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Spin-Off Building Simplifed Signal Processing Connections

Peter Kinget

Peter Kinget (Columbia University)

16 December 2014. An engineering lab at Columbia University in New York is spinning off a new company aiming to design simpler connections between analog and digital signals as systems get smaller and performance becomes more demanding. Seamless Devices Inc., founded by electrical engineering professor Peter Kinget and former graduate student Jayanth Kuppambatti, began in business at the end of October 2014.

Kinget’s research group is part of Columbia’s Integrated Systems Laboratory that studies analog, radio-frequency, and power circuits for applications in communications, sensing, and power management. As digital devices get smaller and more ubiquitous, they’re called on to handle many more kinds of signals from a greater number and variety of sources in the analog or non-digital world. Kinget’s and Kuppambatti’s new company aims to make it easier for digital devices, including those microscopic in size and running on little power, to capture and integrate those analog signals.

Interconnections designed by Seamless Devices, say the founders, could be used in a range of industries such as consumer electronics, mobile communications, military, transportation, and health care, as well as linking previously unconnected appliances and systems in homes, cars, and businesses into what is called the Internet of things. In most of these applications, however, sensors and devices are capturing real-world analog information for processing on micro-and even nanoscale chips that still need to provide continuous high-quality performance, while drawing little power.

Research by Kinget and colleagues led to processing techniques for systems for translating signals between analog and digital modes, which became the intellectual property the company licensed from Columbia. One such patent, for an invention by Kinget, covers amplifier circuits running on less than 1 volt of power.

Seamless Devices plans to begin with solutions for the semiconductor industry, providing circuit designs for licensing into system-on-chip integrated circuits. Among the early planned applications are analog-to-digital converters for telecommunications that support high bandwidths and resolution, while still drawing little power.

The company operates in the San Francisco Bay area as a subsidiary of Allied Minds, a technology commercialization company that provides early-stage funding and management to help start-up enterprises based on discoveries in university labs. Allied Minds focuses on technologies with a defineable product or service addressing unmet needs, protected by intellectual property, and with potential to reach the market in 2 to 5 years.

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