INDUSTRY AND THE
50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE IC
PHOTO COUR TES Y OF TEXAS ■ Jack Kilby with lab notebook open to
INSTRUMENTS. first “solid circuit” drawing.
In my opinion, there are only a
handful of people whose works
have truly transformed the world and
the way we live in it,” said Texas
Instruments ( www.ti.com) chairman
Tom Engibous. “Henry Ford, Thomas
Edison, the Wright Brothers, and Jack Kilby.” With these
words, we note that 2008 marks the 50th anniversary of
Jack’s successful use of germanium mesa p-n-p transistor
slices to form transistor, capacitor, and resistor regions, thus
inventing the integrated circuit. Using fine gold “flying
wires,” he connected them to demonstrate an oscillator
function and, a week later, produced an amplifier. The
following year, TI announced Jack’s breakthrough “solid
circuit” concept and followed it up with its first commercial
offering, the Type 502 Solid Circuit Microelectronic Binary
Flip-Flop. Somewhat belatedly, Kilby was awarded the
Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in 2000. He passed
away in 2005 but will not soon be forgotten.
and comes with a five-year warranty.
... AND FUEL CELLS FOR
you just add water to a dry cartridge
to draw 400W for up to 16 hours.
HydroPak is designed with a standard AC outlet, as well as twin USB
connectors for charging or operating
various low-power devices (e.g., lights,
notebook computers, and small
TVs). Production quantities of the
$400 unit are slated to be
available later this year, in
time for the arrival of hurricanes and winter storms.
The disposable cartridges will run $20
each, so HydroPak doesn’t
come close to a standard
gasoline-driven generator in
terms of cost per watt. But
it is quiet and clean, and
gas isn’t getting any cheaper.
AND LIGHTING EFFECTS
Millennium Cell, Inc. ( www.millen
niumcell.com), and Horizon
Fuel Cell Technologies have
jointly demonstrated a
preproduction version of
the HydroPak™ power
generator, which incorporates Horizon’s commercial grade fuel cells
and hydrogen cartridges
developed by Millennium.
According to the latter,
PHOTO COURTESY OF
SONY ELEC TRONICS.
■ The HydroPak portable
PHOTO COURTESY OF MILLENNIUM CELL, INC.
■ Sony’s Rolly audio player, with
speaker ports open.
It measures only 4 x 2.6 x 2.6 in ( 104
x 65 x 65 mm) and weighs just 10. 6
oz (300 g), but Sony’s ( www.sony.com)
Rolly — demonstrated at the 2008
Consumer Electronics Show (CES) —
packs a lot of features into the small
package. The sound quality is said to
be surprisingly good, by virtue of a digital amplifier and neodymium magnets
in the speakers. The bass end of the
sound spectrum takes the form of
reverberation from whatever it sits on,
be it a table top or the floor.
Employing elements of robotic technologies, the device can move its arms,
shoulders, and wheels (it has six moving
parts) to the beat of the music, and it can
generate about 700 different colors for
lighting effects. Rolly comes prepro-grammed with some dance routines, but
you can also add your own choreography via a PC and USB connection. With
2 GB of Flash memory, you get a storage
capacity of 500+ songs in MP3 format.
The gadget is already available in
Japan and should be in US stores shortly
after you read this. No price has been
announced as of this writing, but they sell
for about $350 in Japan, which seems like
a dubious buck-to-bang ratio. NV