Treasure of the Semiconductor Madre

Seeking EDA Gold (and Answers) with Xerxes Wania

by Amelia Dalton

Bust out the pickaxes and dynamite, we're looking for gold in ‘dem 'der hills. Xerxes Wania (CEO - Sidense) joins Fish Fry this week to dig into the treasure trove of issues found deep in the semiconductor and EDA industries today. Xerxes and I scour the land for faults and break out our trusty gold pans to find the answers... and it ain't pretty my friends. Also this week, I delve into a brand new world of inductance-to-digital converters that will revolutionize position and rotation sensing in our IoT designs.

 

A Bluetooth/ZigBee Mashup

Freescale’s Kinetis MCUs Offer a Choice of Interface; or No Choice At All

by Jim Turley

Itching to invent your own electronic door locks? Freescale has the chip for you. Or your new LED lighting project. Or that home-automation system you’ve been meaning to create. If it’s small, cheap, and needs low-energy wireless communications – a trifecta that covers just about everything these days – you may want to look at the new Kinetis.

What’s that? Don’t know about the new Kinetis? You’re forgiven, because Freescale (soon to become part of NXP) has an awful lot of Kinetis chips already, and it’s not easy to keep them all straight. The ones you want to remember this week are called KW20, KW30, and KW40.

 

After Intel and Altera

What Happens to FPGA?

by Kevin Morris

For decades, the FPGA market has been a well-balanced duopoly. Something like 80% of sales have been split by two ferocious competitors, Xilinx and Altera, constantly jousting for single points of relative market share. This dynamic has driven everything from the FPGA technology itself to the tools, IP, and services that make the whole concept work. It has determined what we pay for FPGAs, what they can do, and how we use them.

Now, Intel plans to buy Altera, and the duopoly that has dominated the FPGA universe will come to an end. What happens next? Will the Earth shift on its axis? Will the “FPGA market” cease to exist? What will be the long-term implications of this business change on the future direction of this critically important technology?

 

Micro-Metallica

Developments in Interconnect

by Bryon Moyer

OK, folks, time to get out the copper polish and the soft cloth. We’re going to dress up the metal that adds a patina of shiny to our work. (OK, patinas often aren’t shiny, but you can forgive a tarnished metaphor, can’t you?)

Things are happening in the world of metal. And three of those things are topics for today. They come to us from Applied Materials (AMAT) and Imec. And we’ll take them in that order.

 

Refocusing Our Embedded Vision

How FPGAs Will Shape the Future of Embedded Vision

by Amelia Dalton

In this week's episode of Fish Fry, Mario Bergeron (Avnet) and I are scanning the horizon to get a closer look at how FPGAs will shape the future of embedded vision. We explore why embedded vision is a killer app for SoC FPGAs and why there won't be just one embedded vision to rule them all. Also this week, I check out a new 3D-printed material that changes texture on demand.

 

2D or Not 2D

Is Graphene the Wonder Material?

by Dick Selwood

You don't need an expensive lab and a ton of equipment to win a Nobel Prize. How about a pencil and a reel of Sellotape (the British alternative to Scotch Tape) and standing your thinking on its head? That is how Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, two Russian-born researchers at The University of Manchester, first extracted graphene.

Carbon is an amazing element. It exists naturally in a variety of crystalline structures and in amorphous forms – the soot in your chimney is just random carbon atoms, while a diamond is a collection of carbon atoms arranged to make the hardest natural substance. Graphite, a different arrangement of carbon atoms, is one of the softest natural substances, which is why it is used for pencil leads. It is composed of platelets of carbon atoms, one atom thick. When isolated, these platelets are one form of graphene. Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms linked in a hexagonal array, described by one commentator as atomic chicken wire, and is effectively a 2D material.


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