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08 Feb 05. A chip which its makers claim is 70 times quicker than rivals may revolutionise home entertainment. In what is promised to be a gigantic leap forward for the iPod-era of digital entertainment, a consortium led by Sony Corporation yesterday unveiled a low-cost “supercomputer” that will be able to operate at up to ten times the speed of conventional microchips.
The breakthrough calls for a new definition of Moore’s Law, the theory devised by Intel’s Gordon Moore in 1965, that the power of computer chips doubles every 18 months. It could also finally challenge the dominance of Intel and Microsoft in the personal computer industry. Blueprints for the chip, known as “the Cell”, were shown at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco yesterday. The chip, developed with IBM and Toshiba, is designed to be used in Sony’s PlayStation 3 video games console, but could also revolutionise the way people watch television and listen to music.
08 Feb 05. The results of a two-year joint research programme by Intel Corporation and QinetiQ into new transistor technology that could become a promising candidate for making microprocessors in the middle of the next decade was made public today. Transistors are the tiny switches in microprocessors that process the ones and zeros of the digital world. Researchers from the two companies have successfully built ‘quantum well’ transistors by integrating a new transistor material, pioneered by QinetiQ called indium antimonide (InSb). InSb is made up of elements found in the III and V columns of the periodic table. Transistors made of this material enable research devices to operate at very low voltages, while still rapidly switching and consuming little power. The research results obtained from the quantum well transistors research showed a 10x lower power consumption for the same performance, or conversely a 3x improvement in transistor performance for the same power consumption, as compared to today’s traditional transistors. The culmination of a two-year collaboration between Intel and QinetiQ on the research and development of III V transistors for high-performance and low power logic applications, the results were obtained on a “depletion mode” InSb NMOS transistor. Such transistors are normally on and can be turned off by applying a negative voltage to the gate which is in contrast to the more common practice of applying a voltage to switch a gate, when required.
08 Feb 05. Raytheon Company’s option to proceed with its X-band thin radar aperture (XTRA) contract has been exercised, allowing the company to produce the next generation radar antenna technology for the J-UCAS (Joint Unmanned Air Combat System) that could revolutionize manned and unmanned combat systems. The AFRL (Air Force Research Laboratory) exercised the option following the proof of concept phase of the contract that was issued in April 2004. The XTRA array technology has advanced transmit and receive capabilities, is lighter weight and lower cost than existing technology, and is suitable for the larger unmanned combat systems, such as the J-UCAS, as well as smaller unmanned airborne systems and other manned aircraft. The initial funding for this effort is $4m. Raytheon received its first award to develop the design for XTRA in April 2004. XTRA is one of several revolutionary approaches to small and affordable arrays in development by Raytheon.
09 Feb 05. Ultra High Resolution TFT Display. The VPM 5251S 2 polysilicon TFT display has been designed to provide ultra sharp images by utilising over 130,000 pixels, more than normally found on a 4 display. This enhancement gives not only greater picture quality and also improves the viewing angles in both the horizontal and vertical planes. Polysilicon TFT offers a unique quick start mode and does not need to warm-up as with traditional TFT displays. As soon as