High- and Low-Level Assessments
The Internet of Things (IoT) is still the Wild West. Anyone can wake up some morning and declare a new idea for a sensor, a new protocol, a new product, a new application… pretty much anything – as long as it has “IoT” in the title of the press release.
And that’s great for spawning fresh ideas. But as civilization encroaches on this untamed territory, notions of governance are being suggested for limiting some of the possible excesses. We’ve talked about protocol standards numerous times before, but there are a couple of new, different standard efforts underway that relate not so much to agreement on how to behave, which is the role of protocols, but rather to the quality of the systems. For today’s discussion, the focus is on security.
CrossLink Changes the Camera Interface Game
We're talking about the building blocks of electronic design in this week's Fish Fry. First, we take a closer look at some groundbreaking transistor technology. We investigate new research coming out of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology that could finally make graphene tunneling transistors a reality. Also this week, we examine Lattice Semiconductor's CrossLink pASSP with Subra Chandramouli. Subra and I dive down into the details of this new programmable bridging device and reveal how ASSP and the FPGA parts of the CrossLink story can help you with your next camera or interface-enhanced design.
Google and Oracle Battle it Out Over Code Copyright
“I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” – Chris Robinson
I’m not a lawyer (thankfully), but that won’t stop me from rendering a legal opinion: This is nuts.
Let’s start with a car analogy. You decide that your trusty, rusty Ford F-150 pickup truck needs an oil change and a new oil filter. You buy the oil and the filter at your local auto-parts store, jack up the old wreck, and proceed to change them both in your driveway. Ford has no problem with this.
Lattice CrossLink pASSP Fits Into the Odd Spaces in New Designs
“Better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond.“ – Anonymous
In biology, it’s known as a niche - a narrowly defined set of circumstances wherein a certain specific plant or creature can thrive. Outside of its niche, the beast in question perishes. Within its niche, however, it is king.
Marketers have hijacked the term, of course, and they use it in a vaguely pejorative way to describe limited market opportunities and conditions. A small-potatoes company is known as a “niche player,” while a specialized business opportunity is dismissed as a “niche market.”
Intel Axes Smartphone Chips Amid Big Restructuring
“A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.” –US Senator Everett Dirkson (likely misattributed)
You can’t axe 12,000 jobs without losing a few products along the way. Intel is starting to prune some low-hanging branches off of the product tree.
The company is sending all of its smartphone and tablet processors into the wood chipper, even though some of those chips are already in production and others are so far down the pipeline that they’re just weeks away from their release date. No matter; Intel is officially out of the smartphone business – insofar as it was ever really in that business – and focusing its efforts elsewhere.
A Review of Adoption Rates and Issues
Go to any of the dozens of conferences dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT), and you’re likely to hear it: “The consumer IoT isn’t gaining adoption at the rate initially hoped.”
That matches with my anecdotal experience – at least amongst my non-tech friends, for whom being the first on the block with some new gadget doesn’t constitute a value proposition. One friend was even annoyed that her boyfriend bought her a Nest: “I just want a stupid thermostat!” But, being anecdotal, my experience doesn’t really tell us anything about what’s going on in the wider context. So I set about to see if there was any data to quantify what’s happening with the Consumer IoT (CIoT).
DJI Software Kills Hardware in the Field
As the Internet of Trouble (IoT) continues to evolve, most of us designing electronic systems are working to make our devices “smart.” By adding a microcontroller and some snazzy firmware, we can create products that take care of themselves - monitoring critical operational parameters and taking proactive steps to keep everything in line. One goal is to reduce the burden of responsibility on the user, which is really a release-note euphemism for “prevent the stupid customer from breaking our well-designed hardware.”
We gain a measure of post-release control as well, as we can release firmware updates that alter the behavior of the product in the field, even after the customer has bought it and placed it in service. And, by taking advantage of agile software development practices, our system can continue to improve and evolve long after the initial sale. In fact, customers have come to expect this sort of behavior from products, eagerly awaiting software and firmware updates that will give their product new capabilities and fix existing annoyances.
When Software is a Service, Who Controls the Product?
“Two houses, both alike in dignity…” – “Romeo and Juliet,” prologue
It sucks working on a boring project. Let’s say that you’ve been working on the same product for a few years, but it hasn’t been selling well. Even so, you’re about to start on an update for it, even though that probably won’t sell well, either. You’ve got a boring few years of unremunerated drudgery ahead of you.
XMOS Touts Their Microphone Array
A funny thing happens when things get cheaper. Suddenly they find a bazillion uses that no one ever thought of before.
The typical American trajectory of price reduction means that something rare and valuable will eventually become accessible and common and then, ultimately, will become disposable. Think razors, once the domain of the professional who knew how to wield one without drawing blood. Now? Not only the blade, but the entire unit is available in a disposable version.
Fish Fry Takes on RoboUniverse 2016
This week's Fish Fry is dedicated to one of our favorite topics: robotics. Fish Fry field reporter Larra Morris takes us on a special guided tour through all of the rabid robotic rambunctiousness of this year’s RoboUniverse. Larra investigates the what, where, and how of "cobots" with Scott Mabie of Universal Robots. Then Larra chats with Jeff Bernstein (President - Association for Advancing Automation) about trends in automation, where you can get help with your next automation project, and the role of robotics in the global economy. Lastly, Larra checks out the Model A - a brand new personal autonomous device with a little help from Phil Mann from 5D Robotics.