I Am tRoot

Elliptic Technologies Delivers Hardware Root of Trust

by Jim Turley

Sometimes even the circuit designer doesn’t know how the chip works. And that can be a good thing.

If you’re designing a chip or a system that includes security features, anti-tampering mechanisms, DRM protection, or defenses against DPA attacks, it’s probably better if you don’t know how it all works. That kind of stuff is mysterious. Secret. Black magic. And there are practitioners of these dark arts who are far more skilled than mortals like you or me. For they dwell in the deep places, apart from the rest, shunning the daylight and the company of men. And we call them Elliptic Technologies.

 

Encapsulating Engineering

Construction at the End of the Road

by Kevin Morris

Those who build roads are fundamentally different from those who use roads.

Those who build roads immerse themselves in every detail of the route. They know the distances, the hills and valleys, the rivers and forests, the grades and angles, the weather, and the wildlife. They have considered every aspect of the particular journey and imagined and re-imagined the trips of the travelers to come. They have contemplated every contingency, every possibility, in an attempt to craft a safe, smooth and seamless experience.

Those who use the roads are insulated from those myriad details. They ride along with the cruise control set at speed limit plus four, GPS ticking off the miles until the exit, wondering quietly whether their podcast episode will finish before or after this stretch of highway terminates. If the road engineers did their jobs well, the driver’s day will be completely unremarkable, the requirements on their skills and awareness minimal, their safety and security all but assured.

 

Five Ways to Detect

Different Approaches to Assessing the Environment

by Bryon Moyer

A couple of months ago, we took a look at one way of using MEMS cantilevers to detect gases. Our focus was on the optics used to read the status of the cantilevers, but, however detected, the use of cantilevers to measure concentrations of substances is common – at least in research papers.

Since then, this topic of detecting… something (officially called an “analyte”) has come up several times, each with a different twist or approach. So this week we follow up with variations and alternatives to the cantilever theme. They’re all different: one of the take-aways is that this cat can be skinned lots of different ways.

 

Baby You Can Drive My Car

Connected Cars and Saving the World Through IoT

by Amelia Dalton

Hold on tight ladies and gents! This week I'm flying down the IoT Highway, and I’m taking you with me. Our first stop is a little Consumer Electronics Show preview with Rob Valiton from Atmel. Rob and I discuss why low power MCUs will hold the key to the future of automotive innovation and how we can keep those pesky hackers out of our connected cars. Also this week, we look at how IoT Kickstarter campaign Khushi Baby hopes to make the world a much healthier place -- bridging the gap between healthcare workers and the communities they serve, one NFC-equipped necklace at a time.

 

New Synopsys SoC Test Features

Cell-Aware: Meet Slack-Based. And STAR: Meet eFlash.

by Bryon Moyer

Ah, the air has cooled. The sun lolls about at a low angle for a few tentative hours. Morning frosts seal the fate of any remaining tender plants. Here in northern Oregon, the Gorge winds blow random gale-force patterns, making it unnecessary to sweep the leaves off of the patio. And, slightly farther north, it’s ITC (that would be the International Test Conference) season, in Seattle this year.

Which means it’s the season for test announcements by EDA companies. Synopsys made some noise, but not with one big blockbuster new thing; rather they assembled a couple of newsy bits that, summed together, merit some discussion.

Just to organize my thinking here, so that I don’t get us lost, there are two basic announcements: Cell-aware+Slack-based testing and STAR for eFLASH. The first involves two subtopics that we should review first.

 

Berkeley’s RISC-V Wants to Be Free

New RISC Processor for SoC Developers is Yours for the Taking

by Jim Turley

“There are two major products that came from Berkeley: LSD and Unix. We don't believe this to be a coincidence.”Jeremy S. Anderson.

Ready for some radical, left-field (not to say left-wing) thinking? Believe in free love, sharing, and open markets? Step right this way. We’ve got something for you.

Oh, goody. It’s another new microprocessor instruction set.

The great minds at the University of California at Berkeley (that’s “Cal” to insiders) have added a lot to our community over the years. Berkeley was the source of some early RISC processor research and the birthplace of Sun’s famous SPARC processor. And its Big Kahuna, Dr. David A. Patterson, PhD., is professor (and former chair) of Computer Science at Berkeley, as well as being an IEEE and ACM Fellow and recipient of the John von Neumann Medal. You may know him as the Patterson in Hennessy & Patterson, authors of the authoritative computer design bible. A real computer nerd, in other words.

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