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Posted: May 06, 2011

Unique processor chips with tiny radar transceivers

(Nanowerk News) "We often meet leading technology experts and major multinationals that can scarcely believe such a product is available," says a pleased Dag T. Wisland, CEO of Novelda AS. "Actually, we are the only ones who have succeeded in developing radar transceivers like these." Small company, heavyweight technology
With just 20 employees, Novelda operates in Oslo and in a Telemark County village 140 km to the west. The firm develops high-performance nano-electronics that pave the way for new, advanced radar technology.
Dag Wisland, CEO of Novelda
Novelda is the only company that has succeeded in developing radar transceivers that are extremely fast, highly precise, and run on very low power, explains Dag Wisland, CEO of Novelda. (Photo: Sverre Jarild)
Although the company is small, its technology is absolutely cutting-edge. Novelda's silicon chips, which measure just 2 x 2 mm, have made an international breakthrough. Each chip contains nearly two million transistors and 512 radars that simultaneously sense and transmit information. Unlike conventional radar devices, which must be placed some metres away from the object to be measured, Novelda's can be located directly on the object. This capability opens up opportunities for product development with all sorts of exciting applications.
"We have customers located all over the world who are developing applications based on our technology," explains Chief Marketing Officer Aage Kalsæg. "In the health care sector alone, our sensors are used in solutions being developed for monitoring heart rate, taking wireless ECG readings, and measuring fluid in the lungs."
"Some of the other exciting development projects are snow depth radars that combine GPS with water content measurement, as well as radars that can penetrate walls and rubble and find people trapped in collapsed buildings. The possibilities are endless."
Intensive R&D is crucial
Novelda's path – from start-up company in 2004 to technological market leader – has been an arduous one. Since international competitors invest heavily in trying to capture the lead, Novelda has to keep working to ensure continuity in its research. A critical component of this has been the company's contact with the Research Council and its programmes such as User-driven Research-based Innovation (BIA) and Core Competence and Growth in ICT (VERDIKT), as well as with EUREKA's Eurostars Programme with its funding and support specifically dedicated to SMEs.
"We are a company with a high level of R&D activity," explains CEO Wisland. "The opportunities presented to us through the Research Council's funding schemes have been crucial to our innovation efforts and our competitiveness in the international arena. The funding has enabled us to bring our product to market – without breaking our backs along the way."
About Novelda
Novelda has received funding from two of the Research Council's largest programmes: the VERDIKT and BIA programmes. The VERDIKT programme is designed to generate world-class ICT expertise and value creation. The BIA programme provides funding for projects that are based on companies' own strategies – regardless of industry. Novelda is also the project manager for a Eurostars project involving partners from Denmark, Finland and Sweden.
Source: By Nils Ragnar Løvhaug/Else Lie. The Research Council of Norway
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