Interactive Ink and the Future of HMI with MyScript
Are you ready? We're about to flip the script on digital handwriting as you know it. Handwriting recognition has come a long way from the days of the Apple Newton but until now, it hadn't bridged the gap between the natural input you want and the digital input we use in our everyday lives. In this week's Fish Fry, we take a closer look at a new technology from MyScript called Interactive Ink. Gary Baum (VP - MyScript) joins us to discuss the what, where, and how of this revolutionary new digital handwriting technology and why it's going to change the future of human machine interfaces. Also this week, we check out the many challenges of choosing the right connectors for embedded vision designs.
Already 2016 is a Very Interesting Time
I was rather saddened to learn that the ancient Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times" is probably a 1930s invention, because all the signs are that 2016 will be the sort of interesting times that the curse would appreciate.
Each January, Malcolm Penn, of analyst company Future Horizons, reviews the semiconductor industry's performance and makes predictions for the coming year - something he has been doing for a quarter of a century with pretty good accuracy.
An important part of his approach is an assessment of the broader economic climate. What follows is an overview of these issues, based on his presentation, with updates on events that have occurred since. Now you might be thinking, "I am an electronics engineer. What do global socio-economic matters have to do with my technology?"
Competing Vendors All Announce New Processors in Germany
If two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary” – William Wrigley, Jr.
WARNING: This posting may explode without notice. We have temporarily encased ARM, x86, and PowerVR in one container for the time being, but it’s an unstable concoction and could detonate at any moment.
Still here? Splendid. As you’re assuredly aware, there’s big doings in Nürnberg (or Nuremberg, for Anglophones) this week. It’s Embedded World, so the whole world of embedded vendors, developers, and hangers-on are assembled in the medieval Bavarian city. With that many exhibitors, all the rivals are cheek by jowl sharing rented floor space.
Lattice Lays an Alternative Course
For as long as most of us can remember, the FPGA game has been about bigger, faster, louder - more LUTs, more IOs, faster SerDes, more DSP - the list of things the leading vendors have piled onto tiny squares of silicon boggles the mind. The fundamental strategy has been the same: Make the FPGA the center of your system. Replace the ASIC or ASSP with an FPGA, and reap the benefits of programmability and flexibility. Of course, there has always been a “catch.” FPGAs are more expensive, more power-hungry, and slower than their task-optimized ASIC/ASSP brethren. The tradeoff space is clear. If you need programmability and flexibility more than you need that extra oomph in cost, power, and speed, choose an FPGA.
Lattice Semiconductor is charting an alternative course. Rather than expanding the FPGA to take over the entire system, Lattice has worked to design devices that bring the benefits of programmability and flexibility to your system without trying to replace your ASIC or ASSP. They want you to leave that fast, cheap, low-power ASIC or ASSP exactly where it is, thank you very much, and park one of their much more modest FPGAs alongside. The theory is, you end up with the best of both worlds - the task-optimized awesomeness of ASIC/ASSP with the flexibility of FPGA.
Soft Machines’ VISC Processor Looks Darn Lofty in Comparison Tests
“Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.” – Mark Twain
They say seeing is believing. Speaking as a professional skeptic, I’ll withhold judgement until I’ve seen one of these things in real life. But I gotta tell ya, it’s looking pretty interesting so far.
The thing in question is the VISC processor from Soft Machines. You remember VISC from our earlier coverage in October, 2015; December, 2014; and November, 2014. It’s a high-performance processor that runs ARM binary code, but it’s supposed to be both faster and more power-efficient than ARM itself. Oh, and it’s probably cheaper, too.
SENtrace Cuts GPS Reading Power
We’ve talked a lot about navigation in the past, especially as it relates to the indoor version, where you can’t rely on GPS. Well, PNI Sensor has made an announcement that turns the conventional MEMS-and-GPS navigational paradigm on its head. Let’s review how things have been in order to see better what PNI is doing differently.
We’ve been navigating with GPS for a long time, and it’s generally considered the gold standard for figuring out where you are. As long as you’re in range of a GPS signal, that is. You can’t always count on it outside; inside, you pretty much can’t get it at all. That whole indoor thing was where the newly popular MEMS motion sensors promised to come to the rescue.
When is the Right Time to Ditch the Standard and Go Your Own Way?
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” – Hunter S. Thompson
Speaking of standards – what, you didn’t memorize last week’s column? – there comes a time when you have to leave them behind and blaze your own trail. Maybe. Sometimes. I think.
By now, you’re probably surrounded with USB cables. You use them for charging your phone, for downloading images from your camera, for linking to your game controllers - and for a dozen other uses. USB cables are ubiquitous and, thankfully, they connect to just about everything without any fuss. A true marvel of standardization. The hardest part is figuring out whether that rectangular Type-A connector goes right side up or upside down.
The New Generation of Touchscreens with Cima NanoTech
Innovation big and small is the name of the game in this week's episode of Fish Fry. First up, we examine the newest advances in touchscreen technology with Jon Brodd and Kelly Ingham from Cima NanoTech. Jon and Kelly reveal the details of their (almost) larger-than-life touchscreens and help us plot a course to the future of touchscreen technology. Also this week, we take a closer look at a new wireless neurotransmitter being developed at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research's Institute of Microelectronics and Biospark Technologies that could change the face of pain management forever.
Measuring Power Consumption Can Drive You Crazy
“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'” – Isaac Asimov
According to Adam Savage, the difference between science and just screwing around is writing it down. It’s the measurement – the annotation, the calibration, the methodical note-taking – that separates good science (and engineering) from mere hacking and tinkering. Without good measurements there can be no good science.
So raise a caliper and spare a thought for the measurers in our industry - the ones wielding the oscilloscope probes, the voltmeters, the electron microscopes. For they are the ones who enable us to produce better, faster, and more reliable electronics.
Security in the New Age of IoT
The recent data breach at VTech brought IoT security issues roaring back into mainstream media, but here at EEJournal we've been tackling the perils of IoT security for years. In this week's Fish Fry, we welcome John Sirianni from Webroot to discuss the current landscape of IoT security, the specific challenges facing OEMs and system engineers when designing Industrial IoT applications, and why he thinks the number of IoT security breaches is increasing. Also this week, we take a look at a groundbreaking new algorithm developed by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab that hopes to solve the not so age-old question: "Is this selfie any good?"