August 14th, 2005, 10:17 PM
Gilder: And in computers. I think all desktop computers will have an imager for video teleconferencing and functions of that sort, and they will need to be cheap and high quality. I think it has a shot at that application, and it embodies a new generation of semiconductors in general. The first generations of semiconductor triumph were in the personal computer and then in the cell phone. And this is yet another generation that makes the semiconductor more ubiquitous. And this analog technology, mixed with digital functions of course, which Carver has pioneered, is also probably going to be [in the] RFID tag—you know the radio frequency replacement for the bar code.
Another of Carver's companies is Impinj outside of Seattle. One of his students, Chris Diorio, is the chief scientist there. You hear all these stories about the failures of RFID technology; that's how difficult it is to perform those functions. Those difficulties are an opportunity for Impinj, which makes these fabulous little chips with outside power—the propeller comes from the radio frequency beam and the chip absorbs the beam, modulates it to transmit it back. As it reflects it, it modulates it. It has crude CMOS floating gate memory on it. It has a power processor that converts this incident electromagnetic radiation into a DC, direct current, power supply that can support this memory. It operates between four and eight microwatts, and it's a tiny, miraculous single device that can be produced for pennies.
Silicon-Eyeing Moore's Law :: AO