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Posted on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 : 11:56 a.m.

University of Michigan microprocessor firm close to selling products

By Nathan Bomey

A likely University of Michigan spinoff firm called Ambiq Micro plans to seek customers for its low-powered microprocessor technology before pursuing venture capital financing, the New York Times reported.

Ambiq Micro last weekend was among the winners at the annual Michigan Business Challenge competition organized by U-M's Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.

The firm was founded by U-M College of Engineering professors Dennis Sylvester and David Blaauw, graduate business students David Landman and Philip O'Niel and COE research fellow Scott Hanson.

Hanson told by e-mail earlier this month that the firm's name would change from Cubiq Micro.

"Ambiq Micro plans to sell low-power microprocessors that could substantially extend the battery life of a range of tiny wireless devices," the New York Times reported. "The start-up’s technology could be used in smart credit cards, computers, sensors that control temperature or detect motion in smart homes and buildings, and a variety of medical and mobile devices."

U-M said in a news release earlier this month that the solar-powered sensor-based technology is "1,000 times smaller than comparable commercial counterparts" and uses "2,000 times less power in sleep mode than its most energy-efficient counterpart on the market today."

"Our system can run nearly perpetually if periodically exposed to reasonable lighting conditions, even indoors," Blaauw said in the news release. "Its only limiting factor is battery wear-out, but the battery would last many years."

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Dan Romanchik

Fri, Feb 26, 2010 : 9:24 a.m.

It would have been nice to get a little more local on this story. Also, the description of the technology could have been a little clearer. The article first says that the microprocessors will substantially extend battery life, but then says that the technology is "solar-powered."