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Xilinx Press Release # 03117


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5,700 Xilinx Spartan FPGAs pulsate like human skin in 'BioWall' interactive display 
at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne

SAN JOSE, Calif., and LAUSANNE, Switzerland, September 8, 2003 - At the International Workshop on Information Processing in Cells and Tissues (IPCAT 2003) today, Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ:XLNX), announced that the Logic Systems Laboratory (LSL) of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) utilized 5,700 Xilinx Spartan FPGAs to develop the BioWall, a self-repairing electronic tissue and interactive display. The BioWall combines the latest in digital technology with the most instinctive of human gestures - touch. The creation of the BioWall is a major step towards the creation of intelligent, bio-inspired electronic tissues, capable of evolving, self-repairing, self-replicating and learning.

The BioWall will be on display at the forthcoming ITU Telecom World 2003 exhibition in Geneva, October 12-18, 2003. For more information on the creation and development of the BioWall, including design specifics, visit

Xilinx Technology behind the Scenes
BioWall was designed to demonstrate the features of Embryonics (Embryonic Electronics) to the public, through a visual and tactile interaction. Visitors can participate in a selection of activities designed to demonstrate the chameleon-like qualities of the electronic tissue. Because Xilinx Spartan FPGAs are reprogrammable, they act as self-repairing receptors, much like those in human skin, with the ability to "heal" or change in response to stimuli from the outside world - such as touch. Visit for the full story on the role of Xilinx Spartan FPGAs in the development of the BioWall.

Paving the way for future technology
With thousands of potential uses, the use of self-regenerating, highly robust electronic tissue is likely to become widespread, particularly where dependability is absolutely paramount, such as space exploration. The technology will also pave the way for even more intelligent automated machines such as ATMs, gas pumps, and ticket, food, and drink dispensers. 

"We quickly realized that the capabilities of such a platform were not limited to a single application. In fact, the flexible architecture enabled by Xilinx FPGAs, provided the ideal platform to prototype many different kinds of two-dimensional cellular systems," said Dr. Christof Teuscher, researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. "The applications that correspond to this description are numerous, particularly in the domain of bio-inspired systems."

EPFL Researchers have only begun to explore the possibilities of the BioWall as a research tool. Thus far they have developed a few such applications, designed to exploit the versatility inherent in its programmable architecture. The size of the BioWall display allows an immediate interaction with applications that are normally limited to software simulation on a computer screen and the computing power and programmability of the FPGAs allow the prototyping of new bio-inspired systems.

About Xilinx Spartan Series FPGAs
Marking a major milestone in the semiconductor industry earlier this year, Xilinx unveiled a new class of 90nm Spartan solutions - the Spartan-3 platform. Ranging from 50K to 5M system gates, the Spartan-3 platform is the world’s lowest cost FPGA with unrivaled price points. The Spartan-3 platform builds upon the proven success of over four generations of Spartan Series solutions. Since its 1998 introduction, the company has shipped more than 50 million Spartan Series devices. Spartan Series products have been broadly adopted in high-volume, high-growth consumer applications – the most difficult high-volume market to penetrate and one historically dominated by ASICs. For more information visit

About Xilinx
Xilinx is the worldwide leader in complete programmable logic solutions. For more information, visit


# 03117
Editorial contact:
Tamara Snowden
Xilinx Public Relations
(408) 879-6146