News Column

Patent Issued for Combination Non-Volatile Memory and Input-Output Card with Direct Memory Access

June 17, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Technology -- SanDisk Technologies Inc. (Plano, TX) has been issued patent number 8745299, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventors are Zer, Aviad (Kfar Vradim, IL); Pinto, Yosi (Palo Alto, CA); Holtzman, Micky (Kfar Vradim, IL); Cedar, Yoram (Cupertino, CA).

This patent was filed on October 7, 2011 and was published online on June 3, 2014.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "This invention relates, generally, to the use and structure of removable electronic circuit cards and, more specifically, to cards having both a non-volatile memory module and an input-output ('I/O') module.

"Various commercially available non-volatile memory cards that are becoming popular are extremely small and have different mechanical and/or electrical interfaces. Examples include the related MultiMediaCard ('MMC') and Secure Digital ('SD') memory cards that are available from SanDisk Corporation of Sunnyvale, Calif., assignee of the present application. There are other cards that conform to standards of the International Organization for Standardization ('ISO') and the International Electrotechnical Commission ('IEC'), an example that is widely implemented being known as the ISO/IEC 7816 standard.

"The physical and electrical specifications for the MMC are given in 'The MultiMediaCard System Specification' that is updated and published from time-to-time by the MultiMediaCard Association ('MMCA') of Cupertino, Calif. Versions 2.11 and 2.2 of that Specification, dated June 1999 and January 2000, respectively, are expressly incorporated herein by this reference. MMC products having varying storage capacity up to 64 megabytes in a single card are currently available from SanDisk Corporation, and capacities of 128 megabytes are expected to be available in the near future. These products are described in a 'MultiMediaCard Product Manual,' Revision 2, dated April 2000, published by SanDisk corporation, which Manual is expressly incorporated herein by this reference. Certain aspects of the electrical operation of the MMC products are also described in co-pending patent applications of Thomas N. Toombs and Micky Holtzman, Ser. Nos. 09/185,649 and 09/186,064, both filed Nov. 4, 1998, and assigned to SanDisk Corporation. The physical card structure and a method of manufacturing it are described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,040,622, assigned to SanDisk Corporation. Both of these applications and patent are also expressly incorporated herein by this reference.

"The newer SD Card is similar to the MMC card, having the same size except for an increased thickness that accommodates an additional memory chip. A primary difference between them is that the SD Card includes additional data contacts in order to enable faster data transfer between the card and a host. The other contacts of the SD Card are the same as those of the MMC card in order that sockets designed to accept the SD Card will also accept the MMC card. The electrical interface with the SD card is further made to be, for the most part, backward compatible with the MMC product described in version 2.11 of its specification referenced above, in order that few changes to the operation of the host need be made in order to accommodate both types of card. Certain aspects of the SD card are described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/641,023, filed Aug. 17, 2000, which application is incorporated herein by this reference.

"Cards made according to the ISO/IEC 7816 standard are of a different shape, have surface contacts in different positions, and a different electrical interface than the MMC and SD Cards. The ISO/IEC 7816 standard has the general title of 'Identification cards--Integrated Circuit(s) Cards with Contacts,' and consists of parts 1-10 that carry individual dates from 1994 through 2000. This standard, copies of which are available from the ISO/IEC in Geneva, Switzerland, is expressly incorporated herein by this reference. ISO/IEC 7816 cards are particularly useful in applications where data must be stored in a secure manner that makes it extremely difficult or impossible for the data to be read in an unauthorized manner. The small ISO/IEC 7816 cards are commonly used in cellular telephones, among other applications.

"Currently, data is transferred between the memory card and some external device through the host system to which the memory card is connected. Not all host systems with which such memory cards are used are particularly adapted to so transfer certain types or large amounts of data in a fast, efficient and convenient manner."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Therefore, the present invention, briefly and generally, utilizes a removable electronic circuit card having both a memory module with a non-volatile mass storage memory and a separate input-output module so that data transfers may be made through the input-output module directly to and from the mass storage memory in a direct memory access (DMA) type transfer when the card is inserted into the host system but without having to pass the data through the host system. Once the host gives a DMA command, the data transfer is accomplished independently of the host system, except for the host supplying power and possibly a clock signal and other like support, during such a data transfer directly with the card. The controller structure of a memory card is modified so that is can also act as a controller to such a DMA transfer between the memory module and the input-output module. The data for the transfer can be communicated between the input-output module and the exterior device through either wireless or an electrical connection means. For example, the input-output module can have an antenna or other type of transceiver.

"The introduction of a DMA mechanism between the input-output module and memory module in a single card has a number of advantages. Since the host only initiates the data transfer, it can have a minimum involvement in the actual data transfer, and hence it can deal with other tasks while the input-output and memory modules transfer data amongst themselves. Also, as the bus can be idle during the data transfer, power consumption is reduced. Additionally, the DMA mechanism requires less command and response transaction, and thus the data transfer becomes faster than in the traditional way.

"In a first set of embodiments, the memory module and input-output module each have their own controller for individually communicating with the host through the card's bus. In this case, the DMA transfer can use this bus and a clock signal is supplied from the host. In a second set of embodiments, a single controller is used for both modules and the DMA transfer uses a path distinct from the bus used by the controller to transfer data and commands to and from the host.

"Additional details, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description, which should be taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Zer, Aviad; Pinto, Yosi; Holtzman, Micky; Cedar, Yoram. Combination Non-Volatile Memory and Input-Output Card with Direct Memory Access. U.S. Patent Number 8745299, filed October 7, 2011, and published online on June 3, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8745299.PN.&OS=PN/8745299RS=PN/8745299

Keywords for this news article include: SanDisk Technologies Inc..

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Source: Journal of Technology


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