Let’s Get This Party Kickstarted

Is Crowdfunding a Good Option For Your Million-Dollar Idea?

by Larra Morris

“More ideas are lost than found.” That was Maker Faire co-founder Dale Doughtery’s response to a reporter’s question about intellectual property concerns in the show-and-tell environment of the World Maker Faire (quoted in Kevin Morris’s terrific article about the faire). This simple statement seems especially true in the world of engineering.  How many ideas for new projects, new start-up companies, and new inventions never make it out of their would-be inventor’s brain? The electrical engineering industry has probably produced millions of lost ideas. Some of these lost ideas may be better off never becoming a reality, but it’s almost certain that there are some truly brilliant or even genius ideas that never come to fruition. 

Getting a new idea off the ground can be particularly difficult in this industry, where the inventions and innovations tend to be technical and complicated. Trying to find investors and funding for a project is no picnic for any inventor or innovator, but it can get especially tricky when you’re trying to explain complex electrical engineering concepts to, say, the panel on “Shark Tank.”

 

Grabbing Keys Out of Thin Air

Rambus’s AES Crypto IP Resists DPA Attacks

by Jim Turley

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke

You have got to be kidding me. I mean, I’m an engineer. I know how stuff works. And you’re telling me you can somehow snag my computer’s encryption keys out of thin air? No way. No. @%$#-ing. Way.

Way.

I’ve seen it happen. I didn’t believe it at first, but there’s nothing quite like a live demonstration to make you a convert. It’s time to stock up on tinfoil hats. Here’s the background: Practically every computer, cell phone, tablet, cable TV decoder, satellite box, smartcard, modern passport, or other gizmo uses encryption in some way.

 

Moore’s Law Meets the Trade Press

EE Journal Turns 11

by Kevin Morris

We live and work in an amazing time. The global community of electronic engineers has created the greatest leap of technological progress in human history. In the almost fifty years that Moore's Law has existed, the number of transistors we can put on a single chip has risen from fifty to somewhere around twenty billion. That is a truly amazing achievement. And the power of that almost unimaginable feat has rippled and ripped through just about every aspect of our lives and our culture.

As the creators of that change, we have faced a unique challenge. While the rest of the world gets to enjoy the fact that electronic technology doubles in capability every two years, electronic engineers are faced with the harsh reality that we have to double our own productivity on that same schedule. Moore's Law becomes our mandate. I am aware of no other profession that requires a constant exponential improvement in worker productivity just to stay in the game.

 

New Sound in Town

Vesper Announces Piezoelectric Microphones

by Bryon Moyer

Microphones are not for the faint of heart. There is a sordid history of MEMS microphones, replete with big companies crying “Uncle!” and with legal vitriol.

Unlike something as “simple” as an accelerometer (with apologies to anyone that’s worked damned hard on a fine accelerometer), there’s been less rush to compete once everyone figured out how hard microphones can be.

And so we have a few deeply entrenched incumbents manning the sound.

But microphones still look interesting as an opportunity. We saw some time ago that multiple microphones are becoming a thing. Why? For the same reason that high-quality sound recording uses them. By recording an orchestra and the audience with two mikes, for example, you now have two tracks, and you can subtract the audience track from the orchestra track to get a cleaner version of the orchestra.

 

Hello Rubber, Meet Road

Valencell’s Biometric Testing Takes IoT Out for a Spin

by Amelia Dalton

This here twin-turbo EEJournal.com podcastin’ hot rod is headed to the IoT finish line - one biometric at a time. In this week’s Fish Fry, we investigate biometric data sensors and how one company is making sure that our fitness is actually what we think it is. My guest is Valencell President Steven LeBoeuf. Steven and I are going to chat about the future of the wearable market, precision biometrics, Valencell’s new state-of-the-art sports testing lab, and a little bit about professional cartooning. Get your wearable motor runnin' folks!

 

Return News Roundup

Power, Sensors, Clock Trees, Multicore and Compression Algorithms

by Dick Selwood

September, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, is often seen as the real start of the year. Companies are returning from their summer holidays and revving up with new promotional activities and, particularly in even numbered years in Europe, starting to work towards the huge techno-fest that is electronica in Munich in November. Now this may be a very interesting observation, but why is this relevant? Well, in the last few weeks, I have been exposed to a raft of interesting things, many of which would be worth a whole article in their own right, but, given the limitations of space and time, I have decided to bundle together several different stories from across a wide spectrum of electronics.

Power supplies

Much of what is written in the electronics media concentrates on digital chips and their design and manufacture. We are probably as guilty as most in focusing on these areas, but, after designs have been implemented in these ever-more-challenging process nodes, the chips have to go onto a board, and then they require power.

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