Patco Electronics

<p>XO also has linked one of the hospital's offsite radiology centers to its main campus using Gigabit Ethernet service and has consolidated dedicated Internet access, local, and long-distance voice services. The 100 Mbps Ethernet WAN will speed X-ray and other fat imaging files around the hospital's satellite locations.</p>

However, the programming languages and techniques in common use now, and the code that results, is sequential. Developers writing in C and C++, for example, must take highly parallel operations and convert them all into a sequential series of statements: functions, callbacks, control blocks, data structure and link lists. This process is time-consuming to a painful degree, and the code that results does not make efficient use of the computing resources, to the detriment of the overall throughput of the system.

Applied Digital Solutions is awaiting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and does not expect to sell the chips in the United States until that approval is granted. The company's engineers said they expect approval later this year.

The announcement of the chip's availability created a media stir, however — not because of its potential use with pacemakers but because of its science-fiction-like potential application in human identification systems. Because the microchip and its antenna measure just 11.1 x 2.1 mm, Applied Digital Solutions said the assembly can be injected through a syringe and implanted in various locations within the body.

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The tube-shaped VeriChip includes a memory that holds 128 characters of information, an electromagnetic coil for transmitting data and a tuning capacitor, all encapsulated within a silicone-and-glass enclosure. The passive RF unit, which operates at 125 kHz, is activated by moving a company-designed scanner within about a foot of the chip. Doing so excites the coil and wakes up” the chip, enabling it to transmit data.

The chips are said to be similar to those that are already implanted in about a million dogs and cats nationwide to enable pet owners to identify and reclaim animals that have been temporarily lost. Applied Digital Solutions, which has made the pet-tracking chips for several years, says that the human chips differ mainly in the biocompatible coating that's used to keep the body from rejecting the implanted chip. The VeriChip is believed to be the first such chip designed for human identification.

Inspired by Sept. 11

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In September, Applied Digital Solutions implanted its first human chip when a New Jersey surgeon, Richard Seelig, injected two of the chips into himself. He placed one chip in his left forearm and the other near the artificial hip in his right leg.

He was motivated after he saw firefighters at the World Trade Center in September writing their Social Security numbers on their forearms with Magic Markers,” Bolton said. He thought that there had to be a more sophisticated way of doing an identification.”

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Applied Digital said Seelig, who serves as a medical consultant to the company, has now had the chips implanted in him for three months with no signs of rejection or infection.

Ordinarily, the company said, the chips would be implanted in a doctor's office under local anesthesia.

Since no other public EDA company has so far pre-announced fourth quarter revenues, it's unclear whether the Simplex downturn reflects general industry malaise or is specific to Simplex. But the Simplex announcement is consistent with Synopsys' lowered expectations for 2002, announced in December along with the upcoming Avanti Corp. acquisition.

Simplex, which had revenues of $14.3 million in the third calendar quarter of 2001, now expects revenues of $11 million in the fourth quarter and $9 to $10 million in the first quarter of 2002. The company expects to break even in the fourth quarter but lose $3 to $4 million in the first quarter.

The last quarter is the most difficult we've seen,” said Penny Herscher, Simplex chairman and chief executive, speaking at a hastily-called analysts' conference call. I'm disappointed we've been unable to meet the guidance we've set, but I'm very confident in our strategy and our competitive position.”

The Avanti effect Herscher said that many customers delayed purchases in the fourth quarter, and that purchases that went through were subject to intense scrutiny” by senior management. Simplex was particularly surprised by weakness in North America, she said. Herscher also said that Synopsys' announced intent to purchase Avanti aggravated” the shortfall further.

Some customers had decided to dial down their Avanti investments, but now that Synopsys will bring some stability to Avanti, they're re-evaluating what they want to do,” Herscher said. She also claimed that there are some Avanti people out there who don't expect to be employed by Synopsys, and are doing destructive pricing.”

Businesses with in-house call centers and service bureaus must still be very careful before investing in new call centers. While long-term growth prospects for the US economy are great, the short-term signs are not good.

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