BWRC – Berkeley Wireless Research Center @ BEARS2012
February 23, 2012, Berkeley, CA - At the Berkeley Engineering research conference (BEARS2012) there was a breakout session from the BWRC group on the advances and long term directions in wireless communications and networking. The breakout was led by Ken Lutz, the Director of the center followed by a presentation by Prof. Jan Rabaey which reviewed some details and trends of the research.
The research is divided into 5 topics - (1) RF & an mm-Wave, (2) Advanced Spectrum Utilization, (3) Energy Efficient Wireless Systems, (4) Leading Edge Circuits Technology and (5) Reconfigurable Systems. The goal is to develop new high speed & bandwidth and lower power communication technologies using conventional semiconductor processes. These circuits will be used in medical, sensor, chip-to-chip and chip-to-system data transfer applications.
Some of the presented research included 60GHz, 240GHz and THz range mixers and transceivers. The Adv Spectrum group has the following charter - “Present methods of frequency allocation combined with a reliance on rigid infrastructure threaten to halt this growth. By enabling secondary use of spectrum on an opportunistic basis, ubiquitous, robust and agile wireless systems can be realized that are able to support further traffic growth. ... The concept of secondary use of the spectrum in combination with advanced cooperation between system components is revolutionary, and it is enabled byadvances in fundamental communications and networking theory and continued improvements in integrated circuit technology.”
The Energy Efficient Wireless group is investigating circuit techniques such as NEMS relays and oscillators, ultra-low-voltage (mV) CMOS and new architectures for RF, mixed signal and digital circuits. These systems may incorporate energy storage and scavenging technologies as part of thier design, and have regulator development as a key portion of the design archtiectures.
The Leading edge circuits and reconfigurable research are both foward looking technologies to develop new devices, and design methods that address the variability issues of nm design and allow for both fault tolerance and functional reconfiguration at the software application level for the blocks. This will being the ability to create new system solutions that are not possible with current sequential state machine based design methods.
The majority of the tesearch is targeted at industry implementation in 10+ years.