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MIT: New Analog Circuits Could Change Consumer Electronics

MIT: New Analog Circuits Could Change Consumer Electronics

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February 23, 2007 – Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last week demonstrated a newly developed analog circuit system that could cure one of consumers’ biggest gripes – drained battery power. Replacing traditional signal converter circuits with MIT-developed circuits, these comparator-based switched capacitor (CBSC) circuits could change the battery life of consumer electronics such as iPods, cell phones, and digital cameras, according to MIT professor Hae-Seung Lee in an interview with DigitalCameraInfo.com.

The applications for consumer commercial electronics is "limitless," said Hae-Seung Lee, MIT Professor of the Department of Electrical and Computer Science Microsystems Technology Laboratories. The new technology could be applied to everything from everyday personal devices to military uses.

After two years of development, the second generation of comparator-based switched capacitor circuit prototypes were exhibited at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco last week.

Analog circuits process analog signals, converting them to digital signals and vice versa. Traditional analog circuits use operational amplifiers that are the cause of draining power, according to Lee.

"The CBSC circuits could deliver the same function but consumes a lot less power," said the MIT professor. "It makes the biggest impact on portable equipment," he said.

In addition to less battery consumption, these analog circuits could save manufacturers money because they are more cost-effective, according to Lee.

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When could consumers get their hands on the technology? Lee predicts that it will be another two or three years before the circuits are commercialized for the electronics market place.

Outside organizations have also shown interest in the CBSC circuits, although Lee could not give specific details. He did say that CBSC circuits could make their way to the military in such devices like portable radar detectors.

"There are still some challenges before commercialization," said Lee. Until then, consumers will continue to hope for continuous-battery charged equipment.

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