Semiconductor Engineering sat down with Taher Madraswala, president of Open-Silicon, to talk about future challenges, opportunities and changes. What follows are excerpts of that interview. SE: What worries you most?Madraswala: What worries me at the industry-level is the growing effect that business constraints are having on product innovation. We’ve done a very good job of advancing the manufacturing technology – like shrinking from 20nm to 16nm and 14nm. We have proven it to ourselves that we can solve very difficult technical problems. But it’s the business side that needs to change. Collectively, the industry needs to find a way to bring innovation back to the levels we used to have in the early 2000s. For example, we have not moved design starts from 28nm to 16nm as fast as we wanted to purely because of the growing cost of designs. As we create more complex architectures, we must find ways to enable the industry to foot that bill in order to continue to … [Read more...] about Executive Insight: Taher Madraswala
Iot device to device communication
These days, whenever a group of roboticists gets together to talk shop, the subject almost inevitably turns to Google and its secretive robotics division. What are those guys up to? The curiosity is understandable. It’s been nearly three years since Google made its huge move into robotics by acquiring an impressive and diverse group of companies, including Meka and Redwood Robotics, Industrial Perception, Bot & Dolly, Holomni, Autofuss, Schaft, Reflexxes, and, most notably, Boston Dynamics. Google’s robotics division, which has some of the world’s brightest robotics engineers and some of the most advanced robotics hardware ever built, has been working quietly at various secluded locations in California, Massachusetts, and Tokyo, and details about their plans have been scarce. Earlier this year, following Google’s reorganization as Alphabet, the robotics unit became part of X, Alphabet’s experimental technology lab, or as the company calls it, … [Read more...] about What 17 Prominent Roboticists Think Google Should Do With Its Robots
With much industry fanfare last month, Dutch telco KPN announced that it had completed nationwide coverage of the Netherlands in a wireless Internet of things network. Like a traditional cellular network, but with far lower costs and energy requirements, KPN’s network can connect sensors monitoring everything from rail switches at Utrecht Central station to depth sounders at the Port of Rotterdam and baggage handling at Schiphol Airport. A spate of similar Internet of things (IoT) networks are going up in France, Germany, South Korea, and elsewhere across the globe. Still, it remains a question whether enough fee-paying devices will connect to cover the cost of building this infrastructure (see “$32 Billion Buyout of ARM Is a Giant Bet on the Internet of Things”). So far, KPN has contracts inked to connect 1.5 million devices, according to Jacob Groote, the executive in charge of mobile services at KPN. Not all 1.5 million are yet connected, he says, and even … [Read more...] about Europe Builds a Network for the Internet of Things. Will the Devices Follow?
As the Internet of Things grows, sensors and other devices must collect and transmit data while consuming as little power as possible. One way to do this is to take advantage of backscatter by having IoT devices reflect radiofrequency signals transmitted to them. Tuned properly, these waves can deliver information over short distances. A team from the University of Washington, with the Internet of Things in mind, has expanded the range of backscatter to several kilometers. Last week, the group presented research at Ubicomp 2017. They showed that small sensors, transmitting signals using a special modulation technique, can backscatter data over greater distances than ever before. That group plans to commercialize its technology through a startup called Jeeva Wireless, and expects to have a commercial backscatter system for sale within six months. If backscatter can be used over long distances, it would be easier to build huge networks of sensors that could … [Read more...] about Low-Power Devices Use Backscatter to Transmit Data Several Kilometers
The embedded systems market is expected to enjoy steady growth in the near future—provided those systems can be adequately secured.One of the biggest challenges for embedded devices and systems, especially those employed in the Internet of Things, is adequately protecting them from increasingly sophisticated hacking. This is a new tool for criminal enterprises, and a very lucrative one because it can be done remotely with little fear of being caught. Even when hackers are caught, they rarely are prosecuted, which has not gone unnoticed by criminal enterprises. A lack of reprisal has allowed them to recruit some of the best and brightest programmers.The disruption that can be caused by unsecured IoT devices was dramatically demonstrated a year ago, when cyberattacks on Dyn DNS (now Oracle Dyn Global Business Unit) shut down some highly popular websites for much of one day. While no attacks of similar scale have occurred since then, cybersecurity experts expect there are more to … [Read more...] about Security For Embedded Electronics
The Internet of Things continues to evolve, attempting to overcome its poor reputation for cybersecurity and making the case for wider adoption, especially by enterprises. Consumer IoT, largely represented in smart-home automation, remains a market being targeted by Amazon, Apple, Google, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, and other technology titans.The big bucks are in Industrial IoT, though. That market has attracted AT&T, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Verizon Communications, and hundreds of startups. Some of those startups, such as C3 IoT and Uptake Technologies, have achieved “unicorn” status and attracted significant investments. The Chicago-based Uptake is a shining example of the industry transition from platform-as-a-service business models to software-as-a-service.Many of the savvier startups are adding artificial intelligence and machine learning to their technology portfolios, complementing their IoT focus.Ron Lowman, strategic marketing manager for IoT at … [Read more...] about What’s Next for the IoT?
How can the Internet of Things change the future of the average citizen? To answer this question, imec joins forces with the City of Antwerp and the Flanders region to turn Antwerp into a Living Lab in which businesses, researchers, local residents and the city itself will experiment with smart technologies that aim to make urban life more pleasant, enjoyable and sustainable.“Making life in cities more pleasant and sustainable, using everything that our technology has to offer, that is what Smart Cities is all about,” says Philippe Muyters, Flemish Minister for the Economy. “And imec, as a world-class research center, is the right partner to make this happen. With imec’s expertise, we can build a smart city with an open, secure and scalable infrastructure. A smart city where everyone has the opportunity to develop ideas and work together to create the future of Antwerp and the Flanders region.” Through imec, Flanders will invest €4 million annually … [Read more...] about imec collaborates with City of Antwerp and Flanders to establish Smart City Living Lab
Microphones, from those in smartphones to hearing aids, are built specifically to hear the human voice -- humans can't hear at levels higher than 20 kHz, and microphones max out at around 24 kHz, meaning that microphones only capture the sound we can hear with our ears.However, researchers at the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois have designed a sound that is completely inaudible to humans (40 kHz or above) yet is audible to any microphone. The sound combines multiple tones that, when interacting with the microphone's mechanics, create what researchers call a "shadow," which is a sound that the microphones can detect.The team, which includes PhD student Nirupam Roy and CSL Professors Romit Roy Choudhury and Haitham Hassanieh, see many applications for this work. This work won Best Paper Award, titled "BackDoor: Making Microphones Hear Inaudible Sounds," at a leading conference, MobiSys 2017."Imagine having a private conversation with someone. You can … [Read more...] about Researchers Design Sounds That Can Be Recorded By Microphones but Inaudible to Humans
By the time you read this, I'll have finished swearing in the privacy of my office, and likely will have entered the acceptance stage of grief. Already, realization is dawning that I was right to withhold hope that Apple would reveal a new Apple TV at its WorldWide Developers Conference on Monday.I hate it when pessimism wins.So what gives? If WWDC isn't set to kick off until next week, how can I know that Apple isn't going to introduce a new Apple TV? Isn't Apple the most secretive consumer tech company ever devised?Blame it on Brian X. Chen, reporting for The New York Times, who got it from two unidentified informants "briefed on the product."There is a sliver of hope that his briefed buddies were horribly misinformed or making stuff up, but it's not like this is a rumor spawned from some little bird and vaguely repeated on Twitter. The only good news is that I haven't seen anyone corroborate Chen's report yet -- just repeat it -- and repeat it a lot, in pretty much all the key WWDC … [Read more...] about OPINION It’s Hard to See WWDC Through My Apple TV Tears
Turing Robotic Industries this week announced that it has uninstalled Google's Android mobile platform in favor ofJolla's Sailfish OS in its yet-to-appear secure smartphone.The Turing Phone, molded from a single unit of the Liquidmorphium liquid-metal alloy, is designed to be more durable to absorb shocks and prevent screen breakage.Preorder pricing ranges from US$610 for the 16-GB version to $870 for the 128-GB model.TRI started taking preorders for the smartphone last year. It delayed the planned shipping date of Dec. 18 to resolve remaining developmental steps for the device, including its security platform and operating system. The new projected shipping date is in April.Customers found out about the OS switch this week through an email.The Sailfish OS is optimized to run fast on the Turing Phones and the Snapdragon 801 processor, according to the notice."It has a super-secured platform environment, which Android lacks, and it does not use Java for UI (Android). So Turing targets … [Read more...] about Rugged Turing Phone to Run on Sailfish OS, Not Android