TI research & development

Systems and applications labs


These labs have a laser-like focus on technologies that are important in many areas of modern life, including speech, lighting, motors, solar energy and vision.


TI's Systems and Applications labs are each focused on specific-technologies, and these R&D labs work on a longer timescale than Kilby Labs. They develop new technology intended to dramatically enhance TI's offerings in existing markets and to open doors to new markets. This work is usually done in conjunction with a development team, and the lab researchers often ultimately become permanent members of the businesses.

The overall goal is to inject new best-in-class technology into current and future TI products. Each lab focuses on a set of key projects within its specific technology. These labs work across TI, serving all the businesses. This cross-functional model facilitates connections across the wide range of TI products and design teams while also unearthing new uses of technology in unexpected places.

Today the Systems and Applications labs focus on several key application areas:

  • Communications Systems Lab
  • Lighting Lab
  • Motor Lab
  • Speech and Audio Lab
  • Solar Lab
  • System Architectures Lab
  • Video, Imaging and Vision Lab

The Communications Systems Lab is responsible for some of TI's worldwide wireless and wireline communications standards development initiatives. Lab members regularly contribute to next-generation standards with a goal of creating an intersection between worldwide standards and TI's product portfolio. Lab members have backgrounds in signal-processing algorithms, computer science, and networking protocols and embedded software for communications. The lab develops real-time prototypes based on TI microcontrollers, for example, while also formulating requirements for next-generation products.

The Lighting Lab concentrates on LED lighting systems, which consist of LEDs, LED optics, power supplies, thermal management and system features. The Lighting Lab is equipped to characterize photometric and electrical performance from the electrical line input to the photometric light output. Research in the lab leads not only to a better understanding of existing lighting infrastructures and their retrofit LED solutions but also to forward-looking lighting infrastructures that are specifically constructed for LED lighting.

The Motor Lab is dedicated to making drive and control of electric motors smart, easy and efficient. This is achieved by a broad mix of systems, software, circuits and hardware skills via a powerful mix of practical and theoretical staff. Real plant (motors and dynamometers) and prototype applications allow direct engagement with TI customers.

The Speech and Audio Lab processes audio-bandwidth signals, including speech, music, acoustics and medical data. The lab's team works as a technology spearhead for TI's business units that need specific and specialized innovation concerning audio applications. Recent projects include algorithms and software development for noise cancellation as well as acoustic quality enhancements for TI's audio codecs.

The Solar Lab is focused on renewable energy. As the market for distributed solar power generation gains momentum, smart-grid applications are expected to fuel rapid adoption among consumers. The Solar Lab has been generating power since October 2009 through more than a dozen 215-W solar modules on the lab's roof. TI is making advances at the system and circuit levels to radically change the way energy is harvested, stored and delivered in a dynamic environment.

The System Architectures Lab specializes in SoC hardware implementations. It exploits opportunities for innovation at the boundaries between analog and digital, hardware and software, and programmable vs. non-programmable hardware to optimize system performance, power and cost. Members of this lab specialize in signal processing, VLSI and computer architecture. They work closely with application experts in the businesses and the other labs. They are involved in a wide range of applications, including advanced analog-to-digital converters, application-specific coprocessors and accelerators and nontraditional digital design methodologies for ultra-low power.

The Video, Imaging and Vision Lab produces innovations in algorithm and system design, architecture definition, and hardware and software implementations for smartphones, embedded cameras, surveillance equipment, automotive vision and robotics. Simulation, prototyping and standardization work performed in the early stages of a project provide technology options and roadmap possibilities for the business units. Continued collaboration in the latter stages on hardware and software implementation for products nearer production helps ensure leading performance and advanced features in video, imaging and vision technology.