Seen on the Scene at Electronica 2018

Seen on the Scene at Electronica 2018

This was my first Electronica, and all I can say is – It is massive. It covered everything to do with the electronics supply chain, from chip design to the chip itself, to the package, component, subassembly, circuit board, through to test and measurement, and enclosures, switches, the works.

While my focus for this trip was SEMICON Europa, I took the long way to hall A4, wandering through the Electronica semiconductor halls, checking out various displays at the integrated device manufacturers (IDMS) ams, On Semiconductor, and Infineon, all of whom showcased offerings targeting smart cars, homes, health, industry, you name it. Here are the highlights.

New Vision for ADAS

On Semiconductor demonstrated its vision systems for ADAS.

On Semiconductor demonstrated its vision capabilities for ADAS systems:

  • Near IR and global shutter technology is at work in its eye-tracking camera to evaluate driver attentiveness.
  • A rear camera module provides a broader view by flattening out the fisheye image using On’s ISP chip.
  • The front camera can detect and identify moving objects.
  • The Smart mirrors capture eye position, so the mirror can shift based on eye position.

Mark Kozak, a field service engineer, says the company uses through silicon vias (TSVs) to stack image sensor with logic circuitry and is looking at hybrid bonding to further improve the stacking capabilities to separate the pixel technology from the logic/memory. This is real 3D technology at work, people.

The VW Buzz

Speaking of collaboration, together with Volkswagen, Infineon is giving the VW bus a makeover into an autonomous vehicle. The prototype on display is expected to be available on the market in the next three years. While it still has a steering wheel, it will be driving optional. The center console in the back features a touchscreen control panel and appears to offer the consumer experience that Thomas Muller, Audi, described in his keynote talk.

 

New Uses for Optical Sensors

From medical to consumer, to horticulture, ams was showcasing all types of applications for its optical sensing solutions. Michael Cernusca, director of product management, graciously explained them all to me.

Blood Pressure
A cuff-less solution for measuring blood pressure that detects the ECG signal by using optical sensors to detect the movement of the artery as blood passes through by measuring reflected light. When the volume changes, more or less light Is reflected. By analyzing parameters such as stress level and elasticity of the arteries, the device can determine how fast blood is moving through the arteries.

By inputting gender, age, height, weight, and arm length into the Nautilus app, the fitness band can measure heart rate variability according to stress load. The app provides tips on how to relax. Data is stored locally on the phone. The next-generation device will be medical grade, and HIPPA compliant. The company is working with doctors in field trials to derive a model out of the data.

Washing Machine
Spectral sensing is used to evaluate the color of the wash water, testing incoming water quality throughout the washing cycle. White light analyzes the light coming out of the media to measure the color of the water. From that, inferences are made about the washing process, to help determine the amount of water, chemicals, and energy is needed to wash a perfect load of laundry.

ams demonstrates its optical sensor for grow light management.

Grow Light Management
This closed-loop sensing system measures the color of light used to grow a plant and tune the intensity, optimizing energy used and maximizing the plant’s growth. The goal is to set an optimal light profile for each plant. The sensing system integrates with a standard controller for light systems. It can be used in greenhouses, adapting with daylight to adjust the light source accordingly. The intention is to improve the quality of yield and save on energy and cost.

Tip of the Electronica Iceberg

My Kiterocket colleague, Martijn Pierik spent Friday walking every row of every hall, in search of unique taglines (that’s what brand specialists focus on at an event like this). I did not. I barely touched the tip of the Electronica iceberg. I spent the majority of my time visiting suppliers in SEMICON Europa. You can find those highlights here. ~ FvT