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Polte Locates Anything, Anywhere

“My GPS has a British accent – it’s way less annoying than the American one.” – Rachel Bilson

GPS is pretty spectacular technology. I mean, who would’ve guessed that a swarm of satellites circling 12,550 miles overhead could tell us where we’re standing? It seems crazy, yet GPS is so prevalent now that we barely notice it. It’s part of the background noise of today’s world.

Yet, for all its Space Age trappings, GPS has a lot of shortcomings. It takes a few minutes … Read More → "Polte Locates Anything, Anywhere"

Achronix 7nm Speedster7t FPGAs

We’ve always been pretty impressed by Achronix – and for good reason. In an FPGA market where countless startups have tried and failed, Achronix somehow built themselves into a successful, independent, profit-making FPGA company. That’s not an easy task, and it required numerous “pivots” on the part of the company.

Initially, Achronix developed a family of novel asynchronous FPGAs and associated tools. When it became clear that engineering teams were not quite ready to buy into the asynchronous thing, Achronix developed a very market-savvy family of conventional FPGAs, with few novel features but with a clever … Read More → "Achronix 7nm Speedster7t FPGAs"

Firming Up Your Photoresist

When you spend a goodly chunk of your career dealing with EDA-like issues, as did I, then you have a pretty easy gut reaction to anything involving synthesis. See some kind of synthesis with a fancy new name? Must be some new crazy approach to generating logic circuits, right? Probably involving AI (which everything must have these days)?

Um… no. Today’s topic is sequential infiltration synthesis, or SIS. And, … Read More → "Firming Up Your Photoresist"

Resurrecting 1980s Computers

“You have to fight against being an antique.” – Burt Lancaster

Constant improvement brings constant obsolescence. When we keep updating our operating systems, processors, DRAM, and applications, we also leave behind the old apps and data that we used to use.

Normally, that’s not a huge problem. Most programs are backward-compatible with their predecessors. You can open dusty old Word documents using the latest version of Office or edit old Photoshop images with the newest release from Adobe.

But not … Read More → "Resurrecting 1980s Computers"

Software-Defined Manufacturing

You might say that it all started with radio. For most of us, “radio” means what you listen to in your car (where today it’s but one choice rather than the only choice it used to be). AM and FM were, and are, the main variants for that. Take TV into account, and you have VHF and UHF – if you’re receiving it over the airwaves.

Each of those types of radio has its own transmitter and receiver for what are, essentially, four different protocols. Not a huge burden … Read More → "Software-Defined Manufacturing"

eASIC’s Big Win

Here at EE Journal world headquarters, we get a lot of press releases informing us that company A has made a deal with important customer B. Seriously. Many per day. Yawn. You may also notice the number of articles we typically do on those topics. Let’s count here… zero… uh, can we borrow from the tens place… no… yeah, zero. And yet, here we go talking about an announcement that is essentially that. eASIC – newly acquired by Intel and rolled into the (formerly Altera) programmable systems group (PSG) has won a deal with … Read More → "eASIC’s Big Win"

InnoPhase Crafts Digital Radio Chip

“Gossip is the Devil’s radio.” – George Harrison

A radio, by definition, pumps energy into the air. It wastes power, in other words. How could it not? Unless you’re doing some really elaborate beam forming, most of that energy is splattered all over the room instead of transporting useful data. In a battery-powered world, radio is a bad idea.

And yet…

And yet, most battery-powered devices today do have 4G cellular, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, or some other wireless … Read More → "InnoPhase Crafts Digital Radio Chip"

Lithography Update

It was recently SPIE Advanced Litho time again, and… well, the belle of the ball appears to be changing. For several years, now, it’s been “all EUV all the time.” OK, there’s always lots of other stuff going on, but everyone (including your intrepid reporter) breathlessly awaited the latest EUV details.

EUV a Done Deal?

Well, EUV is kind of old news now. Yeah, there’s lots of work ongoing to bring further improvements, but, to address the big issue of the past, “Source … Read More → "Lithography Update"

EFINIX – Yet Another FPGA Company

We’ve been around the FPGA startup merry-go-round numerous times over the past few decades. It generally does not end well. The usual script goes something like this: brilliant engineers come up with novel ways to make FPGAs smaller, faster, cheaper, more energy efficient, or some combination of those. Brilliant engineers get some venture funding and start working toward first silicon tape-out. Marketing and management folks come on board and start touring the town, PowerPoint in tow, looking for signs of interest from potential customers. Software team works to get a reasonable tool flow up and … Read More → "EFINIX – Yet Another FPGA Company"

Microsoft Buys Express Logic RTOS Company

“The future lies in designing… computers that users don’t realize are computers at all.” – Adam Osborne

The big fish eat the small fish. That’s a law of the jungle… er, aquarium.

Last week, software leviathan Microsoft gobbled up minnow Express Logic and its well-regarded RTOS, ThreadX. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed by either side, but my finger-in-the-breeze estimate is that the price was in the range of tens of millions of dollars, not hundreds of millions. Figure on eight figures … Read More → "Microsoft Buys Express Logic RTOS Company"

featured blogs
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May 20, 2019
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Jan 25, 2019
Let'€™s face it: We'€™re addicted to SRAM. It'€™s big, it'€™s power-hungry, but it'€™s fast. And no matter how much we complain about it, we still use it. Because we don'€™t have anything better in the mainstream yet. We'€™ve looked at attempts to improve conven...