Content - Projects
Here is a selection of customer projects,
2.4GHz Satellite Switch
Customer: Hirschmann Electronics GmbH & Co. KG
Eight satellite channels and one terrestrial broadcast channel are routed individually to four users with automatic channel selection via either analogue signals or digital DiSEq Protocol. Initial prototypes were developed on a thin film substrate with a ceramic base and integrated passive components, during the 4th Framework EC-Project «LAP».
This first system was designed with an additional laminate carrier and four controller ICs for the digital switching protocol with subsequent commercialisation of the system being realised using a Sequential Build Up (SBU) laminate.
- increased functionality and efficiency
- reduced complexity of the motherboard
- reduced of manufacturing costs (obviating need for ASIC design)
«ASAP» Asset Surveillance & Protection
Customer: European Commission, 5th Framework Project (FP5)
The objective of the «ASAP» project was to introduce a new concept for an affordable, accurate and user-friendly asset surveillance and protection system in Europe. The scientific and technical challenge was to research, develop and evaluate a designated wireless, info-mobility system that includes end units, system infrastructure and inter-connection databases.
«ASAP» provides a comprehensive smart tracking and protection system by integrating data with existing information databases of the transport operators; enabling the user to track, locate and monitor in real time, all types of freight, including hazardous materials, as they are transported across Europe. Capable of monitoring the state of the freight online, the «ASAP» end unit includes sensors for various applications, such as temperature for freezer containers, gas sensors for bromide transporters and sensors for the surveillance of container doors.
«ASAP» sensors provide valuable add-on information on freight status and can communicate critical situations quickly and efficiently to emergency forces, helping to reduce risk and subsequently insurance premiums, e.g. in case of a leak from a hazardous material, or other problems the «ASAP» system will notify the transportation company, operating company and if required, the relevant environmental authorities.
Omnipresent and seamless access can be made available to customers, transportation operators, insurance companies and other involved parties, with location and status information accessible to both the mobile user and via the Internet.
- unobtrusive installable IP65-proof housing
- sensors & their interface to the communication unit
Customer: ETH Zurich [TIK]
Based on a Bluetooth radio and a micro controller, the BTnode is an autonomous wireless communication and computing platform which serves as a demonstration platform for research in mobile and ad-hoc connected networks (MANETs) and distributed sensor networks.
The BTnode was jointly developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Science and Technology (ETH, Zurich) by the Computer Engineering and Networks Laboratory (TIK) and the Research Group for Distributed Systems. The BTnode is currently being used in two major research projects, i.e. NCCR MICS and Smart-Its.
Art of Technology was responsible for the industrialisation of the ETH prototype design and subsequent production of small to medium volumes.
Measuring Permafrost in the Swiss Alps
Customer: ETH Zurich [TIK]
Permafrost is a thermal subsurface phenomenon; made-up of rock, ground and debris which is frozen throughout the year within the steep alpine bedrock. Not visible at the surface, Permafrost thaws during the summer months and can seriously affect slope stability leading to dangerous natural hazards which may hinder the safe operation of man-made infrastructure in the surrounding area.
PermaSense devices are installed and operated at high altitude in mountain regions with a permafrost environment. As such, the system and all of its component parts must run reliably at low temperatures and be able to withstand large, daily temperature changes (in excess of 40°C) depending on sun irradiation, wind and snow. Due to the fact that the PermaSense devices are only accessible by helicopter during summer, making a 2 - 3 year maintenance-free operation absolutely mandatory, the design of the system also had to take into consideration the following, in order to ensure long-term, reliable operation:
- extreme daily weather variations
- danger from lightning, avalanches, rockfall, frost / ice and snow
- limited power available from the battery
- restricted space for electronics and battery
- low production volumes & time frame
Data is collected via a flexible, distributed wireless sensor network (WSN) which has been specially adapted to the geophysical sensors, thereby enabling reliable and high-quality measurements in the extreme environmental conditions. The system developed featured, in addition to the in-mast integration of the GPS receiver and antenna, a 2-axis inclinometer, all electronics and cables and a 12V photovoltaic system, the following:
- wireless system with low latency data transmission
- temperature measurements with sensor bars and thermistor chains
- sensor nodes with "crack meter"
- 2-dimensional measurement of gap movement
Our Contribution: miniaturised wireless sensors
- design and industrialisation based on functional (hardware) model
- development of Wireless-GPS system (hardware)
- specialised sensors and electronics in a robust package
- low sampling rates (1-60 min)
- battery operated (3 years lifespan)
- devices networked together with wireless data transfer
- production of small batches of all product variants
- 6 months from concept to first production batch
Data Logging & Tracking
GPS Data Logger (OEM)
Customer: Art of Technology AG (internal project)
As the GPS application market continues to grow and develop, it has become extremely difficult to predict the requirements of future GPS-loggers, especially bearing in mind the very wide, unforeseeable number of applications and customer specific requirements.
Low cost customer specific applications
The OEM GPS-Data-Logger has been designed as a building block that can be used as the basis for GPS logger applications with an adaptable base system, extension interfaces, a single board design, customisable enclosure technology, an extendible software framework and sophisticated power management.
A single platform enabling simple customisation for numerous GPS data logging applications that can be used for evaluation purposes and to verify adaptations that may be required for the final customer product, using either identical hardware, or the existing design with minor changes. This approach allows the implementation of customer specific solutions... at an attractive and affordable price.
GPS Data Logger (Pigeon)
Customer: University of Zurich (Institute of Anatomy)
A small, lightweight data-logging device (only 28 grams) with low power and exceptional performance for applications where extremely high levels of mobility are required.
The miniature GPS Data-Logger records the GPS data to a non-volatile memory, which can then be read out via USB and displayed graphically in Google™Earth. The Pigeon Data-Logger can be supplied as a standard device, or as a semi-customised version with additional functionality, e.g.:
- Communication (Bluetooth, ISM, GSM, ZigBee)
- Sensors (movement, temp & humidity)
- Larger Battery
- Custom Software
GPS Data Logger (ZHAW)
Customer: Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)
Under the leadership of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), the research project «mafreina» tracks tourists in National Parks in order to capture and model the needs and practices of recreation seekers in the countryside, e.g. in the ‘Biosfera Val Müstair’ Natural Reserve in Switzerland.
Based on the HW and SW of the OEM GPS Data Logger, one of our existing semi-custom devices, the ZHAW GPS Data Logger offers large data storage and stops logging to save power when not in motion giving a 7-day recording capacity. The custom designed housing uses a special manufacturing technology particularly suited to small volume custom enclosures avoiding the need for expensive tooling.
- Use existing semi-custom GPS-Data-Logger (OEM)
- Integration of a low power motion sensor
- Use of existing parts to maintain affordable costs (for low volumes)
- Custom made enclosure for mechanical & environmental protection
Customer: Armasuisse (Federal Defence Procurement)
A small lightweight GPS / GSM device for quasi real time surveillance and tracking of teams during military manoeuvres, used by referees during the 'Swiss Raid Commando', one of the most enduring and most important international military competitions worldwide for trained military personnel, who want to measure their level of skills in a «commando» type exercise.
143 international teams comprising 4 raiders compete, with at least one patrol member required to be either an officer or an NCO. Solid infantry training, excellent physical condition, analytical and above-average judgment skills are essetnial for success.
The GPS receiver system records and communicates positional data periodically, via a GPRS based data-link, to a control centre for visualisation; the flight path can be displayed graphically in Google™Earth.
- GPS data recorded to non-volatile memory
- read out via USB
- long battery “run-time"
- integrated emergency phone
- robust design for outdoor usage
- complete system including antenna, battery and charger
- power management system providing long battery "run time"
- SMD design for small volume production
- use of standard header connector for production testing (avoiding need for expensive adaptors)
- development and production in less than 4 months from project start
Customer: New Behaviour AG
Small and lightweight (only 2.5g including batteries), the NeuroLogger is a unique and elegant solution for the wireless recording of EEG activity in freely moving animals.
500 EEG signals per second, over a period of 36 hours, are recorded and saved to non-volatile memory (NVM), allowing the data to be recovered for analysis, even when not powered.
Covering a variety of behavioural paradigms in the field of animal models for epilepsy and sleep disorders, the NeuroLogger can also be used together with phenotyping platforms enabling fully automated and perfectly synchronised metabolic, behavioural, and physiological monitoring, e.g.
- indirect gas calorimetry
- food and liquid intake
- locomotor activity, exercise, learning and memory
- blood pressure, heart rate and bio-potentials
Customer: Armasuisse (Federal Defence Procurement)
The Ethernet Diode designed and manufactured by Art of Technology is a unidirectional network link that permits the transfer of File Data and Hierarchy Structure in one direction only, while preventing all communication protocols.
The unidirectional data link you can rely on
Even malicious software cannot (under any circumstances) circumvent the unidirectional link. This guarantees the security of the data being transferred and protects the system that must be secured against attack from public networks while publishing information to them.
Two independent server nodes combined with an Ethernet Diode Module (EDM) - the heart of the system - ensure the unidirectional behaviour which is provided by a real physical separation. The Ethernet Diode application, which runs on both nodes, handles the entire replication process and ensures reliable transfer and data integrity with each Node being independently, fully accessible from its own network.
For ease of use, service and special configurations, the EDM can be easily mounted into a 3.5” drive-bay which provides 2 x USB connections and power via a modified SATA connector, or if preferred it can be connected externally via Ethernet or High-Speed USB.
POKEN® - the electronic business card
Customer: Poken SA
Ever wished you could expand your social network with a wave of the hand, or view a timeline of people you've added to your network? Collect and exchange digital content off-line; Poken® utilises Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to digitally exchange your contact details, or collect digital content that's stored in special stickers called "tags" by just touching them.
Poken® makes networking simple and creates an engaging experience for people to collect promotional literature at events.
- Touch it: digitally exchange contact details with other people, collect digital information offline (e.g. PDFs, presentations, brochures, videos, demos, animation, links).
- Get it: connect your Poken® to the USB port on your computer, create an account on the memberHUB and synchronise your device to have access to all documents and contact details collected.
- Share it: collect your contacts and digital files on a timeline, download them to Outlook, Salesforce, or another format. Keep your profile updated wit your social networks and share yor experience with others.
A number of technical challenges had to be overcome in order to design, develop and manufacture a small, battery operated, wireless device for secure communication over very short distances, i.e.
- low operating voltage & power consumption
- USB support on a small device (limited number of processors with full speed USB)
- MSD on-the-fly content generation
- compatibility with PC Mass Storage Device (MSD) specifications
- strong encryption algorithm used with small embedded processor
- software development with customer
- components selected for low price, high volume and quick delivery
- standard SMD design using relaxed component size and pitch to simplify production
- test concept developed for high volume production
- single design for fast prototype production and small production volumes which could also be used for large volumes to avoid the need for a re-design
Customer: Armasuisse (Federal Defence Procurement)
The Secure USB Stick is an intelligent mass storage device for the secure storage of confidential information. The data is stored on an encrypted partition and symmetrically encrypted by means of a data key, which itself is further protected by a public / private key pair stored on a Smart Card.
All programs necessary for the use of the Secure USB Stick are stored on the Stick itself and can be run directly without installation. The operating program is currently available in Windows and Linux. No special drivers are necessary, only support for a mass storage device (e.g. USB stick, hard drives etc.) which is included in Windows XP, its successors and Linux.
As the entire "security relevant" software is available in source code, the initiating company (user) can adapt the encryption and decryption software to their own requirements and have full control over the key management.
- encryption occurs on the stick itself
- smart card and password required
- full access and control of encryption software
- user programmable (according to requirements and infrastructure)
- same LINUX and Windows User Interface
Customer: Aquametro AG
Aquareader® is an optical read-out module for water meters, that on request automatically reads identification number, nominal diameter, fluid and the current meter reading via M-BUS or CS interface.
The device configures itself automatically within 30 seconds after installation using the data stored on the RFID chip built into the cover and does not require a battery as it is supplied with energy when connected to a powered bus.
The Aquareader® is available with three connection options: two connector types for BKW and Volga plus one version which allows connection of a cable (enables IP68).
Washing machine meter selector-switch
Customer: SIPA Verteilanlagen AG
The meter selector-switch for washing-machines consists of two components, the control unit installed in the power distributor and the card reader, which is mounted next to the washing facilities. The meter selector-switch is operated by an individual keycard assigned to each tenant.
The controller, which is the heart of the SIPA WZU-Contactless system, is installed at the power distributor and provides the switching between the meters. When the washing machine is activated by the card reader, the meter is switched to the counter of the correct apartment, charging the account of the respective user.
The card reader is the interface to the user. An intuitive design allows easy operation: simply put the card into the card reader and remove it when the wash cycle is finished.
The keycard cannot be manipulated or copied preventing use of the system by unauthorized persons and can be easily blocked and replaced, if lost or lost or stolen.
Customer: Sequana Medical AG
Patients with liver disease, congestive heart failure and certain cancers can suffer from Ascites; the accumulation of excess fluid in the abdominal cavity. Certified in 2011, the ALFApump® is an implantable pump, that automatically and continually collects the excess fluid moving it into the bladder (up to 2.5 litres per day) where it is eliminated from the body in the normal way.
The ALFApump® with it's wireless Smart Charger reduces the number of hospital visits required freeing up hospital beds and staff, it also reduces the risk of infection and affords the patient a new level of freedom and a significantly improved the quality of life.
- Re-designed electronics and firmware for new generation of pumps to be used in human clinical trials (one rigid-flex, no connectors)
- Software development for motor controller
- Develop recovery algorithm (in case of Hall sensor failure)
- Design and development of wireless charger (first 2 generations)
- Revision of wireless communication protocol
- Optimisation of energy transfer system
- Initial technical documentation for CE submission
- Continued support (as and when required)
«AMON» Alarm & medical MONitor
Customer: European Commission, 5th Framework Project (FP5)
«AMON» is a wearable medical monitoring and alert system targeting high-risk cardiac respiratory patients. The main objective of the AMON project was to research, develop and validate an advanced, wearable personal health system to monitor and evaluate human vital signs using advanced bio-sensors. The scientific and technological challenge was to design a wearable monitoring device that will be small, dependable and contain the necessary data for an impending medical emergency.
The system developed includes continuous collection and evaluation of these vital signs, intelligent multi-parameter medical emergency detection and transmission of the data to a remote telemedicine centre, for further analysis and emergency care using a GSM/UMTS cellular infrastructure. The development & testing of the on-line Telemedicine Centre was conducted in parallel, including system testing, validation & assessment by end-users in hospitals around Europe. Using «AMON», patients who are not confined to hospital (including the high risk and elderly) are able to continuously monitor and analyse their vital signs, providing care at the point and time of need, increasing freedom of movement and enhancing overall quality of life.
The wrist mounted monitoring device (WMD) developed includes algorithms and sensors to monitor human vital health parameters such as heart rate, heart rhythm, 2-lead ECG, blood pressure, SpO2 blood saturation, skin perspiration and body temperature. Applying aggressive low-power design techniques enabled the whole system to be integrated into a wrist-worn device, continuous long-term monitoring without interfering with the patients' everyday activities or restricting their mobility.
- system design & sensor control board
- main board integration of partner supplied sub-systems & sensors
«EMERGE»ncy Monitoring & Prevention
European Commission, 6th Framework Project (FP6)
Demographic trends in most European countries are forecasting a massive increase in the elderly population and a dramatic increase in emergency situations. Elderly people living alone are especially endangered as delays in alerting medical emergency services often leads to prolonged hospital stays resulting in an increasing number of elderly people being placed in nursing homes; at significant additional cost and an unnecessary deterioration in their quality of life. It has been recognised that daily activities are an important part of the functional health status and are often influenced by habits, age, culture, day of the week and the time of year. Activities like sleeping, going to the toilet, preparing meals and general mobility, which follow certain individual stereotypes have shown to be sensitive to changes in daily routines.
The «EMERGE» project was tasked with researching ways to improve the support of elderly people, with innovative emergency detection and prevention systems. The main objectives of the project being:
- immediate detection of an emergency: enabling reduced reaction times and early initiation of definitive help
- early recognition of a problem’s nature and severity: enabling adequate multilevel reaction, with close integration of social environment, caregivers, EMS and emergency physicians
- emergency prevention by early detection of changes in behavioural patterns: analysis of user behaviour and personal tracking enables detection of critical deviations which may indicate deterioration in health status and helps anticipation of potential emergencies
- minimum implication on the elderly user’s habitual lifestyle: ambient and non-obtrusive technology leads to higher user acceptance
How does the «EMERGE» System work?
The system collects and analyses data on an on-going basis from various data sources, e.g.
- ambient and unobtrusive sensors that acquire environmental information (e.g. temperature, humidity, and light intensity)
- activity information (e.g. usage of environmental objects determined by pressure sensors and contact switches, and usage of devices determined by energy consumption sensors)
- location tracking information acquired by active and passive sensor systems (e.g. RFID carpets, Ultra Wide Band (UWB) sensors, ultrasonic and infrared presence sensors)
- vital health parameters are acquired using sensors integrated into a wrist wearable device which measures pulse rate and skin temperature
- stand-alone devices measuring blood pressure and body weight can also be integrated into the system
European Commission, 6th Framework Project (FP6)
Developed during the EMERGE project, the SensoWatch is a key part of the system; an automatic monitoring device that incorporates multiple sensors into a single wrist device, enabling continuous monitoring of several ;important health parameters, e.g.
- pulse, skin temperature
- movement measurement in all 3 dimensions, lack of movement, overall activity
- acceleration (impact recognition followed by a period of no movement raises a fall alarm)
Medical personnel are notified immediately in the event of unexpected (or serious) deviations, enabling them to respond appropriately and quickly. Continuous monitoring allows an alarm to be raised in the event of potential helplessness (e.g. after a fall or loss of consciousness) without active intervention by the user. Even in the absence of an impact, a no movement alarm is raised if the person is helpless. No alarm is sent if the person stands up immediately after the fall...this enables every fall to be recognised while helping to avoid false alarms.
Worn like a normal everyday wristwatch, the SensoWatch continuously transmits data to a base station and (if necessary) a call for help, without adversely affecting a person’s mobility, thereby greatly increasing the ability of the wearer to continue to lead an active life. The timely provision of information to caregivers in an emergency or in the case of long term deviations or inconsistencies is an essential prerequisite for the independent life of elderly people in their preferred environment…at home!
- alarm button that can be activated by the user to call for help
- “forget-me-not” alarm (if not being worn during the day)
- low battery alarm, internal re-chargeable battery
- compact design (actual weight is only 46g)
- unobtrusive continuous measurements
- USB connection (for PC configuration)
Lenz - intelligent anti-snoring system
Customer: Earsonic GmbH
When we are awake throat muscles keep the throat open so that air can flow smoothly during breathing. During sleep the area at the back of the throat sometimes narrows as these muscles relax and the turbulent airflow can cause the tissues of roof of the mouth (soft palate) and the throat to vibrate, which in turn can cause the sounds of snoring.
Possible causes of snoring are:
- overeating, lack of exercise
- alcohol, sleeping pills, smoking
- allergies, nasal congestion, small or narrowed nostrils
- sleeping position, breathing through the mouth or tongue vibration
The Lenz is a patented anti-snoring aid that has been digitised and miniaturised especially for use in the ear. This high-tech device responds to your snoring with a gentle beep... you change your sleeping position and stop snoring, without waking or side effects. The Lenz is comfortable to wear and virtually invisible allowing you - and your partner - to sleep peacefully and undisturbed.
- Development of functional principles and algorithms
- Design and development of prototypes (hardware and software)
- Redesign of the software on the OEM device
- Extensive testing, verification and validation of the device
- Create production tests
- Support for the CE approval
European Commission, Horizon 2020 Project
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the European Union accounting for 1.9 million deaths, i.e. 40% of all deaths in the EU each year. Despite costs of almost €196 billion per year CVD can be successfully treated and managed, if detected early.
To this end, the «PHOCNOSIS» project aims at the development and preclinical validation of a nanotechnology-based handheld point-of-care testing (POCT) and analysis device for fast and early diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
Art of Technology is responsible for the design and development of the electronics, mechanics, software and system integration of the POCT device that will detect CVD from a few drops of patient’s blood in less than 10 minutes using new nano-photonic sensing techniques developed by the Polytechnic University of Valencia to detect markers for cardiovascular disease.
|The consortium comprises|
|Polytechnic University of Valencia (ES)||University of Twente (NL)|
|Bionos Biotech SL (ES)||University of Aalborg (DK)|
|Genera Biotech SL (ES)||EV Group E. Thallner GmbH (AT)|
|Fraunhofer Institute - IZM (DE)||St. George's University of London (UK)|
|CDA GmbH (DE)||Art of Technology AG (CH)|
3D-MID Camera System
Customer: under NDA
Art of Technology was responsible for the evaluation of materials, technologies and manufacturing processes as well as the design and development of a highly integrated multi-sensor array (6 x 2) imaging system with an extremely large view angle on a curved substrate, including:
- system analysis & concept study
- technology study & packaging options
- definition of packaging form
- selection of assembly technology
- production of technology demonstrator
- reliability testing
- design & development of technology demonstrator
- optical path design, image processing & viewer
- definition of FPGA programming requirements
- production support & test of technology demonstrator
- reliability testing & system demonstration
360° Panoramic Throwable Ball Camera
Customer: PANONO GmbH
Capture more than just a picture with the Panono Camera and discover a whole new experience. Throw your Panono up in the air... what it brings back down will absolutely amaze you.
An accelerometer inside the camera measures the launch acceleration to calculate when the camera is at its highest point. At that point, all 36 cameras are triggered simultaneously and the moment is captured, everything in every direction, into a high resolution 360° x 360° completely spherical panoramic image.
Design and development services as well as comprehensive support from concept to market introduction, including:
- design study & system analysis
- hardware design & development
- design & development of micro-controller software
- design & development of embedded Linux software
- prototype development
«POLAR» Gamma Ray Burst Polarimeter
Customer: European Space Agency (ESA)
Despite being discovered in 1960 (Vela satellites) Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) are still full of mystery and the production mechanism of these very intense explosions in the universe is still unknown. To validate or exclude existing models about their creation, a precise measurement of the polarisation of the GRB is essential.
«POLAR» is a highly sensitive detector using the Compton Scattering Effect to measure the polarisation of incoming photons. With its large Field of View and a detection energy up to 500 keV «POLAR» will measure the polarisation of GRB emissions using low Z material Plastic Scintillators, multimode Photomultipliers and multi-channel ASIC Front-end Electronics.
«POLAR» is scheduled for two to three years operation in space during which a large number of GRBs are expected to be measured.
Construction of the «POLAR» detector, the only non-Chinese experiment onboard the Chinese space laboratory "Tiangong-2" was performed by an international collaboration project with contributions from China, France, Poland and Switzerland. Art of Technology responsibilities included:
- Feasibility Study: investigate design of the existing front end electronics with respect to issues related to space applications in order to identify potential design errors or weaknesses and provide recommendations to increase reliability of manufacturing and overall system.
- High Voltage Power Supply (HVPS): system reverse engineering from breadboard, system re-design, development and manufacture of the High Voltage Power Supply with 26 settable power sources on 3 prints with 300 – 500 components per board (300mm x 60mm, 6 layers).
- Low Voltage Power Supply (LVPS): system feasibility study, design, development and manufacture of the Low Voltage Power Supply (LVPS) with 82 switchable power sources on 2 prints with 800 – 1’300 components per board (300mm x 60mm, 8 layers).
- Component procurement and production of the EQM, QMs and FM at the partners choice of manufacturers.
«SEIS-EL» Seismometer Electronics
Customer: Contraves Space AG
The NETLANDERTM mission planned to send a network of four identical landers to the surface of Mars to perform simultaneous measurements in order to study the internal structure of Mars, its sub-surface and its atmosphere.
To fulfil the mission objectives with respect to the interior, subsurface, atmosphere and ionosphere investigation of MARS, each the 4 landers was to carry a payload composed of nine instruments. With a mass of the surface modules limited to 22kg, of which only 5.2kg was allowed for scientific instruments, the ultimate goal was to estimate possible mass / volume reductions (and cost) and to provide a recommendation for the most suitable approach and technology.
The Seismometer Electronics «SEIS-EL» control the legs of the measurement sphere, the internal seismic instruments and a variety of sensors. Art of Technology conducted a Feasibility Study and Technology Evaluation of the main and auxiliary controllers and motor drive electronics, including:
- SEIS-MC and SEIS-AC modules including system analysis
- critical properties review
- evaluation of High Desity Packaging technologies
- identifying IC (ASIC) technology for implementing (digital) circuits
- review miniarturisation potential and component availability
- identify achievable mass volume and power for FM circuits
- analysis of development and qualification costs for FM models
«STIX» Detector Electronics Module
Customer: Almatech Sàrl
Art of Technology, together with prime contractor Almatech Sarl, has been awarded a contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) for the design, development, production and supply of the Detector Electronics Module (DEM) to be used in the «STIX» instrument... a Swiss experiment on board Solar Orbiter, which is scheduled for launch in 2018.
The Solar Orbiter mission will address the central question of helio-physics, i.e. how does the Sun create and control the heliosphere?
Carrying the X-ray telescope «STIX», being developed and built under the direction of the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), Solar Orbiter will travel to ¼ of the distance between the Earth and the Sun (closer to the Sun than any other spacecraft to date) allowing observations of the Sun with unprecedented sharpness and direct measurement of the solar wind and charged particles close to their point of origin.
Solar Orbiter will turn with the sun, allowing a certain area on the surface to be observed for extended periods of time without interruption, providing new insights into the activities of the sun and its effects on the earth, e.g. better prediction of high-energy energetic particles which can interfere with technical equipment such as radio and satellite communications on Earth. This new orbit will allow us to study the Earth side facing away from the sun and for the first time, the polar regions.
The objective of the «STIX» instrument (Spectrometer Telescope for Imaging X-ray) is to contribute to understanding the mechanisms behind the acceleration of electrons at the Sun and their transport into the interplanetary space.
«STIX» will also play a key role in linking remote-sensing and in-situ observations on Solar Orbiter with imaging spectroscopy of solar thermal and non-thermal X-ray emissions providing quantitative information on the timing, location, intensity and spectra of accelerated electrons as well as of high temperature thermal plasmas, which are mostly associated with flares or micro-flares in the solar corona and chromosphere.
European Commission, 4th Framework Project (FP4)
The rapidly changing market for embedded and portable computing exhibits a steadily growing demand for improved reliability and increasing processing performance in progressively smaller form factors. A Pentium® based Multi-Chip-Module (MCM) was designed and manufactured during the 4th Framework project «EUROPRACTICE MCM». The main scientific and technical challenge of the project was to develop a technology demonstrator to show the potential of High Density Packaging (HDP) technologies.
Advantages of MCM-based solutions
- simplification of system design
- internal routing of high-speed host bus signals reduces power consumption and ringing
- high frequencies and critical signals remain inside the MCM
- standard simple interfaces (PCI, DRAM)
- reduction of the number of signal layers on the motherboard
- less aggressive board design rules
- reduction of motherboard area
- significant reduction in size (¼ of the original size)
- overall weight reduction
- easily upgradable (new processors / chipsets)
- reduces time-to-market (no changes of motherboard required)
- improved EMC and Thermal performance
- end-user needs no Pentium knowledge
The Pentium® MCM was mounted on thermally enhanced Plastic-Stud-Grid-Array (PSGA), a packaging technology using plastic studs moulded to the body of the package instead of large solder balls, which provides reliable, low cost packaging of high pin-count devices. An existing Pentium® module chipset with 2nd level cache (9 chips plus SMD components), DRAM interface and PCI host-bridge was used with thin film on silicon in a PSGA housing which was significantly smaller than the original packaged Pentium®processor, i.e. 25% of the original packaged Pentium®
The SP5MX1 is a miniaturised version of the core of a Pentium® processor based Multi-Chip-Module (MCM) which is intended as a processor subsystem for use in mobile and embedded systems. First tests were successfully carried out with Windows NT running and some benchmark programs at a clock frequency of 100 MHz.
«LAP» Large Area Panel processing
European Commission, 4th Framework Project (FP4)
Thin film High Density Integration (HDI) offers the ultimate solution for many existing and new applications requiring either high electrical performance, smaller size, or both. However, the costs of these types of substrates has always been prohibitive.
The EU consortium «LAP» was formed to reduce the cost for thin-film substrates; the main goal of the project being the development and demonstration of low cost, high-density substrate manufacturing technology for first level die assemblies. i.e.
- high density / low cost substrate technology
- high performance MCM-D technology (50 µm line pitch & 50 µm via)
- verification by prototyping on a LAP pilot line
- compatibility of the LAP technologies of 3 manufacturers (within specified design rules)
- verification of LAP technologies developed via 3 product demonstrators
Benefit of LAP technology
The substrate technologies developed allowed for a wide range of packaging options from inserted substrates into transfer-moulded packages to integrated MCM-L/D and MCM-M/D (M=metal) area array packages. This ongoing trend towards miniaturisation, increased functionality and higher frequencies offers several significant challenges, e.g.
- increased functionality requires higher level of integration
- high frequency applications demand high signal integrity
- increased average component I/O density require still higher interconnect density
- direct chip attach to board (COB) is increasing as this gives the lowest inductance and noise, combined with the highest I/O density
- several chips in one package (MCM) or even a systems in a package (SIP) development are driven by increased functionality, reduced size and lower cost
Suitability of LAP technology was further demonstrated with the commercial implementation of a 9:4 satellite switch operating up to 2.4GHz.
«SMM» Solderable Memory Module
Customer: Art of Technology AG (internal project)
An elegant solution for industrial and medical applications providing a compact memory module with an electrical SD / MMC interface which is soldered directly onto a printed circuit board.
With a size of 24 x 20 mm2 and a pitch of only 1.27 mm, it is significantly smaller than a standard SD / MMC card, has less demands on board design and can be used wherever space considerations are critical. Moreover, with a controlled Bill of Material (BOM) problems resulting from hardware and firmware changes to the NAND Flash controller are now a thing of the past.
Customised functions such as password protection, emergency deletion can also be realised. With it's small form factor the SMM is the ideal choice for embedded systems in extremely demanding applications and environments.
«QBIC» Q-Belt Integrated Computer
Customer: ETH Zurich (IfE)
Designed to be comfortable to wear without compromising reliability «QBIC» is not just a wearable computer, it also serves a classic function... keeping your trousers up!
Heart of the «QBIC» is a Intel Xscale CPU (Intel PXA263B1C400) which runs at a variable speed up to 400 MHz. The belt contains a battery, real-time clock and system bus extension for peripherals. Moreover the belt provides plugs for USB and serial devices (RS-232), VGA connector and power connector which can be used to attach to a mains supply, or an additional belt-attachable battery. The buckle, which can be removed from the belt and slotted onto a developer board for convenient programming, contains two circuit boards:
- a main board with the CPU, SDRAM and power supply
- an extension board with the Bluetooth device, USB controllers and an MMC card slot
- XScale processor (400 MHz scalable, 32 MB internal flash memory)
- 256 MB SDRAM
- MMC card slot (up to 2GB flash)
- 2 x USB host ports, 2 x serial (RS-232), 1 x VGA: 640x480
- Hot-plug battery exchange
Although originally developed as a research platform to collect and process sensory data for medical monitoring and context recognition projects, QBIC can be used for a variety of applications, e.g.
- recognising & monitoring daily activities
- monitoring medical parameters of critical patients, 24 hours a day
- monitoring user actions in work process flows
- collection & analysis of data on user movement for rehabilitation
- collect and analyse data on user movement for dance projects
- computer for reality games
- tracking location
- guide for tourists or travellers
|Projects and groups using QBIC|
|MyHeart||Fighting cardio-vascular diseases|
|WearIT@Work||Skoda car production|
|WearIT@Work||gespag hospital management|
|Wearlab||TZI, University Bremen, Germany|
|Embedded Systems Lab||University Passau, Germany|