads. DCM operation offers efficiency
performance that lies between PWM and PFM modes. The
low-resistance, on-chip MOSFETs ensure high efficiency at
full load and simplify the layout.
Maxim Integrated
www.electronics-eetimes.com Synchronous forward MOSFET driver needs
no signal transformer
LT8311 is a high efficiency secondary-side MOSFET driver that
operates without the need for primary control in an isolated synchronous forward converter. The LT8311’s preactive mode eliminates the need for a signal transformer for primary to secondary-side
communication by sensing signals
on the secondary side to control
synchronous rectification. This mode
reduces component count and solution size. The device operates over a
3.7V to 30V input voltage range and is used with a primary-side
IC, such as the LT3752/-1. The complete forward converter
can operate with input voltages ranging from 6.5V up to 400V+
making it ideal for a wide range of applications including hybrid/
electric vehicle automotive requirements. It combines a 10 mA
opto-driver and a feedback loop error amplifier to enable output
voltage feedback from the secondary to the primary side. The
entire system provides fixed frequency peak current mode
control that has excellent line/load regulation and fast transient
response. Additional features include a 1.5% reference voltage, a power-good monitor and programmable soft-start of
the output voltage. The IC comes in a TSSOP-20 package with
several pins removed for high peak-voltage spacing, in E- and
I-grade (-40°C to 125°C junction temperature), H grade (-40°C
to 150°C) and MP grade (-55°C to 150°C).
Linear Technology
DC-DC regulators offer 15 A output
with 0.1% line regulation
Exar has extended its PowerBlox switching regulators with the
XR76108, XR76112 and XR76115, synchronous step down
regulators delivering point-of-load (POL) supplies of 8A, 12A
and 15A, respectively. The XR761xx family is designed to
achieve excellent transient response and output accuracy, of
0.25% load and 0.1% line regulation, using Exar’s proprietary
emulated current mode Constant On-Time (COT) control loop.
These devices deliver core voltage rails for ASICs, FPGAs,
DSPs and Network Processors in communications, networking and industrial markets. Input voltage range is 4.5V to 22V
for an adjustable output voltage from 0.6V to 18V. With its
0.1% line regulation across the entire input voltage range and
1% output accuracy over full temperature range, XRP761xx
provides increased headroom. The emulated current mode COT
control scheme has the fast transient response of conventional
COT control loops without any of the compromises. Exar’s COT
control loop enables operation with ceramic output capacitors,
eliminating loop compensation, which simplifies system design
and reduces overall component count. The XR761xx offers a
suite of supervisory and protection features for proper sequencing, safe operation under abnormal operating conditions and
light load operation. The control loop also maintains constant
operating frequency. A selectable power saving mode allows
the user to operate in discontinuous mode (DCM) at light current loads, significantly increasing the converter efficiency. The
XR76108 and XR76112 come in 30-pin 5x5mm QFN packages.
The XR76115 is in a 30-pin 6x6mm QFN.
Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 31
Silicon interposers
for efficient 3D integration
By Stéphane Bellenger
The common point with articles relating progress in the
electronic components world is the search for form factor
reduction and high performance. Since the 90s, designers have
been working on 3D integration (Multi-Chip Package, stacked
die, System in Package) which brings highly efficient solutions
to achieve these goals. Several products have been developed,
in particular the interposers.
The interposer can be assimilated to a packaging platform
serving as a high density substrate with a redistribution layer
and offering, unlike traditional packages, the reduced pitch
capabilities required by advanced IC technology nodes.
Fig. 1: (left) Schematic of IPDiA 2D interposer with PICS
IPD and external active dies in flip-chip or chip-on-silicon
technologies. (right) IPD RF module for W-CDMA & GSM RF
medical devices, avionics and defense. IPDiA, leading manufacturer of passive components, has developed a range of silicon
interposers which, when combined with Integrated Passive Devices (IPD) and Through Silicon
Vias (TSV), offer an evolutionary
solution to these market segments.
Several types of material can
be considered as interposer
substrate, each offering intrinsic
properties that need to be seriously considered prior to any
other considerations. Silicon
Table 1: Comparison with several substrates of dimensional features.
is one, and is chosen for the
following reasons: first, silicon
is a stable base substrate that
presents a very small CTE
(coefficient of thermal expansion) mismatch with attached
external ICs. Since the active
parts are in fact often made of
silicon themselves, the thermomechanical stresses encountered during processing and
lifetime application are miniTable 2: Comparison with several substrates of thermal and thermo-mechanical features.
mized, thereby increasing the
reliability. Silicon therefore offers a very good trade-off between
In other words, the interposer plays the role of a space
thermal conductivity and thickness. It is also perfectly adapted
transformer from the IC to the applicative module. It also allows
to via or micro-via technology (including via last technology) and
usually incompatible technologies to be mixed on the same
provides wider possibilities in terms of pitch, via diameter and
platform, therefore leading to heterogeneous integration (Sysvia density. Lastly, it enables passive devices to be integrated
tem in Package on interposer). Combined with Through Silicon
(IPD technology) and is compatible with ICs and MEMS. Main
Vias, it opens the doors to an optimized form factor world (sysdimensional as well as thermal and thermo-mechanical charactem volume, weight and footprint) with improved performance
teristics for different types of substrate are summarized in the
(higher transmission speed, lower power consumption and RF
tables 1 and 2.
parasitic reduction).
From an applicative point of view, interposers were first
imagined to be used as a pure packaging platform dedicated
The different structures
to dies with large I/O number (high density BGA). They have
The interposers can be divided into three families. The three
evolved towards 3D structures to meet the demands of CCD
structures show the common key advantages of enabling eximager, mobile phone and consumer applications. Now, an adternal integration of active dies without their packaging, as well
ditional range of applications can be reached with the so-called
as integration (externally or internally) of passive devices - see
2.5D interposers. This new approach offers an economic model
figure 1.
perfectly adapted to related portable products, implantable
Stéphane Bellenger is Assembly & Interposer Market Segment
Director and Customer Support & Packaging expert at IPDiA –
32 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
2D silicon interposer:
This two vertical stage structure is an intermediate solution in
terms of footprint. Due to the connections from the sides of
the interposer to the final module, space saving is not totally
ANN_ingenieur_91x277_Mise en page 1 18.03.14 13:24 Page1
optimized. However, combined with a wide range of integrated
passive devices (high-density trench capacitors, MIM capacitors, resistors, high-Q inductors) and external active dies, this
may represent a very good compromise for cost-driven applications such as in the mobile market.
2.5D silicon interposer:
This is also a two vertical stage structure. The difference comes
from the copper vias which, combined with IPDs, provide a
higher level of integration together with system performance
improvements. This structure also allows external component
integration on the top and on bottom - see figure 2.
3D interposer:
In this case, the structure is a multistage integration and all
layers are active. Although the 3D structure could be interesting
in terms of miniaturization, it still shows too many drawbacks in
terms of design flow, testing, cost, stress impact and thermal
issues and will not be addressed in this article.
Brief overview of Through Silicon Via
The use of Through Silicon Vias has a tremendous positive
impact on new 3D packaging architectures. TSVs enable higher
density and shorter connection lengths compared with wire
bonded solutions and are perfectly fitted to face the increasing
demand for faster signals and lower power use. IPDiA is providing TSVs for interposers with or without IPDs.
In the past years, IPDiA and its main technological partner
CEA-Leti have worked on TSV process optimization to bring it
to the right level of maturity and cost for markets where high
added-value products are needed (medical devices, aerospace,
professional electronics and telecom infrastructures).
Of the three TSV process options (via first, via middle and
via last), IPDiA endorsed the via last approach, in which vias
are formed after the die has been manufactured. This choice is
mainly driven by co-integrating TSV with IPDiA PICS technology
(Passive Integration Connecting Substrate). Moreover, this solution brings the potential of making TSV on pre-existing CMOS
wafer or on a 2.5D IPD interposer developed by IPDiA.
More than
50'000 connector
The modular design of
LEMO products provides
more than 50'000 different
combinations of connectors
with a large choice of
contact configurations:
High and low voltage
Coaxial and triaxial
Fibre optic
Fluidic and pneumatic
Custom solutions
Cable assembly
Fig. 2: Schematic of IPDiA 2.5D interposer with PICS IPD
and external active dies in flip-chip or chip-on-silicon
LEMO SA - Switzerland
Phone : (+41 21) 695 16 00
[email protected]
Fig. 3: RF module for medical application using IPDiA 2D
interposer technology.
www.electronics-eetimes.com Contact your local partner on www.lemo.com
Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 33
USB driver software reduces power usage
Fig. 4: Comparison of module area between standard SMD
technology (left) and IPDiA technology PICS (right).
Application examples
The application examples given below come as a conclusion
of this article and illustrate perfectly the benefits of the different
types of interposer in three specific areas (implantable medical
devices, vision care devices and aerospace).
2D silicon interposer with IPD for
implantable medical devices
In this first example, major improvements have been brought by
IPDiA 2D interposer with Integrated Passive Devices to a medical sensor module including RF communication. The module
is to be used in an implantable defibrillation system. The main
concerns of the customer are miniaturization (size and weight
impacts), stability and reliability. As described in the introduction
of this article, the silicon not only serves as a redistribution layer
but also allows the integration of passive components within the
substrate. It enables a great size reduction (35% area saving,
figure 4) and a decrease of the total system weight.
Additionally, the PICS technology used for integration of
the passive components results in very stable high capacitor integration. Finally, IPDiA offers a complete service with its
stable flip-chip technology and the silicon-silicon compatibility
between the substrate and the active dies meets the customer’s
demand in terms of reliability.
2D silicon interposers with IPD for vision
care devices
The final application of this second example is linked to the
medical field, more precisely to preventive treatment for vision
care. The first essential advantage IPDiA has brought forward is
miniaturization of the final device in x, y and z axes. But IPDiA
has also shown its ability to adapt its technology to the customer’s product environment and has developed a module with four
2D silicon interposers including IPD and active components,
the complete system being mounted on a 100 µm thick flexible
organic substrate.
2.5D silicon interposer with IPD for
The third example implies integrated passive devices with
TSV 2.5D interposer combined with a 3D packaging technology, suitable for motor control in aerospace domain. This time,
miniaturization and decrease of the total weight of the device
is optimized thanks to the combination of IPD, TSV and 3D
packing. Reliability is once again achieved by the silicon-silicon
compatibility. IPDiA finalizes the complete module by using a
stack die technology on the 2.5D interposer - see figure 5.
Fig. 5: 2.5D interposer with PICS IPD and external active dies.
34 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
FTDI Chip has updated its USB driver portfolio to include a
selective suspend feature. The revised drivers have passed
Microsoft certification and are available to download free of
charge from the FTDI Chip website.
Following the launch of lower powered versions of its X-Chip series, the
company has now followed this up
with enhanced power management
in the accompanying driver technology. Supporting many popular Windows environments (with WHQL pass for this feature being
achieved in relation to Windows 7, 8, 8.1, Server 2008), the
innovative selective suspend feature now incorporated into
the FTDI Chip drivers means that the USB host can either
enable or suspend a port/peripheral as needed via software
control - resulting in far greater flexibility for design engineers
when implementing their systems as well as a marked reduction in the overall power consumption. This new capability
can be employed for controlling USB ports that are configured together as part of a hub structure, so that it is possible
to access particular peripherals or conversely power them
down when they are not required to be active. Among the
applications where this could prove to be an operational advantage are card readers and biometric scanners on laptop
PCs, as well as potential opportunities being envisaged in
building automation, environmental monitoring and industrial
control systems.
Connector system targets
LED-backlit LCD panels
Molex’ IllumiMate 1.00 and 1.25 mm pitch wire-to-board
connector system provides design flexibility with multiple
mating and voltage configurations. IllumiMate 1.00 and 1.25
mm pitch wire-to-board connector
system offers display, flat-panel
LED television and PC monitor
manufacturers more mating styles,
voltage ratings, circuit sizes and
locking types than any similar connector system, Molex asserts. By
providing a single system, the IllumiMate family allows set
makers to design various models around a single connector type and PCB footprint pattern. The IllumiMate 1.00 mm
saves about 50% of space compared to IllumiMate 1.25 mm
and offers lower voltage options to help reduce power consumption. Both the 1.00 and 1.25 mm product families have
different options in areas such as voltage, circuit sizes and
wire gauge and share several key features including: · Positive and friction locks for secure latching and space savings
with an anti wire-tangling feature and middle friction lock with
window for visible mating assurance. · Polarisation guide
ribs that protect the pins while preventing improper mating
and side-to-side movement. The 1.00 mm pitch version has
guide ribs located on the housing ends, while the1.25 mm
pitch version has them towards the middle.
Multicoax connector takes multiport
testing from DC to 18GHz
Huber+Suhner’s MXP series is designed for the
high speed digital testing market, the MXP18
version has been introduced to meet the need for
DC to
It comes
as a 1x8
which breaks out to female SMA connectors. The
MXP18 multicoax connector provides outstanding electrical and mechanical performance and
is designed to save valuable board space while
keeping the distance between the connector and
the device under test to an absolute minimum. As
the MXP18 is fully mechanically compatible with
the MXP40 (40Gbps) multicoax solution, users
can stay with the MXP
Piezo switch certified
for use in hazardous environment
The PSE EX 16 family of piezo switches from Schurter has been extended
to include the PSE EX 19 and PSE EX 22 mounting diameter, both approved for use in potentially explosive atmospheres containing air and
gases. Further application areas also
include industrial sectors such as mills,
where solids are found in smallest form as
dust, which may be prone to self-ignition.
The PSE EX family is certified according to
ATEX and IECEx regulations. The approval
marking is Ex II 2 GD (according ATEX
regulations), Ex ib IIC T6 ... T5 Gb and Ex
ib IIIC T85 ° C ... T100 ° C Db (according
IEC regulations) for gases and dust. The
temperature class was extended from T4 to
T5 and T6. Therefore the permissible power
dissipation of the PSE EX was limited accordingly so that the piezo switch
is intrinsically safe according to EN60079-11. In addition, the flammability
group was increased from IIB to IIC, respectively IIIC (gas, dust). This extension will allow the use of the PSE EX in atmosphere with further type of
gases, combustible dust, ignitable fibers and flyings. The PSE EX standard
models are available with mounting diameters of 16, 19 and 22 mm with
pin connectors and housing colors in red, green or natural aluminum.
Prototyping 3D Circuitry
Extension of the interconnect pattern into the third dimension adds new potential. The LPKF ProtoLaser
3D for laser direct structuring (LDS) gives engineers an outstanding flexible and economical access to
3D prototypes. Discover for yourself a new dimension: lpkf.com/protolaser3D
SMT in Nuremberg: 6 – 8 May, Hall 6, Booth 428
www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 35
Hard wired floating point changes FPGA
By Nick Flaherty
Altera has developed a way to add single precision
floating point processing to its FPGAs with minimal overhead,
opening up a wide set of new high performance computing applications.
Previously floating point DSP designs such as radar or pattern matching had to be converted to fixed point, taking up
the DSP blocks and up to 700 logic elements per block. By
adding a layer of hardened multipliers and adders to the existing DSP blocks in the architecture, and tweaking the interconnect, designs can be implemented direct from the C output of
tools such as OPenCL and Simulink directly in the DSP blocks
without additional logic usage, says Altera architect Martin
Langhammer. This also allows FPGAs to be used to run more
high performance computing algorithms that currently use GPU
The IEEE 754-compliant hardened blocks are shipping in
20nm Arria 10
FPGAs but the
software to use
them will not be
available for a
few more months.
The blocks deliver
1.5TFLOPS of
processing the
Arria devices, and
will provide over
10TFLOPS in the
next generation
Stratix 10 devices. This comes
from process
improvements to
14nm, larger devices and architectural changes,
he says.
“I had to find a way to do it for close to free for it to work, so
the floating point multiplier is overlaid on the 27 x 27 fixed point
multipliers,” said Langhammer. “The adder is more complex as
it’s a separate structure – I had to design it to target the technology library, the maximum frequency and the routing that were
available in the DSP block as well as the block aspect ratio. The
adder not only had to fit into the spare space in the block but as
routing is more expensive than the logic I had to find a way to
reuse all that wiring for the floating point adder.”
“In this way we were able to get floating point on the DSP
block – it’s cheap enough to put on every device and doesn’t affect the fixed point power or performance,” he said. “This opens
up a new market for people that want to do floating point.”
The other element is the design of the floating point units
to support large matrix operations. “We designed hardware
recursive structures for the vector mode that greatly reduces
36 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
the latency to seamlessly combine thousands of operators,
reusing the existing fixed point routing,” he said. The structures
are self-timed and self-aligned, with timing adjustment registers
that avoid problems with data dependencies but minimize the
latency for large vector calculations.
“The two big innovations are that we got floating point on
cost effectively and the new vector structures that allow us to
put together all the blocks however you want,” he said.
The integration of hardened floating-point DSP blocks in
Altera FPGAs and SoCs can reduce development time by upwards of 12 months. Designers can translate their DSP designs
directly into floating-point hardware, rather than converting their
designs to fixed point. As a result, timing closure and verification times are cut, which will benefit the move to the larger
Stratix 10 devices, says Langhammer.
DSP Builder
Blockset offers
a model-based
design flow that
allows designers to go from
system definition
and simulation to
system implementation using the
MathWorks Simulink tools. Altera
also offers a publicly available Cbased, high-level
OpenCL design
flow that targets
“The implementation of IEEE 754-compliant floating-point DSP blocks
in our devices is truly a game-changer for FPGAs,” said Alex
Grbic, director of software, IP and DSP marketing at Altera.
“With hardened floating point, Altera FPGAs and SoCs offer a
performance and power efficiency advantage over microprocessors and GPUs in an expanded range of applications.”
The implementation has been independently verified by BTDI
for minimal impact on power consumption and utilization, says
Langhammer, and the architecture will be published in peer reviewed journals later in the year. The 20nm Arria 10 FPGAs with
hardened floating-point DSP blocks are available now. Floatingpoint design flows, including demonstrations and benchmarks,
that target the hardened floating-point DSP blocks in Arria 10
devices will be available in the second half of 2014. The 14nm
Stratix 10 devices with the floating point DSP blocks are due in
Measuring angular position and velocity
By Jakub Szymczak
resolvers use the magnetic
coupling between primary and secondary windings to measure the precise
angular position of a rotating element.
Used in industrial motor controls,
servos, robotics, power train units in
hybrid- and full-electric vehicles, and
many other applications, resolvers can
withstand severe conditions, making
Fig. 1: Classical resolver vs. variable reluctance resolver.
them the perfect choice for military
Typical resolvers require a low-impedance 3-V rms to 7-V
systems in harsh environments.
rms signal to drive the primary winding. Operating on a 5-V
Standard resolvers have a primary winding on the rotor
supply, the RDC typically delivers a 7.2-V p-p differential signal
and two secondary windings on the stator. Variable reluctance
on the excitation outputs. This signal does not have sufficient
resolvers have all windings on the stator, but the saliency
amplitude and drive capability to meet the resolver’s input
(exposed poles) of the rotor causes a sinusoidal variation in the
specifications. In addition, resolvers attenuate signals by up to
secondary with the angular position. Figure 1 shows classical
5×, so the resolver output amplitude does not meet the RDC’s
and variable reluctance resolvers.
input amplitude requirements.
When the primary winding is excited with a sinusoid (EquaA differential amplifier boosts the signal to the primary and
tion 1), a signal is induced in the secondary windings. The
improves signal-to-noise ratio. The output sine and cosine
amount of coupling is a function of the position of the rotor relasignals can then be attenuated with resistor dividers or a lowtive to that of the stator, and an attenuation factor known as the
pass filter. Figure 2 shows a typical resolver-to-digital converter
resolver transformation ratio. Because the secondary windings
interface including amplifier and filter.
are displaced mechanically by 90°, the two output sinusoidal
signals are phase shifted by 90°. The relationships between the
resolver input and output voltages are shown by the sine signal
Error sources
(Equation 2) and cosine signal (Equation 3).
The system accuracy is determined by the RDC, resolver,
excitation buffer, input circuitry, and cabling. The most common
sources of system error are amplitude mismatch, signal phase
shift, offsets, and acceleration.
Amplitude mismatch is the difference in peak-to-peak amplitudes of the sine and cosine signals at 0° and 180° for cosine,
90° and 270° for sine. Mismatch can be introduced by variation
in the resolver windings, or by the gain between the resolver
and the RDC’s sine and cosine inputs.
The amplitude mismatch error oscillates at twice the rate
where: θ is the shaft angle, ω is the excitation signal frequenof rotation, with a maximum of δ/2 at odd integer multiples of
cy, E0 is the excitation signal amplitude, and T is the resolver
45°, and no error at 0°, 90°, 180°, and 270°. With a 12-bit RDC,
transformation ratio.
0.3% amplitude mismatch will result in approximately 1 LSB of
Resolver-to-Digital converter
The RDC accepts differential sine and cosine signals from
The primary winding is excited with a sinusoidal reference. Two
the resolver. The resolver removes any dc component from the
differential output signals, sine and cosine, are electromagneticarrier, so a VREF/2 dc bias must be added to ensure that the
cally induced on the secondary windings. A resolver-to-digital
resolver output signals are in the correct operating range for the
converter (RDC) decodes the angular position and rotation
RDC. Any dc offset between SIN and SINLO inputs or COS and
speed of the motor shaft.
COSLO inputs will introduce additional system error.
A majority of RDCs use a Type-II tracking loop to calculate
position and velocity. Type-II loops use a second-order filter to
ensure that steady-state errors are zero for stationary or constant velocity input signals. The RDC simultaneously samples
both input signals to provide digitized data to the tracking
loop. An example of an RDC that uses this type of loop is ADI’s
AD2S1210 complete 10-bit to 16-bit tracking converter, whose
on-chip programmable sinusoidal oscillator provides the excitation signal for the primary winding.
Jakub Szymczak is an applications engineer in the Precision
Converters Group in Limerick, Ireland. He can be reached at
[email protected]
www.electronics-eetimes.com Fig. 2: Typical resolver system block diagram.
Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 37
Fig. 4: AD2S1210 loop response.
Fig. 3: Synthetic reference.
The error introduced by the common-mode offset is worse in
the quadrants where the sine and cosine signals are in antiphase to each other, which occurs from 90° to 180° and 270° to
Another source of error is differential phase shift between the
resolver’s sine and cosine signals. Some differential phase shift
will be present on all resolvers as a result of coupling. A small
residual voltage or quadrature voltage indicates a small differential phase shift. Additional phase shift can be introduced if the
sine and cosine signal lines have unequal cable lengths or drive
different loads.
Most resolvers also introduce phase shift between the excitation signal and the sine and cosine signals. This error can be
minimized by choosing a resolver with a small residual voltage,
ensuring that sine and cosine signals are handled identically,
and by removing the reference phase shift.
Under static conditions, phase shift between the excitation
reference and the signal lines will not affect the converter’s accuracy, but moving resolvers generate speed voltages due to
the reactive components of the rotor impedance and the signals
of interest. Speed voltages are in quadrature to the signal of
interest. Their maximum amplitude is
In practical resolvers, rotor windings include both reactive
and resistive components. The resistive component produces
a nonzero phase shift in the reference excitation that is present when the rotor is both moving and static. Together with
the speed voltages, the nonzero phase shift of the excitation
produces a tracking error.
To compensate for the phase error between the resolver reference excitation and sine/cosine signals, the AD2S1210 uses
the internally filtered sine and cosine signals to synthesize an
internal reference signal in phase with the reference frequency
carrier. Generated by determining the zero crossing of either the
sine or cosine (whichever is larger, to improve phase accuracy)
and evaluating the phase of the resolver reference excitation, it
reduces the phase shift between the refer¬ence and sine/cosine
inputs to less than 10°, and operates for phase shifts of ±44°.
Figure 3 shows a block diagram of the synthetic reference.
The advantage of Type-II tracking loops over Type-I loops is
that no positional error occurs at constant velocity. Even in a
perfectly balanced system, however, acceleration will create an
error term. The amount of error due to acceleration is determined by the control-loop response. Figure 4 shows the loop
response for the AD2S1210.
Input filter
For best system accuracy, connect the resolver outputs directly
to the SIN, COS, SINLO, and COSLO pins. This is not always
38 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
feasible, however, as attenuation may be required to match the
resolver’s sine and cosine signals to the RDC’s input, signal
filtering may be required due to the noisy environment, and ESD
or short circuit protection may be required at the resolver connector.
Figure 5 shows a typical interface between the resolver and
the AD2S1210. The series resistors and the diodes provide
adequate protection to reduce the energy of external events
such as ESD or shorts to supply or ground. These resistors and
the capacitor implement a low-pass filter that reduces highfrequency noise coupled onto the resolver inputs as a result of
driving the motor. It may be necessary to attenuate the sine and
cosine signals to align with the input specification, by adding
resistor RA. The AD2S1210 has internal circuitry to bias the
SIN, SINLO, COS, and COSLO to VREF/2. This weak bias can be
easily overdriven by including 47 kΩ resistors to bias the signals
to 2.5 V.
Excitation buffer
A buffer is typically required to drive the resolver’s low impendence inputs. The high-current driver shown in Figure 6 uses
the AD8397 high-current dual op amp with rail-to-rail outputs to
amplify and level shift the reference oscillator output, optimizing
the interface to the resolver. The AD8397 achieves low distortion, high output current, and wide dynamic range, making it
ideal for use with resolvers. With 310-mA current capability
for 32-Ω loads, it can deliver the required power to a resolver
without the use of the conventional push-pull stage, simplifying
the driver circuit and reducing power consumption. A duplicate
circuit provides a fully differential signal to drive the primary
The output amplitude is set by the amplifier gain, R2/R1,
and the common-mode voltage is set by R3 and R4. Capacitor
C1 and resistor R2 form a low-pass filter to minimize noise on
the EXC and (EXC) outputs. The capacitor should be chosen to
minimize phase shift of the carrier. The total phase shift between
the excitation output and the sine and cosine inputs should
not exceed the phase-lock range of the RDC. The capacitor is
Fig. 5: Interface circuit.
ug In)
(and Pl ers and
Transfo uctors
g imme
n ic
See Pic
le c t r o
.p ic o e
Low Profile from
Audio Transformers
Fig. 6: High-current reference buffer.
optional, as classical resolvers filter out high-frequency components exceptionally
well.When combined with the AD2S1210 resolver-to-digital converter, resolvers can
create a high-precision, robust control system for position and velocity measurements
in motor-control applications. To achieve the best overall performance, buffer circuits
are required to amplify the excitation signals and provide the drive strength required
by the resolver. To complete the system, a basic input circuit can provide signal conditioning. As is the case with all mixed-signal mechatronic signal chains, care must be
taken to design an accurate system that considers all error sources. With its variable
resolution, reference generation, and on-chip diagnostics, the AD2S1210 provides an
ideal RDC solution for resolver applications. It is available in industrial and automotive
Video processing system supports multi-band TV/IR imaging
RFEL has announced the Rapid Product Development System (RPDS) for its HALO
video processing solution. The plug and play platform enables customers to input
video, try out REFL’s video processing algorithms and immediately see the quality
of the video improvement on a monitor. Designers can then select which of
the various HALO form factors is most
suitable for their project. In addition to
real-time high definition video enhancement, HALO can also handle the camera
control interface for Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ)
making it an all-in-one solution for CCTV
control and image processing. State-ofthe-art video processing solutions include
digital stabilisation, adaptive contrast
enhancement, multi-band fusion and
lens distortion correction. HALO enables
video analytics directly at the source. Its real-time video processing blocks condition the incoming stream and rectify many of the common shortfalls of existing
video systems, including poor raw sensor imagery under very challenging lighting
or atmospheric conditions. For example, a camera mounted on a moving vehicle, aircraft or even on the top of a pole will suffer from shake and vibration that
makes it challenging for machine automated video processing and very tiring for
a human operator to watch. HALO is available as ruggedly-housed sub-system
measuring 137x105x80mm, as a PCI Express-based XMC form factor board, or
as a 90x75mm System-on-Module board, equipped with an all-digital high-density
connector to implement directly into sensor housings.
www.electronics-eetimes.com Impedance Levels 10 ohms to 250k ohms,
Power Levels to 3 Watts, Frequency Response
±3db 20Hz to 250Hz. All units manufactured and
tested to MIL-PRF-27. QPL Units available.
Power & EMI Inductors
Ideal for Noise, Spike and Power Filtering
Applications in Power Supplies, DC-DC
Converters and Switching Regulators
Pulse Transformers
10 Nanoseconds to 100 Microseconds.
ET Rating to 150 Volt Microsecond, Manufactured
and tested to MIL-PRF-21038.
Multiplex Data Bus
Pulse Transformers
Plug-In units meet the requirements
of QPL-MIL-PRF 21038/27.
Surface units are electrical equivalents
of QPL-MIL-PRF 21038/27.
DC-DC Converter
Input voltages of 5V, 12V, 24V And 48V.
Standard Output Voltages to 300V (Special
voltages can be supplied). Can be used as self
saturating or linear switching applications. All units
manufactured and tested to MIL-PRF-27.
Power Transformers
0.4 Watts to 150 Watts. Secondary Voltages 5V to
300V. Units manufactured to MIL-PRF-27 Grade 5,
Class S (Class V, 1550C available).
to one week
Delivery-Stock ntities
for sample q
Electronics, Inc.
143 Sparks Ave. Pelham, N.Y. 10803
E Mail: [email protected]
Pico Representatives
ELBV/Electronische Bauelemente Vertrieb
E mail: [email protected]
Phone: 0049 (0)89 4602852
Fax: 0049 (0)89 46205442
Ginsbury Electronics Ltd.
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 0044 1634 298900
Fax: 0044 1634 290904
Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 39
Development kit enables advanced driver
assistance systems
Texas Instruments’ Vision Software Development Kit (SDK) gives
developers a framework, comprehensive set of hardware device
drivers and a useful set of development tools for more efficient
of advanced driver
assistance systems
(ADAS) on TI’s
architecture. The TI
Vision SDK, based
RTOS, enables
multiple algorithms to run concurrently on numerous heterogeneous cores and eases integration of new functionality into a
system. Debug and instrumentation features allow algorithm developers to benchmark and profile their algorithms in a system
context. TI is also making libraries available for both its Embedded Vision Engine (EVE) and digital signal processor (DSP) on
the TDA2x System-on-Chip (SoC). The libraries include more
than 200 optimised functions for both EVE and DSP libraries,
providing building blocks to jump-start development. The EVE
and DSP libraries are available for low-to-mid and high-level
vision processing. The TDA2x, incorporating Vision AccelerationPac, combines an optimal mix of high performance, vision
analytics, video, graphics and general purpose processing
cores in a low-power envelope.
20-nm FPGAs meet interconnect needs
with fine-pitch copper bump technology
Altera and TSMC have announced that they are to use
TSMC’s fine-pitch copper bump-based packaging technology for Altera’s 20 nm Arria 10 FPGAs and SoCs. Altera is
the first company to adopt
this technology in commercial production to deliver improved quality, reliability and
performance. “TSMC has
provided a very advanced
and robust integrated package solution for our Arria
10 devices, the highestdensity monolithic 20 nm
FPGA die in the industry,”
said Bill Mazotti, vice president of worldwide operations and
engineering at Altera, adding that it, “... helps us address the
packaging challenges at the 20 nm node.” TSMC’s flip chip
BGA package technology provides Arria 10 devices with
better quality and reliability than standard copper bumping
solutions through the use of fine-pitch copper bumps. The
technology is able to accommodate very high bump counts
as required by high-performance FPGA products. It also provides excellent bump joint fatigue life, improved performance
in electro-migration current and low stress on the ELK (Extra
Low-K) layers, all highly critical features for products employing advanced silicon technologies.
40 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
Remote power drivers improve LED lighting
system flexibility
LumaStream has expanded the company’s Trinity range of
remote power drivers for LED lighting, adding an analog
model with as many control zones as power channels to
give lighting designers
and system integrators
ultimate design flexibility. Lighting applications
where 0-10 V controls are
most common, but where
only small numbers of
LED fixtures are grouped
together on one switch, can now have the same variety of
lighting configurations as a digital, low-voltage system at the
lower analog system price point. LumaStream claims to be
the only company to offer a holistic approach to low-voltage
power distribution for LED lighting. The Trinity 3-in-1 platform
combines digital power conversion, constant current drivers,
and superior dimming control into one cohesive, intelligent
LED power supply. Trinity remote drivers can power and
control up to 24 LED luminaires up to 200 ft. away using only
thin-gauge speaker wire. Onboard drivers are often regraded
as the number one source of failure in LED fixtures. LumaStream eliminates that failure point, combines power and
control onto one wire, and provides both analog and digital
control protocols. The Trinity Analog model is ideally suited
for hospitality and medical office applications where standard
analog control switches and dimmers are used and where
individual rooms or spaces may have only one or two LED
fixtures that need to be powered or dimmed at once. Both
markets, hospitality and healthcare, are experiencing growth
in 2014, leading in new construction numbers.
Medical DC-DC converter takes 4:1 input range
Murata Power Solutions’s NCM6 series of isolated 6-W single
and dual output DC/DC converters accept an ultra-wide 4:1 input range, in three nominal input voltage ranges of either 5 VDC
input (4.5 – 9 VDC 2:1 range), 12
VDC (9 – 36 VDC 4:1 range) or 48
VDC (18 – 75 VDC 4:1 range). Each
nominal input voltage variant offers
seven output voltage models. Four
of these are single output versions
with +3.3, +5, +12 or +15 VDC
output. Three dual output models
provide +5, +12 or +15 VDC output options. Recognition of
certification to international safety standards UL60950 for IT
equipment and 3rd edition medical safety standard UL60601 for
2 MOOP is pending. The DC/DC converters are encapsulated
in order to achieve high levels of thermal performance and are
housed in a standard package measuring 20.0x32.0x10.75 mm.
The operating temperature range is from – 40 to +85 degrees
C and the device is protected against damage due to excess
operating temperatures. An input undervoltage lockout feature
protects the output should the input voltage fall below specified
limits. Input to output isolation is 5200 VDC.
Murata Europe
Display Stream Compression standard
boosts display interfaces to 8K
The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), working in liaison with the
MIPI Alliance, has unveiled the Display Stream Compression (DSC) Standard, version 1.0. Developed as an industry-wide compression standard for video interfaces, offering visually lossless performance and low latency, the DSC has been
adopted into VESAs embedded DisplayPort (eDP) v1.4 and into MIPI Display Serial
Interface (DSI) Specification v1.2, which are used for embedded display interfaces
within mobile systems, including smartphones, tablets and laptops. Increasing
display resolution and higher refresh rates present challenges for small-display mobile devices and laptops, as well as large external displays. As display resolutions
increase, the interface payload capacity must increase either with more powerconsuming bandwidth, video data compression, or both. Displays going beyond
4K resolutions will push the video data rate beyond the current limits of the interface standards. For example, standard 1080p displays require a video data rate of
3.5 gigabits/sec; 4K displays at 60Hz require 14 Gb/s; and future 8K displays will
require over 50 Gb/s.
On-going development of DisplayPort standards, which includes 8K resolution
support, foresaw the need for compression because of inherent limits in the existing display interface cables. VESAs DSC standard version 1.0 enables up to 66
percent data rate reduction, extending battery life in mobile systems and laptops,
while simplifying the electrical interface requirements for future 4K and 8K displays.
The standard enables a single codec for system chips that have multiple interfaces.
The VESA DSC Task Group, in collaboration with the MIPI Alliance Display Working
Group, co-defined requirements for a high quality compression specification that
meets the needs of todays varied display usage, which includes a wide range of
image types from still graphics and text overlaps, to photography and video.
Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA)
Artesyn opens ATCA management framework
to third parties to slash integration time
Artesyn Embedded Technologies has developed a new software framework for its
ATCA systems that can cut develop time by 40 percent by allowing third party applications. The System Services Framework (SSF) is a complete system management
suite for Artesyn ATCA systems that is also
open to third party application. It allows users
or applications to configure and monitor the
hardware and software elements of a single
ATCA shelf or across multiple shelves. A
graphical user interface provides a quick and
easy view of system configuration, events
and alarms as well as providing a means of
configuring switches or payload blades and
managing system access. Artesyn’s SSF also
provides XML and command line interfaces
so user applications have access to the
system parameters and controls. The SSF
can be enhanced with Artesyn and 3rd party
add-on software modules. For example, Artesyn’s ViewCheck provides in-service and
out-of-service diagnostics of ATCA blades and other system elements. Another addin, Artesyn’s FlowPilot, provides a complete packet load balancing solution. “By using
Artesyn’s System Services Framework and its add-in software modules, our customers can focus on their value-add application. We estimate it can save customers up
to 40 percent time-to-market versus writing or porting their own system management software”, said Jim Darroch, director of software marketing, Artesyn Embedded
Technologies, which was formerly Emerson Network Power’s Embedded Computing
& Power business. “Artesyn SSF provides the tools necessary to speed the development process and brings a whole new level of ease-of-operation to ATCA systems.”
Artesyn Embedded Technologies
www.electronics-eetimes.com DC-DC Converters
NEW! SA Serie
100 to 1000 VDC out
High Power 3 Watts
Ultra Miniature Size
0.55" x 0.75" x 0.4"
100-1000 VDC Output
Hi-Efficiency/Excellent Load Regulation
Single Output with Center Tap
Actual Size
Input Over Voltage/Over
Temperature Protection
Remote Shutdown
• 100 to 1,000 VDC Outputs
• Input Voltage, 5V, 12V, 24V,
28V DC Standard
• Isolated - Input to Output
• Ultra Miniature - 0.55"x 0.75"x 0.4"
• Excellent Load Regulation
• Hi Reliability/Custom Models
• Military Upgrades/Environmental
Screening Available
For Full Product Specifications
143 Sparks Ave, Pelham, NY 10803-1837
E-Mail: [email protected]
Pico Representatives
ELBV/Electronische Bauelemente Vertrieb
E mail: [email protected]
Phone: 0049 (0)89 4602852
Fax: 0049 (0)89 46205442
Ginsbury Electronics Ltd.
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 0044 1634 298900
Fax: 0044 1634 290904
Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 41
Next-generation wireless prototyping platform
National Instruments has announced an integrated software
defined radio solution for rapidly prototyping high-performance, multichannel wireless communication systems. The NI USRP RIO
platform is built on the LabVIEW RIO
architecture and combines a high-performance 2 x 2 multiple input, multiple
output (MIMO) RF transceiver capable
of transmitting and receiving signals
from 50 MHz to 6 GHz with an open
LabVIEW programmable FPGA architecture. Wireless engineers can use this
technology to rapidly prototype realtime wireless communications systems
and test them under real-world conditions. They can also prototype more
capable wireless algorithms and systems faster and reduce
time to results using the only complete platform to take full
advantage of a graphical system design approach. The USRP
RIO family delivers high-performance, real-time processing
Piezoelectric drop-on-demand printheads
target advanced manufacturing
Inkjet technology developer Xaar has released a range of piezoelectric drop-on-demand printheads designed specifically for
advanced manufacturing applications. The Xaar 1002 AMp is
capable of very
small drop fluid
deposition on an
industrial scale,
able to consistently jet droplets
as small as 1 pL
for the production
of fine features,
patterns and
coatings. The
CAN-WiFi-gateway leverages smartphones
for data visualization
With IPEhub2 and the IPEmotion App, Ipetronik enables users
to visualized CAN data on a smartphone or tablet using a WiFi
connection. IPEhub2 acts as CAN-WiFi-Gateway and transfers
CAN bus data
(from the company’s CAN modules or the vehicle
CAN bus) using
WiFi. Two CAN
bus data streams
are converted to
encrypted WiFi
data and wirelessly transferred
to a tablet or
smartphone running the IPEmotion App according to WiFi
Standard 802.11 a/b/g/n. IPEmotion 2014 features an IPEmo-
42 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
capability with the Xilinx Kintex-7 Series FPGA, low latency
with the PCI Express connection to a host computer and small
size (1U half wide, 19 inch rack mountable). USRP RIO is ideal
for a wide range of application areas
including 5G wireless communications
research, active and passive radar
development and exploration, communications intelligence, connected smart
devices and more.
The USRP™ (Universal Software Radio
Peripheral) is already a popular platform
for research spanning industry and
academia as it empowers researchers to rapidly iterate on designs via
programmable software. For example,
a recent Lund University announcement
highlights a 5G research application
focusing on massive MIMO — a technology being considered
for 5G communication.
National Instruments
combination of highly accurate, very small drops and high reliability enables the industrialisation of advanced manufacturing
processes in sectors such as display, PCB, semiconductors and
photovoltaics. The 1000 optimised geometry nozzles ensure
accurate jetting and consistent drop volume across the printhead, even with fluids that have a high solids content, including
metallic particulates. The company’s TF Technology ensures a
uniform temperature across the whole printhead for consistent
drop formation and repeatable fluid deposition. Drop size and
formation can be optimised for variable drop volumes within a
single pattern to control coating thickness and avoid potential
optical effects such as banding and Mura. If required, multiple
Xaar 1002 AMp printheads can be configured into large jetting
tion App export, so custom IPEmotion configurations can be
used in the Android application conveniently.
Data visualization type and extent (curve, bargraph, alphanumeric, LED) are to be set individually via IPEmotion App.
Parallel to wireless data transfer, traffic data are stored on
the FIFO of the SD card included in IPEhub2. Customers can
choose between SSID (Service Set Identifier) and WPA2(WiFi Protected Access 2) encryptions; WPS- (WiFi Protected
Setup) function is supported for initial setup. The IPEhub2
module uses a gold-anodized aluminum enclosure measuring 106x43x62mm, it is protected to IP54 and can operate in
the -40 to +85°C temperature range. It runs from a 9VDC to
36 VDC voltage supply, drawing 4.0 watts typically. Two multi
color status LEDs indicate operating states of WiFi (signal
strength) and data storage (memory usage). IPEhub2 also
supports Access Point functionality with DHCP server and a
CAN2 terminating resistor that can be connected via software.
Regulator shuts down
to 3.5 µA quiescent current
LTC3624 is a high efficiency, 17V input capable synchronous
buck regulator that delivers up to 2A of continuous output current to outputs as low as 0.6V. Synchronous rectification delivers efficiencies as high as 95% while Burst Mode operation
requires only 3.5µA of no load quiescent current. The LTC3624
switches at a fixed 1MHz frequency, whereas the LTC3624-2
switches at 2.25MHz. Their constant frequency, current-mode
architecture minimises switching noise while offering very fast
line and load transient response. The LTC3624/-2 operates
from an input voltage range of 2.7V to 17V, making it ideal for
single cell or multi- cell Li-Ion stack inputs as well as 12V intermediate bus-powered systems. The combination of its 3x3mm
DFN package, high switching frequency and tiny, low cost
capacitors and inductors ensures a highly compact solution
footprint. The LTC3624/-2’s 60ns minimum on-time enables
it to step-down 16V inputs to 2.5V with a 2.25 MHz switching frequency (LTC3624-2) without pulse skipping, minimising
GUI development editor enables better GUIs
Altia is a user interface development software company that
provides tools for the creation of graphical user interfaces for
embedded devices, with users in automotive, medical, industrial, fitness, and home appliance industries. The latest release,
Altia Design 11.1, is the centerpiece of Altia’s user interface
development tool suite. With the new features rolled into Altia
Design 11.1, users are equipped to develop better GUIs than
ever before – with exciting new content. Altia offers a GUI editor
and graphics code generator that enable development teams
to build completely custom user interface models with graphics created from scratch or imported from industry-standard
design programs such as Adobe Photoshop. The Altia GUI
can be connected to a variety of simulation tools or C code to
create a complex, user-driven model which can be shared with
users and management teams for testing and validation prior
to production. Once approved, Altia’s code generator automatically generates pure C source code that is optimised to
take full advantage of the resources of the selected production
Android digital signage integrates
BLE iBeacons
Noxel has integrated iBeacons and Android in a unique and
powerful digital signage system. The Noxel Xtream A700
player includes an embedded iBeacon, a Bluetooth Low
Energy (BLE) module that can be used by retailers and brand
marketers for indoor positioning and location-specific push
messaging to smartphones. The A700 cliams to be the most
powerful Android-based digital signage player on the market,
with a Quad Core ARM-A9 processor, embedded 3D Mali
400 GPU, built-in WiFi and available expansion storage. Fast
computing and embedded graphics processing ensure digital
signage content creators can drive networked screens with
HD quality video and smooth motion graphics messages. The
A700 is the latest player running on top of Noxel’s Xtream
cloud digital signage content management system. The company’s browser-based Software as a Service platform removes
the complexity from digital signage operations, allowing users
to simply select from a range of Android players, create a
www.electronics-eetimes.com the size of external components thus offering a very compact,
high efficiency 2A step-down solution. Its 3.5µA quiescent current suits it for always-on applications demanding maximum
battery run time. For applications requiring the lowest possible
noise, the LTC3624/-2 can be configured to run in pulseskipping or forced continuous
mode, reducing noise and
potential RF interference. Additional features include a power
good voltage monitor, internal
compensation and thermal protection. The LTC3624EDD and
LTC3624EDD-2 are available in
a 3x3 mm DFN-8 package, priced at $2.95 (1,000). Industrial
grade versions, the LTC3624IDD and the LTC3624IDD-2 are
guaranteed to operate over the -40°C to 125°C operating junction temperature range, priced at $3.25.
Linear Technology
hardware. New features in Altia Design 11.1 help users deliver
extremely high quality GUIs. The Validator gives users the capability to perform real-time validation of their GUI design against
general guidelines or even design rules specific to their selected
embedded target. Users can now look “under the hood” while
their GUI runs within Altia
Design to review and trap
animation activity with the
new Debugger. With Altia
Design 11.1, users also
can import and control
eye-catching 3D mesh files
and animations from 3D
authoring tools such as Maya and 3DS Max with the all new 3D
Scene Object. The new Multi-Plot Object offers cool and custom complex plotting, strip-charting and data logging capabilities for advanced applications.
Noxel user account and activate the signage service. “Putting
an iBeacon on what’s probably the most powerful Android
digital signage player available and then managing that in
the cloud is what I think sophisticated network operators
are now looking for,” said Farbod Sadeghian, CEO of Noxel.
“Using Android gives our customers a very cost-effective, stable
and rapidly evolving platform”
added Sadeghian.” Integrating BLE
means the messaging delivered on
Xtream-powered screens can also
be targeted down to the shopper
smartphones and also provide
intelligence on consumer behavior.”
Noxel has in-house creative and
technical teams to develop mobile applications that can use
iBeacons for advertising and location mapping.
Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 43
USB data acquisition at 750kHz/channel
across 6 analog inputs
With the DT9816 series Data Translation offers a range of lowcost USB data acquisition modules for simultaneous sampling
of up to six analog signals. Unlike comparable measurement
instruments in the same price range,
these modules feature separate 16-bit
A/D converters per input channel instead of multiplexed inputs. This eliminates phase shifts and allows simultaneous, synchronous measurements
on multiple inputs. The series provides
different models, from the proven DT9816-S with a sampling
rate of up to 750 kHz per channel, to the DT9816 with 6 x 50
kHz and the DT9816-A with 6 x 150 kHz. The compact modules
run entirely on USB power so that no external power supply is
needed. This makes them suitable for portable measurement
and test applications. Screw terminals on the module allow easy
signal connections. In addition to the six analog inputs, all models of the series also provide 16 digital inputs and outputs. A
counter/timer supports frequency measurements, rate generation and other operations. The modules ship with the QuickDAQ
measurement software, offering a complete ready-to-measure
data acquisition solution. The supplied software package
comprises 32/64 bit drivers for the standard Windows operating
systems as well as a comprehensive range of software tools,
such as interfaces for LabVIEW, MATLAB and .NET.
Data Translation
Texas Instruments bets on iBeacons
with reference designs
Texas Instruments has announced its support for iBeacon
technology across its Bluetooth low energy portfolio including the company’s Bluetooth Smart SoCs, SimpleLink
CC2541 and CC2543 wireless microcontrollers (MCUs), its Bluetooth dual mode
SimpleLink CC2564 solution, and the
BL6450Q automotive connectivity device.
TI is also launching a new location app,
with iBeacon technology for its CC2541based SimpleLink SensorTag development kit, as well as a new low cost, small
form-factor broadcaster reference design
based on the CC2543. The CC2543 is a low-cost version of
CC2541 optimized for beacons and broadcast applications.
The app allows engineers to upload a floor plan and “place”
SensorTags to easily set up an indoor positioning system.
The app provides feedback on how near users are the SensorTags and can launch a user-specified URL when they are
in the immediate vicinity of a SensorTag. Additionally, existing SensorTags can be updated with the latest SensorTag
App through an over-the-air upgrade to be compatible with
iBeacon technology. TI is also introducing a coin cell-sized,
low cost and low-power broadcaster reference design that
enables fast volume production of devices with iBeacon
technology based on the SimpleLink CC2543. The SensorTag reference design is FCC-certified and includes Gerbers,
schematics, layout, and BOM.
Texas Instruments
44 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
Debugging tool supports safety-oriented
Linux version
The Trace32 debugging tool from vendor Lauterbach GmbH
is now available for ElinOS, an embedded Linux product
from Sysgo. ElinOS runs under Sysgo’s safety and security
optimized operating System PikeOS as
a ‘personality’. PikeOS developers were
already able to use Trace32. The PikeOS
awareness provides access to PikeOS
resources such as partitions, processes
and threads. Because PikeOS is also a
virtualization platform, it is important to
be able to debug any application, whatever partition or type
of partition (called personality in the PikeOS terminology)
this application belongs to. The new version of Lauterbach’s
Kernel awareness now provides now the possibility to debug
any thread of ELinOS, used as PikeOS Linux personality,
and in SMP mode if needed. The first implementation has
been achieved on Freescale’s i.MX6 series platform. Further
platforms will be available soon, affirms Lauterbach. Performance analysis on PikeOS tasks and Linux processes can
be performed, showing when and which task was running,
how much time each task consumed and how often it was
pre-empted. To comply with the full MMU support of PikeOS,
Trace32 also includes full MMU support, so the user is able
to debug several tasks in different PikeOS partitions concurrently.
Lauterbach GmbH
From 70 kHz to 145 GHz in a single sweep
With its new VectorStar ME7838D broadband network analyzer,
RF test expert Anritsu offers industry-best frequency coverage
of 70 kHz to 145 GHz in a single sweep using a coaxial test
port. Applications are on-wafer device
characterization for 77 GHz automotive radar devices, E-band wireless
communication, and emerging applications above 110 GHz. The VectorStar ME7838D conducts a single
sweep on a device over multiple RF,
microwave, and millimeter wave (mm-wave) waveguide bands,
allowing engineers to more accurately characterize integrated
circuits and other RF building blocks. Due to the instrument’s
ability to perform sweeps from rather low frequencies in the kHz
range to 145 GHz, engineers can create more accurate models and subsequently have fewer design turns when devices
are subsequently used in applications. The key enabler for
broadband operation to 145 GHz is the MA25300A Non-Linear
Transmission Line (NLTL) module. The module, also new in Anritsu’s catalogue, extends the frequency range of previous NLTL
modules and is compatible with the basic VectorStar ME7838
system. Thus, all versions of the ME7838 series can be upgraded to ME7838D 145 GHz performance. At the opportunity of the
ME7838D roll-out, Anritsu also introduced a novel 0.8 mm test
port connector for use with the VectorStar ME7838D broadband
system. The connector creates new opportunities for advanced
network analysis and system design above 110 GHz.
Module supports both ANT and Bluetooth
Dynastream Innovation’s N548 module is aimed at Internetof-things applications. Based on Nordic Semiconductor’s
nRF51422 SoC, this 2.4 GHz solution is small, future proof
and features concurrent support for both ANT and Bluetooth
low energy. The N548
is sized for wearable,
home and industrial
trends in a 14.0 x 9.8
x 2.0 mm LGA (Land
Grid Array) package.
Its makers say that it
is a combination of
technologies not previously available, taking ultra low power
wireless to a new level of connectivity, and that, “ANT is
always focused on simplifying issues for developers and this
module offers all of the latest ANT and ANT+ advantages in
a turnkey hardware solution.” Designed for manufacturing
simplicity, the N548 ANT SoC Module is fully integrated with
PCB antenna, 32 kHz crystal time base, DC-DC converter,
and 24 GPIOs with six analogue inputs, allowing developers the freedom to focus on their specific applications. It is
pre-certified with FCC/IC/CE/JP/AU/NZ designations and
Bluetooth qualification. Use it in simple sensors as well as
cost-focused applications. The N548 highlights the advantages of the ANT protocol, including its strong position in
Android smart phones, while enabling a bridge connection
between available ANT+ devices and the iOS platform. Users
now rely on ANT to manage multiple sensors in crowded
race environments, simple and complex interchanging and
pairing of devices, and transferring data from multiple sensors to multiple displays simultaneously. Ultra long battery
life and ANT’s efficient, low overhead management of flexible
topologies also make ANT the ideal solution for active RFID,
smart beacons, asset tags, audience response systems and
home automation.
Dynastream Innovations
Single-phase electricity meter SoC
integrates four 24-bit ADCs
The ZON M3 (MAX71315) single-phase electricity meter SoC
announced by Maxim Integrated Products integrates four 24-bit
ADCs for 4-channel data collection and ±0.1% measurement
accuracy over 5000:1 dynamic
range. A 32-bit metrology compute
engine (CE) ensures high-accuracy
processing of all collected data. Its
two touch-switch inputs eliminate
mechanical switches and improve
user experience, and its infrared
(IR) communications interface
eliminates the typical extra IR
receiver module. The chip also includes multiple interfaces (SPI,
I2C, and 4 USART) for design versatility, a real-time clock (RTC)
with temperature compensation and a digital temperature sensor for highly accurate temperature compensation. Delivered in
a 100-pin LQFP package, it comes with ample Flash and RAM
memory for long-term service.
Maxim Integrated
www.electronics-eetimes.com Eight-channel, 8-bit single slot PCIe Gen2
digitiser delivers 1 Gsample/s
Agilent Technologies’ eight-channel version of its U5309A 8-bit
single-slot PCIe Gen2 digitiser, that can operate directly in a PC
card slot, has on-board processing, and provides new levels of
channel density and minimum
footprint at this level of performance. Until now, Agilent says,
users requiring an eight-channel
data acquisition system had to
order a three-slot cPCI chassis,
including two digitiser modules
and an interface card to a computer. Today they can select the
single-slot, eight-channel U5309A PCIe digitiser, which has multiple advantages in cost, reliability and performance—as well as
the tremendous size reduction into a single slot card. The installation is as simple as a direct plug into the computer PCIe slot,
immediately providing eight channels of simultaneous acquisition. The eight channels at 1 Gsample/sec version increases
the offering of the U5309A product recently launched with its
two-channel version. Channels can be interleaved to reach a 2
Gsample/sec sampling rate. Applications will also benefit from
the high data throughput provided by the Gen2 eight-lane PCIe
bus and the possibility to implement real-time signal processing
algorithms into the on-board FPGA. Custom processing for the
PCIe digitiser family (U5309A and U5303A) is created using the
U5340A FPGA development kit.
Agilent Technologies
On Semi launches industrial
image sensor family
On Semi has introduced its Python family of CMOS image
sensors, which provides global shuttering, 4.8-micron pixel
size and is aimed at industrial applications. The first three
devices come with resolutions
of 300k, 500k and 1.3-megapixels and are intended to
address the needs of machine
vision, inspection and motion
monitoring, as well as security
and surveillance applications
including intelligent transportation systems. On Semi has
patent coverage for in-pixel
correlated double sampling,
offered in the Python range, which the company claims
results in CCD-like performance. The Python pixel combines
a read noise of less than 9 e-, with 7.7 V/lux sensitivity and
frame rates as high as 850fps (VGA format). A configurable
sequencer also allows on-the-fly updates to the sensor configuration. The sensors operate across the -40°C to +85°C
industrial temperature range. Specifications for the Python
300, 500 and 1300 CMOS image sensors. Source: On Semi.
Resolutions of VGA, SVGA and SXGA are offered by the first
three sensors with higher resolutions planned for release.
All are pin-to-pin compatible with one-another and with the
existing VITA1300 image sensor.
On Semi
Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 45
DALI dimmable LED power supplies
can be customised
Power supply solutions provider Stadium Power is now offering a wide range of DALI LED power supplies, LED drivers and
controllers to enable customers to tailor LED lighting systems to
individual requirements.
LED power supply product ranges include the
LDP and LDM IP65/IP67
constant current power
supplies with outputs
from 25 to 100 W, the
DLD-C070 IP67, DIP16
packaged with up to
1400 mA output and the
DALI compatible models DIM01H adjustable dual output up to
1000 mA and IP65 rated and the MLD6-C070 wide input range,
up to 1400 mA output for synchronized control multi-channel
lighting systems. The DRD-S1 digital rotary dimmer has a single
control for ON/OFF and adjustment of brightness. It can serve
as a master controller and power supply for 2 slave controllers.
Automatic synchronization makes it possible to change the control location without disturbing lighting effects and it is capable
of individually controlling 1 - 64 individual addresses or working
in Broadcast mode. The DRD-M1-A multipledimmer has a rotary
control and keypad also features a green LED locator light, 1 - 6
Individual DALI addresses can be controlled independently.
Stadium Power
Low power GPS modules target wearables
CSR and OriginGPS aim to accelerate the adoption of
wearable devices with small form factor and low power
GNSS modules; the modules, which have integrated antennas, reduce typical size by 70%
and offer uprated performance,
making them ideal for wearable
devices CSR and OriginGPS
(Israel) have announced highperformance GNSS modules
using CSR’s SiRFstarIV and
SiRFstarV product lines. The new
modules are 70% smaller than
current solutions and deliver a 30% reduction in Time To First
Fix (TTFF), making them ideal for health and fitness trackers,
sports watches, medical devices, wearable action cameras,
and digital still cameras. All modules, including the newly
released 7x7mm Multi Spider (ORG4572) solution, integrate
the LNA, SAW filter, TCXO, RTC crystal and RF shield. The
OriginGPS modules offer unparalleled sensitivity resulting in
shorter autonomous and aided TTFF, better navigation stability, and higher accuracy in harsh environmental conditions.
In real-life testing of the module in camera applications,
TTFF performance improves by over 30% compared to other
solutions. The module also delivers TTFF results in less than
one minute over 90% of the time (Cold Starts). In addition to
its small footprint, the GNSS module’s ultra-fast geo-tagging
capability improves the consumer experience.
46 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
Anritsu gives away a handheld
spectrum analyzer
O f fer
This month, Anritsu is giving away a
complete MS2711E spectrum analyzer unit for EETimes
Europe’s readers to win. Worth 5419 Euros, the handheld
instrument fits the bill for spectrum monitoring, broadcast
proofing, interference analysis, RF and microwave measurements, or Wi-Fi and wireless network measurements.
The unit operates in the
9kHz to 3GHz frequency
band. It boasts a dynamic range greater than
85 dB in 100Hz resolution bandwidth, with a
phase noise of -90 dBc/
Hz max at 10kHz offset
at 1GHz. Measurements
include occupied bandwidth, channel power, ACPR, C/I. The interference analyser
will give you a spectrogram, signal strength, RSSI, signal
ID and interference mapping. Frequency accuracy is under
±1.5ppm, below ±50ppb with the GPS Option 0031. Other
features include value tracking (normal, max hold, min hold,
average) and the various detection modes (peak, negative, sample, quasi-peak, and true RMS). Equipped with a
touchscreen keyboard, the instrument can store 2000 traces
internally before transferring the data to a PC via a USB
connection. It can run three hours on one battery charge.
Check the reader offer online at
3D camera assists robots on production line
The Ensenso stereo 3D camera from IDS allows robots to handle the most complex requirements, such as bin picking. The
Ensenso camera integrates two global shutter CMOS sensors
with WVGA resolution together with
an infrared pattern projector. It projects a random pattern of dots onto
the object to be captured, allowing
structures that are not visible or
only faintly visible on the surface
to be enhanced or highlighted. The
object is then captured by the two
image sensors in accordance with the stereo vision principle
and its 3D coordinates are reconstructed or calculated for each
and every pixel using geometric relations based on the triangulation principle. This means that, even if parts with a relatively
monotone surface are placed in the bin, a virtually seamless
and detailed 3D image of the entire surface can be generated
without additional technical effort. The camera is designed for
working distances of 260 mm to 1,400 mm and for variable
picture fields. The available focal lengths of 3.6 to 16 mm can
cover a wide range of distances and sizes. The camera module
comes with a USB connection and will soon also be available
with a GigE connection, it fits in a 150x45x45mm enclosure.
IDS Imaging Development Systems
ARM-based kit enables Apple-compatible
Silicon Labs has a 32-bit hardware and firmware development kit designed to accelerate the design of Made for iPod/
iPhone/iPad (MFi) accessories and help product manufacturers get to market quickly.
Based around the company’s
ARM Cortex-M3-based SiM3U
microcontroller (MCU), the
MFI-SIM3U1XX-DK development kit supports the all-digital
Lightning connector and protocol stack. The development kit
targets a wide range of accessories for iOS devices including
entertainment accessories, device-powered dongles, game
controllers and docking stations. Silicon Labs designed the
MFI-SIM3U1XX-DK kit as a turnkey solution to help developers simplify their Lightning-based accessory development
projects and speed time to market while meeting the MFi
program requirements. The kit provides a cost-effective
and comprehensive solution for accessory developers and
includes hardware development board, firmware libraries
and an example iOS App, which supports Appcessory-style
communication between the iOS device and development
board. The SiM3U MCU features fully-specified analogue
peripherals, an integrated capacitive touch sense controller, an internal 5V regulator and crystal-less USB support,
which eliminates the need for discrete crystal oscillators and
reduces component count, BOM and board space.
Silicon Labs
Companion FPGA packs 85K LUTs
in 10x10mm package
The ECP5 FPGA Family launched by Lattice Semiconductor was specifically designed to focus on key fast growing
and high-volume markets such as small-cells, microservers,
broadband access, or industrial video.
As a companion chip bringing the much
needed design flexibility to ASICs and
ASSPs, the IC comes in various options
offering from 25 to 85K look-up tables
(LUTs) at a cost 40% lower than alternatives according to the manufacturer,
while delivering twice the functional density of competing solutions. The devices are specifically designed to closely match a
number of applications, with improvements on the DSP block
and support for very low cost and low power SERDES links. The
ECP5 FPGAs provide the flexible connectivity required in outdoor small-cells, at extremely low-cost. They can also enable a
smart SFP (small form-factor pluggable) transceiver solution for
broadband access equipment, including integrated operation
and maintenance. Outside of communications, ECP5 devices
offer low cost, low power PCI Express side-band connectivity
for microservers. For industrial video cameras, ECP5 FPGAs
can implement the entire image processing functionality in a
device that consumes under 2W. Enhancements leading to 30%
lower total power than other FPGA solutions include stand-by
mode operation of the individual blocks including SERDES,
dynamic IO bank controllers and reduced operating voltage.
Lattice Semiconductor
www.electronics-eetimes.com Integrity RTOS extended to multicore
ARM Cortex-A9 processors
Green Hills Software now offers its INTEGRITY-178 tuMP
real-time operating system (RTOS) for ARM-based processors. Green Hills Software partner Richland Technologies has
announced an Open Standard Reconfigurable and Certifiable
Computing Architecture (ORCCA) avionics computer based on
an ARM multicore processor and INTEGRITY-178 tuMP. The INTEGRITY-178 tuMP (time-variant unified multiprocessing) RTOS
is intended for safety-critical and security-critical systems that
are based on modern multicore processors. INTEGRITY-178
tuMP significantly improves the flexibility in how the ARM
processor cores can be used. The tuMP architecture is referred
to as “unified” in that a common OS controls the scheduling
of all cores and the overall communications between applications. It retains all AMP and SMP scheduling capabilities while
resolving their significant limitations. The introduction of tuMP
for ARM-based processors follows the successful introduction
in 2011 of INTEGRITY-178 tuMP for Freescale’s family of QorIQ
multicore processors. The tuMP implementation is an update
to Green Hills Software’s INTEGRITY-178 single-core product;
INTEGRITY-178 tuMP for ARM also supports the ARINC-653
(Part 1 supplement 3 and Part 2 supplement 2) interfaces and
operating system capabilities necessary to be aligned with the
Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™) V2.0 Technical Standard. For systems requiring compliance to RTCA/
DO-178B/C, Green Hills Software provides Level A certification
evidence for INTEGRITY-178 tuMP.
Green Hills Software
Automotive-qualified motor controller
combines small size and high current
Microchip has developed an automotive-qualified motor
driver IC that combines cost-effectiveness with a very small
footprint. The MCP8063 comes in a small 8-pin, 4x4mm
DFN package. Microchip claims
that this is the world’s first motor
driver to combine a this size with
a 1.5A peak phase current for the
180° sinusoidal drive of a variety of three-phase brushless DC
motor and fan applications. The
high degree of integration reduces PCB area and the high
sinusoidal-drive performance provides high efficiency, low
mechanical vibration and, as a consequence, low acoustic
noise and silent operation. The device also includes safety
features such as thermal shutdown, over-current limiting
and lock-up protection. Additionally, it supports the sensorless driving of BLDC motors, which eliminates the cost and
space of a Hall sensor. The MCP8063 motor driver works
stand-alone or in conjunction with Microchip’s portfolio of
PIC microcontrollers and dsPIC digital signal controllers. This
offers a high degree of flexibility for everything from simple
voltage control to closed-loop motor speed control using
high-performance algorithms, such as sinusoidal sensorless
drive. Development with the MCP8063 motor driver is facilitated by the 12V 3-phase BLDC sensorless Fan Controller
Demo Kit ADM00575.
Microchip Technology
Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 47
4x4 MIMO device testing capability
for chipset and device makers
Anite claims to be the first to offer chipset and device manufacturers the ability to verify their 4x4 downlink (DL) MIMO
designs and products, accelerating the development of LTE
and LTE-Advanced devices. The milestone was achieved in
close collaboration with a leading device manufacturer using
the company’s Development Toolset for early stage testing.
MIMO is a key feature in LTE-Advanced, Advanced MIMO
antenna configurations where both the base station and the
device are equipped with multiple transmit/receive antennas
are leading to an increased need for device testing prior to
market launch. 4x4 DL MIMO capable devices require greater
antenna separation/isolation and are therefore used in devices
with larger form factors such as phablets, laptops with inbuilt
modems and set-top boxes, as well as in various automotive
applications. Anite’s capability to test 4x4 DL MIMO follows its
earlier success in demonstrating Carrier Aggregation of two
component carriers of 20 MHz each, resulting in Category 6/7
downlink data rates of 300 Mbps. ‘Complex antenna configurations such as 4x4 DL MIMO require advanced testing capability. Anite’s leading product roadmap and its collaborative
engagement with key industry partners enable device manufacturers to accelerate their designs of LTE and LTE-Advanced
products’, says Paul Beaver Products Director at Anite.
Flush-mountable infrared LED delivers
remote control functionality
Osram Opto Semiconductors has introduced the company’s
first flush-mountable infrared LED which enables remote control
functionality to be incorporated in a lower profile than ever
before. The T-shaped SFH 4140
Midled protrudes 0.6 mm above
and below the board thereby
offering remote control functions
in a small space. The compact
side-looking T-shaped Midled
offers high radiant intensity and
protrudes fractions of millimeters from the board. An infrared
transmitter can therefore now be integrated in extra-thin smartphones or tablet computers. For the first time, Osram Opto
Semiconductors has succeeded in sinking a surface-mountable
infrared LED in a pc board. The LED is the T-Midled SFH 4140.
The T-shaped transmitter takes up 4.6 mm2 of board space and
emits a focused beam to the side. The beam angle of +/-25
degrees is created by an integrated reflector – a real plus point
in terms of space requirements. The SFH 4140 produces an
impressive 50 milliwatts per steradiant (mW/sr) as its typical
radiant intensity from 100 mA so it achieves the ranges needed
for remote control functions. The wavelength of 940 nanometers
is also perfect for meeting the requirements of this application.
This component is Osram Opto Semiconductors’ contribution
to the trend of turning smartphones and tablet computers into
universal remote controls. If the device is equipped with the
appropriate infrared transmitter diode then the diode can be
controlled with a suitable app.
Osram Opto Semiconductors
48 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
10 to 20W DIN Rail DC-DC converters
are under 26mm thin
CUI’s latest family of compact DIN rail DC-DC converters is
housed in a slim 76x31.5x25.8mm DIN-Rail package with all
electrical connections easily accessible via screw terminals.
The family’s 47 modules, across three series PYB10-DIN,
PYB15-DIN, and
PYB20-DIN have an
output range of 10 to
20W with input ranges
of 9 to 36 Vdc or 18
to 75 Vdc for batterydriven applications.
The devices operate
reliably in the -40 to
+85°C temperature
range. The PYB family
is available in single
output (3.3, 5, 12, 15,
or 24 Vdc), dual output (±5, ±12, or ±15 Vdc), and in 15 and 20
W versions, triple output (3.3/±12, 3.3/±15, 5/±12, or 5/±15)
models. Outputs are fully regulated to within ±0.5% for overall
line input conditions and ±1.0% for all load conditions. Input
to output isolation of 1,500 Vdc is provided across the range
of models. The PYB series delivers efficiencies reaching 91%.
Single output 15 W and 20 W models offer an output trim that
allows ±10% nominal output adjustment. All parts include a
remote on/off feature. Protections include continuous short
circuit, over current and over voltage. The PYB series meets
CISPR22/EN55022 Class B standards with limited external
components. An optional heat sink is also offered on most
models for improved thermal performance.
CO2 sensor module offers maintenance-free
long-term stability
The sensor module EE893 from E+E Elektronik allows accurate and long-term stable CO2 measurements in demanding OEM applications. Thanks to its small size and low power
consumption, the
EE893 can be used in
both hard-wired sensors and battery operated devices such as
wireless transmitters,
hand-held devices and
data loggers. environmental influences.
Aging effects are compensated automatically
. The multiple point
CO2 and temperature
adjustment ensures high accuracy over the entire temperature working range. Measurement intervals can be set
individually according to the requirements of the application.
The device offers a measuring range of 0 to 10,000 ppm; the
readouts are provided across a digital E2 interface.
E+E Elektronik
Mouser and ADI sponsor 12th annual NASA
Tech Briefs design contest
Together with Analog Devices Inc, Mouser Electronics is sponsoring the 12th annual NASA Tech Briefs magazine “Create the
Future” Design Contest, a challenge to engineers and students
worldwide to create the next great thing. The
grand prize winner will receive global recognition and a cash prize of $20,000 for an
innovative product that benefits society and
the economy. Previous contests have produced more than 9,000 design ideas from
engineers, educators and students in more
than 100 countries. Entries are being accepted now through
July 1, 2014. The “Create the Future” Design Contest has
been responsible for bringing attention to product designs that
increase the quality of life, improve the efficiency and quality of
healthcare and help to reduce dependence on non-renewable
energy sources.
Mouser Electronic
Anglia signs with DEM Manufacturing
Anglia Components has been appointed a UK and Ireland distributor for Roxburgh, Deltron Enclosures and Deltron Connectors, three brands manufactured by DEM Manufacturing, one
of the UK’s best known manufacturers of EMC filters, connectors and enclosures. All three brands are being supported by
an extensive stock profile held at Anglia’s UK warehouse, and
available online for same day shipment through Anglia Live.
Anglia will be supporting Deltron Enclosures standard range
of general aluminium die cast enclosures, IP rated enclosures;
IP65 enclosures, IP66 enclosures, IP67 enclosures and IP68
enclosures, and industrial and heavy duty options suitable
for harsh environments. It will also offer Deltron Connectors
DIN and XLR plugs and sockets, phono and jack plugs, 4mm
banana plugs, crocodile clips and a variety of electrical connectors suitable for instrumentation and speaker applications.
Roxburgh industrial filters and general EMC filters, including
IEC inlet filters, will also be supported with stock.
Rochester Electronics re-introduces
Intel’s 8XC196 family
Rochester Electronics is a fully-authorized continuing source for
the Intel 8XC196 Family of microcontrollers. Introduced in 1982
as the Intel MCS-96 Family, these MCUs are most commonly
used in motor control, modem, printer and
pattern recognition applications within
embedded systems. In 2007, Intel discontinued this family of microcontrollers, at
which point Rochester Electronics acquired
the intellectual property of these devices
to continue helping Intel’s customer base
for this specific family. Through its Extension-of-Life programs,
Rochester Electronics currently offers this family in a variety of
packages, temperature ranges and speeds, including military
versions for the 80C196KB, 87C196KC and KD.
Rochester Electronics
www.electronics-eetimes.com Osram’s PrevaLED and Optotronic ranges at
Farnell element14
The light engines are launched with and without integrated
driver technology providing a versatile range of current and
voltage windows, lighting control and system level efficiency
and warranty. The Osram PrevaLED range is available in a
variety of luminous flux and offers four shades of white from
warm white to cool white, in form factors from strips to round
and square modules meeting Zhaga standards for lighting.
Farnell element14
Free-board programme
adds Atmel 8- and 32-bit MCU kits
Distributor Future Electronics has added three of the latest development boards for Atmel microcontrollers to its FTM Board
Club website, making them available free to qualified members.
One of the new boards supports the
ATmega168, an 8-bit AVR microcontroller. The other two are for users of the
SAM D21 or SAM R21 families of ARM
Cortex™-M0+ microcontrollers. The ATMEGA168-XMINI is a flexible for users
of the ATmega168 MCU, providing an
on-board debugger, a large prototyping
area with connections to all the MCU’s
pins, and a footprint for an optional
Arduino shield connector. The board is
automatically detected by the Atmel Studio development environment on power-up. The ATSAMD21-XPRO and ATSAMR21XPRO boards provide a feature-rich hardware environment for
developers working with ARM Cortex-M0+ based MCUs. The
boards may be easily extended with Atmel I/O1 Xplained Pro,
OLED1 Xplained Pro, QT1 Xplained Pro, and PROTO1 Xplained
Pro extension boards, enabling designers to quickly build a
realistic application environment in which to experiment with the
capabilities of the microcontroller. Both boards include a debugger, and are powered over USB. The new boards are available
to members of the FTM Board Club at www.my-boardclub.com.
Future Electronics
RFMW Ltd to distribute Aviacomm’s
RFMW Ltd and Aviacomm announced a distribution agreement that covers customers in North America, Europe and
South East Asia. RFMW will distribute Aviacomm’s portfolio of smart transceivers including the ARF1020, ARF2010
and ARF3010. These direct conversion RF transceivers can
operate on any frequency band between 50 MHz and 2,800
MHz without restrictions of band-limited ports, enabling
more efficient and scalable RF front-end designs. Aviacomm
products are low power, high performance, RFIC transceivers
that address a variety of radio protocols and architectures,
including TVWS, 4G/LTE, 3G, 2G, Cognitive Radios, Software
Defined Radios, and other specialty wireless communication
Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 49
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[email protected]
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+49 8944450209
[email protected]
Peter Clarke
+44 776 786 55 93
[email protected]
Paul Buckley
+44 1962866460
[email protected]
Jean-Pierre Joosting
+44 7800548133
[email protected]
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[email protected]
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RPM: Nivelles. Volume 16, Issue 5 EE Times P 304128
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A whiter shade of pale
By Paul Buckley
Scientists from Penn State in partnership with Soraa Inc., believe that some
LED bulbs whites are not ‘whiter than
white’ and that with the switch away from
incandescent and fluorescent lighting,
different degrees of whites may all look
the same.
Kevin W. Houser, professor of architectural engineering, Penn State, led the research team which asked 39 participants
to observe various combinations of light
sources and white objects to see how the
light source affected perceptions of white.
The results are reported in a recent issue
of Leukos, the journal of the Illuminating
Engineering Society.
For years, companies have been adding
whiteners to laundry
detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics
to make whites look
‘whiter than white’. “Retailers have long been
concerned with the color-rendering qualities of their lighting, but less aware how
light sources render white,” said Houser.
Not long ago, the only practical choices
for home, office or commercial lighting
were incandescent or fluorescent bulbs.
More recently, compact fluorescent bulbs,
which use less energy than incandescent
bulbs, became popular, but compact
fluorescents are not always accepted by
consumers because of poor color rendition, lack of dimability, slow warm-up
to full output and because they contain
The most recent popular entry into
home or commercial lighting are lightemitting diode (LED) bulbs, which are
often even more energy-saving than
compact fluorescents. While some LED
bulbs will make colors pop, the vast majority do not showcase or differentiate the
appearance of white products, according
to Houser, because all white light is not the
Different light sources contain different
combinations of the wavelengths of light.
A broad variety of wavelengths will create
light that appears white to the human eye,
but different mixtures of wavelengths will
affect how colors are rendered. When it
comes to seeing the color white, the light
source is very important because of how
product manufacturers make white products appear white using whiteners.
Whiteners contain fluorescent materials
50 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014
that glow under violet and ultraviolet light.
Sunlight, fluorescent light and incandescent light all produce some light in the
violet and ultraviolet range. The whiteners
used in consumer products work under
those conditions, resulting in a bright white
However, most current LED bulbs use
blue LEDs to excite a phosphor that then
glows white, but produces no violet or ultraviolet light. The participants completed
three tests - selection, forced choice and
sorting - using five different light sources
- a blue-pumped LED, filtered halogen
lamp and three violet-pumped LEDs with
differing levels of violet
In the sorting experiment, the researchers placed six calibrated
whiteness cards of varying whiteness on a table
in a booth enclosed on
three sides. They asked
participants to arrange the cards in order
of whiteness under each of the five light
Under the halogen light and violetpumped LED lights with 7 and 11 percent
violet emission, the order was correct. Two
of the cards were flipped under violetpumped LEDs with only three percent
violet emissions.
“With the LED with only blue pumping the phosphors, the order became
random,” said Houser. “People simply
couldn’t tell the difference between the
cards under the blue-pumped LED, which
is notable because blue-pumped LEDs are
by far the most common type for general
In the forced choice test, two nominally
identical cards were placed in each of two
booths containing different light sources.
Participants were asked to choose the
card that was whiter under all of the permutations of each of the five light sources.
“The light sources with higher violet
component permitted the best discrimination between the targets,” said Houser.
In the selection test, researchers asked
the participants to look at a reference
card in one booth and rank the cards
in a second booth as either as white or
whiter than the reference card. Again the
blue-pumped LEDs did not fare well. The
researchers noted that “engineering of an
LED source’s spectrum is necessary for an
accurate rendering of whiteness.”
A leading reference resource for electronics engineers, EE Times Europe’s White Paper library
includes over 600 white papers, application notes, technical articles, books and case studies
that can be downloaded free of charge. The latest featured papers are available below.
USB 5V 2.5A Output, 42V Input Synchronous
Buck with Cable Drop Compensation
Non-chopper-stabilized versus chopperstabilized bipolar latching Hall-effect sensors
The LT®8697 is a
compact, high efficiency,
high speed synchronous
monolithic step-down
switching regulator designed to power 5V USB
applications. A precise
output voltage and programmable cable drop
compensation maintain
accurate 5V regulation
at the USB socket connected to the end of a long cable. Forced
continuous operation allows the LT8697 to sink current, further
enhancing accurate 5V regulation during load transient
Honeywell Sensing and Control has
developed a high sensitivity and fast
response bipolar latching sensor by
using a quad Hall element without
chopper stabilization. This new
design offers high sensitivity, repeatability, and fast response time, that all
contribute to an efficient BLDC motor
design. This paper shows the results
of a low gauss latch competitive
evaluation performed by Honeywell,
between Honeywell’s non-chopperstabilized SS460S bipolar latching Hall-effect sensor and five
chopper-stabilized competitor
Selecting the Best Inductor
for Your DC-DC Converter
Integrated Analog and Digital Power Supply
for Remote Sensors
The use of DC-DC converters is increasing. As
electronic systems become
more miniaturized, mobile,
complicated, and popular,
the power requirements become more varied. Proper
inductor selection requires
a good understanding of
inductor performance and
of how desired in-circuit performance relates to the information
available in supplier data sheets. This paper discusses the key performance ratings engineers need to understand and evaluate when
specifying power inductors for dc-dc conversion circuits.
Industrial encoders,
optical sensors or laser
modules are supplied
via long lines with 24 V.
This can vary +/-50%
and have glitches/
noise. In high-precision
sensors analog circuits
supply voltages have
to be as glitch-free as
possible and working with microcontrollers on different supply
voltages or drivers switching >100 mA. A DC/DC converter hybrid
architecture provides an optimum solution to the supply needs of
the analog and digital parts of sensors.
Supplying DC input power for HEV testing
Proper use of Field Analyzers
at Lower Frequencies
Hybrid electric
vehicle (HEV)
and electric
vehicle (EV)
test starts with
a reliable and
stable DC voltage in the range
of a few kW to
many tens of
kW. High-power
batteries, fast chargers, DC/DC converters, and battery electronic
control units all require many kW of power during test at various
voltage and current combinations. At these high power levels,
protecting the device under test (DUT) is also very important.
www.electronics-eetimes.com Most RF field probes
are designed to
measure only the root
mean square (RMS)
of a continuous wave
(CW) electric field
over a broad range of
frequencies and amplitudes. This is not the
case for the AR Field
Analyzer. The AR Field
Analyzer contains an embedded web-page that has the ability to
measure CW and Modulated electric field or power density in the
time domain using an oscilloscope-type display.
Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2014 51
PCIM Europe 2014, Nuremberg
Visit us in hall 09, booth 311
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Bringing Energy Efficiency to the Next Level
Within SMPS applications high efficiency targets are required across the entire load
range starting at 20% or even at 10% load. Infineon offers a broad portfolio, providing
innovative solutions for high performance systems.
n High Voltage Power MOSFETs (CoolMOS™)
n Low Voltage Power MOSFETs (OptiMOS™)
n SiC Schottky Diodes (thinQ!™)
n Driver ICs (EiceDRIVER™)
n Si Power Diodes (Rapid 1 and Rapid 2)
n Analog Controller ICs (CoolSET™, ICE-family)
n Microcontroller (XMC)
Your requirements:
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Our offer:
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Learn more about our offering for your system:
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