A New Approach to Metrology


The startup Active Layer Parametrics Inc.'s ALPro 50 metrology tool offers “depth profiling of electrical properties at atomic-level resolution” —and automated processing with direct data transfer. The continuing miniaturization of microchips and nanochips has propelled the use of atomic-layer deposition and atomic-layer etch processes in semiconductor manufacturing. With miniaturizati... » read more

Training a Neural Network to Fall


Who knew falling was so complicated? “I don’t want to work on a fall detection system ever again,” said MbientLab CEO Laura Kassovic in front of an ARMTech Con audience. The audience laughed as she flashed a picture of what could now be a better approach—the Apple Watch Series 4, which had recently been announced. “The Apple 4 has the fall detection sensor built in. It’s probably... » read more

AI Accelerator Gyrfalcon Soars Post Stealth


Milpitas, Calif.-based startup Gyrfalcon Technology Inc. (GTI), which emerged from semi-stealth mode in September, recently announced the datacenter-focused second generation of its neural-network accelerator, which was first aimed at the endpoint. GTI is not alone: The endpoint market is growing. By 2022, 25% of endpoint devices will execute AI algorithms (inference for neural network appli... » read more

Zeno Semi Expands On-Chip Memory


San Jose, Calif.-based startup Zeno Semiconductor is testing modifications and a smaller process node for the single-transistor 28nm SRAM chip it introduced in 2016, which could boost space for on-chip CPU memory by more than 2.5X, according to the co-founder and CEO of the company, Yuniarto Widjaja. The Zeno-1 transistor is built on standard CMOS processes, has a bi-stable bipolar transisto... » read more

Startup Puts Quantum Security on USB, Dongles


U.K. startup Quantum Base, Ltd. is one of a small number of companies betting on the benefits of quantum computing even without quantum computers. The six-and-a-half-year-old company came together largely because its technical guru was frustrated at how long it was taking to develop genuine quantum computers and wanted to find a practical, immediate use for the things he'd learned in his own... » read more

Baum: Finding SoC Power Flaws


A South Korean startup founded by a Samsung engineer-turned-researcher has created a tool that finds power design flaws early in the SoC design process. The startup, Baum, Inc., launched the second version of its power-modeling solution in June at DAC. The product is a power design-verification tool that uses high-level models to create analyses designed to spot design flaws that could creat... » read more

Carbon Nanotube DRAM


An IP design house has developed a scalable DRAM replacement using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) that abolishes the DRAM refresh rate, stores the content permanently, has better timing than DRAM and is scalable. And it lasts for somewhere between 300 and 12,000 years. “Carbon nanotube memory—it sounds so sexy that I could just shut up and not say anything,” said Bill Gervasi, principal syste... » read more

Syntiant: Analog Deep Learning Chips


Startup Syntiant Corp. is an Irvine, Calif. semiconductor company led by former top Broadcom engineers with experience in both innovative design and in producing chips designed to be produced in the billions, according to company CEO Kurt Busch. The chip they’ll be building is an inference accelerator designed to run deep-learning processes 50x more efficiently than traditional stored-prog... » read more

Spark Microsystems: LP On-Chip Radios


Spark Microsystems is taking aim at on-chip radios that continue to be the primary source of battery drain, even in power-conserving designs like Bluetooth Low Energy. "If you wear AirPods, something like 80% of the power is going to power the radio, not the sound. That's not the most efficient approach." according to Frederic Nabki, co-founder of Spark Microsystems, and a former professor o... » read more

Xceler Systems: Graph Architecture


An inventor who made foundational contributions to three key ways we move data through complex systems is developing a new type of neuromorphic chip to accelerate AI applications. Rather than try to build a computer that looks like a brain, Gautam Kavipurapu and Xceler Systems are building smaller bits that act like synapses. When the design is advanced enough and there are enough of them, t... » read more

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