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Speed Sensors in Chips

One of the immense challenges of aggressive-node design is coping with all of the variations both in the the silicon, given processing variability, and in the operating conditions. The approach has been to find ways to model the variation and create a design that is robust under all the various combinations. Not easy, since each chip comes out of the fab slightly different from its siblings.

And if you want to operate the chip over a wider range, you’ve just made the problem harder. In particular, for a circuit that will operate under a wide … Read More → "Speed Sensors in Chips"

IoT or M2M or Connected Device?

In various places where people track and discuss progress in the world of interconnected things, there is a surprising amount of debate over the meanings of terms that might otherwise be taken for granted.

Most often, you see a debate over the “internet of things” (IoT) as compared to “machine to machine” (M2M). And, in fact, M2M technology has been around for a long time, so some of the tone can be annoyance: “Hey folks, we’ve been doing this for a long time, there’s nothing new, … Read More → "IoT or M2M or Connected Device?"

“Always On” is for Extroverts

In one of the early presentations at the Interactive Technology Summit last fall, Sensor Platforms’ Kevin Shaw gave a compelling presentation that wove together the concepts of always-on technology, context, and the disappearance of the interface: it should all happen transparently.

He painted a compelling picture of intelligent, benevolent always-on electronic eyes that watch us and learn who we are, what we want, and, critically, anticipate our next moves, practically laying out our suits for us before we even realize that we need one for an upcoming engagement.

I’ve heard this sort … Read More → "“Always On” is for Extroverts"

Synopsys Does… Software?

Synopsys has gone shopping again, and this time they went to a completely different mall. They came back with Coverity.

Just another acquisition? Nope… This one seems different.

Synopsys has had their nose to the grind working on chip design since… well, since their very beginning. Who knows how many acquisitions they’ve made (I’m sure someone’s kept count, but it’s not something I pay that much attention to), but all of them have had something to do with chip design.

There was possibly … Read More → "Synopsys Does… Software?"

UV Index Sensor

Have you been out in the sun too long?

OK, yeah, not really the right time of year to ask that question north of the equator… Especially around here in the Northwest, under a thick blanket of puffy gray.

So the answer is probably, “No.” But, come springtime, you’re going to want to get all of that flesh exposed to suck up those rays it’s been missing during the Dark Months. So… how do you know how long to stay out? Other than the telltale pink that … Read More → "UV Index Sensor"

The Case for Zigbee

Not long ago I did a piece on wireless technologies. It was stimulated by the fact that BlueTooth Low Energy (BT-LE) seems to be on everyone’s “new support” list. While I didn’t pan Zigbee per se, it also didn’t figure in my analysis, and, frankly, it came up only with respect to complaints some folks had had about how hard it was to use.

Since then, I’ve had some discussion with the good … Read More → "The Case for Zigbee"

New Hall Effect Sensors Sans Choppers

 

My first exposure to the details of sensor design came at ISSCC several years ago. I watched a series of presentations that were, in reality, over my head. I did a series of articles on them, but it took a lot of study afterwards for me to figure out all the things that were going on, and amongst those things, which were most important.

Much of that was due to the circuitry used to amplify, filter, linearize, and stabilize the sensor … Read More → "New Hall Effect Sensors Sans Choppers"

New Intersil RGB Sensor

Intersil has announced a new RGB sensor, and they’ve laid out some of the things that it’s good for. But let’s back up a sec before diving in.

RGB sensors sound pretty straightforward, and their utility seems pretty obvious. But they’re not the only light sensors in town, so first let’s position them with respect to other light sensors on that system that everyone wants a piece of: the smartphone.

There’s already an RGB sensor on your phone: it’s in the … Read More → "New Intersil RGB Sensor"

Smoother IP to SoC Prototyping

Synopsys recently announced their HAPS DX (Developer eXpress) product, and the story surrounding that release spoke to many of the things that Synopsys sees as good in their prototyping solution. But a few questions clarified that many of those things have already been available in the existing HAPS offerings. So what’s the key new thing that HAPS DX enables?

Turns out it has to do with the distinction between designing IP and designing an SoC. And this is actually a theme I’m seeing in other contexts as well.

IP started out … Read More → "Smoother IP to SoC Prototyping"

Tree Frogs Help Graphene Grow

Growing high-quality graphene for use on wafers is hard. Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is the favored approach, but no one has perfected the ability to grow it directly onto the oxide surface of a wafer.

It’s much easier to grow it on a sheet of copper and then transfer it over. But that transfer step can be tricky, and copper isn’t a perfectly uniform, crystalline material either. So defects can easily result.

One obvious trick might be … Read More → "Tree Frogs Help Graphene Grow"

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