Fabless chip company Nanopower AS (Kristiansand, Norway) has been granted NOK 6 million (about US$580,000) to develop subthreshold voltage technology.
Nanopower receives the funding from the Research Council of Norway for a project together with the University of South-Eastern Norway. Nanopower will work with USN, the
Innovation Center microsystems, nanotechnology and electronics, and the Department of Microsystems (IMS), which have expertise within nano- and microsystem technology, micro sensor, and micro energy harvesting from ambient sources.
Nanopower, founded in 2017, has developed a power management hub it calls nP-Zero that can support any system’s wireless chip, processor, sensors, and other peripherals. The IC manages power-hungry microcontrollers, sensors, and wireless radios, bringing them back online only when needed. All critical functions of the IoT device remain intact while adding low-power capabilities.
The aim of the project is to develop systems that can beenergized solely by small batteries or ambient power harvesting.
“Today’s IoT solutions have a major challenge that prevents mass deployment. The wireless battery-powered sensors run out of power too fast. It’s manageable with a few devices, but not when thousands are installed. By multiplying battery life and enabling power harvesting, the solutions become highly scalable,”said Tore Irgens Kuhnle, CEO of Nanopower, in a statement.
Two other companies that have pursued subthreshold voltage implementation of circuits are Ambiq and Minima. Meanwhile foundry suppliers such as TSMC have been taking the characterization of their processes to lower voltages thereby obviating fabless chips companies’ need to work with subthreshold specialists.
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