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The IAQSense partners will develop the set of sensors, integrated electronics and wireless communication then validate them with a set of the most common molecules present indoors. The spectrometer on chip, dubbed Integrated Mobility Spectrometer, features an on-chip ionizer and collects ions by surface adsorption. When the device is electrically biased, the equally spread ions are collected on one side. Reversing the bias moves the ionised molecule to the other end. With different surface mobility, each type of ionised molecule has its own signature time of arrival. The concept has already been proven to detect various molecules present in air at part per billion levels. The functionalized tip FET relies on a 3D-shaped field effect transistor featuring a protruding flexible tip. The detecting nano-transistor is integrated on the silicon-tip, with a flexible channel size that can be modulated through backside substrate biasing (250nm down to 5nm). This in effect changes the sensitivity without cost-intensive nanometre-resolution lithography. Combined with a functionalization layer, this “transistor on the tip” sensing device would be used to detect bio-chemicals such as isoprene, mould, fungi, bacteria and other bio-pollutants. The third type of sensors to be integrated relies on nanostructured Fig. 3: A functionalized piezo-cantilever that could be tuned for biopollutants. and functionalized piezo-cantilevers, in effect nanomechanical resonators whose resonant frequency shifts can be read out to identify adsorbed molecules (depending on their mass for a fixed resonator geometry). The new read-out approach under investigation is said to achieve unprecedented levels of sensitivity and could detect traces of toxic or hazardous compounds such as explosives, below 1 part per trillion. Table 1: some of the most frequent and dangerous VOCs that could be targeted in a first development. The different sensor types in a given sensing node could be tailored for the specific markets described earlier. For example, in residential buildings the sensing heads would be capable to detect a limited set (shown in table 1) among the most frequent and dangerous VOCs identified by the French Indoor Air Quality Observatory (OQAI). This set could then be extended. Together with project leader Efficience Marketing (EM), other partners involved include ID MOS SAS (FR), CEA (FR), EELEO (FR), FSRM (CH), Nano Analytik GmbH (DE), Acciona Infraestructuras (ES), Facet (BG), Microsystems Ltd (BG) and French- German research Institute of Saint-Louis (FR). Imagination aims at smartwatches By Nick Flaherty Imaginatio n Technologies sees a key opening for its MIPS processors in smartwatches developed with Google. With lots of focus on the new Motorola 360 smartwatch (above) but no technical details as yet, Imagination sees this as an opportunity to take on ARM. “Imagination is the only CPU IP supplier announced by Google to be a launch partner for Android Wear – something we’re pretty proud of,” said a spokesman. Already a strong player in the Android ecosystem, MIPS is one of the three CPU architectures fully supported by Google in every Android release including the latest Android 4.4 KitKat alongside ARM and Intel’s x86. He points to the list of members in the Android Wear alliance which includes several leading consumer electronics manufacturers (Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung), chip makers (Broadcom, Mediatek and Qualcomm - all ARM licensees, as well as Intel) and watch fashion brand the Fossil Group, all looking to bring out watches powered by the new operating system later this year, but as yet none of the announced designs are MIPS-based. However, this year at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, wearables startup Ineda demonstrated an ultra-low power Wearable Processor Unit (WPU) SoC that integrates multiple IP processors from Imagination, including MIPS CPUs and PowerVR GPUs. SpeedUp Technology has also announced its first wearable technology product, the SpeedUp SmartWatch that uses an ultra-low power MIPS-based CPU from Ingenic. “Several of our licensees are working very hard to deliver MIPS-based, Android Wear-compliant devices that will be available in the market once the operating system is officially released,” said the spokesman. “By being a launch partner, we will work very closely to ensure that Android Wear will be optimized for MIPS CPUs as well as our other IP technologies such as PowerVR graphics, video and vision, and Ensigma RPU radio processors.” Now Google is using its recent developer preview to give app developers the chance to experiment with enhanced notifications from apps such as weather, sports scores, and navigation for their applications to display on the smaller screen of smartwatches. For example, Android Wear supports notifications on a watch similar to how Google Now displays notifications on the smartphone. The next step for Google is to publish a full SDK that allows app developers to create complete, smartwatch-centric applications. www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe April 2014 17


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