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Date: 29-11-14

Zigbee compatible radios for smart homes

imec/Holst Centre and MegaChips have signed a strategic partnership for joint R&D on ultra-low power (ULP) short radio technology for smart homes and buildings.

imec/Holst Centre and MegaChips together to develop an ultra-low power multi-standard sub-GHz radio solution (compatible with ZigBee 900MHz and IEEE802.15.4g) on CMOS technology with a transmit power 2x lower than present devices (60mW) and a receive power five to 10 times lower (6mW) enabling fully-autonomous sensors. Though the devices are designed to consume low power but can generate programmable output transmitter up to 13dBm enables a communication distance up to 2km in free space and guarantees reliable coverage in big industrial premises, in smart metering applications and in non-line-of-sight situations in smart buildings, claimed in the release.

“We are pleased that MegaChips has joined our ULP radio R&D program to strengthen our research ecosystem,” said Harmke de Groot, program director ULP Circuits and Devices at imec/Holst Centre. “Combining our partners’ know-how with our expertise in radio design and technology enables new innovative products for IoT while significantly shortening the time-to-market for our industrial partners".

"This ultra-low power wireless chip project will become nucleus of our IoT strategy," said Akira Takata, President and CEO of MegaChips Corporation. "We are going to lead the IoT market by combining our development capabilities of intelligent Sensor Hub and MEMS technology with imec's most advanced RF technology."

In other release imec/Holst Centre and the Dutch research institute TNO, and Cartamundi NV have announced a collaboration to develop ultra-thin flexible near field communication (NFC) tags. The partners will develop these new NFC tags using metal-oxide (IGZO) thin-film transistor (TFT) technology on plastic film. The flexible chips will be integrated into game cards as a part of Cartamundi’s larger strategy of developing game cards for the connected generation.

"Holst Centre, imec and Cartamundi engineers will look into NFC circuit design and TFT processing options, and will investigate routes for up-scaling of the production. By realizing the NFC tags using chips based on IGZO TFT technology on plastic film, the manufacturing cost can be kept low. Moreover, the ultra-thin and flexible form factor required for paper-embedded NFC applications can be realized." said in the release by imec.

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