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Walkie-talkies for Chips

Sony's wireless chip connections say sayonara to wires and pins

3 min read

5 April 2010—No matter how much circuitry engineers are able to cram into a semiconductor device, they can't make it work faster than the wires between such devices will allow. That's why Sony's recent development of a wireless alternative is so exciting. Today some products employ as many as 1000 pins to connect devices, and those pins take up a lot of space. More than anything, they set the limit on how large an electronic device can be.

Earlier this year, Sony Corp. unveiled the first millimeter-wave wireless technology that can serve as a short-range link among devices. A 40-nanometer complementary-metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) prototype system achieved transfer speeds of 11 gigabits per second operating at 56 gigahertz over a distance of 14 millimeters. Adding a secondary antenna can increase the range to 50 mm. Sony described the technology in February at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference, held in San Francisco.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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