editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Antenna Tuning Without MEMS

Quite some time ago, we reported on WiSpry, a MEMS company that was using its technology to switch capacitors so that the antenna tuning can be optimized and changed in real time as conditions and needs change.

Much more recently, a new solution was announced based on collaboration between Taoglas, who makes antenna assemblies, and Peregrine, who produces an array of digitally-switchable capacitors (amongst other things). They’ve combined the two into a module that can fit into phones and other devices like automobile telematics and patient monitoring devices that have to be small and yet communicate afar. Go ahead and click here for more information on how to sell your car easily online. You might think this sounds just like what WiSpry is doing, but, while they’re attacking the same basic problem, their solutions are very different.

Peregrine’s capacitors aren’t actuated by MEMS elements; they’re switched electronically using Peregrine’s UltraCMOS process, which relies on silicon-on-sapphire technology to provide good RF performance. So they’re purely electrical where WiSpry (and also Cavendish Kinetics) is electromechanical.

So which one is better? I asked what the benefit of the electrical version is, and I can oversimplify the answer as being, “We can actually produce ours reliably.” (They didn’t articulate that in a snarky fashion, to be clear… Yeah, I’m sexing it up to keep your attention…) Which suggests, of course, that MEMS makers can’t.

So I asked both WiSpry and Cavendish Kinetics about this; I can’t imagine either one of them saying, “Oh yeah, our production sucks!” even if it were true (and, for the record, I’m not saying it is). But it’s only right to let them respond, so I checked in. Cavendish Kinetics’ Marketing and Biz Dev EVP Larry Morrell said that they have real customer designs in the works, but that they haven’t reached production status yet.

But significantly, he said, “Based on our collective management experience (and the management team has done all this before), we are on a normal yield learning curve for a CMOS process.  So we are tracking to our plan and the yields are improving monthly.  Our current yield levels are well above minimum requirements to be able to predict fab output to support customers.” Carefully worded; it suggests to me that yields aren’t great today (a threshold of predicting output simply means stable, not high) – but if they can support customers without going out of business, that’s all that matters to customers. They expect production this year and capacity in the 10s of millions per month by the end of the year. [Update note: more clarification on Cavendish Kinetics yields can be found here.]

I did not receive a reply from WiSpry by “print” time.

You can find out more about the Peregrine/Taoglas offering in their release.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Oct 25, 2020
https://youtu.be/_xItRYHmGPw Made on my balcony (camera Carey Guo) Monday: The Start of the Arm Era Tuesday: The Gen Arm 2Z Ambassadors Wednesday: CadenceLIVE India: Best Paper Awards Thursday:... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community site. ]...
Oct 23, 2020
Processing a component onto a PCB used to be fairly straightforward. Through-hole products, or a single or double row surface mount with a larger centerline rarely offer unique challenges obtaining a proper solder joint. However, as electronics continue to get smaller and con...
Oct 23, 2020
[From the last episode: We noted that some inventions, like in-memory compute, aren'€™t intuitive, being driven instead by the math.] We have one more addition to add to our in-memory compute system. Remember that, when we use a regular memory, what goes in is an address '...
Oct 23, 2020
Any suggestions for a 4x4 keypad in which the keys aren'€™t wobbly and you don'€™t have to strike a key dead center for it to make contact?...

featured video

Demo: Low-Power Machine Learning Inference with DesignWare ARC EM9D Processor IP

Sponsored by Synopsys

Applications that require sensing on a continuous basis are always on and often battery operated. In this video, the low-power ARC EM9D Processors run a handwriting character recognition neural network graph to infer the letter that is written.

Click here for more information about DesignWare ARC EM9D / EM11D Processors

featured Paper

New package technology improves EMI and thermal performance with smaller solution size

Sponsored by Texas Instruments

Power supply designers have a new tool in their effort to achieve balance between efficiency, size, and thermal performance with DC/DC power modules. The Enhanced HotRod™ QFN package technology from Texas Instruments enables engineers to address design challenges with an easy-to-use footprint that resembles a standard QFN. This new package type combines the advantages of flip-chip-on-lead with the improved thermal performance presented by a large thermal die attach pad (DAP).

Click here to download the whitepaper

Featured Chalk Talk

SensorTile. Box - A Ready to Go IoT Node

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and ST Microelectronics

In the highly competitive IoT market, getting your idea to the prototype stage as quickly as possible is critical. But, designing non-differentiated things like connectivity, power supplies, sensor interfaces, and so forth soaks up valuable design time. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Thiago Reis from STMicroelectronics about SensorTile Box - a ready-to-go IoT node development kit that’s just waiting for your great IoT idea.

Click here for more information about STMicroelectronics STEVAL-MKSBOX1V1 SensorTile.box Development Kit