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October 01, 2013

Sample Shipments of Bluetooth-Compatible Toshiba IC Begin

Toshiba, the Tokyo-based technology giant known for laptops and, recently, VoIP technology, announced on Sunday that it began sample shipments of a new integrated circuit. Known as the TC35661SBG-700, the chip is Bluetooth-compatible and can be used in numerous small applications like toys and electronic sensors.

For applications that the TC35661SBG-700 was designed for, providing wireless support used to be impractical. One limitation was simply that it was not cost effective to do so. The other had to do with the size limitations that come with printed circuit boards or PCBs.

PCBs, by their nature, have to be constructed to comply with certain tolerances. The combination of voltage levels and the nature of the materials the PCB is composed of require a minimum amount of separation between these components. If these minimums are not followed, electrical shorts, malfunctions and even damage could occur.

The TC35661SBG-700 runs at either 1.8 or 3.3 volts and supports Bluetooth version 3.0.

Standards for Bluetooth technology are maintained by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). For a company like Toshiba to advertise that its products are Bluetooth compatible, it must first qualify its products through the organization. The product must adhere to core specifications that have not been deprecated, which is currently version 2.0 or later.

When the product passes, the maker of the product can use the Bluetooth brand through a license from the SIG.

Perhaps the biggest strength of the TC35661SBG-700 is that it uses electrically erasable programmable memory or EEPROM. This kind of memory can store programs and can be erased and rewritten numerous times without removing the memory from the device.

Toshiba has introduced an IC that should prove very useful. One of the suggested uses is for sensors and with the programmability of the chip, the applications seem limitless. Security, manufacturing and traffic control are only some areas that could benefit from this technology. It also would introduce children to the concept of robotics, since toys using the chip would be programmable. This is pretty powerful stuff for a chip with only 13 KB of user memory. If this technology can be improved at an affordable cost, the effects would be revolutionary.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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