U.S. Restricts Business Interaction With Chinese Chipmaker

The U.S. Commerce Department announced yesterday that it plans to restrict American companies from doing business with semiconductor startup Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. Micron Technology has accused the state-owned Chinese chipmaker of stealing company secrets, which has raised concerns regarding national and economic security. The restriction will prevent U.S. firms from selling software and goods to Jinhua, which relies on U.S. technology to build its chips. The announcement is the latest in an ongoing battle with China over intellectual property issues. Continue reading U.S. Restricts Business Interaction With Chinese Chipmaker

Apple Looks to Other Chip Suppliers Amid Qualcomm Dispute

In the midst of its legal battle with Qualcomm, Apple is designing next year’s products with modem chips from Intel or MediaTek. According to sources, Apple has taken this step because San Diego-based Qualcomm has not supplied the software necessary to test its chips in the Silicon Valley company’s iPhone and iPad prototypes. However, Qualcomm argues this point and is now suing Apple for failing to abide by the terms of its software license. Apple filed a federal suit against Qualcomm in January, claiming it unfairly blocks rivals and charges excessively steep patent royalties. Continue reading Apple Looks to Other Chip Suppliers Amid Qualcomm Dispute

IBM Aims to Power IoT, AI, VR With New 5-Nanometer Chip

IBM Research, GlobalFoundries and Samsung partnered to create transistors for a 5-nanometer semiconductor chip, expected to enable chips with 30 billion transistors. Researchers say the technical achievement should enable the $330 billion chip industry to keep up with Moore’s Law, the 1965 statement by Intel chairman emeritus Gordon Moore that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits would double about every two years. Three years ago, IBM vowed to invest $3 billion over five years in chip R&D. Continue reading IBM Aims to Power IoT, AI, VR With New 5-Nanometer Chip

Westinghouse Files for Bankruptcy, Toshiba Selling Chip Unit

Nuclear power leader Westinghouse Electric Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York yesterday. “The filing comes as the company’s corporate parent, Toshiba of Japan, scrambles to stanch huge losses stemming from Westinghouse’s troubled nuclear construction projects in the American South,” reports The New York Times. Westinghouse has recently been impacted by a slowdown in electricity demand, lower natural gas prices, growth in alternative energy sources, and concerns regarding nuclear safety. Toshiba, which is expecting a net loss of $9.9 billion for the fiscal year, “is also divesting its profitable semiconductor business and plans to sell a stake to an outside investor to raise capital.” Continue reading Westinghouse Files for Bankruptcy, Toshiba Selling Chip Unit

Google Pursues Bringing Machine Learning to Mobile Devices

Google is partnering with Movidius, a semiconductor startup, to begin developing technology that would allow mobile devices to do more heavy computing such as machine learning and image recognition. Movidius specializes in computer vision, so Google has licensed its MA2450 chip to help build image-recognition capabilities. The chip has 12 cores and was chosen for its low power consumption and hefty processing power. Image recognition could be used in all sorts of apps to identify objects and people. Continue reading Google Pursues Bringing Machine Learning to Mobile Devices

New Low-Light Pixel Could Have Wide Range of Applications

At Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, Professor Eric Fossum and doctoral student Jiaju Ma have developed a new pixel with dramatically improved low-light sensitivity. Fossum, who invented the CMOS image sensor used in most cellphones and digital cameras, worked with Ma for more than three years before publishing results of their new Quanta Image Sensor (QIS) in an IEEE publication. Among the applications for the new sensor are security cameras, astronomy and life science imaging. Continue reading New Low-Light Pixel Could Have Wide Range of Applications

Longer-Lasting Solid-State Batteries May Power New Wearables

Solid-state batteries, which have been used for wireless sensors but are typically considered too expensive for most devices, can now be manufactured much cheaper, according to Applied Materials. The company, which supplies equipment for semiconductor and display industries, says that these longer lasting batteries can be used in anything from smartwatches to electric cars. The company plans its first commercial use of the batteries in wearable devices, where size is a limitation.  Continue reading Longer-Lasting Solid-State Batteries May Power New Wearables

Samsung Opens Five-Story Innovation Museum in South Korea

Samsung opened its Samsung Innovation Museum at the company’s headquarters in South Korea this month. The museum features some of the most iconic inventions of the modern era, including Samsung TVs, smartphones and semiconductors. The creation of the museum is an effort by Samsung to escape its image as a “fast follower,” and showcase itself as an innovator. The five-story museum occupies about 118,000 square feet. It comes as Samsung goes up against Apple again in patent court.  Continue reading Samsung Opens Five-Story Innovation Museum in South Korea

Israeli Startup StoreDot Can Charge Your Phone in 30 Seconds

Tel Aviv-based startup StoreDot has unveiled a prototype of a mobile phone charger that can reportedly charge a dead phone’s battery to 100 percent in a mere 30 seconds. StoreDot was created by members of the nanotechnology department at Tel Aviv University. The current prototype, about the size of a laptop charger, is compatible with the Samsung Galaxy 4. The company has plans to reduce the device’s size and expand to other smartphones when the $30 charger becomes available in late 2016. Continue reading Israeli Startup StoreDot Can Charge Your Phone in 30 Seconds

Stanford Scientists Build Computer Using Carbon Nanotubes

A team of engineers at Stanford University has built the first functioning computer that uses carbon nanotubes rather than the standard silicon. The new material for building transistors could dramatically impact the way computers work in the future. While others have discussed the possibility of carbon nanotubes for years, Stanford’s team is the first to put them to practical use. The material could launch a new generation of devices that run faster and use less energy. Continue reading Stanford Scientists Build Computer Using Carbon Nanotubes