Tuesday, April 30, 2013

#ENERGY: "How-to Shave Years Off R&D"

Performing research and development (R&D) on new materials and architectures is the speciality of Intermolecular Inc. (IMI) whose High Productivity Combinatorial (HPC) platform just shaved two-years off LED-maker Epistar's production schedule, in return for paying IMI royalties on future products using its newly developed LED process technology: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

IMI's High Productivity Combinatorial (HPC) platform speed R&D experimentation up to 100 times using a proprietary technology that reduces trial-and-error to a minimum.
Further Reading

Monday, April 29, 2013

#WIRELESS: "Smart Switch Monetizes Cloud Mobility"

Today when carriers want to charge for mobile access to cloud services they need to add a network processing unit (NPU) or for super-high-throughput a specialized field-programmable gate array (FPGA). Now, however, Vitesse Semiconductor claims it has the world's first smart switch silicon for mobile access to cloud-services. Integrated into the Ethernet switching layer, Vitesse's Serval-2 Carrier Ethernet Switch Engine provides a cheaper more efficient hardware solution: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Vitesse Service Aware Architecture (ViSAA) is the only Ethernet switch smart enough to be aware of what services a user is accessing so that carriers can directly track mobile access and cloud-based usage for hierarchical quality of service (H-QoS) operations, administration management (OAM) including physical layer (PHY).
Further Reading

Friday, April 26, 2013

#SECURITY: "AP Tweet on White House Bomb Preventable"

If you follow the stock market you may have noticed that it took an immediate nose dive this week when the Associated Press erroneously tweeted that Obama had been bombed at the White House. Hackers assaulted AP reporters with phishing emails--and they should have known better, but people aren't perfect. The bottom-line, however, is that authentication technologies exist that can prevent cyber thievery in the first place, so why don't we use them? R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Route1's two-factor authentication uses its MobiKey as the second factor, and is integrated with a virtual desktop infrastructure that only sends encrypted keystrokes and screenshots to mobile devices, keeping data files behind a secure firewall.
Further Reading

Thursday, April 25, 2013

#DESIGNWest: "Mentor Sourcery Conjures Virtual Prototyping"

Over half of current embedded-system designs run behind schedule according EETimes'"Embedded Systems Survey" making Mentor Graphics Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition a hit at DESIGN West 2013. By providing an integrated development environment that allow the software to be written even before a new chip is fabricated, Embedded Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition is claimed by Mentor to accelerate time-to-market enough to cure to the scourge of behind-schedule embedded systems designs: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

About 58 percent of embedded systems are behind schedule according to an EETimes study.
Further Reading

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

#ENERGY: "IBM and Airlight to Boost Solar by 10X"

IBM Research and Airlight Energy have received a three-year $2.4 million grant to build a full-scale version of their high-concentration photovoltaic prototype--aiming for as much as a 10-time boost by virtue of using micro-fluidic water cooling of commercial triple-junction photovoltaic cells: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog
Further Reading

High concentration photovoltaic power stations being designed by IBM and Airlight Energy use hundreds of liquid-cooled triple-junction photovoltaic cells to provide 25 kilowatts.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

#CHIPS: "Digital Radio On-a-Chip Debuts"

Gadget designers of all kinds can now add a single chip to get a digital radio for just $5. The antenna-to-audio digital radio receiver was announced on opening day of DESIGN West 2013 (April 22-25) by Silicon Labs (Austin, Texas), but was leaked to the press a week before at the Global Press eSummit. The Si468 tunes in FM, HD Radio and Digital Audio Radio (DAB) broadcasts: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading

#MEMS: "Shrinking the Footprint of Switches"

Coto Technology--the world's leading supplier of magnetic reed switches--didn't want the micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) revolution to leave them behind, so they invented their own. Using a proprietary electo-plating process that can't be duplicated with CMOS--Coto has now announced the world's smallest magnetic reed switch at DESIGN West 2013: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Coto Technologies new magnetic reed switch uses high-aspect ratio MEMS manufacturing techniques to shrink it to 2-mm--world's smallest SPST switch.
Further Reading

#ALGORITHMS: "Agile-for-embedded improves code quality"

"Agile" and "embedded systems" didn't used to go together, but IBM's agility guru wants to change all that at Design West 2013 at the San Jose Convention Center, where the author of the only book on agile-for-embedded will details the "Top Ten Mistakes of Agile Embedded Projects" on Thursday, April 25: R. Colin Johnson

Agile embedded software development replaces the old-school plan-and-pray method with plan-track-replan at different timescales, the nanoscale governing creation in the hour-to-day frame for individuals, the microscale governing each individual validated build of the system, and the macroscale managing large-scale changes and replanning of the whole project and primary milestones from concept to final delivery.
Further Reading

Monday, April 22, 2013

#MEMS: "Silex / BroadPak Team on 3-D Chip Stacks"

All chip makers agree that three-dimensional (3-D) stacks will be necessary in the near future--that is if some way can be found to remove the heat from the inner layers. In the mean time, Silex Microsystems--a MEMS foundry--and BroadPak--a 3-D integrator--are collaborated on 2.5-D silicon interposer solutions that combine MEMS and CMOS as an interim solution with true 3-D chip stacks still just around the corner: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading

Friday, April 19, 2013

#ENERGY: "3-D Battery Boost Power & Energy Density"

Usually power-density and energy-density--the amount of current it can deliver and the battery lifetime--must be traded off when storing electricity. Battery's trade off lower-power for longer life, whereas super-capacitors trade-off shorter life for higher power, but now University of Illinois-Urbana researchers are claiming the best of both worlds. Their three dimensional (3-D) electrodes simultaneously boost the power- and energy-density of lithium ion batteries albeit only for very small cells, such as those powering implanted medical devices: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Porous 3-D anodes (left) and cathodes (right) are repeated hundreds of times inside this new generation of lithium ion battery that boosts both its energy density and current capacity--usually a trade-off--at the same time.

Further Reading

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

#ALGORITHMS: "Geo Semi Boasts Video Analytics On-a-Chip"

Geo Semiconductor already has a all the big-name professional video makers using its chips, including Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Philips, Sharp and Samsung. Now it wants to add GM, Ford, Toyota and the rest of the automotive world, plus its pioneering the smart home by incorporating smart video analytics into its ultra-high-soeed eWarp video processor: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Geo Semi's video analytics enable consumers to define a region where their home monitor activates, here guarding glass door (left) or anything above waist-high (right) without sounding alarm when dog walks by at floor level.
Further Reading

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

#ENERGY: "Nanowires Boost Lithium Ion Batteries by 10X"

Amprius has revealed the details of its behind its lithium ion battery technology that boost energy density by 10-times at the Global Press eSummit 2013 (April 14-17, here). The secret sause--silicon nanowires--aim to boost battery lifetime of mobile devices and eventually automobile batteries: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading

Monday, April 15, 2013

#MEMS: "LTE Dropped Calls Nixed by MEMS"

Over five years in the making, the Cavendish Kinetics B.V. has finally released its long-awaited radio frequency (RF) MEMS chip which will be shipping inside mass marketed mobile phones by Christmas. By performing adaptive antenna impedance matching as well as frequency-tuning, filter-tuning and power-amp-load tuning, the MEMS chip will improve the quality of mobile reception realtime adaptive switched capacitor arrays.

Further Reading

Friday, April 12, 2013

#WIRELESS: "GapSense Aims to Boost WiFi Reception"

The 321 million WiFi enabled devices--more than the U.S. population of 315 million--is becoming an epidemic problem in interference, but now a proposed new technology called GapSense avoids collisions among signals: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog
Further Reading

Thursday, April 11, 2013

#MATERIALS: "Atomic Germanium Beats Graphene"

For a decade semiconductor researchers have crowed that atomically thin layers of carbon--graphene--were going to replace silicon as the semiconductor or choice after the end on the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors circa 2020. Now Ohio State University (Columbus) researcher are disputing that prediction, instead proposing that atomic germanium it better, since it boosts performance over silicon by 10-times and is much easier-to-fabricate than graphene: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Crystalline germanane (right) was synthesized by dissolving sacrificial layers (left) to remove calcium atoms (yellow) and replace them with hydrogen (black).
Further Reading

#MARKETS: "Are Budget Supercomputers for Real?"

Is high-performance computing (HPC) just hype or can you really get supercomputing performance by just adding a Xeon Phi coprocessor? I was a doubter, but after going deep with Gartner and IDC analysts I've become convinced that budget supercomputing is within everybody's budget. Click to find out why: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

#ENERGY: "Philips Nixes Pain with Light"

Philips has unveiled a pain reduction system using printed LEDs on a flexible substrate that can conform to the trouble spot, such as the small of your back, to reduce pain. The blue LEDs supposedly stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the skin, which triggers healing feelings, according to Philips Light & Health Venture. Sounds like a hoax, but with Dutch electronics giant's backing this light therapy could really work: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

#CHIPS: "Budget Supercomputing Made Easy"

Today more and more servers are turning into budget supercomputers, often called high-performance computers (HPCs), a teraFLOP at a time by merely plugging in an Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor. The task then becomes parallelizing their algorithms, for which many tutorials are available since the Xeon Phi is just another multi-core x86-based processor. Now in addition a new "best practices" treatment just for the Xeon Phi has just been made available free by the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE): R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

PRACE member, the Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center (Poland) currently has 2048 Intel Xeon cores in its SGI Altix UV 100 shared memory cluster called “Chimera” and can upgrade to more cores by adding Xeon Phi coprocessors at any time.
Further Reading

Monday, April 08, 2013

#DESIGNWest: "Ben Heck Dazzles Designers with Can-Do"

The Ben Heck Show is the most watched engineering program on the Internet with seven million viewers and counting. Meet with Ben who will describe his most-sought-after you-build-it projects--such as robot luggage that follows you around the airport--in his Design West 2013 session: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

The Ben Heck Show demonstrates how to design robotic luggage which follows you around the airport to keep your hands free during travel.
Further Reading

#CHIPS: "DARPA: 3-D chips to get cooler"

3-D chips are all the rage in theory, but getting the heat out of the interior layers is a gigantic problem that is slowing down adoptions, according to the Georgia Institute of Technology which just started a three-year $2.9 million effort with Rockwell-Collins to solve the problem. Using cooling technique that pipes liquid coolant between the layers of chips, the the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded project aims to concentrate cooling efforts on hot-spots like processors: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

From left, Muhannad Bakir, Andrei Fedorov, Yogendra Joshi and Suresh Sitaraman at Georgia Tech are developing 3-D chip cooling technologies. (Photo: Gary Meek)

Further Reading

Thursday, April 04, 2013

#ROBOTICS: "Navy Robo-fish Patrols Ocean"

Virginia Tech is building a robotic jellyfish to patrol the oceans for the U.S. Navy performing surveillance, tracking currents, mapping ocean floors and monitoring every aspect of undersea environments. The $5 million six-foot long, 170-pound jellyfish-like robot will stay at sea for months transmitting its data back wirelessly: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Virginia Tech's robotic jellyfish swims in a pool under the school's War Memorial Hall.
Further Reading

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

#WIRELESS: "Facebook Home Replaces Lock Screen"

Facebook has released a suite of apps dubbed "Facebook Home" which takes over the lock screen of any Android device, replacing it with your real-time Facebook newsfeed: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Facebook Home shows a steady stream of friends’ posts and photos on your lock screen.
Further Reading

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

#CHIPS: "Smartphones Harness Haptic Tactile Feedback"

Smartphones have long have "vibrators" to silently let you know when a call is coming in, but now these so-called haptic effects are being used for gaming, navigation and to provide more realism when viewing videos by allowing the user to feel the action. Texas Instruments has licensed over a hundred such haptic effects for its new DRV2605 haptic driver chip that is being built into smartphones, tablets, ebooks, refrigerators, microwave ovens and even washing machines: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading

Monday, April 01, 2013

#ALGORITHMS: "IBM Accurately Predicts Your Future"

Remember when Hal predicted that a communications board would fail during the "2001" mission? Well IBM has finally come up with algorithms that do just that--predictive analytics that evaluate realtime data streams to anticipate problems before they happen, from supply-chain shortages to power-plant blackouts, albeit without Hals attitude:) R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Big Data merges structured and unstructured information by capturing and analyzing it regardless of its type or how much or how fast it is streaming, enabling more informed business decisions.
Further Reading