After mandatory closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many parts of the U.S. are starting to reopen. Many questions about the virus still remain, however, and we may be dealing with its effects for a long time. There’s wide acknowledgment that life will not be the same going forward. This virus caught the world unprepared, but we hope that the lessons learned in 2020 will help us prepare for the inevitable next pandemic.

Today, many stores and employers check body temperatures in an effort to screen potential or suspected COVID-19 patients. In general, they rely on non-contact thermometers. If body temperature remains a first line of pandemic defense, we need new ways to check and monitor body temperature. Stationing personnel at entrances to check the temperatures of everyone entering a building is costly, time-consuming, and likely fraught with error. Ideal solutions should be as accurate, reliable, low cost, and non-invasive as possible.

Bloomington, Minnesota-based SkyWater Technology announced that Linear ASICs semiconductor company selected SkyWater’s mixed-signal ASIC temperature-sensing microchip for a smartphone-enabled wireless patch. Linear ASIC’s patch monitors elevated body temperatures for remote COVID-19 detection.

SkyWater’s ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) uses a combination of digital and analog signals. The mixed-signal design concept enables faster development and lower production costs than pure digital solutions. According to Skywater’s news release and Linear ASIC CEO Mike Ward,”SkyWater’s 130 nm mixed-signal ASIC process (S130) was selected as the best ASIC platform to develop the temperature sensor due to its long heritage of providing an ideal combination of analog and digital performance at the right value point.” 

Linear ASICs plans to package its patch with a variety of additional sensors to help individuals check their own temperatures and to assist public health officials monitor community spread.

Skywater is ISO 13485 Quality Standard for Medical Devices certified to support biomedical market biochip application design, development, and fabrication.