Once a year, the editors of Wireless Systems Design join their readers in honoring those outstanding people and wireless products that stand apart from the competitive field. These individuals and technologies serve as beacons to which the entire wireless community can aspire. This year, the awards were presented in six different categories at a ceremony held during the Wireless Systems 2003 Conference and Exposition (www.wsdexpo.com). Please join all of us at Wireless Systems Design in congratulating the award winners. We thank them for their tireless efforts in making the future of the wireless industry bright!
WIRELESS INDUSTRY LEADER
John McCorkle, CTO and Co-Founder of XtremeSpectrum (www.xtremespectrum.com)
John McCorkle is considered a guiding force and a leading authority in the area of Ultra-WideBand (UWB) technology (Photo 1). His efforts were key to its development, starting with his work in the U.S. Army Research Laboratories. Later, he applied his expertise to UWB's commercialization. Both his innovative antenna design and bi-phase modulation have been instrumental in delivering a commercial UWB product that meets the performance, price, and power requirements of leading consumer-electronics companies. His research also contributed significantly to the FCC approval of UWB. Most recently, Mr. McCorkle was able to successfully demonstrate that UWB is a safe technology. In Xtreme-Spectrum's many filings with the FCC, he has worked to protect incumbent spectrum users.
Entré Pad AES2500 Fingerprint Sensor AuthenTec (www.authentec.com)
The EntrePad AES2500 from Authen-Tec sells for just $6. This sensor claims to be the world's first and most advanced fingerprint slide sensor. Instead of taking a static picture of the surface of the finger, like most touch sensors do, it reads the fingerprint from below the surface of the skin. This method ensures that the device will recognize the fingerprint despite varying moisture levels; damage such as blisters and cuts; or contaminants like lotion, grease, or smoke. It thereby eliminates any acquisition or recognition failures, such as those common with surface-imaging fingerprint sensors.
JA108 Universal Java Accelerator Nazomi Communications, Inc. (www.nazomi.com)
The JA108 Universal Java Accelerator chip works to speed up Java software execution while extending battery life. It preserves the user's choice of embedded microprocessor, operating system (OS), and Java Virtual Machine (JVM). At the same time, it eliminates any undue burden on the OEM. Based on the company's low-cost JSTAR Java coprocessor, this single-chip solution delivers efficient execution of intermediate languages, such as Java software. With its open, industry-standard memory interface, the JA108 can be integrated into any existing or new cell phone supporting GSM, CDMA, TDMA, GPRS, PDC, and PHS for 2G, 2.5G, and 3G networks. Masking the complexity of Java inside the chip, it allows JVM providers to focus on developing richer APIs, libraries, and new solutions. The JA108 does this without changing the OS kernel or increasing system memory or processor frequency. Nor does it require drivers or additional glue logic.
EDITOR'S CHOICE AWARD
AD8362 TruPwr RF IC Analog Devices, Inc. (www.analogdevices.com)
The AD8362 RF IC is designed to measure the complex modulated waveforms that are common to all next-generation wireless-infrastructure equipment. It is the base-station-specific companion to Analog Devices' AD8361 TruPwr power-detection IC. The AD8362 TruPwr RF IC effectively doubles the dynamic range of the AD8361 (1000 times greater). It also performs a precise root-mean-square power-level measurement, thereby providing users with an accurately scaled, linear-in-dB output voltage. This voltage is critical in maintaining base-station output-power efficiency and spectrum-signal purity.
Specifically, the AD8362 can instantaneously measure the continuously variable crest factors of CDMA, WCDMA, 8-PSK, QAM, and OFDM signals within IS95, CDMA2000, 3GPP, GSM EDGE, MMDS, and other broadband access equipment. Its main applications include base-station transmit-power-level control, receiver-signal-strength-indication (RSSI) AGC loops, and single- and multi-carrier power-amplifier linearization/ control loops. It suits feed-forward and pre-distortion architectures as well. In addition, the part has found wide acceptance from the instrumentation OEMs designing test equipment for RFIC companies, wireless/wireline OEMs, and field-based test/maintenance equipment. The AD8362 is available in a 16-lead TSSOP package and priced at $6.25 per unit in 1000 pieces.
BEST WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY
Adaptive Computing Machine (ACM) Technology QuickSilver Technology, Inc. (www.quicksilvertech.com)
QuickSilver's Adaptive Computing Machine (ACM) technology was successfully demonstrated in 2002 (Photo 2). With its silicon test chip, the company has obtained performance speeds that are three times as fast as a compatible ASIC chip. The demonstration validates the commercial viability of a software-programmable IC. In essence, the ACM performs like an ASIC. It also has the speed of an ASIC. But it is programmed by means of software. As a result, it can be dynamically configured at run time versus the conventional method of costly and time-consuming fixed-function ASIC silicon. Quick-Silver's benchmark demonstration of its ACM technology focused on demanding areas of software-defined-radio (SDR) wireless-handset applications. This market is a key target, due to its critical need for high performance and low power consumption.
BEST WIRELESS PRODUCT
N-Gage Gaming Cell Phone Nokia (www.nokia.com)
An extreme example of the "handset of tomorrow" is Nokia's N Gage. This cell phone is aimed squarely at the handheld gaming-console market. Being both a cell phone and a game platform, it boasts a 4096-color active-matrix display, integrated camera (640 x 480), and Bluetooth wireless technology. Polyphonic ring tones and Java support also are available with this product release.
Wire-Free Electricity Base MobileWise Technology (www.mobilewise.com)
MobileWise's Wire-Free Electricity Base has the ability to solve the "Last-Wire" problem (Photo 3). The last-wire issue refers to the need to regularly plug in mobile devices or appliances for electric power. With MobileWise technology and its derivative products, consumers will soon have no need for multiple chargers, adapters, and cords. The technology is already being embedded into chip sets that are sold to leading mobile, networking, and power-accessories OEMs.
The Wire-Free Electricity Base system is expected to dramatically change the way that portable devices can be charged. It promises to completely separate the charger from the device in the mind and actions of the user. Once a MobileWise-enabled device is placed anywhere on the Wire-Free-Electricity Base, it will be powered and charged as if it's plugged into an electric outlet. In addition, the base can simultaneously power multiple devices with varying power needs.
In addition, MobileWise technology permits the transfer of any amount of power needed into appliances and mobile devices. Limitations on power delivery by Wire-Free Electricity Bases are mostly regulatory, such as those placed by Underwriters Laboratories.
BEST WIRELESS DESIGN TOOL
Connected Solutions Agilent Technologies (www.agilent.com)
Agilent's Advanced Design Systems (ADS) 2002C verifies design performance earlier in the development cycle (Photo 4). Essentially, it expands solutions that integrate ADS with Agilent instrumentation to form a concept known as Connected Solutions. Connected Solutions is the integration of ADS 2002C and instrumentation, such as signal generators and network and spectrum analyzers.
Connected Solutions eases the design-verification process by merging the simulation and measurement domains. It allows these domains to seamlessly share signals, measurements, algorithms, and data. The result is earlier, faster, and more thorough verification. By allowing test to enter the design area while external hardware moves into the simulation space, Connected Solutions changes the design flow. It also allows engineers to apply ADS 2002C's top-down/bottom-up system throughout the product-development chain. They can then customize and verify designs faster and more cost effectively.
Some new capabilities in ADS 2002C significantly add to Connected Solutions. They include a multi-threaded Agilent Ptolemy simulation, a TD-SCDMA Design Library, and a link to Agilent's ESG Signal Studio software. In addition, ADS 2002C includes a feature that adds circuit and physical co-optimization to co-simulation with layout components.