Friday, November 20, 2015

SUNY Poly Utica Computer Chip Commercialization Center (Quad-C)

Yesterday before a meeting at SUNY Poly Utica I had the chance to go on a tour of the almost completed Computer Chip Commercialization Center (Quad-C) building located on campus. Here's a few specs on the facility:

  • 253,000 sq. ft. including 56,000 sq. ft. of Class 100 and Class 1000 capable cleanroom space.
  • Will host phase one public-private partnerships highlighted by a consortium spearheaded by SUNY Poly CNSE that includes leading technology companies such as Advanced Nanotechnology Solutions Incorporated (ANS), SEMATECH, Atotech and CNSE partners, including IBM, Lam Research and Tokyo Electron. 
  • Annual operating budget to exceed $500 million
  • Projected to result in the creation of 1,500 high-tech jobs, groundbreaking academic programs, and cutting-edge workforce training opportunities.
  • The cleanrooms are stacked - not something you see much of outside of highly populated places like Singapore.
Here's a few pics I took on the tour.

Shot of the new building between Library and Admin Buildings

Flexible space - could be used for cubicles, walled offices, etc or configured as cleanroom extension

Above each cleanroom air handlers, sprinkler system etc. These systems can be maintained, upgraded etc with contaminating cleanroom

One of the huge cleanrooms and yes those little specs are people doing a final cleaning

Workers adding the CNSE sign to the building

Those 1,500 new jobs will have an average annual salary of $91,000, and an estimated annual payroll of more than $136 million once full-scale production is achieved. I am a strong believer in public-private partnerships and the SUNY Poly CNSE effort is one of the most successful I've had the opportunity to see.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Automobile Collision Avoidance: Ultrasonic Sensors

It's been a while and I wanted to expand a little bit on my June intelligent car post and discuss collision avoidance technology in a little more detail. All collision avoidance technologies use sensors that collect information that is processed by onboard computers in the car. Let's talk about ultrasonic parking sensors today.

Ultrasonic parking sensors are typically mounted in the bumpers and used for parking systems. Effective distance for a transducers depends on the circuit and signal sequencing that is being used so the sensitivity varies across different devices. Parking sensors are designed for relatively short parking distances of 0-5 feet. 

You may have noticed them on car bumpers and wondered what they were. Here's a close-up picture of one on an Audi A4 (pic source: They are about the size of a nickel.

Distance is commonly indicated by a sequence of beeps and the closer the obstacle is to the sensor the faster the sequence of beeps until a continuous tone is emitted indicating that your bumper about one foot (or less) away from the obstacle. Here's a short 58 second demonstration video demonstrating BMW's Park Distance Control (PDC).

Ultrasonic means above the audio frequency range and these sensors typically operate somewhere between 40 kHz and 70 kHz. In future posts I'll describe camera, radar, and lidar systems.