ACE Awards Ultimate Products of 2012

-April 24, 2013

The 2013 ACE Awards showcase the best of the best in today’s electronics industry, including the hottest new products and technologies that have made a difference in electronics industry in the last year. Spanning a range of applications and technologies, this year’s Ultimate Products reflect that more than ever.

Not surprisingly, some are from the always-hot communications sector, reflecting technologies such as 5G Wi-Fi, Bluetooth sensor iPhone app development, high-performance networks and servers, as well as emerging communications. Others are focused on the ever-important power sector, and in particular automotive battery management in electric vehicles. Another addresses performance improvements and design simplification in the medical market. And finally, rounding out the represented applications are areas as diverse as lightning sensing, custom LED lighting, and IP/system-centric design.

ANALOG ICs: AD9670/71 octal ultrasound AFE (Analog Devices)

The AD9670 was introduced as the industry’s first octal (eight-channel) ultrasound receiver with on-chip digital I/Q demodulation and decimation filtering. Because of the embedded demodulation and decimation feature, it is the first ultrasound receiver able to condition eight channels of data from RF to a baseband frequency, reducing the processing load on the system FPGA by at least 50% compared to other receivers.

By incorporating a 5-Gbps JESD204B interface, the AD9671 reduces ultrasound system I/O data routing by as much as 80% compared with other data interface standards. The resulting savings addresses the needs of manufacturers designing small, high-performance ultrasound systems by simplifying ultrasound equipment board design while better meeting industry demand for higher data rates, larger channel counts and greater image resolution.

The AD9670/71 also integrate a low-noise amplifier, variable gain amplifier, anti-aliasing filter, and a 14-bit, A/D converter with a 125-MSPS sample rate and a SNR performance of 75 dB for enhanced ultrasound image quality. The extended anti-aliasing filter frequency range and a high ADC sample rate are also designed to help medical and industrial ultrasound equipment manufacturers meet the trend toward higher frequency probes and superior image quality.

Bluetooth low energy SensorTag kit (Texas Instruments)

The goal of the SensorTag development kit is to make possible a Bluetooth low energy device with the maximum number of sensors while achieving years of battery life on a single coin cell battery. At the same time it’s designed to shorten the design time for Bluetooth app development from months to hours.

With a free downloadable SensorTag App from the App Store and no required hardware or software expertise, the kit makes it easy for smartphone app developers to take advantage of the growing number of Bluetooth low energy-enabled smartphones and tablets. It’s offered as the first Bluetooth low energy development kit focusing on wireless sensor applications and the only development kit targeting smartphone app developers.

The SensorTag resembles a finished product made by industrial designers and combines it with an intuitive smartphone user interface, allowing engineers to visualize sensor information on the smartphone and quickly realize prototypes of wirelessly connected sensors. The kit has six integrated low-power MEMS sensors and includes complete iOS sample app projects for demo use.

LEDs & LIGHTING: LUXEON Z LEDs (Philips LumiLeds)

Designed as the smallest and most flexible high-power light source, LUXEON Z LEDs are offered as a step towards simplifying luminaire design and inspiring the imagination of the lighting designer while improving system luminance and miniaturizing light sources, enabling the next generation of uniform and efficient light sources. Their micro source size of 1.7×1.33 mm or 2.2 mm2 is 80% smaller and delivers higher performance than standard LEDs.

With LUXEON Z, designers can build their own custom 1×4, 2×2, 3×3, 4×4, and other arrays based on end luminaire design. The un-domed architecture of LUXEON Z is unique to LEDs in illumination and allows designers precise optical control leading to more uniform and tighter beam patterns desired in directional and highend applications. Configurations are virtually limitless, and with the ability to mount as many as 250 of the highlumen LUXEON Z in one square-inch, designers can reach new levels in lumen densities.

Available in the full spectrum of colors from 440 to 670 nm and select white color temperatures, LUXEON Z LEDs are ideal for entertainment/stage lighting, indoor and outdoor architectural lighting, emergency vehicle lighting, remote phosphor applications, and a wide spectrum of specialty lighting applications.

LOGIC/INTERFACE/MEMORY: Hybrid Memory Cube (Micron Technology)

The first 3-D IC to be successfully manufactured in volume with advanced through-silicon vias (TSVs), Micron’s Hybrid Memory Cube uses a logic device as its base, with high-performance DRAM vertically stacked above it using TSV connections. Initial volume production of the Hybrid Memory Cube, with its combination of high performance, low power, next-generation features, and competitive cost, heralds 2013 as the turning point for 3-D ICs designed to enable high-performance networks and servers today and destined for markets ranging from industrial to consumer.

To facilitate adoption of this technology, the HMC standard has gained consensus among a consortium of the world’s three largest memory makers and more than 100 leading technology companies. The HMC concept completely rearchitects and redistributes normal DRAM functions while delivering:

  • Scalable System Architectures: Flexible topologies (expandability)
  • Performance: Higher DRAM bandwidth
  • Energy (Power-Efficient Architectures): Lower DRAM energy per useful unit of work done
  • Dependability (RAS): In-field repair capability

The result is bandwidth and efficiencies that are a leap beyond current device capabilities. HMC prototypes, for example, clock in with bandwidth of 128 gigabytes per second (GB/s) compared to state-of-the-art module form factors that deliver 12.8 GB/s.

HMC provides an advanced, ultra short-reach interconnection across physical layers (PHYs) for applications that require tightly coupled or close proximity memory support for FPGAs, ASICs, and ASSPs, such as high-performance networking, and test and measurement. Results from the collaboration could lead to unprecedented levels of performance and ultimately facilitate new applications for medical, energy, wireless communications, transportation, security, and other segments.

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