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Silicon IP Security Proposal

The upshot: Accellera has published a whitepaper on the topic of silicon intellectual-property security, and they’re soliciting comments.

Last summer, there were a number of security-related topics at the annual DAC conference, which we covered in August. That activity included Accellera diving into the issue of security surrounding silicon design and, in particular, risks associated with intellectual property (IP) – meaning pre-designed circuits purchased or re-used. … Read More → "Silicon IP Security Proposal"

[Electronic] Ghosts of Christmas Past and Future

A couple of days ago, I decided that I really needed a laser distance measurer (it’s best if you don’t ask questions), so I ambled down to my local Home Depot store and picked up a Bosch BLAZE device for only $29.

This little beauty, which is only 4 x 1.3 x 0.9” (10 x 3.3 x 2.3 cm) in size, can measure and record distances up to 65 feet (20 meters) with an accuracy of +/- 0.1” (3 mm) (I’ve rounded the numbers for simplicity).

The first thing that struck me … Read More → "[Electronic] Ghosts of Christmas Past and Future"

Teaching Alexa to Ignore Your TV

“The medium is the message” – Marshall McLuhan

It’s the time of year for giving gadgets, so this seemed like an appropriate time to revisit this article from earlier in the year. 

Distinguishing between a live human speaking and a recorded version of the same person is trickier than it sounds, and it has a lot of developers scrambling for solutions. Amazon’s Alexa team, for one, has published some of its research results along with some ideas for improvement. … Read More → "Teaching Alexa to Ignore Your TV"

WiFi (et al) with Lower Power

The upshot: InnoPhase has cut WiFi power by more than half, making it more attractive for battery-powered applications that need WiFi bandwidth. The new radio technology can be applied to other protocols as well.

Let’s face it: outside of cellular communication, WiFi is our favorite way to communicate. We get WiFi at home, in airports, in cafes, in hotels… pretty much anywhere we want to be. If you’re devising a new SmartWidget that needs a connection, you probably want WiFi because it’s ubiquitous, it’s … Read More → "WiFi (et al) with Lower Power"

Microchip PolarFire Takes a RISC (-V)

FPGAs and embedded processors are the new chocolate and peanut butter. Although each of the two technologies is powerful and useful all on its own, combining them on one chip brings a whole new level of capability to the table. (And they taste great together, too.) When Microchip bought Microsemi – which previously bought Actel – they inherited a robust line of low-power, high-reliability FPGAs. And, while these have traditionally been high-value niche devices for specialized markets such as military and aerospace, Microchip aims to move into the mainstream with a new “SoC” version of their PolarFire FPGA … Read More → "Microchip PolarFire Takes a RISC (-V)"

You Can’t Touch This: New Sensor Edition

“And he that strives to touch the stars oft stumbles at a straw.” – Edmund Spenser

Touch-screen interfaces are cool and sexy and very much de son temps. At first, they were novel and hard to build. Then, chipmakers made it easy by producing lots of different touch solutions. Now, they’re getting hard again. 

The problem is space. And 5G antennas. And metal. And aesthetics. Cellphones are really skinny, covered in metal, … Read More → "You Can’t Touch This: New Sensor Edition"

Electrical and Thermal Analysis Together

The upshot: Cadence’s Celsius tool provides thermal analysis in tandem with Voltus and Innovus (for chips) and Allegro (for packages and boards).

Temperature has always mattered. But long gone are the days when a chipmaker could blithely declare that they tested their chips over all temps and that they meet the spec. Our chips are now way too complex for such simple treatment, and we also have to play closer to the edge of what’s thermally acceptable, so we’re going for every advantage we can … Read More → "Electrical and Thermal Analysis Together"

How to Start a Startup (Part 2)

In my previous column, we noted that a lot of engineers are interested in starting their own company. We began by considering some of the “low hanging fruit” topics like choosing company and website names and getting a professional graphic designer to create your logo and templates for things like your letterhead and PowerPoint presentations.

Website (Look-and Feel)

One thing we didn’t talk about was getting a professional … Read More → "How to Start a Startup (Part 2)"

Nuvia: Designed for the One Percenters

“I’d love to be incredibly wealthy for no reason at all.” – Johnny Rotten

Among sports car aficionados, a “Super Seven” is a 1960s-era Lotus: light, fast, nimble, and characteristically fragile. Marvel superhero Wolverine drives one; the unnamed protagonist in The Prisoner famously had one, too. 

This is not one of those. 

To computer heavyweights, the “Super Seven” means Alibaba, Amazon, Baidu, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and … Read More → "Nuvia: Designed for the One Percenters"

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