LONDON Ember Europe is to double in size of its Cambridge IC design facility by the end of 2006, as aprt of its development partnership with STMicroelectronics.
Ember's 11-strong hardware design team has already developed two ICs at the site – including a single chip solution integrating both radio and microcontroller. The company is now finalizing the specifications for several new IC programs with STMicroelectronics, and actively recruiting digital and analogue engineers for the development phases.
“We expect the UK design centre to be at least 20 strong by the end of 2006”, said Nick Horne, Director of IC Engineering at Ember Europe.
“Wireless-enabling sensors demands such an extreme combination of price and performance that we expect to set a new standard of innovation, one that could offer a model of economy for the other more performance-oriented wireless schemes for some time to come,” added Horne.
Ember Europe is looking for ways to cut the number of external components usually required to build a radio, at the use of fine geometry semiconductor fabrication processes in a way that does not degrade radio performance, obtaining high radio sensitivity in close proximity to high clock rate digital circuits, and optimising operating modes and power management schemes to suit ultra-long lifetime operation from battery power.
“At the moment, we have more opportunities than engineers. The right staff have ample chance not only to exploit their core skill of digital or analogue circuit design, but also to get involved with the wider mixed-signal IC team to integrate the various circuit elements, to verify and test the design, and bring the complete solution to market,” said Horne.
In March 2004 Cambridge Consultants sold its portfolio of 802.15.4 radio frequency (RF) integrated circuit technology to Ember Corporation of Boston which has also hired the engineering team that developed it.