Circuit Seed, a new family of circuit building blocks for processing analog signals using fully digital components and design flow, is now able to significantly reduce the size and power of circuits, helping companies provide new offerings that the Internet of Things (IoT) will require for future product development, especially those products that assist the health of people and planet, according to Greg Waite, CEO of InventionShare.
Speaking from his Ottawa office, Waite says, “Circuit Seed is a significant game changer for the IoT and for the industry. What we have here is a major breakthrough for the IoT sensor markets. By integrating digital circuits which process analog signals – by their nature, small, low power, with higher accuracy, and which are inexpensive to design and manufacture – there is an opportunity to satisfy the consumer and business markets for sensors.”
Medical device and smartphone healthcare monitoring and diagnostic technologies is a very large and burgeoning market. Medical device companies are recognizing that decentralized diagnostic and therapeutic technologies will dramatically outpace traditional lab services.
Sensor market is growing at a record pace
“The likelihood of accurate point of care technologies being at a physician’s office, with lighter versions being mobile, in the near future is very high. We are not talking about simple heart beat and blood pressure apps; we are talking about very accurate vital measurements but also breath and fluid analysis to detect levels of toxins, viruses, bacteria, diseases, drug levels and, yes, even cancers. Water quality, food quality, air quality all affect health and have a big impact on people and planet. You can’t talk health care and not talk about the planet, food and quality – and the environment in general,” adds Waite.
The sensor market is growing at a record pace, partly because of the new applications as a result of Internet communications. Sensors can be field-programmable from an Internet connection, monitored in real time and, then, be collection points for big data that leads to better management decisions and increase reaction times. Traditional markets for sensors have been industrial, health sciences, infrastructure, energy, transportation, security and public safety, mining and consumer home. Sensors are typically phase or pulse technologies. Circuit Seed foundation inventions provide superior characteristics for both designs.
Circuit Seed inventions are founded on a mixture of decades of experience and creativity, supported by a robust portfolio of IP. Circuit Seed introduces a dramatic shift in the existing way of designing analog circuits, effectively eliminating many of the known shortcomings. Benefits include: unprecedented precision without precision parts; ultra-linear operation over an extreme dynamic range (>106); low noise, ultrahigh speed (analog at logic speed) and extreme low voltage (down to ~0.1V power supply); process parameter independence; compact footprint (amplifiers about the size of a couple of NAND gates); low power (~100uW for multi-GHz-range operation down to 10pW for KHz-range operation); and portable designs between ultra-deep sub-µm CMOS technology process nodes. This paradigm shift has eliminated the use of current mirrors or differential matched pairs with traditional bulky analog transistors while being able to recover from sleep mode at logic speed.
Test results demonstrate reduction in power, improved performance, accuracy
Simulation and silicon test results have demonstrated a dramatic reduction in power, better performance and higher accuracy, all with small integrated circuit footprints. The circuit designs are much simpler, reducing product costs with faster development, so less testing is required and there are fewer parts to assemble. These circuits are far more reliable in the newest CMOS processes, making Circuit Seed a real breakthrough for sensors and IoT future products.
“Due to the IoT, semiconductor companies are now looking for ways to support manufacturers’ ever increasing demands to make products that are smaller, lighter, faster – products that consume less power, give off less heat and that are easier, quicker and less expensive to design, manufacture and test,” says Waite. “They want products with fewer parts, that offer higher reliability and lower total product costs. Circuit Seed provides all these competitive advantages.”