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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Analog Devices taps imec research for the IoT

By Nick Flaherty at

Analog Devices (ADI) has signed a strategic research partnership with imec in Belgium to develop the next generation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The two already have two programmes underway for low power systems with improved—or completely new—sensing capabilities. 

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 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,” said 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.

“Our single-chip sensor comprises multiple electrodes and excels in terms of cost and size, while demonstrating industry leading sensitivity and accuracy,” she added.

“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.

Prototype low-power integrated liquid sensor

Prototype low-power higlhy-accurate indoor localization sensor

The strategic partnership between ADI and imec is part of a broader, open research initiative to which other research partners are also invited to contribute.

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