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New institute eyes 4G and beyond

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A new multi-million euro Irish institute is aiming to help develop new wireless technologies, including the next generation of mobile phones.

The Institute of Microelectronics and Wireless Systems, launched by the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, will carry out research into wireless technologies and microelectronics, such as RFID tags and motes (self-contained sensor devices).

While many Irish people are busy getting to grips with 3G technology, the institute will be developing 4G phones, which will be able to adapt to any standard or band throughout the world.

Director of the Institute, Dr Ronan Farrell, explained that the new organisation will have a practical role, helping companies develop products in the wireless and microelectronics arena. "We build real systems, which is unique in Ireland," Dr Farrell told ElectricNews.net. "We are exploring the technology and prototyping the radio systems we are inventing."

Dr Farrell explained that most of the work carried out at the institute will be related to the industry in some way, adding that it was relevant to companies. The centre also plans to help to reduce costs associated with the development of new products, and costs connected with maintaining the systems.

Although the emphasis is on developing the technology, the institute will also look at the software that works with the prototypes. And the new organisation also plans to have its experts work on the design of microchips.

The institute will have 26 researchers on board, with eight senior researchers and 18 post graduate students in its state-of-the-art facilities. It is being funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and Enterprise Ireland with EUR4.5 million in grants over the next four years, in addition to working with a number of Dublin-based companies. The institute has already formed some key partnerships with smaller firms and large enterprises, including an alliance with Bell Labs.

There are currently 15 research projects taking place; some of the "headline" projects include the next generation of mobile phones and reconfigurable radio, which are single radios that can capture a range of bands.

Copyright © 2005, ENN

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