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Chips of the Wireless Swarm

Did you catch Dr. Jan Rabaey’s presentation at the recent CDNLive event: Sensory Swarm?  He talked about immersive computing in which microprocessors combine with sensor – wireless sensors for mobile apps – to gather info, process data and then control an amazing array of systems. Great talk – one that highlighted perfectly the challenges facing system-level designers.

Ed Sperling followed up with Dr Rabaey in a short video – Tires that Talk -  that explores a real world example of immersive computing, i.e., embedded sensory “nodes? in automotive tires. Sensor nodes consist of layers of circuits, where the sensor would be one layer, processing systems in another layer, power is yet a third layer and wireless capabilities in the final layer. These nodes would be very small and – here’s the key – self-powering! Meeting this last requirement means that mechanical engineers must work in harmony with their electronic brethren. Can you say multi-discipline, system-level design?

This topic of particular interest to me, since some of my earliest engineering design tasks involved wireless sensor systems. In fact, I’m in discussion now with my old friends and colleagues at the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement (I&M) Society. My goal is to run appropriate I&M articles in both Chip Design and Embedded Intel magazines. Stay tuned!

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