Electronics trends for 2013

Electronics industry hopefully starts to glow after not so good year 2012. It’s safe to say that 2012 has been a wild ride for all of us. The global semiconductor industry has demonstrated impressive resilience in year 2012, despite operating in a challenging global macroeconomic environment. Many have already ratcheted back their expectations for 2013. Beyond 2012, the industry is expected to grow steadily and moderately across all regions, according to the WSTS forecast. So we should see moderate growth in 2013 and 2014. I hope this happens.

The non-volatile memory market is growing rapidly. Underlying technologies for non-volatile memories article tells that non-volatile memory applications can be divided into standalone and embedded system solutions. Standalone applications tend to be driven primarily by costs is dominated by NAND FLASH technology. The embedded market relies mainly on NOR Flash for critical applications and NAND for less critical data storage. Planar CT NAND and 3D NAND could fast become commercially viable this year or in few years. MRAM, PCRAM, and RRAM will need more time and new material innovation to become major technologies.

Multicore CPU architectures are a little like hybrid vehicles: Once seen as anomalies, both are now encountered on a regular basis and are widely accepted as possible solutions to challenging problems. Multi-core architectures will find their application but likely won’t force the extinction of single-core MCUs anytime soon. Within the embedded community, a few applications now seem to be almost exclusively multicore, but in many others multicore remains rare. There are concerns over the complexity and uncertainty about the benefits.

FPGAs as the vanishing foundation article tells that we are entering a new environment in which the FPGA has faded into the wallpaper – not because it is obsolete, but because it is both necessary and ubiquitous. After displacing most functions of ASICs, DSPs, and a few varieties of microcontrollers, it’s fair to ask if there is any realm of electronic products where use of the FPGA is not automatically assumed. Chances are, in the next few years, the very term “FPGA” might be replaced by “that ARM-based system on a chip” from Xilinx, Altera, Lattice, or other vendor.

Software and services have become the soul of consumer technology. Hardware has become increasingly commoditized into blank vessels that do little more than hold Facebook and Twitter and the App Store and Android and iOS.

Are products owned when bought? The trend in recent decades has been an increase in the dependence of the buyer on the seller.

More than 5 billion wireless connectivity chips will ship in 2013, according to market research firm ABI Research. This category includes standalone chips for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, satellite positioning, near-field communications and ZigBee as well as so called “combo” chips that combine multiple standards. Broadcom seen retaining lead in connectivity chips. Bluetooth Smart, WiGig and NFC are all are seeing increased adoption in fitness, automotive and retail applications. Combo chips are also a growing opportunity based on the popularity of smart phones, tablet computers and smart televisions.

Signal integrity issues are on the rise as both design complexity and speed increase all the time. The analog world is moving faster than ever. Learning curves are sharper, design cycles are shorter, and systems more complex. Add to all this the multidisciplinary, analog/digital nature of today’s designs, and your job just gets more complicated.

High-speed I/O: On the road to disintegration? article tells that increases in data rates driven by a need for higher bandwidth (10Gbps, 40Gbps, 100Gbps networking) means the demands on system-level and chip-to-chip interconnects are increasingly challenging design and manufacturing capabilities. For current and future high-performance, high-speed serial interfaces featuring equalization could well be the norm and high levels of SoC integration may no longer be the best solution.


For a long time, the Consumer Electronics Show, which began in 1967, was the Super Bowl of new technology, but now consumer electronics show as a concept is changing and maybe fading out in some way. The social web has replaced the trade show as a platform for showcasing and distributing products and concepts and ideas.

NFC, or near-field communications, has been around for 10 years, battling its own version of the chicken-and-egg question: Which comes first, the enabled devices or the applications? Near-field communications to go far in 2013 article expects that this is the year for NFC. NFC is going to go down many different paths, not just mobile wallet.

3-D printing was hot last year and is still hot. We will be seeing much more on this technology in 2013.

Inexpensive tablets and e-readers will find their users. Sub-$100 tablets and e-readers will offer more alternatives to pricey iPads and Kindles. Also sub-$200 higher performance tablet group is selling well.

User interfaces will evolve. Capacitive sensing—Integrating multiple interfaces and Human-machine interfaces enter the third dimension. Ubiquitous sensors meet the most natural interface–speech.

Electronic systems in the automotive industry is accelerating at a furious pace. The automotive industry in the United States is steadily recovering and nowadays electronics run pretty much everything in a vehicle. Automotive electronics systems trends impact test and measurement companies Of course, with new technologies come new challenges: faster transport buses, more wireless applications, higher switching power and sheer amount and density of electronics in modern vehicles.

Next Round: GaN versus Si article tells that the wide-band gap (WBG) power devices have shown up as Gallium Nitride (GaN) and Silicon Carbide (SiC). These devices provide low RDSON with higher breakdown voltage.

Energy harvesting was talked quite much in 2012 and I expect that it will find more and more applications this year. Four main ambient energy sources are present in our environment: mechanical energy (vibrations, deformations), thermal energy (temperature gradients or variations), radiant energy (sun, infrared, RF) and chemical energy (chemistry, biochemistry). Peel-and-stick solar cells are coming.

Wireless charging of mobile devices is get getting some popularity. Wireless charging for Qi technology is becoming the industry standard as Nokia, HTC and some other companies use that. There is a competing AW4P wireless charging standard pushed by Samsung ja Qualcomm.


In recent years, ‘Low-carbon Green Growth’ has emerged as a very important issue in selling new products. LED lighting industry analysis and market forecast article tells that ‘Low-carbon Green Growth’ is a global trend. LED lighting is becoming the most important axis of ‘Low-carbon Green Growth’ industry. The expectations for industry productivity and job creation are very large.

A record number of dangerous electrical equipment has been pulled from market by Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency’s control. Poor equipment design have been found in a lot, especially in LED light bulbs. Almost 260 items were taken from the market and very many of them were LED lights. With high enthusiasm we went to the new technology and then forgotten the basic electrical engineering. CE marking is not in itself guarantee that the product is safe.

The “higher density,” “higher dynamic” trend also is challenging traditional power distribution technologies within systems. Some new concepts are being explored today. AC vs DC power in data center discussion is going strong. Redundant power supplies are asked for in many demanding applications.

According to IHS, global advanced meter shipments are expected to remain stable from 2012 through 2014. Smart electricity meters seen doubling by 2016 (to about 35 percent penetration). In the long term, IHS said it anticipates that the global smart meter market will depend on developing economies such as China, Brazil and India. What’s next after smart power meter? How about some power backup for the home?

Energy is going digital article claims that graphical system design changes how we manipulate, move, and store energy. What defines the transition from analog to digital and how can we tell when energy has made the jump? First, the digital control of energy, in the form of electricity, requires smart sensors. Second, digital energy systems must be networked and field reconfigurable to send data that makes continuous improvements and bug fixes possible. Third, the system must be modeled and simulated with high accuracy and speed. When an analog technology goes digital, it becomes an information technology — a software problem. The digital energy revolution is enabled by powerful software tools.

Cloud is talked a lot in both as design tool and service where connected devices connect to. The cloud means many things to many people, but irrespective of how you define it, there are opportunities for engineers to innovate. EDA companies put their hope on Accelerating embedded design with cloud-enabled development platforms. They say that The Future of Design is Cloudy. M2M companies are competing in developing solutions for easily connecting embedded devices to cloud.

Trend articles worth to check out:
13 Things That Went Obsolete In 2012
Five Technologies to Watch in 2013
Hot technologies: Looking ahead to 2013
Hot technologies: Looking ahead to 2013
Technology predictions for 2013
Prediction for 2013 – Technology
Slideshow: Top Technologies of 2013
10 hot consumer trends for 2013

Popular designer articles from last year that could give hints what to expect:
Top 10 Communications Design Articles of 2012
Top 10 smart energy articles of 2012
Slideshow: The Top 10 Industrial Control Articles of 2012
Looking at Developer’s Activities – a 2012 Retrospective


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Embedded Open Modular Architecture/EOMA-68

    The purpose of the EOMA68 specification is to bring simple robust mass-produced CPU Cards to end-users. To make end-users lives easier, purchasing decision-making should be made not on technical interface capabilities, neither should they be expected to have significant technological expertise. This is the primary reason why EOMA specifications have no optional interfaces of any kind. For this reason, for the lifetime of the specification (anticipated to be at least a decade) all CPU Cards compliant with the EOMA68 specification will be compatible with all compliant “Chassis”

    This page describes the specification of EOMA-68. The number of pins on the interface is 68; the physical form-factor is the legacy PCMCIA.

    Re-purposing of the PCMCIA interface and form-factor has been chosen to create portable mass-volume (100 million units and above) Embedded Computing Modules (Computer on Module). Mass-volume “Lowest Common Denominator” interfaces have been chosen, all of which have existed for over a decade, but are low-power enough to be standard across virtually all mass-produced powerful Embedded CPUs.

    Dual-Core Allwinner A20 Powered EOMA-68 Engineering Card Available

    “The hardware of Improv is extremely capable: a dual-core ARM® Cortex-A7 System on Chip (SoC) running at 1Ghz, 1 GB of RAM, 4 GB of on-board NAND flash and a powerful OpenGL ES GPU.”

    Introducing Improv

    It is the perfect board for prototyping and creating small, powerful devices.

    A combination of three attributes sets Improv apart from the crowd:

    Power: Dual core CPU, lots of storage, powerful GPU and modern software
    Modularity: Improv is actually two plug-and-play parts: a CPU card and a feature board
    Community: The feature board is freely licensed as Open Hardware, is supported with community infrastructure and contributes to the technologies on which Improv is based.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Printing Batteries
    New inks and tools allow 3-D printing of lithium-ion technology.

    By making the basic building blocks of batteries out of ink, Harvard materials scientist Jennifer Lewis is laying the groundwork for lithium-ion batteries and other high-performing electronics that can be produced with 3-D printers.

    Although the technology is still at an early stage, the ability to print batteries and other electronics could make it possible to manufacture new kinds of devices. Think of self-powered biomedical sensors, affixed to the skin, that would continuously transmit vital signs to a smartphone. Or existing products could be made more simply and efficiently.

    For example, the plastic shell of a hearing aid is already 3-D printed for a custom fit inside a wearer’s ear. But the electronics are manufactured separately, and the batteries are often the type that must be replaced frequently. If the electronics and a rechargeable battery were printed together, the final product could be made more rapidly and seamlessly.

    Lewis has taken two important steps toward printing electronic devices. First, she has invented an arsenal of what she calls functional inks that can solidify into batteries and simple components, including electrodes, wires, and antennas. Second, she has developed nozzles and high-pressure extruders that squeeze out the batteries and other components from an industrial-grade 3-D printer.

    The printing technology works at room temperature, not the high temperatures normally required to work with high-performing electronics. hat makes it possible to print the materials on plastic without causing damage.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Flash Shortages Drive SSD Shifts
    LSI’s loss is Samsung’s gain

    The dynamics of the solid-state state drive market are shifting, and for Abhi Talwalkar it’s been a disappointing shift in 2013.

    The chief executive of LSI hoped the market for SSD controllers from Sandforce, a startup he purchased in 2011 for $370 million, would grow as much as 35% this year. Instead it grew just 10%.

    The growth Talwalkar hoped for went mostly to companies such as Samsung that started selling SSDs using its own NAND flash chips and controllers. Increasingly the relatively small, independent SSD makers Sandforce had been selling some of its controllers to are losing business to vertically integrated giants such as Samsung, Sandisk, and others.

    That’s when NAND flash makers cut back capex on fab equipment, believing the memory chip market was in oversupply.

    As a result NAND flash prices went up about 20% this year, Talwalkar estimates. At the same time, flash chip makers such as Samsung have been more aggressively making and selling their own SSDs because they represent a more profitable business than chips.

    The NAND vendors are winning business because they can make money at lower selling prices than the independents.

    “I believe in two to four years 70-80% of client SSDs will come from NAND makers and the rest will come from five to 10 independent SSD makers that have unique business models and/or focus on certain verticals markets or distribution models,”

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Micron: Our STACKED SILICON BEAUTY solves the DRAM problem
    Logic? You want logic? It’s at the bottom

    Dratted multi-core CPUs. DRAM is running into a bandwidth problem. More powerful CPUs has meant that more cores are trying to access a server’s memory and the bandwidth is running out.

    One solution is to stack DRAM in layers above a logic base layer and increase access speed to the resulting hybrid memory cubes (HMC), and Micron has done just that.

    Micron chose the Denver Supercomputing show to say it was developing HMC chips for petascale supercomputers. Other target applications include data packet processing, data packet buffering or storage, and processor acceleration – any app suffering memory bandwidth constraints.

    At the show, Fujitsu showed a board from a prototype future supercomputer with HMC chips on it. Micron is also part of and has driven the creation of an ecosystem aimed at using HMC chips and interfacing to them.

    HMC Primer

    A DRAM chip combines memory and logic functions needed to access it. If you stack layers of DRAM chips atop each other then the logic circuits are duplicated. The HMC scheme is to subtract them from each chip and have a base logic layer at the bottom of the chip that provides functionality for every DRAM layer in the HMC.

    Micron has 4- and 8-memory layer HMC initiatives.

    HMC has 16 vaults that operate independently of each other and are designed to sustain 10 GB/sec (80 Gb/sec) of true memory bandwidth from each vault.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Processor chip market soars due to growing demand for smartphones and tablets
    Intel still dominates despite decline in market share

    PROCESSOR CHIP SALES will increase by almost quarter this year thanks to the growing demand for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, analyst outfit IHS has predicted.

    The research firm forecast that worldwide processor shipments will reach 1.5 billion units by the end of this year, up from 1.21 billion in 2012.

    “The first half of the year, in particular, yielded solid growth, up 27 percent in the first quarter on an annual basis, and up 24 percent in the second quarter,” IHS said. “Meanwhile, expansion in the third quarter is anticipated at 19 percent, while growth in the fourth-quarter is forecast to come in at 24 percent.”

    The main expansion has been seen in mobile, with processor shipments for tablets up from 38.3 million units in the second quarter of 2012 to 53.5 million units for the same period this year, a 40 percent increase. Growth in processor shipments for smartphones was just behind that of tablets, up 38 percent from 147.9 million units to 204.2 million.

    “In tablets, the rise of low-cost devices made in China boosted shipments for Chinese processor vendors such as Allwinner and Rockchip,” IHS said.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Power Week-in-Review: Self-Healing Battery, Personal Hydroelectric Generator & Li-ion Forecast

    Scientists at Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have created a self-healing battery electrode, which could help pave the way toward more robust high-capacity batteries for electric vehicles and portable electronics.

    A personal hydroelectric generator, called the Hydrobee, is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. The device consists of a mini hydropower turbine in a can with six AA rechargeable batteries and a USB port

    Research firm EnergyTrend is predicting that prices for cylindrical lithium ion batteries will decline by about 2.8% in 2014. The downtrend is attributed to high-capacity lithium polymer battery supply crowd out and thinner consumer electronics, as well as increased competition in the medium-to-high capacity (~2.8 to 3.0 Ah) battery market segment.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    New MEMS oscillator is a more accurate than crystals

    Micro-electronic mechanical systems, or MEMS circuits have been doing for years, joining electronics pacing. They have been replaced by low cost quartz crystals, which still dominate the market. Sand Oregonilainen 9 is now presented to the MEMS oscillator, the characteristics of which exceed the crystals in many ways.

    The company’s TM651 is the world’s first temperature-compensated crystal oscillator circuit, which is a TCXO crystals (temperature compensated crystal oscillators) more accurate. Sand 9 that it has achieved a great attention to base station manufacturers.

    Oregonilaisyrityksen districts can be found in 125 MHz MEMS devices in addition to ASIC circuit with temperature compensation is calculated. Production, the target window is only 5 parts per million, so the yield is a good class.

    Source: http://www.etn.fi/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=708:uusi-mems-oskillaattori-kiteita-tarkempi&catid=13&Itemid=101

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    MIPI the use of inexpensive FPGA

    Embedded applications increasingly want to use mobile components, such as less expensive screens. Microcontroller must, however, first get keskustelmaan with them. Lattice Semiconductor FPGA circuits it can be done.

    The 1990s, the PC was the undisputed high-volume architecture. Other sectors of the devices developed realized that if they would take the PC components to use, they would benefit from the lower cost and good reliability. A large number of embedded devices designers took advantage of this design, which benefited from the course, the end-customers.

    In recent years, the PC has lost its volume and is now a platform for smart phones and tablets are the kings of the hill. But in the same way as the previous generation of the designer used a low-cost PC components, today the designer wants to achieve the same benefit by using components and solutions, which were originally developed for smartphones and tablets.

    The vast majority of smartphones and tablets use the MIPI organization-defined pathways and connections. For example, the display interface is called DSI (Display Serial Interface), and the image sensor interface CSI-2 (Camera Serial Interface). MIPI organization defines the application interface between the processor and peripheral devices. Peripheral selection is extensive, covering the camera, sensors, memories, displays, RF components, sensors, etc.

    Some of the embedded device designers want to even use the application processor, the core of the entire system. Unfortunately, this is not a number at all possible in the design, because the existing software, and other functions that are embeddable, has developed a number of processors for the development of such a device will be prohibitively expensive. Yet, even in these devices were to be used on smartphones and tablets found in other components. A big challenge here is the bridge interface, which is required for the old MIPI interface and a variety of bus standards between.

    According to MIPI bridge solution

    Until recently, the designer would have had to scrap the idea affordable DSi To connect the display, if the ASIC-based bridge circuit development costs could not be justified, for example, allows for future volumes. The majority of the design would have had to choose a more expensive monitor. Fortunately, today offers a low-cost, configurable solutions to this problem. In fact, almost all of embedded design can be used for low-cost DSI displays.

    Source: http://www.etn.fi/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=715

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Dispersive Signal Touch Technology

    Dispersive Signal Technology, specifically developed for interactive digital signage applications, sets new large-format touch standards for fast, accurate repeatable touch response. In addition, Dispersive Signal Technology’s operation is unaffected by contaminants, static objects or other touches on the touch screen. Other key characteristics of this patented technology are exceptional optics, ease of integration, and input flexibility.

    Dispersive Signal Technology determines a “touch point” by measuring the mechanical energy (bending waves) within a substrate created by a finger or stylus touching the surface of the glass. Bending waves differ from surface waves in that they traverse through the thickness of the panel rather than the surface of the material

    Piezoelectric sensors positioned in the corners on the backside of the glass convert this smeared mechanical impulse into an electrical signal. The distance from each sensor determines the extent to which the signal is dispersed.

    An impulse caused by a touch contact generates a number of bending waves within the substrate, all at different frequencies. Because of “dispersion”, these bending waves propagate out to the edges of the glass at different speeds rather than in a unified wave front.

    3M Dispersive Signal Technology is able to interpret the source of these chaotic series of waves with its proprietary algorithms

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Strain Gauge with Programmable Chopper Stabilized IN-Amp

    The “DAQ on a Stick, Strain Gauge with Programmable IN-Amp” is one of a series of reference designs highlighting Intersil’s precision products with different microcontrollers. This reference design is a self contained demo showing a complete signal chain solution using Intersil parts and a Renesas microcontroller. The complete reference design is conveniently housed in a USB stick form factor. This compact design draws power through the USB port and uses a Graphical User Interface (GUI) to display the real time voltage readings from a bridge strain gauge or a user supplied sensor.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mobile Boosts Processor Market
    Qualcomm strong in smartphone, Chinese lead Android tablet processors

    This year’s unit shipments for processors will grow 24% over 2012 to as high as 1.5 billion, according to IHS Inc.

    The fast rise is being bolstered by strong smartphone and tablet sales, which are more than compensating for a 13% slump in desktop sales and a 2% drop in notebook sales, the research firm said in its report. Of all processor segments, only PCs experienced a downturn, since even server processors experienced growth in 2013. For instance, server processor shipments rose to 4.8 million units in the second quarter from 4.6 million a year earlier.

    Despite their smaller price tags compared with PC processors, the overall market revenue for processors will grow by single digits in 2013

    “Popularity of mobile devices has changed the landscape of the processor market as tablets and smartphones take over from PCs among consumers,

    In the hottest mobile processor markets, Xu said the traditional PC emphasis on raw speed has shifted to features relevant to mobile computing. “Instead of more computing power focus driven by PC market, the mobile processor market is focusing on features, such as power efficiency and the user experience.”

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Energy Harvesting Peltier Ring

    [Sean] is by no means an electrical engineer, but when he discovered the magic of Peltier plates he knew he had to make a project with them. This is his Energy Harvesting Peltier Ring.

    The tiny Peltier plate he found generates about 0.3V with a temperature differential of about 20C — not bad, but it won’t light up any standard LEDs at that voltage! He started looking into voltage steppers and discovered Linear Technology’s 3108 Ultralow Voltage Step-up converter and Power Manager – a surface mount chip capable of scaling 0.3V to 5V. The only problem? [Sean's] never done surface mount soldering.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Design Decisions: Choosing the Correct NEMA Enclosure

    National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) enclosures house various types of electrical and electronic components, and are typically made from carbon steel, stainless steel, or plastic.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    5 Things That Can Benefit From Capacitive Tactile Pressure Sensors

    Though physical comfort can make or break an experience, gauging it is something people seem to have a hard time doing, possibly because we’re not very good at determining static pressures in general. That is to say, the human body tends to be more sensitive to pressures that change than to constant loads. This can be a barrier to determining the comfort or fit of something that will be in long-term contact with the body.

    Highly sensitive capacitive tactile sensing technology can help us get around that human limitation. With that in mind, here’s a list of some tools and products that could benefit from pressure sensor technology.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    FDA Charts Mobile Health Progress

    US regulators are making a solid effort to keep pace with the rapidly evolving digital health care sector, said a government official here. The Food and Drug Administration issued guidance in 2013 about how it views mobile medical apps as well as security and wireless technology choices in medical devices — and it hopes to release guidelines on interoperability next year, said William Maisel, chief scientist of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

    “We are very committed to the appropriate balance between benefits and risks and bringing new technology to patients as quickly as possible,”

    The FDA is to some extent playing catch up with a fast moving industry.

    The agency aims to deliver smart regulations appropriate to emerging technologies, Maisel said. “We shouldn’t regulate just because we can or always have regulated that way,” he said noting the FDA is scaling back from the old Class I, II, and III buckets originally created by Congress.

    “A large number of medical apps will not be regulated because the patient risk is sufficiently low — the part we focus on is really just the tip of the iceberg,” Maisel said.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Stanene May Be Better Than Graphene

    A team of researchers led by Stanford University professor Shoucheng Zhang now have high hopes that a new material they call stanene will conduct electricity on next-generation microchips with “100 percent efficiency” at room temperature and above.

    The team, including researchers at Stanford University and the US Department of Energy’s (DoE’s) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, both in Menlo Park, Calif., named their new tin-based material stanene to liken it to graphene (plus the prefix of the Latin term for tin, stannum). However, instead of being based on atomically thin two-dimensional (2D) monolayers of carbon as is graphene, stanene is based on monolayers of tin. And while they are careful not to call it a room-temperature superconductor, it nevertheless has striking similarities.

    “This is not a superconductor, with the following distinction — it only conducts with 100 percent efficiency on the edges — the interior of this two-dimensional material is an insulator,” Zhang told us.

    In practice, stanene interconnection lines will behave like dual side-by-side superconducting wires, since each ribbon of stanene will support two lanes of zero resistance data traffic — one on each edge. The only resistance offered by a stanene interconnection line would be at the end points where a contact must be made with the traditional on-chip circuitry.

    “The key difference is that with a normal conductor, the total resistance scales linearly with the length — the longer the wire the larger the resistance,” said Zhang. “But for stanene the only resistance is the contact, so the total resistance of a line is constant regardless of the wire’s length.”

    Experiments to confirm Zhang’s group’s simulations are currently underway in Germany and China

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mobile Boosts Processor Market
    Qualcomm strong in smartphone, Chinese lead Android tablet processors

    This year’s unit shipments for processors will grow 24% over 2012 to as high as 1.5 billion, according to IHS Inc.

    The fast rise is being bolstered by strong smartphone and tablet sales, which are more than compensating for a 13% slump in desktop sales and a 2% drop in notebook sales, the research firm said in its report.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The current year is the first in which the semiconductor industry revenues in excess of $ 300 billion mark. According to Gartner, chip sales will grow this year by 5.2 per cent. Size of the market will grow to $ 315.4 billion, or about 232 billion Euro.

    The largest companies in top of the list is a big change coming. Intel holds the number one place in 15.2 per cent market share (36 billion)

    Samsung’s second position is less stable. Korean company to increase its sales by 3.6 per cent to about 21.8 billion.

    Cell phone processors Qualcomm boosted by more than 31 per cent. 12.8 billion in net sales to increase in market share of 5.5 per cent.

    Hynix and Micron will increase this year

    Source: http://www.etn.fi/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=744:300-miljardin-raja-rikki&catid=13&Itemid=101

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    FPGA race is now aimed at 20 nm

    Programmable FPGAs big manufacturers are Xilinx and Altera are rather of an arms race over the back of the model. Now under discussion is the question of who gets the first 20-nanometer circuits. Altera teased the tool side of the Xilinx expected new releases.

    Source: http://www.etn.fi/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=735:fpga-kisa-tahtaa-nyt-20-nanometriin&catid=13&Itemid=101

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Simplifying Cable Specification

    Cables are a critical component on the factory floor, which makes it imperative that they perform well so all systems work properly. Regardless of the working conditions — heavy mechanical load, extreme temperatures, or harsh oils and coolants — properly specified cables are a crucial element to continuous machine uptime and reduced maintenance.

    While the specifying process may seem long and arduous given the fact that cable construction can take on many different forms and configurations, it actually is simpler than it looks. Believe it or not, the bulk of cabling used in industrial automated manufacturing processes can be narrowed down by asking these specific questions.

    However, if applications are dynamic — such as continuously flexing applications that require the use of a cable track — the length of the movement, acceleration, speed, and bending radius of the cable must be taken into account.

    What type of cable is required for the application?
    Cables have specific functions, meaning they can’t just be mixed and matched with the same results

    The following are the cable types suited for industrial applications:

    Control Cables: Used for on/off control in signal and control equipment. Such as relays, sensors, switches, and small motors.

    Data Cables: Used for analog feedback and control for control equipment and motors. Good examples are computer interface, speed and data communication.

    Single Conductor: Cables used to interconnect relays and controls in panels and conduits, known as hook-up wire, and act as the interconnection to motors and large power equipment, known as single conductor cable.

    Motor, Servo, and Feedback: Cables used in interconnect; all motors including servo, variable frequency drive, DC, and squirrel cage motors.

    Sensor Cables: Very similar to data cables but used to communicate analog or digital feedback and control of changes in speed, temperature, and other environmental elements.

    Bus Cables: A subset of data cables used specifically for certain system protocol. Good examples are Industrial Ethernet, Profibus, and DeviceNet.

    What insulation material is required?
    Although the insulation is often overlooked, the correct selection of insulation does help in the performance of a cable both electrically and mechanically.

    What jacket material is required?
    A cable’s outer jacket not only must withstand mechanical stresses associated with continuous-flex operations, it must withstand environmental stresses, as well. Such stresses include contact with aggressive fluids (e.g. oils, cleaning fluids, coolants, chemicals, etc.), extreme temperatures, abrasion, sunlight if operations are outdoors, or ocean salt for offshore operations.

    PVC jackets are best suited for static applications or applications where cables are flexed minimally.

    TPE jackets are resistive to more chemicals than PVC, can be used in continuous-flex operations, and operate effectively in temperatures up to 125C.

    PUR cables are more elastic

    Is shielded or an unshielded cable required?
    Electromagnetic interference (EMI) is prevalent throughout the factory floor.

    What approvals are needed?
    Knowing where the cable will be operating is important because each country has unique requirements that must be met before the cable can be used in the machine. Country approvals and certifications govern appropriate cable materials, ampacity (electrical current a conductor carries without failing), operating temperature range, flexibility, jacket thickness, shielding requirements, and flame resistance, to name a few.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sony May Buy Renesas Fab
    Move could boost CMOS sensor share

    Sony is considering buying a chip fab from the Japanese company Renesas for $96 million.

    Nikkei reports that Sony plans to expand its complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor production. The company already has a share of around 30% in that market.

    A memorandum of understanding between the companies could be signed early next week

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intel Revs Up Comms Coprocessor

    Intel rolled out Coleto Creek, an update of its Cave Creek co-processor aiming to drive the company’s x86 CPUs deeper into communications systems.

    Coleto Creek is made in the same 32nm process as Cave Creek, which was launched in February 2012, but gets significantly higher performance marks. That’s due in part to “beefier accelerators” in the chip and the fact it is paired with Intel’s latest Xeon server processor, the E5-2600v2, which sports enhanced security and virtualization features.

    Intel said the chip does not use any acceleration logic for regular expressions, popular in other network processors. Instead it relies on the x86 for such jobs, but Intel does plan advances with its AVX instruction set, use of caches and external memory to enhance reg ex performance in future offerings.

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Moore’s Law blowout sale is ending, Broadcom’s CTO says
    Regular cost declines with each new generation of silicon are coming to an end

    At a wine bar in San Francisco on Wednesday, Broadcom Chairman and CTO Henry Samueli delivered some sobering news: Moore’s Law isn’t making chips cheaper anymore.

    The famed law of microprocessors predicts that packing more transistors onto a silicon wafer will make processors smaller, faster and cheaper with each generation. The ability to get more chips out of each wafer should cut the cost per transistor with each new generation, according to the logic of the law, which was first proposed by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in the 1960s.

    But keeping Moore’s Law going now requires complicated manufacturing techniques that are so expensive they cancel out the cost savings that should come with each new generation, said Samueli, who co-founded the giant communications chip maker in 1991.

    “The cost curves are kind of getting flat,”

    He pointed to new techniques such as High-K Metal Gate and FinFET, which have been used in recent years to achieve new so-called process nodes. The most advanced process node on the market, defined by the size of the features on a chip, is due to reach 14 nanometers next year. At levels like that, chip makers need more than traditional manufacturing techniques to achieve the high density, Samueli said. The more dense chips get, the more expensive it will be to make them, he said.

    While some of the network switch chips Broadcom makes, for example, will demand new process nodes, many processors in consumer devices probably won’t, he said. “You don’t need to build a Wi-Fi chip in 10nm CMOS. You can do it just fine in 28nm.”

    Where consumer devices do need newer chip technology to maximize battery life, the ongoing bargain of getting more for less eventually will end, Samueli said. “We’ve been spoiled by these devices getting cheaper and cheaper and cheaper in every generation. We’re just going to have to live with prices leveling off,” he said.

    If that means consumers replace their smartphones less often

    There has been sticker shock for some chip makers recently in connection with the introduction of FinFET technology, which stacks transistors on top of each othe

    TSMC and GlobalFoundries, two major foundries that serve chip design companies like Broadcom, had to freeze the size of their transistors while they adopted FinFET.

    For the next generation of processors, the cost curve should come back to normal, Brookwood said. Still, the challenge of advancing technology past about 5nm remains, he said.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Add USB LED Notifications To Your PC With Just a Bit of Soldering (Video)

    “With his £10 BlinkStick kit (£15 pre-assembled), you get a programmable multi-color LED that’s about the size of a flash memory key. Deceptively simple — it’s essentially one giant pixel, after all,”

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Instant Inkjet Circuits with Silver Nanoparticle Ink

    Researchers at the University of Tokyo, Georgia Tech and a team from Microsoft Research have developed a low-cost method of printing circuits using an ordinary inkjet printer using a technique called Instant Inkjet Circuits.

    The hack is quite literally as simple as injecting a refillable printer cartridge with a commercially available Silver Nano-particle Ink. This allows the printing of circuits onto many different flexible substrates including paper, transparent film, or basically anything you can fit in the printer.

    The researchers chose a Brother inkjet printer because they typically have nozzles that eject higher volumes of ink than other printers. The exact model they used was the Brother DCP-J140w.

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Perfect PCBs With an Inkjet Printer

    Instead of mucking about fabbing PCBs with the toner transfer method, or making masks for photosensitive boards, the holy grail of at-home circuit board manufacturing is a direct inkjet-to-etch method. [Don] isn’t quite there yet, but his method of producing circuit boards at home is one of the easiest we’ve ever seen.

    [Don]‘s boards begin by taking the output from Eagle and printing them with an Epson Artisan 50 inkjet printer. By sticking a piece of cardstock in the printer before the copper board, he’s able to precisely align the traces and pads onto the copper board.

    When the board comes out of the printer, it’s only covered in ink. While some specialty inks are enough of an etch resist, [Don] comes up with a clever way to make sure acid doesn’t eat away copper in the needed place

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Instant inkjet circuits: lab-based inkjet printing to support rapid prototyping of UbiComp devices

    This paper introduces a low cost, fast and accessible technology to support the rapid prototyping of functional electronic devices. Central to this approach of ‘instant inkjet circuits’ is the ability to print highly conductive traces and patterns onto flexible substrates such as paper and plastic films cheaply and quickly

    We demonstrate that this technique is feasible using commodity inkjet printers and commercially available ink, for an initial investment of around US$300.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    New Solar Cell Material Acts as a Laser As Well

    The hottest new material in solar cell research has another trick up its sleeve. At the Materials Research Society meeting here, two groups reported yesterday that these new electricity-generating materials can produce laser light. Because the materials—called perovskites—are cheap and easy to produce, they could help engineers create a wide variety of cheap lasers that shine a variety of colors for use in speeding data flows in the telecommunications industry.

    Perovskites still have a long way to go before they’ll make commercially viable lasers, Sargent says. For starters, researchers must show that the materials can lase when plugged into an electrical outlet, rather than when hit with another beam of laser light. Neither Sargent’s group nor Snaith’s has done that yet. If they can, Sargent says, “it would be very important” because perovskites could be grown on cheap silicon wafers, thus potentially creating a new class of cheap lasers for the telecommunications industry.

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    New superconductor theory may revolutionize electrical engineering

    High-temperature superconductors exhibit a frustratingly varied catalog of odd behavior, such as electrons that arrange themselves into stripes or refuse to arrange themselves symmetrically around atoms. Now two physicists propose that such behaviors – and superconductivity itself – can all be traced to a single starting point, and they explain why there are so many variations.

    This theory might be a step toward new, higher-temperature superconductors that would revolutionize electrical engineering with more efficient motors and generators and lossless power transmission.

    The oddities, known as intertwined ordered phases, seem to interfere with superconductivity. “We now have a simple way to understand how they are created and hopefully this understanding will help us to know how to get rid of them,” said Lee.

    Superconductivity, where current flows with zero resistance, was first discovered in metals cooled almost to absolute zero. Recently, complex crystals of copper, iron and some other metals combined with trace elements have been found to superconduct at temperatures up to around 150 Kelvins (degrees Celsius above absolute zero).

    Most subatomic particles have a tiny magnetic field – a property physicists call “spin” – and electrical resistance happens when the fields of electrons carrying current interact with those of surrounding atoms.

    Two electrons can join like two bar magnets, the north pole of one clamping to the south pole of the other, and this “Cooper pair” is magnetically neutral and can move without resistance.

    The new high-temperature superconductors are derived from orderly crystals where the same arrangement of atoms is repeated over and over and the spins of electrons alternate up and down from one unit cell to another.

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Future Tech and Upgrading your Brain

    You’re going to want to listen to [David Eagleman's] TEDx Alamo talk particularly around 10 minutes in, where he talks about the sonic glasses. [Eagleman] claims that the human brain, if given a consistent input that corresponds to the real world, can decipher the signal into usable information. The sonic glasses, which provide a type of sonar to the blind wearer, eventually just…work. Your brain can “learn” its own drivers for input devices.

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Moore’s Law blowout sale is ending, Broadcom’s CTO says
    Regular cost declines with each new generation of silicon are coming to an end

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    For metals of the smartphone age, no Plan B

    Many of the metals needed to feed the surging global demand for high-tech products, from smart phones to solar panels, cannot be replaced, leaving some markets vulnerable if resources become scarce, according to a new Yale study.

    In a comprehensive analysis, a team of researchers from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) evaluated how all 62 metals or metalloids on the periodic table of elements are used in consumer products, and the extent to which each of those metals could be replaced if reserves dwindle or supplies become unreliable.

    According to their findings, not one metal has an “exemplary” substitute for all of its major uses. And for a dozen metals, potential substitutes for each of their primary uses are either inadequate or do not exist at all, according to the study, published Dec. 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    This lack of substitutes underscores an increased urgency for better management of these resources, particularly as population and wealth increase worldwide, the researchers say.

    Their ongoing research aims to produce a quantitative assessment of how metals are used on a global scale, the extent to which they are recycled, and, ultimately, how future demand will affect material resources.

  33. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google Me a Robot

    We’ve seen Google Android OS, Google email, and Office-like apps, and we’re expecting to soon see Google smartphones, Google TV, even Google self-driving cars. But now, the search engine giant is dipping its toes into the manufacturing industry with Google robots.

    A New York Times article on Wednesday noted that Andy Rubin, the brains behind the Android operating system, is heading up an effort to develop robots. The robots are targeted for manufacturing, assembly, and warehouse tasks.

    Over the last six months, Google has acquired seven technology companies, presumably to fortify its entry into industrial robotics. The NY Times article speculated that the targeted industry is electronics. This may be a handy development since Google purchased the mobile phone business from Motorola in August 2012, instantly making the company an electronics manufacturer. Plus, the company has been experimenting with package delivery for its Google Shopping service.

  34. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google Puts Money on Robots, Using the Man Behind Android

    In an out-of-the-way Google office, two life-size humanoid robots hang suspended in a corner.

    If Amazon can imagine delivering books by drones, is it too much to think that Google might be planning to one day have one of the robots hop off an automated Google Car and race to your doorstep to deliver a package?

    Google executives acknowledge that robotic vision is a “moonshot.” But it appears to be more realistic than Amazon’s proposed drone delivery service, which Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, revealed in a television interview the evening before one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.

    Over the last half-year, Google has quietly acquired seven technology companies in an effort to create a new generation of robots. And the engineer heading the effort is Andy Rubin, the man who built Google’s Android software into the world’s dominant force in smartphones.

    The company is tight-lipped about its specific plans, but the scale of the investment, which has not been previously disclosed, indicates that this is no cute science project.

    At least for now, Google’s robotics effort is not something aimed at consumers. Instead, the company’s expected targets are in manufacturing — like electronics assembly, which is now largely manual — and competing with companies like Amazon in retailing, according to several people with specific knowledge of the project.

    A realistic case, according to several specialists, would be automating portions of an existing supply chain that stretches from a factory floor to the companies that ship and deliver goods to a consumer’s doorstep.

    “The opportunity is massive,” said Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at the M.I.T. Center for Digital Business. “There are still people who walk around in factories and pick things up in distribution centers and work in the back rooms of grocery stores.”

  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Drooping smartphone sales mean hard times ahead for Brit chipmaker
    Imagination Tech says Big Two mobemakers shipping fewer units in Q2

    British chip firm Imagination Technologies has said that a slowdown in the top end of the smartphone market, where Apple and Samsung dominate, will hit the number of chips it ships in the second half of the year.

    The company warned that it now expected its partners, including the fruity firm, to need between 580 million and 630 million chips in Q2, down from its previous forecast of around 650 million.

    “There will continue to be fluctuations and changes in the markets in which we operate”

  36. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Much of the laptops chargers may interfere with the operation of other electrical equipment. The pan-European study shows that only a quarter of the chargers were compliant.

    The study says tuk (Safety and Chemicals Agency), which explained the situation, with the 18 other EU;’s market authority.

    Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC electromagnetic compatibility) to ensure that electrical equipment is functioning properly in conjunction with other same platform of devices. Products tested, only 23 percent met all the requirements of the EMC.

    Shortcomings of electromagnetic compatibility can affect the operation of other electrical equipment.

    Laptop chargers surveillance project was carried out during the year. Finland was tested in ten different products available here. Two of them were placed the ban on exports. In addition, given a few comments on labeling and documentation deficiencies.

    “In most cases, in charge devices with markings and documents were not in order, was also exceeded emissions requirements,”

    According to him, the campaign results show that the laptops charging equipment manufacturers electromagnetic compatibility still a lot of room for improvement.

    Source: http://www.tietokone.fi/artikkeli/uutiset/suuri_osa_kannettavien_latureista_ongelmaisia

  37. Tomi Engdahl says:

    What Goes Around Comes Around

    Cloud-based software seems to work well. It reminds me of pre-Internet times when I rented time on corporate mainframes at night and loaded data over the telephone. Funny how things stay the same even though they change.

    This statement was made by a user of an entirely browser-based simulation platform who obviously has seen at least 40 years of progress in technological development. It reflects a positive attitude towards new technologies and, in particular, cloud computing, based on experience with it and on the perception of a reassuring continuity.

    This continuity or reappearance of certain practices lies in the common use of hardware and the “on-demand” payment structure for computing time, and also in shared computing resources. However, whereas this was once a necessity, due to its scarce availability, nowadays it’s a commodity.

    A designer who previously worked his models out on his drawing table and then sent them to his client, now creates a CAD model, uploads it on a platform to show it to colleagues or so he can modify and improve it, then sends it to the customer. And this comes at a low or no cost, with the communicative and interactive possibility to share and work on it.

  38. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google Said to Mull Designing Chips in Threat to Intel

    Google Inc. (GOOG) is considering designing its own server processors using technology from ARM Holdings Plc (ARM), said a person with knowledge of the matter, a move that could threaten Intel Corp. (INTC)’s market dominance.

    By using its own designs, Google could better manage the interactions between hardware and software, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Google, among the largest buyers of server processors, has made no decision and plans could change, said the person.

    “We are actively engaged in designing the world’s best infrastructure,” said Liz Markman, a spokeswoman for Google. “This includes both hardware design (at all levels) and software design.” Markman declined to say whether the company may develop its own chips.

    Google has been designing its own data centers around the world with servers to power search, video, online communications and other features. Moving into chip design could take away revenue from Intel, which has counted on Internet companies to help drive processor sales.

    Job openings at Google include one for a “digital design engineer” with qualifications in ASICs, or application-specific integrated circuits, a commonly-used chip.

  39. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IMC-Hall Current Sensor

    The new IMC-Hall current sensor MLX91205 is a single axis integrated magnetic sensor based on the Hall Effect. It produces an analog linear, ratio-metric output voltage proportional to the applied magnetic field parallel with the chip surface.

    The circuit is fabricated using a standard CMOS process. The additional ferromagnetic layer (IMC-Hall = Integrated Magnetic Concentrator, Triaxis Technology) that is added in a simple post-processing step, amplifies the magnetic field and concentrates it on the Hall elements. Therefore, the circuit features very high magnetic sensitivity, low offset, and low noise.

    The MLX91205 is ideally suited for current sensing in automotive and industrial environments.

  40. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Modules Speed Development, Decrease Costs in Medical Equipment Designs
    Posted Nov 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Developments and trends on the electronics market are generally quickly reflected on the electrical medical equipment market. Cost pressure and time constraints are also heightened here, forcing companies to focus on their core competencies.

  41. Tomi Engdahl says:

    High Speed RS-485/RS-422 Transceiver

    The MAX14783E is a 3.3V/5V ESD-protected transceiver intended for half-duplex RS-485/RS-422 communication up to 42Mbps. The device is optimized for high speeds over extended cable runs while maximizing tolerance to noise. The MAX14783E integrated protection features include short-circuit-protected outputs, hot-swap functionality, and a true fail-safe receiver, guaranteeing a logic-high receiver output when inputs are shorted or open. Hotswap capability eliminates undesired transitions on the bus during power-up or hot insertion.

  42. Tomi says:

    Google Adds to Its Menagerie of Robots

    BigDog, Cheetah, WildCat and Atlas have joined Google’s growing robot menagerie.

    Google confirmed on Friday that it had completed the acquisition of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. The company, based in Waltham, Mass., has gained an international reputation for machines that walk with an uncanny sense of balance and even — cheetahlike — run faster than the fastest humans.

    Boston Dynamics’ walking robots have a reputation for being extraordinarily agile, able to walk over rough terrain and handle surfaces that in some cases are challenging even for humans.

    It is the eighth robotics company that Google has acquired in the last half-year. Executives at the Internet giant are circumspect about what exactly they plan to do with their robot collection.

    “Competitions like the Darpa Robotics Challenge stretch participants to try to solve problems that matter and we hope to learn from the teams’ insights around disaster relief,” Mr. Rubin said in a statement released by Google.

    Mr. Rubin has called his robotics effort a “moonshot,” but has declined to describe specific products that might come from the project.

  43. Tomi says:

    3D Printed, Solderless Circuits

    If you’re looking for yet another alternative to etching your own PCBs, then check out this new Instructable on 3D printing test circuits!

    This 3D printed option probably won’t suit all your circuit-building needs, but it could provide an excellent shortcut for your next hack!

    3D Printing: 3D Print A Solderless Circuit Board

    1- A circuit board is designed and printed on a PLA filament printer, in this case it was a MakerBot Replicator 2. The board consists of trace channels with standard .1″ spacing and holes for the components.

    2- Components are inserted in the board and the leads bent over.

    3- The trace channels are filled with a conductive material. In this case, I used a commercial conductive paint that is highly conductive, but you can also make your own conductive material.

    The result is a working circuit board that is not as vibration resistant as a soldered circuit board, but can be quite useful for experimental circuits and prototypes.

  44. Tomi Engdahl says:

    ST Offers Integrated IC Energy Harvester

    STMicroelectronics on Tuesday released the new SPV1050 low-power IC energy harvester and battery charger that connects to solar and micro-electric sources. It includes an environmentally-friendly design and integration of dual LDOs and MPPT as well as a charger supporting all battery types.

    “Energy harvesting delivers environmental benefits and helps reduce equipment ownership costs, and is used increasingly as energy-conversion efficiency rises and typical system power demands fall,” said Matteo Lo Presti, group vice president and general manager, Industrial and Power Conversion Division, STMicroelectronics, in a statement. “The tremendous operational and energy-harvesting efficiency of the SPV1050, combined with its unparalleled flexibility and feature integration, enables engineers to realize many new opportunities in industrial and consumer markets.”

  45. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Graphene-based Nanoantennas Could Speed Up Wireless Networks

    Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology say they’ve demonstrated via computer modeling that nano-antennas made from graphene could enable networks of nanomachines.

    Aside from enabling communication between nanomachines, the graphene antennas could be used in mobile phones and Internet-connected laptops to help them communicate faster.

    “We are exploiting the peculiar propagation of electrons in graphene to make a very small antenna that can radiate at much lower frequencies than classical metallic antennas of the same size,” said Ian Akyildiz, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, in a press release. “We believe that this is just the beginning of a new networking and communications paradigm based on the use of graphene.”

  46. Tomi Engdahl says:

    StEP E-waste WorldMap

    The e-waste issue is hard to grasp due to a lack of comprehensive data. Though there is considerable knowledge about the negative environmental and health impacts through primitive recycling methods, a better information about the quantitative and qualitative dimensions associated with the e-waste problem would make it more understandable and be more useful in order to better inform policy making at the private and public levels.

    This first-of-a-kind e-waste world-map provides comparable, country-level data on the amount of electrical and electronic equipment put on the market and the resulting amount of e-waste generated in most countries around the world.

  47. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Army Laser Passes Drone-Killing Test

    How do you eliminate a drone? With a giant frickin’ laser beam.

  48. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Rambus and Micron Bury the Hatchet; All Memory Players Now License Rambus Tech
    by Ryan Smith on December 11, 2013 10:00 PM EST

    Bringing an end to a saga that has spanned over a decade and most of the life of this site, what’s widely considered the final major legal battle between Rambus and a memory manufacturer has come to an end. Burying the hatchet, Micron and Rambus ended their fight this week with Micron finally agreeing to license Rambus’s technologies and to pay royalties for their use.

    According to the Wall Street Journal Micron will be paying Rambus a 0.6% royalty rate on all impacted products, which given Rambus’s wide patent holdings essentially covers all forms of DDR SDRAM and in turn impacts vast majority of Micron’s RAM offerings. The agreement will run for 7 years, with Micron having the option to renew it at that time (as some of Rambus’s patents should still be valid even in 2020). Notably the royalty rates are capped at $10 million per quarter – adding up to $280 million over the period of the 7 year agreement – so the final price tag will depend on Micron’s DRAM revenue if they end up staying under the cap.

  49. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Avago to Acquire LSI
    by Kristian Vättö on December 16, 2013 2:50 PM EST

    Within the last year, there have been several major acquisitions in the storage industry. Western Digital acquired STEC, Virident, and Velobit; SanDisk acquired SMART; and now Toshiba is taking over OCZ’s assets. With two weeks of 2013 left, there’s still time for one more: Avago, a company which supplies a variety of semiconductors, is acquiring LSI for $6.6 billion in cash.

    Avago may not be a familiar name to most of you but there is a good chance that you own a device with an Avago chip in it. The iPhone 5 along with multiple other Apple devices uses an LTE duplexer module and power amplifier from Avago but these are chips that don’t usually get much attention. In terms of the storage industry, Avago’s focus is on the enterprise side and they make Fibre Channel transceivers and Fiber Optics for instance.

    For Avago, the motive behind the acquisition is LSI’s IP and know-how. With LSI’s product portfolio Avago will be able to expand their offerings in the storage industry and move to a more vertically integrated business model.

  50. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Factory Automation Design & the AC-DC Equation

    In factory automation, the best solution isn’t always the most obvious. From a design perspective it is important for the engineer to ask, “What is the end goal?” The design challenge isn’t simply getting a series of off-the-shelf components to work together. Instead, it is determining the best way to integrate the power, logic, and the power-conversion devices that convert rotary motion to linear motion in the smallest, most flexible package achievable. That frequently means analyzing whether AC or DC motors represent the best option.


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