Wireless Systems Design

Functionality Meets Form On New Path

I admit it. As a consumer, I have always been partial to Motorola cell-phone products. You must understand that I am generally EXTREMELY rough on my cell phone. That's why Motorola products have always worked well for me. As the old Timex slogan goes, "They can take a lickin' and keep on tickin'!" Of course, not every consumer is as rough on products as I am. In truth, many opt for fancy features and cool packaging over robust operation.

In keeping with the demands of all consumers, Motorola is now adding another layer of functionality to its already robust product set. The company has set its sights on enabling true global and seamless mobility. How exactly does it plan on accomplishing this task? Motorola is now an active member of the PolyApply project.

This initiative, which is backed by the PolyApply Consortium (www.polyapply.org), is tasked with making seamless mobility a reality. Motorola will lead the project's Reference Design work package. This Reference Design will serve as the foundation for all subsequent consortium work by matching application specifications to technical opportunities. It also will match the consortium's technical developments with existing standards-body activities. All Reference Design work will be completed at the company's Physical Realization Center in Taunusstein, Germany (www.motorola.com/labs).

It's all well and good to talk about enabling seamless mobility, but what exactly does that mean? The consortium hopes to bolster expertise in polymer electronics by building a foundation of scalable, ubiquitous communication technology that's based on polymer semiconductor technology. It also will drive the creation of electronic "things that think" as well as communication between people and objects. These goals will involve advances on two major technology fronts: presence sensing, or "I-am-here" technology, and information exchange, or "This-is-who-I-am" technology. Together, these two components allow for identification—a key factor in allowing communication to take place without contact between the person and the object that are communicating.

Obviously, today's RF communication devices and protocols do not yet enable communication with everyday objects on a large scale. Here, the PolyApply Consortium hopes to have a dramatic impact. It will work to develop new, disruptive solutions using polymers. These solutions will be less expensive to process and more cost effective to implement. Granted, it's a lofty goal. But I, for one, am anxious to see whether or not it succeeds. Send me your thoughts at [email protected]

TAGS: Components
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