Last time, I introduced the track records of the ABLIC’s healthcare ICs and considered the future prospects in the medical field. These are the ultrasound transmit ICs with excellent performances. In this article, I will explore the possibility of the ICs outside of the medical field.
There are two approaches. One is the way to replace the medical equipment with a machinery which requires human body recognition. The other is a way to change the target from human bodies to objects.
As shown in Figure 1, Items that detect a person include as an entry/exit management function of an entrance gate at an event venue, a station and so on, an occupant detection function to detect who’s sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle and confirm the status of safety belts or airbags, a user recognition function of a vending machine to display recommended products on it.
What if the recognition target is changed from human to object? Ultrasound transmit ICs are already used for non-destructive analysis, robotics such as cleaning robots, drones and so on. Besides, the ICs could be applied to control actuators, assist automatic driving, assist parking, assist automatic feeding system for car and fish finding system as shown in Figure 2.
Parking assist systems using image recognition technologies have already been commercialized. But their camera images use large quantities of electric power and these systems are limited to the luxury segment. It must be considered to adopt ultrasonic assist function which has low power consumption to popular cars. Power-saving and inexpensive assist function may accelerate the study on setting omni-directional assist to vehicles. In the assisting automatic feeding function, systems with electromagnetic wave can charge quickly but have high directivity. If a deviation occurs, charging efficiency is significantly decreased. On the other hand, systems with ultrasonic take time but have low directivity. The system with ultrasonic should be applied with an understanding of these features.
The advantage of applying healthcare ICs to other segments is the higher reliability and safety. ABLIC provides analog switches supporting the high voltage of 200V with single 5V power supply and ultrasound transmit pulsars outputting square waves and arbitrary waveforms with the quality of medical products. Simply embedding these ICs, high reliability and quality products can be developed. In addition, an analog switch supporting higher voltage of 400V and further miniaturization of these ICs are currently being developed to support quality improvement of the system operating with around 400V and further downsizing. These are expected to be applied to various fields. Figure 3 shows the future plans of the healthcare ICs. Any of the fields indicated by three arrows is expected to grow.
Finally, I will introduce ABLIC’s another activity. As I mentioned above, the healthcare ICs can be used to the ultrasound transmission part on a fish finding system. Current fish finding system consists of large numbers of discrete devices. If these discrete products are integrated into a single chip, it will bring a great effect such as power saving, stable quality and increasing reliability as well as downsizing of the system (See Figure 4).
ABLIC is making the ongoing effect to integrate discrete products. If your system has a lot of discrete products, please consider using the ABLIC’s solution.