Electronic Design

Company Wire

  • Sensor manufacturer Thermometrics Global Business is partnering with LG Electronics of Korea to create an infrared-technology company named Thermometrics Technologies. The joint venture will develop products for noncontact temperature sensing, with manufacturing carried out in the new company's Seoul, South Korea, plant. Because IR temperature sensors are built using silicon semiconductor technology, they are fast, very sensitive, and reasonably priced. Also, they may be fabricated as drop-in replacements for existing thick-film sensors. IR devices produced by the alliance will target automotive, industrial, medical, and consumer applications.

  • Microchip Technology Inc. has merged with TelCom Semiconductor Inc. This move combines Microchip's experience in embedded control applications with TelCom's work in analog products. Together, the companies will develop power-management, thermal-management, and other linear/mixed-signal ICs.

  • Geotest MTS Inc. has partnered with GuideTech to design and market PXI time-interval counters. Specifically, Geotest will rehost GuideTech's time-interval counter family on the PXI platform. The new products, to be introduced in the second quarter, will include four 100-MHz and 1.3-GHz time-interval counters. Geotest supplies PXI, PCI, and ISA test systems, equipment, and software, while GuideTech offers precision time-measurement products based on time-interval analyzer technology.

  • Agilent Technologies Ireland Ltd., a subsidiary of Agilent Technologies Inc., is set to acquire MV Technology Ltd. MVT is a privately held provider of automated optical-inspection systems for the electronics manufacturing market. After the acquisition, MVT will become an operation within the Imaging Division of Agilent's Manufacturing Test Business Unit, a part of the company's Automated Test Group.

  • IBM has signed a global strategic outsourcing agreement with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The deal, worth $1.7 billion over seven years, covers the provision of IT infrastructure services to 45 countries. IBM will provide PC-management guidance, network and communications services, and computer operations support.

  • Sandia National Laboratories and Celera Genomics, an Applera Corp. company, have signed a cooperative research and development agreement. The project aims to develop next-generation computer hardware and software for computational biology and life sciences applications. With project technology provided by Compaq Computer Corp., the companies hope to increase computing capability to 100 trillion operations/s.

  • Corning Inc. will acquire Tropel Corp., a maker of precision optics and metrology instruments for the semiconductor industry. The acquisition combines Corning's materials expertise with Tropel's knowledge of precision optical subsystems for the microlithography industry. Moreover, the deal combines two complementary product lines. Tropel's high-performance optical components, subsystems, and optical metrology instruments are specially designed and manufactured for wafer, photomask, and semiconductor equipment suppliers. Corning's line consists of microlithography optical materials.

  • A collaboration between GeneScan Europe AG and Clinical Micro Sensors, a business unit within Motorola Inc., is meant to produce new DNA detection tools for genetically modified crops. The tools will apply bioelectronic technology deployed in Motorola's eSensor DNA detection system. GeneScan has experience in analyzing genetically modified organisms and in monitoring food safety. Motorola's eSensor uses organic molecules to form electronic circuits that can detect and quantify many different DNA targets at once. GeneScan and Clinical Micro Sensors intend to use the eSensor platform to develop a single test for several genetically engineered traits, enabling on-site analysis. The technology should provide the agriculture and food industries with better tracking and management of new generations of crops and food products.

  • Streaming21 Inc., Neon Technology Inc., and Sigma Designs have announced a joint effort for delivering broadcast-quality streaming audio and video for Video on Demand (VOD). Streaming21 will provide carrier-class delivery and content distribution. Neon Technology's SurfReady Set-Top Box environment, based on Sigma Design MPEG decoder chips, will supply end-user presentation of streaming multimedia information.

  • The Motorola and Wind River Systems joint Center of Excellence (CoE) program will foster tighter integration of Motorola's PowerPC processors and cores with Wind River's various operating systems and software development tools, including its latest VxWorks AE. The first new combination from the relationship is the integration of Wind River's Tornado with Motorola's MPC7410 and MPC7450 processors.

  • Motorola Semiconductor and Surf Communication Solutions Inc. have allied to provide OEMs with bundled hardware and software for Internet telephony and data-access markets. Surf will port its high-density convergence software, including the Surf Multi-Access Pool (SMP), to Motorola's StarCore-based MSC8101 and MSC8102 DSPs. In addition to the MSC810x/SMP kit, Motorola and Surf plan to provide a comprehensive suite of tools, including multi-DSP reference designs, host-level interfaces that comply with Smart Networks, and evaluation platforms.

  • To integrate DSP cores into its ASIC design process, IBM Microelectronics has licensed LSI Logic's superscalar ZSP400 DSP core and associated software development and verification tools. IBM will integrate the ZSP400 DSP core into its 0.13-µm CMOS Blue Logic ASIC library. IBM will modify the core to work with its open on-chip bus architecture, CoreConnect.

  • Semiconductor vendor Infineon Technologies and IMEC, a microelectronic R&D organization, will jointly develop advanced CMOS semiconductor process steps and modules. Their work will seek to establish the underlying technologies for producing dimensions of 70 nm or less, as well as advanced optical lithography. The organizations also will collaborate on system-on-a-chip design and wireless LAN (WLAN) system applications.

  • Electronics manufacturing services provider Flextronics has expanded its photonics offerings by acquiring two companies—Fico Fiber Optics and Wave Optics. With this, Flextronics gains design and manufacturing services for optical networking applications. Wave Optics designs, manufactures, and packages optical subcomponents and components for the DWDM, SONET, and Gigabit Ethernet markets. Fico Fiber Optics concentrates on product industrialization and manufacturing advanced optical modules, electrooptical modules, and passive optical components for telecom and datacom products.

  • Seven, a new wireless startup, has partnered with British Telecom and Microsoft. Genie, BT's Mobile Internet Division, will offer wireless data-access technology to enterprise customers through Seven's global network platform. BT also will support Microsoft's Mobile Information Server, a core component of Microsoft's overall mobility strategy.

  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab plans to expand to India. The lab is currently working with the Indian government to bring projects to several locations throughout the country. Once completed, the facility will be larger than the Cambridge Media Lab. Last year, Media Lab Europe was launched in Dublin, Ireland, with a $35 million pledge over 10 years from the Irish government.

  • Hansatech Ltd., a U.K. contract electronics manufacturer, is working with Zellweger Analytics of Poole, England, to fabricate parts for the pc-board assembly of Zellweger's gas-detection instrumentation. Zellweger is a specialist instrumentation and applications knowledge firm that provides technology for environmental-safety monitoring applications.

  • Zucotto Wireless Inc., a provider of Java semiconductors for wireless applications, has announced an agreement with RealChip Communications Inc., a maker of custom and standard chips for communications applications. Under this multichip design pact, the companies will jointly manage the production and delivery of the Xpresso Java native processor. RealChip will function as a liaison between Zucotto and various IP suppliers, manufacturers, and EDA tool suppliers.

  • E Ink Corp. and Philips Components, a division of Royal Philips Electronics, will jointly develop high-resolution electronic ink displays for use in smart handheld devices. Under this deal, E Ink will develop electronic ink sheets, which Philips will integrate with active-matrix drivers. This will spawn lighter gadgets with true paper-like readability with dramatically lower power. Philips has also invested in E Ink to secure global rights to manufacture and sell its handheld devices using E Ink display sheets. Commercial deployment of the electronic ink is expected to begin later this year.

  • The dual-MAC-based micro-signal DSP core jointly developed by Analog Devices Inc. and Intel Corp. has found a home. ADI has unwrapped plans to incorporate the 600-MMACs DSP core in its SoftFone baseband processors designed for 3G wireless terminal applications. The SoftFone 3G baseband processors are slated for release by the end of the year.

  • Using a 0.15-µm CMOS process, Marvell Semiconductor has readied a low-power 3.125-Gbit/s serializer/deserializer (SERDES) core for building networking chips that address the 10-Gbit/s space, such as Gigabit Ethernet, SONET/SDH, Infiniband, and Fibre Channel. It consumes less than 150 mW at 1.5 V. At this power level, up to 64 such cores can be integrated on a single networking chip. Transceiver chips incorporating the new SERDES core are expected this summer.
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