30 Jun '17, 4pm

Chip Hall of Fame: Signetics NE555

Chip Hall of Fame: Signetics NE555

NE555 Manufacturer: Signetics Category: Logic Year: 1971 < Back to the Chip Hall of Fame It was the summer of 1970, and chip designer Hans Camenzind was working as a consultant to Signetics, a Silicon Valley semiconductor firm. The economy was tanking. He was making less than US $15,000 a year and had a wife and four children at home. He really needed to invent something good. And so he did. One of the greatest chips of all time, in fact. The 555 was a simple-to-use IC that could function as a timer or an oscillator. Still popular today, the chip was a smash hit, winding up in kitchen appliances, toys, spacecraft, and a few thousand other things. “And it almost didn’t get made,” recalled Camenzind for IEEE Spectrum a few years before he died in 2012 . The idea for the 555 came to him when he was working on a circuit called a phase-locked loop. With some modifications, the ...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/devices/chip-hall...

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