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Body Motion Tracking: What’s Old is New

Health and fitness were one of the major categories of new gadgets at this year’s CES. One of the products being demonstrated was actually announced back in November, but in fact, isn’t really a new product. But there is something new about it.

Xsens started a project back in the 2004-5 timeframe to create a wireless wearable body suit with multiple sensors that could be used to model the motion of the body. They released their first product in 2008; it was used primarily as a tool for graphic animation.

It works … Read More → "Body Motion Tracking: What’s Old is New"

Detecting Intuitive

A little over a year ago I went on a bit of a rant about intuitive design. Now… for those of you running for the door, I’m not going to reprise that rant. At least, not directly. But a comment at the recent Touch Gesture Motion conference got me thinking (always a dangerous thing), and from it came a new corollary conclusion.

The speaker noted that today’s phones were so intuitive that his 18-month-old could use them, and, in … Read More → "Detecting Intuitive"

An Orientation Sensor

We now have a new category in the IMU world: Bosch Sensortec has announced the first of what they call Application-Specific Sensor Nodes, or ASSNs. They have dubbed this particular device an Absolute Orientation Sensor. It looks strikingly like an all-in-one sensor hub, with an accelerometer, a gyro, a magnetometer, and a 32-bit ARM-based microcontroller (source not disclosed).

The difference is that a sensor hub per se leaves the software to be executed on the micro pretty wide open for the user to … Read More → "An Orientation Sensor"

A Big Endurance Boost

Flash memories degrade over time as the oxide gets damaged and loses its ability to hold charge. It’s apparently well known that this damage can be annealed out, but that takes time and/or temperature. You can’t heat the chip over 400 °C, so you have to anneal for minutes for nominal results.

As described in an IEDM paper, Macronix modified their cell to allow a high current in the vicinity of the cell. By running that current for milliseconds, it could create local heating above 800 °C. This resulted in endurance over 100,000,000 … Read More → "A Big Endurance Boost"

Germanium at IEDM

There’s lots of interest in using germanium in pFETs to improve the symmetry between n- and p-channel devices in a CMOS inverter.  But integrating it with silicon has been challenging; at the very least, defects at the lattice interfaces have posed a significant barrier to progress.

Amongst the papers at IEDM, a couple featured ways of integrating Ge – literally – and confining defects.

A team from IBM, ST, Globalfoundries, Renesas, and Soitec devised a way of creating a uniform SiGe channel in a PMOS device on an extremely-thin SOI (ETSOI) wafer. … Read More → "Germanium at IEDM"

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