Thursday, December 25, 2014

#EETimes: "Hybrid Electric/Gasoline Aircraft Recharges its Own Batteries"

The hybrid concept for an electric aircraft makes sense because the gasoline engine can recharge the batteries while its cruising after the electric motors provide the thrust for takeoff: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog and EE Times

The Boeing sponsored glider was retrofit with a gasoline engine and electric motor running in hybrid mode.


Monday, December 22, 2014

#EETIMES: "MEMS Spurred by Industrial IoT"

Industrial for internet-of-things (IoT) is not as big a market as consumer, but it is pushing toward another $1 billion MEMS market by the 2020s: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog and EE Times

A breakdown by application segment of total shipment of hardware for the industrial IoT.


Friday, December 19, 2014

#3-D: True 3-D chips build up layers rather than stack die"

True 3-D chips build layer upon layer in the fab rather than just stack die. These researchers through in low-temperature nanotube processing to sandwich two RRAM layers between to layers of logic, with more to come: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog and EE Times

3-D chips from Stanford connect four layers with standard vias, with the bottom being standard CMOS, the top carbon-nanotube logic transistors, and the middle two layers of resistive random access memory (RRAM).


Thursday, December 18, 2014

#EETimes: Superconductor Formulae Tells Whether Thin Films will Work

Thin film superconductors could revolutionize computing with fast-as-light speed and ultra-cool operation, extending battery live of mobiles from days to weeks: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog and EE Times

Ultra-thin superconducting film of niobium and nitrogen shows individual atoms, a view that helped MIT discover a universal law of superconductivity.


Monday, December 15, 2014

#EETIMES: "Superconducting at 140 Degrees F"

Superconducting at up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit has been demonstrated at the U.S. National Accelerator Laboratory, but the catch to room temperature superconducing today is that it only lasts for pico-second pulses, but they hope to extend the time to DC: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog and EE Times.

Laser causes oxygen atoms (red) to vibrate between layers of copper (blue) oxide that are just two molecules thick in a common high-temperature superconducting material known as YBCO in a way that
likely indicates superconductivity.


Friday, December 12, 2014

#EETIMES: "Superconductivity Exhibited by New Material with Room Temp Hopes"

A new material may offer a new avenue to room temperature superconductivity according to researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog and EE Times.

Brookhaven Lab team, led by Simon Billinge of Brookhaven and Columbia Engineering (seated), also (left to right) Columbia University graduate student Ben Frandsen, Weiguo Yin, Yimei Zhu, and Emil Bozin. Collaborators not shown include Hefei Hu, formerly of Brookhaven Lab and now at Intel; Yasumasa Nozaki and Hiroshi Kageyama of Kyoto University; and Yasutomo Uemura of Columbia University.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

#EETIMES: "Quantum Dots Enable Spray on Solar Cells"

Colloidal quantum dots can be sprayed on nearly any surface to turn it into a solar cell according to an IBM backed laboratory in Candada and the University of Toronto: R. Colin Johnson @NetGenLog and EE Times


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

#EETIMES: "Free Watson-Like Artificial Intelligence"

DeepDive is free and open-source software intelligence developed in the same DARPA program in which IBM participated while developing its Watson. Called DeepDive, the program has been made free and open-source which by its primary programmer, Christopher Re, at the University of Wisconsin.

DeepDive (grey) equalled or excelled the indexing tasks given a group of human experts.


Friday, December 05, 2014

#AI: "Sentient Computers Emulate Skynet"

In the illustration below you can see how artificial sentience is envisioned by Sentient--put thousands or even millions of CPUs to work using evolutionary learning on different segments of Big Data, then pick the best ones and repeat until sentience is achieved: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog and EE Times

One step beyond neural networks: Neural networks are good at learning to recognize particular patterns. The next step consists of evolutionary algorithms (EA), which use mutation to create pools of possible solutions on different servers, each of which ranks its pool of possible solutions. An evolutionary coordinator then compares the solutions and sends the best of the crop for validation against big data sets it has never seen.


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

#DISPLAYS: "World's Smallest HD Microdisplay Uses DLP | EE Times"

The world's smallest 2 million pixel (1920 x 1080) DLP Pico chipset can be built into ultra-compact applications -- from near-eye displays (think Google Glass), to heads-up displays, to augmented reality, to virtual reality, to gaming, to all sorts of tiny-projector applications, from ones built into what TI calls "screenless TVs" to even some smartphones.

The world's smallest HD display uses Texas Instruments legendary digital light processor (DLP)


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

#Algorthms "Stephen Hawking: How He Speaks & Spells"

Steven Hawking was given two years to live in 1988, since then he has learned to use a computer to speak and spell, presenting his ideas in "A Brief History of Time" which as on the best seller list for over 4-1/2 years, making him the most famous physicist in history. Read the full story on EE Times to see how he does it.

Stephen Hawking at work on his new manscript that is supposed to yield a "Theory of Everything."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

TSMC Predicts "Next Big Thing"

According to TSMC, the next big thing will be a process technologies that allows different materials, such as MEMS and CMOS to coexist on the same chip. With that capability the designers imagination can be unchained for mobile devices and Inerent of Things (IoT) capabilities not yet even imagined: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

TSMC Predicts Next Big Thing


#MATERIALS: "Carbon RF Transistors Extend Smartphone Battery"

Eventually, smartphones and most the mobile devices will be made from carbon circuitry and carbon-fiber structural materials, unlike silicon and metal today. As a result they will be light as styrofoam, have weeks of battery life and be thin and flexible enough to fold or rollup before pocketing. Carbonics is getting the ball rolling by inventing carbon RF cells that extend the batter life of mobiles: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Microscopic view of the carbon nanotube RF transistor channel.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

EETimes: "Flexible OLEDs Clear Last Hurdle"

Now the last hurdle to flexible electronics is a bendable, rollable, foldable film that keeps oxygen and moisture out of flexible OLED devices has been vainly invented: R Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Kateeva's YieldJet Flex alternates thin inorganic layers with thicker organic layers to guarantee that no moisture or oxygen reaches the delicate OLED layer.


Friday, November 14, 2014

EE TIMES: "IBM to Build DoE's Next-Gen Coral Supercomputers"

The world's fastest supercomputer will come back to the U.S. if the Department of Energy (DoE) has anything to do with it. DoE is building three new supercomputers for out national labs that together will exceed 5 petaflops: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog for EE Times.

Oak Ridge National Labs, Argonne National Labs and Lawrence Livermore National Labs will install three new supercomputers with a combined speed of 400 petaflops by 2017.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

EE Times: "MEMS/Sensor Interface I3C Rocks"

New MIPI standard for MEMS interconnections, I3C, is faster and easier to configure, for modern mobile devices with up to a dozen MEMS sensors: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

The new SenseWire (I3C) specification for MEMS and other sensors is just one of six specifications for control/data made by the MIPI Alliance.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

MEMS Sensor Hub Goes All-in-One

PNI Sensors has created a st of all-in-one sensor hubs that all the necessary sensors plus an intelligent hub for fusing in the same package: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

All-in-one sensor hub including MEMS chips enables engineers to concentrate on applications. SENtral 13813 (left) ships with ST’s low-power 6-axis combo, plus ST’s pressure sensor and a geomagnetic sensor from AKM. SENtral 13807 (right) ships with Bosch Sensortec’s low-power 6-axis combo, plus Bosch Sensortec’s pressure sensor and geomagnetic sensor.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Carbon Nanobuds Flex, Replace Indium Tin Oxide

Faster more flexible circuits are possible with the ITO substitute made from a sluggy of carbon nanotube buds--a unique new form of carbon: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Flexible screens are a cinch with carbon nano buds instead of indium tin oxide.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"3D Printer Creates World's Best Inverter"

This 3-D printed inverter for electric cars that is lighter, smaller and more energy efficient than today's inverters was produced by Oak Ridge National Labs: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Oak Ridge National Laboratory's 3D-printed 30-kilowatt power inverter offers greater reliability and power in a compact package.


Monday, October 27, 2014

"Lucio Lanza Receives Long-Deserved Award at ICCAD"

Lucio Lanza has been the driving force behind EDA innovations for over two decades. He is the most deserving recipient of this award. If you w9ll be at ICCAD 2014 you should try to attend the ceremony and dinner where many will speak about Lanza's accomplishments (click "ECA website" at the end of the story.) R. Colin Johnson @NetGenLog

Lucio Lanza will receive the Phil Kaufman award for excellence in EDA at ICCAD 2014
(Image: Sandra Henneman)

Registration for the 2014 Phil Kaufman Award Dinner at the EDAC website.


Friday, October 24, 2014

"Nanotube Field Emitters Beat LEDs"

Using nanotubes a field emitters--like the electron-guns of cathode ray tubes of old--makes brighter flat panel displays that burn a fraction of the power required for LEDs: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Illuminated nanotube field emitter array stimulating phosphors of a planar light source device through a neutral density filter.

Further Reading

Thursday, October 23, 2014

"China's 5-Year Plan Revealed"

China is catching up to the developed countries of the world by leaps and bounds. Qualcomm tried to beat them and was beaten down itself by the Chinese government. Intel decided to join them, but risks loosing its intellect property (IP) to Chinese companies with impunity from their government. China's 5-Year Plan is working and the next one will be a whopper: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

The 13th Five-Year Plan, starting in the Year of the Monkey (2016), will emphasize connectivity. The company aims to control more than 10% of the worldwide market by 2018.

EETimes Story

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"World's Wireless Record Breaks 40 Gbit/s"

LTE beat by 40X by a new protocol described this week at the Compound Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Symposium in San Diego. Next their aim is wireless 100 Gbit WLAN: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

A 140 GHz transmitter chip, containing an I-Q modulator, a 3-stage amplifier, and an x3 frequency multiplier for the local oscillator measures just 1.6 x 1 square millimeters.

EETimes Story

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Intel, IBM Dueling Over 14nm FinFETS"

Intel has been shipping FinFETS since 2011, but all the other semiconductor makers are still gearing up. IBM is closest and is dueling with Intel over which approach is best in the long run.: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Built on a fully depleted SOI technology base, IBM's 3D, FinFET architecture retains the advantages of SOI over bulk-based planar technologies, which IBM claims is a simpler manufacturing process, with isolation by structure, not doping, low-voltage operation, and lower power.


Monday, October 20, 2014

"First 2D Atomic Piezoelectrics Unleash New Apps"

Taking piezoelectric materials into the second-dimention (atomically flat) should open the door to a whole new ranges of applications: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Postdoctoral fellow Wenzhuo Wu (left) and Professor Zhong Lin Wang (right) at Georgia Tech tested samples of an atomically thin material, molybdenum disulfide, which could is optically transparent, extremely light, bendable and stretchable.

Further Reading

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Hybrid Solar Cells Promise 95% Efficiency"

Hybrid solar cells that harvest all of the suns energy, instead of just a few narrow bands, could transform the energy economies worldwide: R. Colin Johnson @EETimes

High-energy light is absorbed by a special organic coating that produces pairs of triplets that can be efficiently absorbed
by underlying inorganic solar cells.

EETimes Story

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"IBM's Watson Spreading Worldwide"

IBM's new global headquarters for Watson and cognitive computing may become its most important asset in the long run. Computers modeled on the brain will eventually make even supercomputers seem like antiques: R.
Colin Johnson @EETimes

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Senior Vice President Mike Rhodin open IBM's new Watson Global Headquarters in New York City, which IBM claims is now the center-of-gravity for next-generation computing systems that learn.

Read EETimes Story

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"River Sensors to Clean Up Waterways"

The rivers of the future will be cleaner and safer due to a network of sensors that can track pollutants down to their source: R. Colin Johnson @EETimes

The Recon Sonde cost 20 times less than its competitors and sends its measurements of water quality wirelessly to a central location 24/7.

EETimes Story

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Med Implants Get Dissolvable"

Today medical implants require a second operation to remove, but these researchers have found a sway to command them to dissolve when they have finished doing their job--just like dissolvable stitches: R. Colin Johnson @EETimes

Implant that has been ordered to self-destruct dissolves in bodily fluids like dissolvable stitches.

Further Reading

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Cheap Fusion Beats Fossil Fuels"

The stars are the only stead-state fusion reactors in the universe, but researchers at University of Washington believe they have a new design that will make fusion reactors economical to build on Earth.

The University of Washington's current fusion experiment, HIT-SI3, is about one-tenth the size of the gigaWatt power-producing Dynomak that beats fossil fuels in energy efficiency.

EETimes Story

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

#LED: "Blue LED Inventors Win Nobel Prize"

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) hit a roadblock after making red and green, but eventually hard working scientists make a breakthrough resulting in LED TVs and more importantly white LED lighting.

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to three researchers, including Shuji Nakamura, professor of materials and electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Nakamura is also co-director of the UCSB Solid State
Lighting & Energy Electronics Center.

Further Reading

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

#MEMS: "Why Do Big Companies Make Their Own Sensors?"

MEMS sensors often make the difference between winning a contract and losing it for big systems companies like GE and Honeywell. Here analysts tell all about why big companies make their own: R. Colin Johnson

Wafer level packaging uses simplified construction to make thousands of infrared, vacuum-packaged sensors at the same time.

Further Reading

Sunday, October 05, 2014

#Optics: $200M Photonics Effort to Keep US Ahead

Staying ahead of Asia and Europe in photonics--and doing he manufacturing on U.S. soil--means making it a strategic goal for academic researchers, industry partners and the national security establishment: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Creating optical fibers and other photonic components on U.S. soil is crucial to national security.


Thursday, October 02, 2014

#CHIPS: "3-D Magnetic Gates Smaller and CMOS Compatible"

Magnetic materials are mostly considered for next-generation memory devices, but these magnetic gates via for CMOS-compatible logic functions beyond the capabilities or normal silicon gates: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

3D majority logic gates (left) show dimensions less than 200 nanometers (upper right) and a third input magnet (lower right).

Majority gate logic shows three inputs NOR and NAND gates with dark color representing 0 and light color representing a one (outputs to right)

Further Reading

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

#SUPERCOMPUTERS: "Electronic Brain Promised by 2023"

The European Union is throwing $1.3 billion over 10-years at creating an electronic brain--they already have an Atlas of brain subsystems begun and 100 universities and corporations on-board building them: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Junction of four HICANNSs (High Input Count Analog Neural Networks) inside a reticle on a wafer containing many HICANN circuits.

Junction of four reticles on a post-processed HICANN (High Input Count Analog Neural Network) wafer within the BrainScaleS project and will be used as a neuromorphic physical model.
(Source: University of Heidelberg)

Junction of four reticles on a post-processed probe-card wafer used to verify the final post-processing method for power tests of the wafer module.

Further Reading

#MATERIALS: "IBM Grows Wafer Scale Grahene"

IBM has not only perfected a method of growing wafer scale graphene as a potential material for the post-silicon era, but has found a way to use it today to dramatically cut the cost of GaN LEDs.

A four-inch wafer of graphene successfully transferred to a silicon wafer.

Further Reading

Monday, September 29, 2014

#CHIPS: "Fairchild Reinvents Itself"

Fairchild aims to pioneer the 21st century by putting together smart modules that solve problems better for energy efficiency, mobility and the cloud.

As an example of Fairchild's modernization, it is now fabricating complete compact, high-efficiency, cost-effective modules aimed at driving up quality while driving down costs to its customers.

Further Reading

Friday, September 26, 2014

#ENERGY: "IBM/Airlight Beat Chinese PV with Higher Tech"

IBM and its collaborator AirLight believe they can beat the price of even the cheapest Chinese photovoltaic panels with a higher-tech disk based system that produces 12 kW of electricity and 20 kW of heat that can be used for HVC or desalinating water or both: R. Colin Johnson @ NextGenLog

This solar dish produced up to 20 KW thanks to a collaboration between Airlight Energy, which has perfected low-cost solar concentration to 2,000X, and IBM, which has perfected water-cooling chips down to 105 degrees that would otherwise be driven up to 1,500 degrees.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

#MEMS: "Piezoelectric MEMS mics Seem Destined to Take Over"

Piezoelectric MEMS microphones have already chalked up 70 dB signal-to-noise rations (SNRs) and are on their way to 80 dB, which is virtually unattainable by the conventional capacitive MEMS mics that everybody else makes: R. Colin Johnson @ NextGenLog

Instead of a traditional round diaphragm like capacitive microphones use (right) piezoelectric microphones use a square block of piezoelectric material (aluminum nitride, green) divided into four triangles (along the X from corner to corner) which stretch and contract--but never touch--thus creating an ultra low-noise signal picked up by the metal (yellow and gold) electrodes.


Monday, September 22, 2014

#CHIPS: 10 Best Bets for Next Gen Memory"

Here are my best guess at the next-generation of memory storage technologies except for MRAM, 3D NAND, RRAM and Spin-Transfer Torque RAM (STT-RAM), which were left out for various reasons: R. Colin Johnson


Friday, September 12, 2014

#MATERIALS: "No End to Moores Law with III-V Gallium Arsenide Materials"

It takes 100 crazy ideas to come up with one good one--like the finFET. Likewise, of the 100s of crazy ideas engineers are trying today, some will keep Moore's Law alive indefinitely--or at least until we start using synthetic biological computers instead!)

An optical emitter can be easily added to a III-V chip to make on-chip communications between electronics travel at the speed of light.

A III-V ring oscillator in more precise, burns less power and uses fewer parts than silicon oscillator.

Further Reading

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

#CHIPS: "Intel Xeon Processors Outdistance Competition"

Intel announced its third generation Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors this week with up to 3X the performance and 18 cores per socket. Improvements in security and load tracking make the high-end processors attractive to cloud-service providers, but are also supplied in models for small businesses an workstations: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading

Friday, September 05, 2014

#CHIPS: "Intel's Core M Powers 2-in-1 Tablet/Notebooks"

Intel's new Core M for 2-in-1 combo tablets/notebooks is aimed at revitalizing the x86, especially for aging PC laptop owners who are envious of the "wow" factor of tablets, but still need the file space and keyboard of a laptop: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Intel's 14 nanometer Core M processors are manufactured on 12 inch wafers.

The Core M is a dual-core processor with integrated graphics and all peripherals on a single SoC.

Further Reading

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

#CHIPS: "Engineers Wildest Dreams Pioneer Future at Freescale DiscoveryLab"

Freescale's Discovery Lab give its engineers time off their regular job to create the technologies of their dreams: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Further Reading