CEA, STMicroelectronics and the R&D center of France Telecom announced the creation in Grenoble of a joint multidisciplinary laboratory that will study new consumer products and services based on advances in micro and nano-technologies. Called Minatec Ideas Laboratory, it encompasses all aspects of development from the initial conception to evaluation of consumer interest.
The new institution focuses on physical devices with embedded software that communicate with each other and interact with their environment. Already applied in mobile phones and portable computers, this technology is now moving into new applications in medicine, automobiles, clothing, leisure and household appliances.
The approach of the new laboratory, called "use-oriented design," is based on creativity sessions looking for new application ideas, on building operational prototypes and carrying out tests with users. It enables potential manufacturers to have the assurance that the proposed applications are worthwhile at a very early stage.
The companies behind the Minatec Ideas Laboratory say they're using a wide range of skills: electronics, biology, energy researchers join specialists in sociology, anthropology, ergonomics, marketing and other sciences.