Ramtron offering incentive to design with 30xx

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A Colorado Springs corporation is challenging design engineers to use its VersaKit-30xx development system to create new designs — and win $2,500.

Ramtron International Corp., a developer of nonvolatile ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) and integrated semiconductor products, launched the design contest to introduce engineers to its 8051-based microcontroller with nonvolatile FRAM memory.

“This contest is intended to encourage engineers to explore how the VRS5IL3074 will benefit their application, as well as foster a competitive spirit among their peers,” said Michael Hollabaugh, vice president of sales and marketing.

The contest ends Nov. 1, and will take place in four regions: The Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific and Japan. Each region will have one grand prize and five runner-up prizes. Entries will be judged on technical merit, originality, usefulness and design optimization.

Contestants must purchase the VersaKit-30xx development system, which ships with development board, Versa JTAG programming/debugging interface, demo programs and the software, C compiler, assembler and documentation required to develop with the VR51L30y4 MCU.

Tech Week is Sept. 18-22

Companies and organizations within Colorado’s technology industry will be hosting a series of events throughout the state during Colorado Tech Week.

Starting Sept. 18, the week is a series of conferences, programs and events that bring together business, academic and government sectors to demonstrate and celebrate Colorado’s technology economy.

Last year, Tech Week hosted 34 events, 5,000 attendees and raised more than $800,000 that supported local technology efforts.

Natural gas: key to oil woes

Experts from three federal agencies testified before Congress about the importance of natural gas in the production of renewable fuel.

The Intermountain West, a region that includes Colorado, contains one-third of all U.S. gas reserves for the lower 48 states.

Testimony emphasized the need for efficient, fair leasing, permitting and planning for granting access to public lands for natural gas development. Public lands contain the largest onshore reserves of natural gas in the nation, and supply 11 percent of the country’s natural gas.

“Federal lands contain nearly 200 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas,” Smith said. “This is energy that we as a country need for renewable energy sources, as well as the traditional uses of natural gas on which we as a country depend.”

According to the EIA by 2030, U.S. consumption of natural gas will be 27 trillion cubic feet, up from 21.9 trillion cubic feet currently. The association estimates that the natural gas production in the west will double during the next two decades, surpassing production in the Gulf of Mexico.

IPS gains venture capital

Infinite Power Solutions has raised $34.7 million to build facilities for high-volume manufacturing of its thin-film batteries.

The D.E. Shaw group and Polaris Venture Partners led the investment. New investors include Core Capital Partners and Applied Ventures LLC (the venture capital fund of Applied Materials). Also joining the venture were existing investors, including Advanced Energy Technologies and SpringWorks.

Founded in 2001, IPS focuses on commercializing its thin-film battery technology. Dr. Bernd Neudecker and his team of battery experts have perfected the technology to where it can be mass-produced by IPS on a thin, inexpensive, flexible substrate.

“We’ve seen many start-ups with new battery chemistries,” said Bob Metcalfe of Polaris. “The IPS solid-state TFB technology, with its postage-stamp size, extreme durability, high power, flexibility and virtually infinite rechargeability, is truly disruptive. In 2007, a projected 10 billion embedded micro-controllers will be shipped worldwide in a vast variety of applications. Many new applications of micro-controllers, sensors, and tags will be enabled by IPS’ rechargeable TFBs.”

Infinite Power Solutions develops, manufactures and markets ultra-thin, flexible, rechargeable, solid-state, thin-film lithium micro-batteries.

IPS is headquartered in Golden.

Amy Gillentine covers technology for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.