ASICs at heart of
11, 2004 Posted: 18:07 PM EDT (1807 GMT)
The developer of a
disposable computer has an agreement with a Taiwan
semiconductor company to mass produce the ASIC at the heart of
the throwaway product that can collect process and exchange
several pages of encrypted data.
able to have the ASIC [produced] in millions by the
fall," said Cypak
AB's marketing director, Stina Ehrensvard, on Thursday,
May 6, 2004. Ehrensvard declined to reveal who the
"major" semiconductor manufacturer is. "That
little chip is our core product."
Stockholm-based firm is wrapping up evaluation trials with the
Swedish and German post offices, two Swedish university
hospitals, and pharmaceutical firms in both the U.S. and
The ASIC, with 32k
of memory, is just 0.3mm in height - small enough to be
incorporated into the standard 0.8mm-deep credit card. The
paperboard computer is created using conductive ink. Its data
can be read by two kinds of reader technologies - one is RFID-based
and complies with the ISO 15963 standard, and the other is a
cheaper proprietary device designed by Cypak. The typical
configuration also includes a microscopic antenna.
The processor -
factory-programmed with a unique 32-bit identity - has 32KB of
nonvolatile memory. It utilizes a lithium-manganese battery
with an active minimum life of two years. The PC reader uses a
Cypak-developed report generator and a Microsoft Windows
ActiveX-component driver. Data can be downloaded to popular
applications, such as Excel.
"It has much
more intelligence than a bar code," said Ehrensvard,
describing a trial underway with the German Post Office.
"Our secure courier packaging is now being tested in a
field trial by the Deutsche Post and DHL [a courier company]
in the product form of tamper-proof envelopes. The envelope
tells the receiver about content, sender, when it was closed,
when and if it was tampered with - all before it has been
The German trial
stemmed from an ongoing program with the Swedish Post Office
to design and test the electronic sealing and tamper proofing
of Cypak boxes, which are called SecurePak.
While Cypak had to
develop interfaces and readers for the disposable computer,
the company, according to Ehrensvard, is focusing on selling
just its ASIC chip. She said the disposable computer is small
enough to be integrated into books, passports and credit
The firm is
targeting its intelligent pharmaceutical packaging (IPP)
product concept at pharmaceutical manufacturers. A trial at
the University of Lund's hospital is underway using 1,200 IPP
packages. Cypak believes the IPP packaging - enabling control
of medication dosage and accurate tracking - can offer
widespread, inexpensive use. The computer enables users to
time-stamp medicine dosages, which can be integrated with a
patient's electronic diary. Another feature produces sound
In the U.S., Cypak
has an agreement with MeadWestvaco Healthcare Packaging to
market its products and technology in the Americas.
The firm has
software-developer kits, as well as evaluation kits for
testing the IPP and SecurePak products. Ehrensvard said Cypak
will be prepared to mass-produce millions of its core ASIC-technology
products this fall.