Category Archives: Product

Updates from Georgia Tech

New Projects Create a Foundation for Next-Gen Flexible Electronics
By Josh Brown – Four projects set to move forward at the Georgia Institute of Technology aim to lay the groundwork for manufacturing next-generation flexible electronics, which have the potential to make an impact on industries ranging from health care to defense.

Researchers at Georgia Tech are partnering with Boeing, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, General Electric, and DuPont as well other research institutions such as Binghamton University and Stanford University on the projects.

Flexible electronics are circuits and systems that can be bent, folded, stretched or conformed without losing their functionality. The systems are often created using machines that can print components such as logic, memory, sensors, batteries, antennas, and various passives using conductive ink on flexible surfaces. Combined with low-cost manufacturing processes, flexible hybrid electronics unlock new product possibilities for a wide range of electronics used in the health care, consumer products, automotive, aerospace, energy and defense sectors.

“Flexible electronics will make possible new products that will help us address problems associated with food supply, clean water, clean energy, health, infrastructure, and safety and security,” said Suresh Sitaraman, a professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, who is leading Georgia Tech’s flexible electronics activities. more> https://goo.gl/qjx3UT

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The Electric Car Rush Started Too Early

By Leonid Bershidsky – The hyped-up electric vehicle revolution, driven by a fear of being left behind and overzealous regulation, may be forcing car companies to make expensive mistakes. The modern electric vehicle is conceptually inconsistent with how people want to use cars, and in many countries the environmental effect of switching to EVs is negligible.

To spend heavily on electrification, companies have to believe forecasts from experts who don’t have skin in the game. McKinsey, for example, recently put out a report arguing that consumer interest in electric cars is growing. All automakers need to do is keep up incremental improvements and advertising more to increase awareness.

That could turn out to be wishful thinking, because the modern EV caters to a specific-use scenario that increasingly doesn’t work for today’s consumers. more> https://goo.gl/kg48lX

Updates from Boeing

737 MAX 9 Factory Rollout
Boeing – Following on from 737 MAX 8 rollout and flight test, we are now rolling out the first new 737 MAX 9, right on schedule.

737 MAX 9 is the perfect answer to the need for growth while maintaining maximum airline profitability. As well as 16 more seats than the incredibly popular 737 MAX 8, it offers lower trips costs than the competition, the lowest trip costs, which minimizes the risk airlines take on as they grow. And yet provides more than enough additional seats to deliver consistently higher profits through all market conditions.

What’s more, 737 MAX 9 enables airlines to reach farther than almost every single-aisle route they operate today. It has the longest range in its sector without the investment in any auxiliary fuel tanks, and with one auxiliary tank, matches the versatility of the 737 MAX 8 with a range of 3,515 nautical miles. more> https://goo.gl/FsrDdR

Apple vs Qualcomm. It Is More Than Money


By Gabe Moretti – I t would be impossible to grow an industry without standards that make it possible for various portion of the industry to cooperate and allow tools and methods to work together. To this end that are organizations that develop, distribute, and manage such standards. The IEEE is the one most familiar in the US.

Qualcomm and Apple are both members of ETSI, an SSO based in Sofia Antipolis, France, which includes more than 800 members from countries across five continents. ETSI produces globally accepted standards for the telecommunications industry. For example, ETSI created or helped to create numerous telecommunication standards, including the 2G/GSM, 3G/UMTS, and4G/LTE cellular communication standards.

Developing a standard requires the contribution of Intellectual Property (IP) by entities, usually corporate entities, universities, or other research organizations. Offering IP without restrictions would, almost always, hurt the offering entity financially, so a legal tool that protects it has been developed. For patents that companies have declared “essential” to the standard, patent law is reinforced by contractual obligations to license such patents on Fair, Reasonable, And non-Discriminatory commitments. The legal wording of the tool is called a FRAND (or RAND) commitment. The entire issue revolves around the definition of the term “Reasonable.”

The first thing to be realized is that this claim is about how to share revenue, not about standard making processes. Apple wants a larger share of revenue from the sale of its product, while Qualcomm wants to protect what it gets right now by re-defining how royalties are computed. Yet, there are other issues raised that may impact the electronics industry and EDA vendors.

Should royalties be fixed at a certain amount regardless of the sale price of the unit that use the licensed IP? Or, as Qualcomm contends, should royalties be a percentage of the price charged to the customer? more> https://goo.gl/rcESby

Updates from GE

By Tomas Kellner – Until now. GE is taking a second look at nimble robots that can operate in tough spots. Last year, GE Ventures invested in Sarcos Robotics, an innovative company developing robots for tasks that are too difficult or dangerous for humans.

“We are really focused on the part of robotics that is about human augmentation, as opposed to human replacement,” says Sarcos Co-founder and President Fraser Smith.

These are no assembly line robots, either. Ben Wolff, Sarcos chairman and CEO, says his engineers are building dexterous robots that can do meaningful work in unpredictable or unstructured environments. Echoing Mosher’s vision, the machines can navigate new surroundings and have “very fine motor controls that allow them to manipulate objects in exactly the same way you would with your arms if you could lift so much,” Wolff says.

One such machine, the remotely operated Sarcos Guardian S snake robot, can crawl inside and inspect steam pipes within a nuclear power plant or oil storage tank. “Rather than sending a human rappelling down an 80-foot wall to look for corrosion inside a petroleum storage tank, we can send the robot,” Wolff says. more> https://goo.gl/9pYRJh

Updates from GE

Honey, I Shrunk The Contract: How Plain English Is Helping GE Keep Its Business Humming
By Kristin Kloberdanz – When GE Aviation combined its three digital businesses into a single Digital Solutions unit nearly four years ago, their salespeople were eager to speed up the growth they had seen in the years before the move. They found plenty of enthusiastic customers, but they struggled to close their deals.

The reason: Customers often needed to review and sign contracts more than 100 pages long before they could start doing business.

The new business inherited seven different contracts from the three units. The clunky documents were loaded with legalese, redundancies, archaic words and wordy attempts to cover every imaginable legal. No wonder they languished unread for months. “We would call, and customers would say, ‘I can’t get through this,'” says Karen Thompson, Digital Solutions contracts leader at GE Aviation. “And that was before they even sent it to their legal team! Who is going to pick up a 100-plus-page document and sort through it to find language they disagree with? We were having trouble moving past that part to what we needed to do, which was sell our services.”

For those customers who did read the contract, negotiations would drag on and on.

That’s when Shawn Burton, Digital Solutions’ general counsel at the time, aided by a squadron of intrepid employees spread across GE, decided to deploy a disruptive and unconventional contract weapon: plain speak. Burton harked back to his law school days when he studied Plain Language, a way to condense the written word to the clear basics. He dusted off his textbooks and, with the help of his GE language commandos, used it to write a new contract. “I applied a litmus test: If someone in high school couldn’t pick this up and understand it without any context, it wasn’t plain enough,” he says.

Burton then launched a Plain Language workshop for his team where he actually dropped the old contract into a garbage can with a satisfying thud. more> https://goo.gl/HZwpno

Updates from Adobe

How to Create a Surreal Photo Collage
By Terri Stone – When you composite photos, you usually don’t want the result to look like a composite. Even if the final scene is fantastical, your aim is to transport viewers into another world. Filip Hodas, a 24-year-old freelance artist from Prague, has been creating convincing digital realities for years. Now he’’ agreed to share his process.

To make the otherworldly landscape featured here, Hodas relied heavily on Adobe Photoshop CC layer masks. He placed each source image on its own layer and then used layer masks to hide and reveal parts of each. He also used layer masks to adjust color and add highlights and shadows.

Next came a Color Balance adjustment layer, which he added to the background images so their colors would be a better match. Trees on the right side of the horizon image were distracting, so he removed them with the Clone Stamp tool.

Hodas knows that small details can have a big impact on a composite’s overall look, so his next step was to refine the foreground image’s mask. That softened jagged edges a little and removed a slight yellow outline. more> https://goo.gl/7jat2c

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Make Chips Do More and Last Longer with Embedded FPGA


By Geoff Tate – The cost and the time to design ASSP/ASIC/SoCs keeps rising.

Also, customers are demanding more flexibility in chips so their systems can be upgraded for critical changes (such as protocols/standards), which increases the useful life of their systems and increases their ROI.

For example, in data centers, customers are now seeking reconfigurability. Rather than a fork-lift upgrade when standards evolve, data centers want programmable chips so they can upgrade the data center’s ability during the life of the center without touching the hardware. This also gives the data center the option to customize for added competitive advantage. As Doug Burger of Microsoft said at a recent talk at FPL 2016, (Re)Configurable Clouds will change the world with the ability to reprogram a datacenter’s hardware protocols: networking, storage, security. Adding FPGA technology into the mix is a key in doing this. Embedded FPGA technology is now available to increase performance while lowering cost and power.

Another example is microcontrollers. In older process nodes such as 90nm where mask costs are cheap, a line card can have dozens or hundreds of versions. This offers each customer the small differences in, for example, the number and types of serial interfaces (SPI, I2C, UART, etc). However, now that leading edge microcontrollers are moving to 40nm where masks cost $1M each, microcontroller manufacturers need a programmable way to customize their chips and offer multiple SKUs. Adding this capability also opens the path for their customers to customize the MCUs themselves, similar to how they now write C code for the on-board processors. There are a few microcontrollers today, such as Cypress’ PSoC, which offer some limited customizability. However, only embedded FPGA can provide more and scalable customizability. more> https://goo.gl/9xx7sC

Updates from GE

GE Just Turned the World’s Most Powerful Jet Engine Into A 65-Megawatt Power Plant
By Tomas Kellner – GE is taking the world’s largest jet engine and turning it into a power plant. The machine’s beating heart comes from the GE90-115B, which is the largest and most powerful jet engine, capable of producing 127,900 pounds of thrust, according to Guinness World Records. The electricity generator, which GE calls LM9000, will be able to generate a whopping 65 megawatts — enough to supply of 6,500 homes — and reach full power in 10 minutes.

The technology is also a good example of what GE calls the GE Store — the system of sharing technology, research and expertise among its many businesses. Today, aeroderivatives power towns and factories but also oil platforms and ships. more> https://goo.gl/dSwnhF

Updates from Autodesk

Motion CaptVRe
CADInnovation.com – Motion capture, and the way it is used in game development, is improving rapidly. No longer used solely by animators to record and store an actor’s performance, the technology is expanding into new areas. Those working with it on a daily basis are excited to see where this might lead.

Technology’s inevitable march forward means that motion capture can now occur in realtime, with an actor’s movements being instantly reflected in a game. Not only does this benefit animators by streamlining their process, but it also opens doors to other applications, like virtual reality. The HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR all take advantage of motion capture technology to allow players to interact with virtual worlds. Not as advanced as that used in an animation studio, perhaps, but with time this can only improve.

“The biggest advance in mo-cap, in my opinion, is linked to the VR push,” says Alexandre Pechev, CEO of motion capture middleware provider IKinema. more> https://goo.gl/3vY2NT