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Intel Buying Altera? We Totally Called It.

Rumors abound today that Intel is in negotiations to buy Altera – a deal that could be worth over ten billion. If so, it would be the largest acquisition in Intel’s history.

We have no confirmation from either company that such a deal is in play, but we did a pretty thorough analysis of the situation last June in this article:

http://www.eejournal.com/archives/articles/20140624-intel/

What do you think?

Read More → "Intel Buying Altera? We Totally Called It."

New Membranes, ASICs, and Packages for Akustica

1-BST-20945_cr_ret.jpgAkustica recently announced a round of microphone design and manufacturing improvements, as embodied in two new high-signal-to-noise (SNR) microphones. They’ve redesigned the microphone membrane, the accompanying ASIC, and, in one case, the package. Yeah… that doesn’t leave much untouched.

They’re not being completely open about exactly what the changes are in detail, but the membrane change involves new materials (undisclosed) and tweaks to the thicknesses of … Read More → "New Membranes, ASICs, and Packages for Akustica"

Synopsys and Leading-Edge Litho

While wandering the halls of SPIE Advanced Litho, I had a conversation with Synopsys’s Tom Ferry about their focus for the leading edge of lithography.

He addressed several areas, many of which reflect progress on existing notions. Compact models are getting less… well, compact as compared to so-called “rigorous” models. Given the number of effects to be covered, Synopsys is moving to rigorous models to improve predictability.

They’re also making progress on DSA support as well as reducing mask write times. The topic that’s a bit … Read More → "Synopsys and Leading-Edge Litho"

Multicore Microcontrollers for IoT and audio

XMOS has, from its base in Bristol, England, been quietly building up its business of creating a new force in the embedded market. The company has been shipping the xCore multicore microcontrollers into a wide range of companies around the world, and has built a particularly strong position in audio. Last summer it was announced that the company had raised £26.2 million from Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Huawei Technologies, and Xilinx.

Now it is announcing a new generation of  xCORE – xCORE 200, and a product specifically for the high resolution audio market – xCORE-Audio

The … Read More → "Multicore Microcontrollers for IoT and audio"

Microsemi Moves GNSS Indoors

Much of the cellular build-out in areas that already have coverage is happening through small cells. It’s like we’ve gotten the broad brush strokes in place; now we’re fine-tuning coverage and capacity here and there as needed.

And much of this is happening in buildings – malls, office buildings, and other areas where large numbers of people concentrate.

Which creates a problem: these cells rely on accurate timing from GPS (or GNSS, generically). And, as we’ve seen in our discussions of Read More → "Microsemi Moves GNSS Indoors"

CEVA’s Next-Gen Vision Processor

CEVA has introduced a new vision platform, which they’re calling the CEVA-XM4. We’ve looked at their prior platform, the MM3101, before; you could consider this the next stage. Almost literally.

CEVA describes vision processing as resembling a 3-stage pipeline. First come your basic vision processing steps to generate clean 3D data, which creates left and right images and a depth map. The next step is what’s typically called Read More → "CEVA’s Next-Gen Vision Processor"

The world wins, again

We work in an environment where we regularly say that we using technology to try to change the world for the better. Then the world turns around and shows you that it is far stronger than you think. It always faintly amuses me that a massive airliner can be seriously delayed by a head wind, but this ceases to be funny when the wind system is called Katrina, Sandy or the latest, Pam.

The world turned round and gave us another slap in the face last Thursday – not on the scale of Pam but still a … Read More → "The world wins, again"

Universal Verification Stimulus Format

We used to be ok with the verification silos we grew up with. You’ve got your simulation guys over here helping with circuit and block verification. You’ve got your emulation group over there checking out larger system chunks or running software. In yet another corner, you’ve got your virtual platforms running software.

But really, there can be a lot of rework involved as an SoC migrates from being individual bits and pieces, individually tested, to a unified system, holistically tested. So a group at Accellera has formed to standardize a stimulus … Read More → "Universal Verification Stimulus Format"

A MEMS Autofocus

Change may be coming to the world of camera autofocus. Traditional smartphone autofocus uses a voice coil to move the lenses and change the focus. While this has obviously worked, a company called poLight thinks it could work better. In particular, faster and smaller.

They’ve fashioned a MEMS autofocus module. By goosing a couple of piezoelectric electrodes on a thin plate of glass, they can warp the glass – and therefore change the surface of a polymer block, turning it into a lens. The amount of actuation determines the curvature and hence the focus.

< … Read More → "A MEMS Autofocus"
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