Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
Online Challenges

Team 8931B-Trifecta's Texas instruments Online Challenge Submission

1

8931BTrifecta
Entry ID #: 4138
Created: Wed, Jan 11, 2017 10:56 PM


Hello. We are team 8931B from Lake Stevens, Washington. For the 2017 Texas Instruments Electronics Online Challenge, we decided to do our research on an old phone: The Verizon LG-VN271, or the “Extravert”. This phone was used during my years at the Middle School and the Mid-High School in Lake Stevens, Washington, and it turnout out to be a pretty handy little phone for the time. However, because the world has moved on to iPhones and Samsung Galaxy’s, this old phone proved to be the perfect device to deconstruct and examine its internal parts.              First of all, the Extravert phone itself uses an LG 3.7 V Li-Ion battery to power the device. Once we removed all the cases and plastic from the back of the phone, we could identify all of its internal parts. Next, we discovered that the Extravert phone contains a series of semiconductors, just like what the challenge asked for. After doing some research and watching a video clip, we learned that there are three different types of materials used in circuits: conductors, insulators, and semiconductors. Conductors are good materials that can transfer electrons easily in a system, and thus a current can flow. With an insulator, there is a very large gap between electrons, and although enough heat can be applied to excite the electrons to conduct electricity, the heat would ruin the material. And then there’s semiconductors, which are materials that fall in the middle. Semiconductors need just a little amount of heat to conduct electricity, and thus become the perfect material to make microchips in an electrical circuit (1). In the Extravert specifically, a semiconductor Qualcomm 6155 System Chip, or System on a Chip (SoC) is used to power this phone. An SoC is a small semiconductor piece that is contained in a device, and it contains all the components needed to power a device like a computer (2). This is what makes a device, such as the phone we deconstructed, nearly as powerful as a computer, that fits into the palm of your hand. Phones and tablets that use similar semiconductor system chips can not only run programs like a computer, but they can text, browse the Internet, and take pictures. Speaking of taking pictures, the LG Extravert we found uses a 2-megapixel camera to capture pictures.              In summation, the LG Extravert was a really good, simple, device to dig into and explore the world of circuits, electronics, and systems. Unfortunately, this device did not contain any TI products or microchips, and we could not identify all of the chips. This experiment was really good to perform, because it allowed us to use our fine motor skills to deconstruct the phone, and required us to do research for ourselves and explore how circuits and technology work, even at an atomic level. Thank you. References/Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUmDVe6C-BU        2. http://www.techradar.com/news/computing/pc/system-on-a-chip-what-you-need-to-know-about-socs-1147235

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