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BALD Engineering News Blog

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Probably The Best ALD news blog. Covering new and old developments in Atomic Layer Deposition and Technology. From BALD Engineering:

Pacemaker powered by piezoelectric energy harvesting technology

Technology Posted on 2014-02-11 22:45:49

University of Arizona reports on “Tiny power generators developed by the University of Arizona and the University of Illinois could eliminate the need for batteries in medical devices.

The miniature devices consist of piezoelectric nanoribbons sandwiched between two thin layers that serve as electrodes, one made of titanium and platinum and the other made of chromium and gold. Piezoelectric elements are crystals that generate an electrical current when deformed under mechanical pressure and are used in many applications, such as disposable lighters and mini speakers.”

The mechanical energy harvester, which is flexible enough to conform to the surface of an organ such as the heart, converts the organ’s motion into electricity. (Photo: Univ. of Illinois/UA)

An energy harverster for an implanted medical device could still though need an energy storage, e.g., for comunicating with the outside world thru wireless communication were more power is need under short period of time.

Check out our extremely thin (2 to 10 µm) on chip 3D capacitor technology at Fraunhofer CNT that has exactly this type application in mind!

SEM a) cross section of a trench array with AR 13:1 filled with MIM stack and b) top down micrograph of Si trench array after silicon etch. Current technology is 1:20 and gives 220nF/mm2 with a goal for 1000nF/mm2 in the near future.

The world’s first 3D printer that can print composite materials such as carbon fibre

Technology Posted on 2014-01-29 23:22:08

The MarkForged ( Mark One 3D printer is the world’s first 3D printer designed to print composite materials such as carbon fibre. You can asume that Koenigsegg has placed multiple orders already.

According to MarkForged, the Mark One 3D prints a range of other materials also such as PLA, nylon and fiberglass.

Full set of specifications can be found here :

Check out this promotion video:

New eyes for robots – Fraunhofer IPMS presents camera system at Photonics West 2014

Technology Posted on 2014-01-21 13:35:33

New eyes for robots – Fraunhofer IPMS presents camera system at Photonics West 2014

Dresden, Jan 20, 2014

For three-and-a-half years, five research institutions and two industrial companies have been working with in the scope of the European joint research project »TACO« on the development of a new kind of 3D-camera system that should allow robots to perform more demanding tasks. The Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS in Dresden hereby contributed a novel MEMS scan technology as a key hardware component. This allows »relevant« objects in the surroundings to be detected with a higher resolution, similar to human vision , without having to increase the volume of data. At the Photonics West in San Francisco from the fourth to the sixth of February 2014, the Fraunhofer IPMS will be presenting the complete camera system for the first time as a fully-functional prototype to a broad professional public.

Optical scan head of a 3D TOF camera with integrated MEMS scanning mirror array.

More information on the TACO Project you can find in the IPMS Press Release.

Google Introducing a smart contact lens project

Technology Posted on 2014-01-20 09:45:40

// Introducing a smart contact lens project

As reported on the Google Blog – Google is testing a smart contact lens that’s built to measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material. They are testing prototypes that can generate a reading once per second and also investigating the potential for this to serve as an early warning for the wearer. In addion, they are exploring integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed above or below certain thresholds. Google has completed multiple clinical research studies to refine the prototype. Google hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease.

Also reporting on this story, Tech Crunch and re/code and has more information

Image from re/code, showing how Google smart contact prototypes can squeeze in a glucose sensor, antenna, capacitor and chip between two contact lens layers. A tiny hole on the eye side allows tear film, which contains glucose, to reach the sensor.

That this is a hot topic also outside Google application Labs you can see if you do some patent research. Here is patent rougly describing such a technology that Google is presenting

Wireless powered contact lens with biosensor, US8608310 B2

“A contact lens having an integrated glucose sensor is provided. The contact lensincludes an electrochemical sensor configured to measure the level of glucose in the tear fluid of the eye of the user wearing the contact lens. The electrochemical sensor is powered by radiation off-lens, through an RF antenna or a photovoltaic device mounted on the periphery of the contact lens. The power provided to the contact lens also enables transmission of data from the electrochemical sensor, for example by backscatter communications or optically by an LED mounted to the lens.”

This patent further claims : A powered contact lens formed from a transparent substrate shaped to be worn directly over a user’s eye, the contact lens comprising:

(a) an annular antenna disposed at a margin of the contact lens, wherein the antenna is configured to receive a power signal;

(b) a light-emitting diode (LED) configured to transmit a data signal;

(c) a biosensor module configured to measure a characteristic of the user’s eye, the biosensor module comprising an electromechanical sensor comprising:

(i) a working electrode;

(ii) a counter electrode;

(iii) a reference electrode; and

(iv) a biosensor circuit configured to measure the voltage of the working electrode, the counter electrode, and the reference electrode, and to transmit a biosensor signal

With the ETH Zürich latest report on flexible electronics that we reported on employing ALD in mind we can speculate on a bright future for ALD in these type of applications [LINK]

The follow up to Google Glass could soon be here “Google lens”

Technology Posted on 2014-01-12 00:23:44

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) have created clear, flexible electronic circuitry that is so thin it can sit upon the surface of a contact lens, or be wrapped around a human hair according to The research, led by Dr. Giovanni Salvatore, could ultimately be used for implantable medical devices. One such potential application suggested by the team is a “smart contact lens” that could monitor intraocular pressure for glaucoma patients.

In order to create the circuits, the layers are deposited using e-beam evaporation, atomic layer deposition, spin coating and radio frequency sputtering. The structuring is created using ultraviolet (UV) lithography and etching. The circuits are created on a substance called parylene, an insulator that is traditionally used as a protective coating for electronic devices and components.

The circuitry is so thin it can sit on top of a contact lens, or be wrapped around a human hair

Continue reading the complete story in Gizmag.