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Profs. Salman and Stanacevic Research Wirelessly Powered Computing Devices

February 7, 2017

Emre Salman   Milutin Stanacevic
Associate Professors Emre Salman (left) and Milutin Stanacevic (right)

Associate Professors Emre Salman and Milutin Stanaćević are inventing new methods to use wireless energy in computing devices. In our everyday lives, we are surrounded by electromagnetic waves due to the proliferation of wireless communications like WiFi, cellular, or television. Some of these electromagnetic waves are picked up by the antennas of our phones, TVs, or tablets. Some, however, unavoidably hit objects within the environment and turn into heat. Thus, it would be desirable to extract or harvest this otherwise wasted energy for useful applications, like sensors that monitor our environment or even brain implantable devices for neural recording and stimulation, an emerging field to cure diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The main problem is that this ambient wireless energy is typically tiny, requiring a new approach. “An entirely new method is needed that can still do computation with such small amounts of power,” says Salman.

Contrary to existing methods that convert wirelessly harvested power into a direct current (DC) voltage and rely on conventional computing methodologies, Salman and Stanacevic propose an alternating current (AC) computing based system where the wirelessly harvested power is directly used for computation without converting into a DC voltage. They recently received a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to pursue this research.

Although the methods proposed by Salman and Stanaćević are on the cutting edge of modern wireless computing devices, their ideas echo back to related questions from the late 19th century. At the time, Thomas Edison (who supported DC) and George Westinghouse (a fan of AC) competed over how electric power transmission systems should be designed, known as the "War of Currents." It is clear today that AC is a more feasible method for large voltage electric transmission. However, DC is the common method for relatively low voltage electronic systems. According to Salman and Stanaćević, AC computing can achieve an unprecedented increase in energy efficiency for wirelessly powered electronic systems. “This advantage can be highly beneficial for those applications where battery changes are not practical yet powerful processing is critical, such as environmental and structural monitoring, brain implantable devices, and secure Internet-of-things,” says Salman.


Bios: Emre Salman received the B.S. degree in microelectronics engineering from Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey, in 2004, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Rochester, New York, in, respectively, 2006 and 2009. He previously worked at STMicroelectronics, Synopsys, and Freescale Semiconductor (now NXP Semiconductors). Since September 2010, he has been with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Stony Brook University (SUNY), New York, where he is an Associate Professor and the director of the Nanoscale Circuits and Systems (NanoCAS) Laboratory. His broad research interests include analysis, modeling, and design methodologies for high performance and energy efficient integrated circuits with emphasis on power, clock, and signal integrity. Emre received NSF CAREER Award in 2013 and Outstanding Young Engineer Award from IEEE Long Island in 2014. He is the leading author of a comprehensive tutorial book entitled “High Performance Integrated Circuit Design” (published by McGraw-Hill in 2012, translated into Chinese by Electronic Industry Press in 2015), which unifies interconnect-centric design methodologies for nanoscale ICs. He also authored/co-authored two book chapters, more than 50 papers in refereed IEEE/ACM journals and conferences, and holds two issued, one pending US patents.

Milutin Stanaćević received the B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Belgrade, Serbia in 1999. He received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, in 2001 and 2005, respectively. In 2005, he joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, where he is currently an Associate Professor. His research interests include mixed-signal VLSI circuits, systems, and algorithms for parallel multi-channel sensory information processing with emphasis on acoustic source separation and breath analysis, micropower biomedical instrumentation and readout ICs for radiation detection. Dr. Stanaćević is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award and IEEE Region 1 Technological Innovation Award. He is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems and serves on several technical committees of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society.