Front End I News New gait therapy offers chance to walk again Heliatek achieves record
Developed by Hocoma AG and Balgrist University Hospital, a new technological gait therapy called Lokomat could soon help people suffering from paraplegia to walk again. The therapy has been developed from a greater understanding of motor learning in neurologically-impaired patients. The body is encouraged to learn new movements by training; a very high number of repetitions imitating the motion exactly.
Although locomotion therapy for
neuromuscular diseases is not new, the specialised technology involved in Lokomat is.
Since the legs are unable to fully move or carry a person’s body alone, the patient is supported by a harness and then guided by a pair of motorised orthoses, which walk at a steady pace on a treadmill. Although the machine is taking most of the weight, the walking nevertheless feels extremely natural. The robotic legs – each housing a maxon RE 40 motor, gearhead and a brake – are synchronised to match the treadmill’s motion with enough precision to challenge the patient’s own legs without harming them.
As a result,
patients can train more precisely, for longer, than with traditional manual therapy techniques; and because only one therapist is required to work with the patient instead of two, hospitals are able to make twice as much therapy time available. The results
achieved have been dramatic and as many as 25% of
paraplegic patients have benefited from the new technology. The improvement rate doubles again in cases of hemiplegia; conditions where one whole side of a patient’s body is paralysed.
maxon senior sales engineer Ian Bell said “The Lokomat is a stunning piece of engineering, and maxon engineers worked closely with the design team over a
number of months to specify a solution with exactly the right mix of dynamics and power density, and maximise service life. To see lives being changed as a result is truly touching.”
The Lokomat is now being introduced to the global market, and appears likely to be adopted by an increasing number of UK hospitals.
Deeply Depleted Channel technology offers a breakthrough in power consumption and CMOS Scaling
SuVolta, a developer of scalable low-power CMOS technologies, has unveiled detail of its Deeply Depleted Channel (DDC) low- power transistor technology. The DDC technology – a component of the company’s PowerShrink low-power CMOS platform – provides a low-power device technology that has been demonstrated to reduce power consumption by 50 percent without impacting operating speed and when coupled with advanced voltage scaling techniques, the DDC technology can reduce power consumption by 80 percent or even more. “SuVolta’s technology, which we have proven in silicon, has generated a tremendous amount of interest in the semiconductor industry,” said Dr. Bruce McWilliams, president and CEO at SuVolta. “We are disclosing the details of our DDC transistor technology so that the industry’s technologists can envision how SuVolta’s
technology can lower power consumption, can allow lower supply voltage, and can enable process scaling to sub-20nm.” The company’s DDC transistor reduces
threshold voltage (VT) variability and enables continued CMOS scaling. The structure works by forming a deeply depleted channel when a voltage is applied to the gate. In a typical implementation the DDC channel has several regions – an undoped or very lightly doped region, a VT setting offset region and a screening region. Each implementation of the DDC transistor may vary depending on the wafer fabrication facility and specific chip design requirements.
6 December 2011/January 2012 The undoped or very lightly doped
region removes dopants from the channel which allows for a deeply depleted channel. This reduces random dopant fluctuation (RDF) thereby enabling VDD scaling and improved mobility for increased effective current. The VT setting offset region sets the
In addition, the DDC transistor allows for the setting of multiple VTs, which is vital for today’s low-power products. Besides the benefit of significant VT variation reduction, DDC transistors have additional benefits such as increased channel mobility for increased drive current; reduced drain induced barrier loading (DIBL); and increased body coefficient for better VT control. "There are times when making chips smaller just doesn’t make sense anymore. Increased lithography costs are inciting the end of Moore’s Law because the cost per transistor is plateauing. We are approaching that time now with 28nm and 20nm which I believe will be long- lived nodes,” said Dr. Scott Thompson, CTO at SuVolta. “Aside from microprocessors, most of the chips for the mobile market put a premium on cost control and low-
transistor threshold voltage levels, without degrading channel mobility. This region also improves sigma VT over conventional transistors. The screening region screens the charge and sets the depletion layer depth. It also serves as a body for dynamic VT adjustment through biasing, if desired. The DDC transistor enables lower power operation by reducing power supply voltage. By controlling VT variation, chips designed using SuVolta DDC technology can achieve a number of benefits including a 30 percent lower operating voltage with no performance impact and much lower leakage.
Components in Electronics
power consumption. SuVolta’s DDC structure is unique in that it is the only transistor approach that is fully compatible with today’s CMOS process integration and fab facilities, and that enables semiconductor companies to retain their existing circuit intellectual property.” “For the industry to enjoy continued advances in mobile electronics, core technology must keep advancing,” said Bill Joy, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. “SuVolta has invented a breakthrough compatible planar bulk CMOS-based process technology to solve the semiconductor industry’s greatest challenge – power.”
for organic solar cells with certified 9.8% cell efficiency
Heliatek GmbH, a company leading the development of high-end solar PV technology, has set a new record for organic solar cells after Fraunhofer ISE CalLab certified a cell efficiency of 9.8% for a 1.1 cm” tandem cell manufactured with a low temperature deposition process. This is the third time that Heliatek has set a record for efficiency in the field of organic photovoltaic. The figure of 9.8% represents a 1.5% leap in cell efficiency. Dr. Martin Pfeiffer, co-founder and CTO of Heliatek, said “Heliatek is the only solar company in the world focused on the deposition of small molecules with low temperature processes, a method that has already been widely adopted by the market for use with organic LEDs (OLEDs). The company develops and synthesizes in- house the molecules responsible for capturing light in solar cells and converting this light into electricity. Organic solar cells from Heliatek have now reached the level of efficiency of conventional solar cells made from amorphous silicon.” Heliatek has both its own chemistry
research department as well as a physics research department and this combination has helped to create efficient synergies, enabling simultaneous work on material quality and cell design. Heliatek was able to optimise the absorber layer system of the record-breaking cells through synthetizing the right materials. Furthermore, by improving the deposition process, cell morphology was significantly improved, leading to an increase in power output and in fill factor.
The cell construction will gradually be integrated into Heliatek’s manufacturing process after the scheduled start of production in the second half of 2012. In- house measurements have shown that scaling up the record-breaking cells to a panel with a size factor >120 results in an efficiency over 9% for the active module area.
Thibaud Le Séguillon, CEO of Heliatek, commented “The next step on our way to 15% will be a cell with over 10% efficiency sometime next year. These flexible, thin and light panels open up new fields of applications that were so far impossible to address with conventional PV technologies. After our third investment round scheduled for 2012 we plan to expand our production capacity with additional manufacturing lines. This will allow us to market our high- performance panels into new areas, such as windows and facades for BIPV. This technology really has the potential to revolutionise the solar industry.”
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