Imec and Analog Devices (ADI) have entered into a strategic research partnership to develop the next generation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. With two initiatives already underway, imec and ADI aim to innovate devices that are not only low-power but that also come with largely improved—or completely new—sensing capabilities. This new collaboration is the latest example of imec and ADI’s long history of jointly developing high-performance low-power, cost effective circuits and systems.
The IoT continues to grow and mature, and by 2020, it is expected to consist of billions of connected, “smart” objects that rely on unobtrusive sensors to constantly monitor the environment, provide status reports and receive instructions. By intelligently processing the data gathered, these devices then drive some type of short-term or long-term action. Today, however, the underlying sensors, and the chips upon which they are built, are often too big, too expensive and not accurate enough to be practical.
One joint research initiative that has already been started in the framework of the strategic collaboration focuses on localization technology.
“Building on imec’s world-leading position in innovative ultra-low power implementations, ADI and imec will pursue the development of a low-power sensor for highly accurate indoor localization in the context of smart building or smart industry solutions,” stated Kathleen Philips, imec program director. “Concretely, we want this sensor to localize objects with a superior accuracy in a robust manner and achieve up to five times better accuracy than today’s best-performing solutions.”
A second initiative includes the creation, and ultimately the commercialization, of a highly-integrated liquid sensor that can be used in a variety of application domains, such as the analysis of water, blood or urine.
Kathleen Philips added: “Our single-chip sensor comprises multiple electrodes and excels in terms of cost and size, while demonstrating industry leading sensitivity and accuracy.”
“Imec is widely recognized for its long-standing and global leadership when it comes to the development of ultra-low power circuits and devices, as well as innovative and smart algorithms,” noted Peter Real, Senior VP and CTO, ADI. “We have chosen to take our collaboration with imec to the next level because its expertise in each of those domains—and its position at the crossroads of both the scientific and industrial communities—is fundamental to helping us successfully develop the next generation of IoT sensors.”
“In ADI we have found a partner that brings to market professional-grade, high-value-add sensor systems. Thanks to ADI’s commercial insights, in combination with its innovative mindset, we can build differentiating technology that meets IoT market requirements today and tomorrow,” added Rudi Cartuyvels, Executive Vice President at imec.