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Technology Futures

Commentaries on Directions That Will Impact the Future of Technology

New Mini Temperature Sensor from TI to Extend Battery Life


Everybody knows that the Achilles heel of portable electronics is battery life.  While many researchers around the world are trying to find better battery technologies, Texas Instruments (TI) has come up with a miniature temperature sensing chip that may turn out to be a game-changer for devices like cellphones, tablets and laptops.

This tiny chip, designated the TMP006 reads temperatures without having to be wired into a circuit.  It merely has to be near it.  It detects infrared (otherwise known as “heat”) energy over the range -40 to 125 degrees Centigrade.  All this work is contained in a chip that measures 1.6 mm square, tiny enough to be adaptable to virtually any portable electronic device.  TI claims it is 95% smaller than any competing solution and uses 90% less power.

When it was first announced last year, TI had the QTY 1000 price pegged at $1.50 each.  I did a quicky online search and found prices today as low as $.10!  At that price, almost any product you can think of could incorporate the chip.

Contactless temperature sensing of course has many applications outside of the computer/phone businesses.  It doesn’t take much imagination to think of applications in motors, automobiles, medicine, etc., etc.  Virtually any application that can benefit from thermal management or thermal protection is fair game.  Looks like TI has hit another winner.

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