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When Wireless Means Cellular in the IoT

When we talk about the Internet of Things (IoT), we’re talking about communication. But, for much of the discussion – in particular, for the consumer IoT (CIoT) – we end up focusing on WiFi, BlueTooth, and wired technologies (with TCP or UDP over IP assumed if you’re going over the internet to the Cloud).

But for industrial settings (the so-called industrial IoT, or IIoT), there’s one more critical wireless technology that we might not think about because … Read More → "When Wireless Means Cellular in the IoT"

Sensor Platforms Acquired

We’ve spent a lot of time on sensor fusion here, and there are three players that routinely come up: Hillcrest Labs, Movea, and Sensor Platforms. Frankly, the first two have featured somewhat more prominently because they do more selling of “shrink-wrapped” product (for lack of a better word), while Sensor Platforms has tended to play closer to the vest, working with specific clients to integrate their algorithms. We did see them in Read More → "Sensor Platforms Acquired"

TSVs: Like Vias, Only 1000X Deeper

We recently looked at Applied Materials’ solution to the challenges of lining small vias: using cobalt. But those are through-dielectric vias. What about through-silicon vias (TSVs)? After all, they can be a thousand times deeper than a standard via, so if a standard via is hard to cover, imagine how hard it must be for a TSV.

Of course, we’re talking a wider via, but AMAT says that standard physical vapor deposition (PVD) tools do an inadequate job of coating the … Read More → "TSVs: Like Vias, Only 1000X Deeper"

Synopsys’s IP Initiative

IP used to refer to hardware designs that could be purchased off the shelf. Actually, at first they were designs that wouldn’t really work for any real application without a consulting contract to adapt them. But, over time, “shrink wrapped” became more viable. The idea was to save design time.

That idea still holds, but we’ve replaced one problem – design of individual blocks – with another: assembling all of the IP blocks into a complete system. And these IP blocks are more than your grampa’s simple fast Fourier … Read More → "Synopsys’s IP Initiative"

What is a technology company?

Am I being picky or over-sensitive? A recent report talks about how Europe has produced 30 technology companies worth more than $1bn. They include “Clothing retailer Asos, games studio King Digital, property portfolio Zoopla and music service Spotify.” Are these technology companies? Zoopla’s core business is pulling together into a single web site, property listings from a wide range of sources. They do have other service for the estate agents whose properties they advertise and there is serious technology underlying this, but if you look at their job ads, of the 15 on the site today, only two are for … Read More → "What is a technology company?"

Sensor or Switch?

Honeywell recently released a new AMR (anisotropic magneto-resistive) sensor. We looked at this basic technology some time back, but there was another aspect of the release that confused me: the sensor was compared to a reed switch. And, at first glance, I don’t see a switch (=actuator) and a sensor as being the same thing.

For those of you steeped in this technology, what follows may seem rather basic and even obvious. But if you’re new to the space, then … Read More → "Sensor or Switch?"

Accelerometer Fingerprints

An interesting paper was published earlier this year by a team from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of South Carolina, and Zhejiang University. In short, it says that the accelerometer in your phone could give you away even if you’ve locked all your privacy settings down tight.

The idea is based on the fact that each accelerometer is unique at the lowest level, having minor but detectable differences in waveform or harmonic content. To the extent that the characteristic resonance of an accelerometer can identify it uniquely (or nearly so), it acts as a … Read More → "Accelerometer Fingerprints"

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