Electronic Engineering Times 2010
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Mr.Kishore, CEO of ImpelCRM sharing his insights at Electronic Engineering Times.

Mr.Kishore, CEO of ImpelCRM sharing his insights at Electronic Engineering Times.

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    Electronic Engineering Times 2010 Electronic Engineering Times 2010 Document Transcript

    • EE Times THE NEWS SOURCE FOR THE CREATORS OF TECHNOLOGY ISSUE 1589 MONDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2010 WWW.EETIMES.COM
    • For samples, design kits and whitepapers on these topics, go to: www.avagoresponsecenter.com/441 over 5,000 patents and applications © 2010 Avago Technologies. All rights reserved. MicroPOD, LaserStream and CoolPAM are trademarks of Avago Technologies
    • Japan hangs hat on Android, sensors 12 EE Times THE NEWS SOURCE FOR THE CREATORS OF TECHNOLOGY ISSUE 1589 MONDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2010 WWW.EETIMES.COM INDIA’S LOFTY IP AMBITIONS 26
    • CONTENTS OCTOBER 11, 2010 An EE Times Group Publication® (516) 562-5000; Fax: (516) 562-5325 34 Online: www.eetimes.com CEO, EE Times Group PUBLISHER Paul Miller (415) 947-6631 paul.miller@ubm.com EDITOR IN CHIEF Junko Yoshida (516) 232-7845 junko.yoshida@ubm.com NEWS DIRECTOR George Leopold (516) 562-5090 george.leopold@ubm.com EXECUTIVE EDITOR/EDITOR IN CHIEF, EE TIMES EDGE Nicolas Mokhoff (516) 562-5625 nicolas.mokhoff@ubm.com ART DIRECTOR Debee Rommel (516) 562-5280 debee.rommel@ubm.com SEMICONDUCTORS EDITOR Mark LaPedus (408) 238-6840 mark.lapedus@ubm.com COMPUTING, MEDICAL DEVICES EDITOR Rick Merritt (408) 930-7372 rick.merritt@ubm.com WEST COAST ONLINE EDITOR Dylan McGrath (415) 738-6428 dylan.mcgrath@ubm.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, DESIGN AND PRODUCTS Patrick Mannion (516) 562-5060 patrick.mannion@ubm.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, EMBEDDED, EVENTS OPINION INTELLIGENCE Ron Wilson (415) 947-6317 ronald.wilson@ubm.com 4 Commentary: U.S. must 34 IBM characterizes fast-track rare earth policy single-atom memory PRODUCTS STRATEGIST Brian Fuller (415) 947-6244 58 Last Word: When tight lips 36 iSuppli trims industry ronald.wilson@ubm.com sink projects growth projection for 2010 EUROPE Peter Clarke, LONDON; EUROPEAN NEWS DIRECTOR (011) 44 7767 865593 peter.clarke@ubm.com Anne-Françoise Pelé, PARIS EDITOR NEWS OF THE TIMES DESIGN + PRODUCTS (011) 33 1 73 28 17 76 afpele@techinsights.com Colin Holland, LONDON EDITOR 9 Microsemi’s play for Actel 39 Global Feature: Network- vs. (011) 44 20 8319 1324 colin.holland@ubm.com raises questions for FPGAs host-based processing INDIA K.C. Krishnadas, EDITOR TECHONLINE kckrishnadas@yahoo.com 12 Japan hangs hat on 47 Under the Hood Android, sensors at CEATEC Semiconductor scaling: CONTRIBUTORS Strong medicine for home David Carey, END-SYSTEMS ANALYSIS (512) 338-3654 dcarey@ubmtechinsights.com 18 Mixed reviews health care for Logitech’s Revue R. Colin Johnson, TECHNOLOGY (971) 570-4162 RColinJohnson@gmail.com 51 Planet Analog: Dc-level GLOBAL WATCH Bill Schweber, ANALOG DESIGN mismatch in multi-gigabit (781) 839-1248 bill.schweber@ubm.com Ismini Scouras, NEW PRODUCTS serial data transmission (347) 312-3162 ismini.scouras@gmail.com 22 Toshiba’s glasses-free COPY DESK 3-D TV: Worth the wait? Diana Scheben, CHIEF COPY EDITOR EE LIFE diana.scheben@ubm.com Susan Rambo, COPY EDITOR 23 Renesas reaches for cloud 56 Pop Culture: Software (415) 947-6675 susan.rambo@ubm.com markets with SoC strategy omission sounds alarm ART/PRODUCTION Mara Cruz, ART DIRECTOR, ONLINE for cross-team dialogue mara.cruz@ubm.com COVER STORY SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES Investigations: CRT team (800) 577-5356; Fax (847) 763-9606, www.subscribeeetimes.com 26 ‘Ideas’ could be India’s reads between the lines CUSTOMER SERVICE next growth industry PO Box # 3609 Northbrook IL 60065- 3257 Postage Due account number - 95562-000. eetimes@omeda.com UNITED BUSINESS MEDIA LLC Pat Nohilly, SENIORVICE PRESIDENT, STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT AND BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION EE Times (ISSN#0192-1541) is published 20 times a year (once in JAN, JULY, AUG, DEC; twice in FEB, MAR, APR, MAY, JUNE, Marie Myers, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, MANUFACTURING SEPT, OCT, NOV) by United Business Media LLC, 600 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY 11030 and is free to qualified engineers Copyright® 2010 All Rights Reserved Printed in the USA and managers involved in engineering decisions. One year subscription rates for others: United States $280; and Canada United Business Media LLC, 600 Community Drive, $324. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to APC Postal Logistics, LLC, P Box 503 RPO W Beaver Cre, Rich-Hill ON L4B .O. Manhasset, N.Y. 11030 4R6. Registered for GST as United Business Media LLC. GST#R13288078, Customer Number 2116057, Agreement Number 40011901. Annual air mail rates to Europe/Mexico, Central/South America, Africa $449; Asia, Australia and New Zealand $518. Mail subscription with check or money order in US Dollars to EE Times, 600 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY 11030 Circulation Dept. Periodicals postage paid at Manhasset, N.Y. and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER Send address changes to EE Times, P Box 2164, Skokie, IL 60076. Please address subscription, inquiries, editorial copy and advertising to .O. EE Times, 600 Community Drive, Manhasset, N.Y. 11030. Copyright 2010 by United Business Media LLC. All rights reserved. October 11, 2010 Electronic Engineering Times 3
    • COMMENTARY U.S. must fast-track policy patents do not expire until 2014. One hopeful sign is a recent contract on rare earth materials between Boeing and U.S. Rare Earths Inc. under which Boeing will use a ver- sion of its remote sensing technology to identify and confirm rare earth deposits at sites for which USRE owns the min- eral rights. USRE will use the Boeing findings to expand its exploration and incorporate large-scale mapping of con- firmed and suspected rare earth The U.S. House of Representatives has deposits. USRE holds the rights to significant approved H.R. 6160, the Rare Earths and Criti- deposits of rare earth elements in the United States, according to the U.S. Geo- cal Materials Revitalization Act of 2010, author- logical Survey. izing development of a domestic rare earth Meanwhile, Molycorp Inc., currently acknowledged to be the Western Hemi- materials program to address short-term scarci- sphere’s only producer of rare earths, this month rehired Stan Trout as direc- ties and ensure long-term supply for the tor of magnet manufacturing to nation’s security, economic and industrial advance its “mines to magnets” strategy of modernizing and expanding its requirements. The nod comes none too soon. Mountain Pass., Calif., processing facili- ty. Trout is considered a leading expert According to a Bloomberg report, tronic components that use rare earth in the design and manufacture of per- China in July reduced rare earth export elements—could hold consequences for manent rare earth magnets. For the past quotas for the rest of the year by 72 per- producers of electronics. 10 years, he ran industry consultancy cent, inflating prices more The GAO report states Spontaneous Materials. Before that, he than sixfold for some rare that the fate of materials worked for Magnequench—one of the earth materials vital to the based on such elements as last companies to make neodymium- energy, military, electronics neodymium, dysprosium iron-boron permanent rare earth mag- and manufacturing sectors. and terbium is largely in nets in the United States—as well as for The U.S. Government the hands of Chinese sup- Hitachi Magnetics, Crucible Magnetics Accountability Office, in a pliers. China has adopted and Recoma, in addition to his first stint briefing to congressional domestic production quotas at Molycorp. committees on “Rare Earth on rare earth materials Trout helped pioneer the use of per- Materials in the Defense while slashing export quo- manent rare earth magnets in early MRI Supply Chain,” warns that tas. It has increased export equipment as well as in other applica- while rare earth ore Rebuilding taxes on all rare earth mate- tions. He “is one of the few individuals deposits are geographically the supply rials to a range of 15 to 25 in the United States who has the knowl- diverse, current capabili- percent. edge and practical experience necessary ties to process rare earth chain for Still think China’s indus- to lead our rebuilding of this manufac- metals into finished mate- these critical trial ambitions are purely turing capacity in the U.S., which Moly- rials are limited mostly to resources benevolent? corp is on track to accomplish in 2012,” Chinese sources. The Unit- Rebuilding the U.S. sup- Molycorp CEO Mark Smith said when ed States can no longer could take ply chain for rare earth Trout’s rehiring was announced. claim a role in all stages of 15 years materials to a level that will But it’s going to take a lot of blood, the supply chain for mate- ensure sustainability could sweat and tears to revive the long- rials based on the rare take 15 years. Development neglected rare earth materials manufac- earths, the GAO notes . is dependent on new technologies that turing industry. Molycorp has a long China’s dominance not only has some experts believe will not be avail- history, having discovered the rare implications for global availability and able on a production scale for up to four earth metal bastnasite in Mountain Pass pricing of rare earth-based materials years and will require high startup back in 1949, but it has undergone but also could jeopardize U.S. defense costs. There is also an intellectual prop- many organizational changes in its bid readiness. In a concern closer to the erty rights issue: Japanese and other for- to be an effective producer. The compa- industry, ceding control of both mag- eign companies own key technology ny currently manufactures approxi- netic polarities of the world’s magnets patents for manufacturing neodymium mately 3,000 tons of commercial rare to China—magnets being the key elec iron boron magnets, and some of those earth materials per year. By 2012, it 4 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
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    • COMMENTARY expects to be producing at a rate of Can our elected officials not overcome come to fruition. It needs to start 20,000 tons of rare earth oxide equiva- the Chinese lobbies and all the dollars opening the mines it closed earlier lent per year and to offer a range of rare being thrown at them thanks to all the to catch up. — Nic_Mokhoff earth products, including high-purity extra profits being generated by this oxides, metals, alloys and permanent false scarcity? Boycott Chinese goods Rare earth metals are needed magnets. until they reverse this, or impose an for electric motors [used in China’s export and tariff rule changes equal tax rate on all Chinese imports. products] including hybrid electric for the rare earths are a wakeup call for — new2coding vehicles, commercial wind turbines nations that have let their own capabili- and high-speed ties lapse. The U.S. government must Unfortunately, [exerting pressure on trains. With ‘Yet another fast-track its policy on rare earth miner- al exploration, development and com- the Chinese] is unlikely to be possible. The U.S. and EU . . . are addicted to China trying to corner the lesson that mercialization. cheap Chinese labor and have moved market on rare no nation The rare earths are critical ground. p almost everything to China. Now the earth elements, should Chinese have secured power over it is trying to By Nicolas Mokhoff (nicolas.mokhoff@ production and, gradually, resources. become a cede its ubm.com), editor in chief of EE Times’ We should focus on new technologies major manu- production all-digital editions and executive editor of EE Times that won’t require China’s involve- ment, and [rethink] globalization. facturing player in the above power to — Baolt technology another’ markets. I heard China is soon going to become A recent PBS news segment READERS RESPOND the world’s strongest economy. May be stated there was only one U.S. rare this is one way [it’s getting there]. earth metal mining operation and that Just issue fast-track visas to scientists — Sheetal.Pandey it needed help to get production up. and engineers specialized in rare earth A recent U.S. Geological Survey report refinery technologies. Wow, an export tariff. I haven’t heard found deposits of minerals including The time frame could be cut down of that happening since the 19th cen- rare earth in Afghanistan may be to less than 10 years. — pixies tury. Anybody still think that the worth $1 trillion. Chinese believe in free trade? It seems only fair that U.S. compa- ‘Wow, an I would ask — Kaiser Silicon nies should have mining rights to the export tariff the President Afghan deposits. — Davewav how he plans I just read an article on eetimes.com . . . Anyone to overcome that talks about the development of China is also investing heavily in Africa still think this huge prob- an electric motor that doesn’t rely on and in South America to access natu- lem, since he rare earth magnets (“Japan develops ral resources such as rare earth mate- that the mentions all electric motor sans rare earth metals,” rials. A monopoly or near-monopoly Chinese the time how http://tiny.cc/flhay). Perhaps the rest on these resources is not in the inter- believe in important it is to focus on of the world should follow suit. It seems that we are being sur- est of anybody. I do not think the Chinese officials are stupid [enough] free trade?’ renewable prised by this development [in China], to use these materials as economic energy and to but should we have been surprised? weapons. I believe they are simply stop paying huge amounts of [energy] It makes great business and political trying to secure their own supplies, dollars to the Middle East . . . oh, and sense to control these high-tech met- like any other major power [would do], let’s not forget about bringing industri- als; why would we in the U.S.—or any including the U.S. al jobs back to the U.S. other country—not already be engaged — KB3001 In this case it seems the United in securing supplies? States will pay lots of [materials] dol- It makes me wonder . . . This is yet another lesson that no lars to China, or IP costs to South — Robotics Developer nation should cede its manufacturing Korea and Japan. — Baolt power to another. Too many times, U.S. Our infatuation with low-cost labor companies and the government have Since it will take us quite a few allowed China to call the shots in rare let industries and key technologies years to start getting to the point of earth metals used by the electronics slip away because of financial short- producing these metals, the patents industry. Japan and the U.S. cannot sightedness and failure to support don’t become an issue until they are afford to be cut off. So yes, while national imperatives. — kdboyce being used. Sounds like we are Japan is trying to find alternate solu- already behind in getting started, if tions to using rare earth elements in they expire in 2014! — JLS its motors, the U.S. cannot afford to lJOIN THE CONVERSATION ONLINE wait for this kind of development to http://tiny.cc/96tn5 6 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
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    • News OF THE TIMES Microsemi continues its buying spree with a bid that exploits mil/aero ‘synergies’ but rocks the longstanding FPGA status quo DEALS Microsemi’s play for Actel appeal of Actel products is not sufficient to command high margins. raises questions for FPGA market Garcia said Microsemi would instead focus engineering, marketing and sales By Dylan McGrath resources on applications in which Actel’s low-power, mixed-signal and radiation-hardened FPGAs offer the most value to customers and thus the MICROSEMI CORP. last week logic market leaders Xilinx Inc. and most potential profits to Microsemi. launched a $430 million tender offer for Altera Corp. “We will not continue to “These products are so differentiated programmable logic vendor Actel Corp. dilute profitability by chasing the two in the marketplace,” Garcia said. “We to leverage synergies in the military, big competitors in the marketplace,” he want to take full advantage of that and aerospace and industrial markets, said. “That’s not Microsemi’s game.” continue to grow and build on it.” according to executives. But Microsemi Many interpreted Peterson’s com- Many observers were caught off also plans to stop marketing Actel prod- ments to mean that Microsemi would guard by the proposed acquisition, but ucts into some applications, they said. discontinue some Actel products. Russell Microsemi executives said the two com- James Peterson, Microsemi’s presi- Garcia, Microsemi’s executive vice presi- panies’ common strengths in the mili- dent and CEO, said the company would dent of marketing and sales, later said tary and aerospace segments promise an “disengage” Actel from “nonproductive” his company would not kill any Actel ideal match. “The purpose of this deal is businesses aimed at commercial mar- product lines, but neither would it seek not to enter an FPGA market,” Garcia kets in which Actel lags programmable- further design wins in sockets where the said. “The purpose is to add breadth and October 11, 2010 Electronic Engineering Times 9
    • NEWS OF THETIMES scale to the markets we both play in very well.” Last year, Microsemi made several acquisitions, snapping The acquisition is part of Microsemi’s strategy to “move up up Electro Module Inc., Endwave Corp., Nexem Inc. and a the value chain,” he said. Spectrum Microwave power product line. Craig Berger, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets, echoed According to Garcia and Steven Litchfield, executive vice that comment in a report issued late last week, saying that president and group president of Microsemi’s High Perform- the acquisition would allow Microsemi “to move up the val- ance Analog and Mixed Signal Group, the moves are part of ue curve and supply its defense and aerospace customers the evolution of Microsemi from a vendor of discrete compo- with more sophisticated systems-level solutions.” nents to a supplier of integrated system solutions. Berger noted that the deal would bring Microsemi capabili- Berger said Microsemi “is building meaningful scale with ties in aerospace-targeted flash FPGAs, low-power FPGAs, suppliers and customers as the firm approaches the $200 mil- radiation-hardened FPGAs, FPGAs with integrated ARM Cor- lion-per-quarter revenue level.” tex microcontrollers (Actel’s SmartFusion line), and other anti-tamper technologies. Small player, minimal impact Peterson said Microsemi and Actel have 80 percent overlap Actel is ranked fourth in the FPGA market, with a total share of in common customers and that Actel dominates in many about 6 percent. It reported revenue of $191 million for fiscal mil/aerospace markets. 2009, slightly below Lattice Semiconductor’s $194 million. The Actel acquisition, which is pending the results of a Those results place both companies far behind Xilinx and $20.88 per share cash tender offer in place for 30 days, would Altera, which reported revenue for their most recently con- be the most expensive and ambitious in a string of transac- cluded fiscal years of $1.8 billion and $1.2 billion, respectively.   tions Microsemi has made in recent months. Last month, Ian Ing, an analyst for Gleacher & Co. in San Francisco, said Microsemi acquired the assets of VT Silicon, a maker of that because of Actel’s relative size, the impact of its acquisi- multiband RFIC solutions for the mobile wireless broadband tion on the FPGA market would be small. He said the compa- market. In April, it paid roughly $100 million for White Elec- ny has “tried to make a go” of competing with Xilinx and tronic Designs Corp., a specialist in ICs and modules for Altera in commercial markets with its flash-based FPGAs. defense and aerospace applications. Nonetheless, he expects Microsemi to pull back on those efforts, concentrate on Actel’s strengths in military/aerospace and treat Actel as a “cash cow,” though he added that Microse- mi would probably maintain some level of investment in Actel’s antifuse FPGAs. While an acquisition of Actel wouldn’t have much of a material impact on the programmable logic market, it would shake up a status quo that has been entrenched for many years. Actel, founded in 1985, has never been a dominant sup- plier, but it has been one of only four standalone companies to survive in a market in which dozens have failed. Roughly 50 companies have made plays for FPGA market share since the devices were invented in the late 1980s; nearly all have exited the field, folded or been acquired. In addition to the four established programmable-logic vendors, there are several promising startups, including Achronix Corp., SiliconBlue Technologies Corp. and Tabula Inc. Some established semiconductor vendors, such as Atmel Corp. and Cypress Semiconductor Corp., hold slivers of the programmable-logic market. On news of the tender offer, Actel’s stock gained nearly 31 percent last Monday, closing at $20.95. Peterson said Microsemi was not the only suitor for Actel, though he did not identify the other interested parties. FBR analyst Berger said he was aware of two other bidders for Actel, including a private equity firm. He said he did not expect the other interested parties to raise their bids for Actel, noting that the other suitors would have had ample time to raise their existing bids before Actel’s shares went higher than $20.  Peterson said the terms of Microsemi’s definitive agree- ment with Actel call for the latter company to pay a “breakup fee” of about 3 percent, or about $17.5 million, if the acquisi- tion is not completed.   p 10 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
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    • Intel Channel and Embedded Conference Visiting 20 cities October 19 – November 18, 2010 Enter a drawing for a chance to win! › Bring this insert to be entered. Conference Highlights What is Embedded Intel® Architecture? Hands-on Lab with Intel® Atom™ This introductory class covers Embedded and Communications Processor-based Platforms Group (ECG) core competencies, and shows how they’ve enabled The lab begins with an overview of operating systems and 250 Intel to support the embedded market place for over 30 years. features available for the Intel Atom processor E6xx series-based When leaving this class, you’ll understand why Intel is the number $ microprocessor boards—and then breaks into a comprehensive Gift one choice for embedded applications. hands-on time with one of the latest Intel Atom processor-based platforms. You’ll be able to install the OS of your choice—bringing Card Intel® Atom™ Processor Training you a hands-on experience Enteryour targetfor aincluding disk with a drawing OS, chance to win! space, user interfaces, boot time, and other features. All course Embedded Intel® Atom™ Processor-based Platforms attendees will receive an opportunity to win a voucher for a free Introduction development board based on the Intel Atom processor. In this course you’ll learn about the newest Intel Atom processors: the Intel® Atom™ processor E6xx series. Come Next Generation Intel® Core™ learn why it’s ideal for embedded, how to choose which Intel Processor Training Atom processor is right for you, and what the future holds for the Intel® Atom™ brand of products. You’ll be amazed at Introduction all the innovative uses and devices powered by this new This introductory class shows how the next generation of line of processors. Inte Core processors fits into the Intel® embedded roadmap— specifically in regard to scalable and low-power products such Building Solutions based on Intel® Atom™ as Intel® Core™ i3/i5/i7 processors, and Intel’s next-generation Processor Platforms processors. The class will cover the features, architectural This session will facilitate your “make vs. buy” decision by improvements, and application benefits of the technologies discussing Intel® Embedded Graphics Drivers (IEGD), BIOS and supported, as well as showcasing the available ecosystem. boot loaders, SW tools, and available HW and SW products through Intel Embedded Alliance members. All attendees Visual Computing Capabilities will receive a voucher for a free copy of the new Intel book, This class will highlight the best-in-class HD media capabilities, “Break Away with Intel® Atom™ Processors,” which contains the latest 2D/3D graphics capabilities, and other unique display software details, including power and performance optimization, opportunities for the embedded market. In addition, you’ll see embedded debugging, software solution choices, and many how new capabilities with Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions other topics that influence design decisions. (Intel® AVX) complement Intel® HD graphics hardware to improve video quality and streaming—thus enabling applications like video analytics, image processing, and signal processing. A chance to bring home more than knowledge and ideas! While at the conference, be sure to get your badge scanned at 10 showcase vendor booths so you can enter to win our grand prize: a Spring Peak** notebook, docking station, and Windows*** Visit intelcorp.regsvc.com/t169 now to 7! Also: we’ll be giving away dozens of other great giveaways reserve your place at the conference. throughout the day—including Intel® products as well as branded apparel and sponsor prizes—so keep your eyes and ears as open as your mind! Please fill out the following information: First Name: _____________________________________________ Last Name: _____________________________________________ Locations and dates are subject to change. Copyright © 2010 Intel Corporation. All rights reserved. Intel, the Intel logo, Intel Sponsors of Tomorrow, the Intel Sponsors of Tomorrow logo, Intel Atom, and Intel Core are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. * No purchase necessary. Must be a U.S. resident and 18 years or older to enter. Void where prohibited. See sweepstakes Rules and Regulations for more information at http://intelcorp.regsvc.com/t169. ** Spring Peak featured are used internally within Intel to identify products that are in development and not yet publicly announced for release. Customers, licensees and other third parties are not authorized by Intel to use code names in advertising, promotion or marketing of any product or services and any such use of Intel’s internal code names is at the sole risk of the user. *** Other marks and brands may be claimed as the property of others.
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    • NEWS OF THETIMES CEATEC Japan hangs hat on Android, sensors By Junko Yoshida MAKUHARI, JAPAN — CEATEC, Japan’s premier consumer electronics show, spotlighted three trends that the Japanese industry appears to have embraced as guiding principles: • When in doubt, go with Android. Most Japanese CE ven- dors are in survival mode against Apple and are hanging their hats on Google’s open-source OS for platforms such as smart- phones and media tablets. • Sensors rule. Japanese engineers might have found their true calling: developing products, from robots to home health bThrowing displays a curve care devices, that leverage the power of sensors. Many of the Fujitsu showed curved displays made of thin, lightweight sensor-packed offerings at CEATEC were pretty creative; some materials that can be wrapped around pillars. were pretty strange. The bendable structures consist of glass tubes, filled • Don’t take your eyes off displays. Most Japanese compa- with phosphor and xeon gas, that are vertically aligned in an array. Images are controlled using electrodes attached nies realize they will never be the next Intel or ARM, but they to the back of the tubes. The tubes emit light using the also know that hammering away at display innovations will same principle applied in plasma displays. keep the door open to novel apps and markets. bYour lovin’ teddy bear These high-tech teddies, shown at Fujitsu’s bCybernetic songstress booth, embed a CMOS image sensor, several Japan continues its love affair with robotics, and the objects motors, voice sensors and 13 touch sensors. of its affection grow ever more weirdly realistic. The HRP-4C They wave back when waved at, respond to a entertained a crowd at Yamaha’s booth. Loaded with Yama- smile, and coo and wiggle when touched. ha’s Vocaloid singing synthesis software, she belted out Smarter than the average bear? tunes on request, moving in rhythm with the music and even subtly changing her facial expressions—blinking coyly 12 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010 and smiling—as she sang. What stage presence!
    • IT’S TIME TO GET YOUR MOD ON NEW EPISODES EVERY OTHER MONDAY BROUGHT TO YOU BY We are proud to present The Ben Heck Show. The all-new online-TV-series created for (and by) electronics enthusiasts, and sponsored exclusively by element14. Join Ben and friends for bi-weekly episodes as they modify and build all kinds of community-suggested gadgets. Got an idea for a mod? Then share it with Ben. Or, if you’re ready to build, we’re ready with the parts list to make it happen. Either way, be sure to tune-in at element14.com/TBHS BROUGHT TO YOU BY
    • www.windriver.com/innovators
    • INNOVATORS NEVER KNOW WHEN TO quIT. BuT THEy KNOW WHERE TO START. For more than three decades, the world’s leading designers and developers have turned to Wind River to help them confidently create the products of tomorrow. From aerospace and automotive to mobile and manufacturing, our RTOS and open source solutions deliver the safety, security and reliability they need to continually achieve breakthrough performance and functionality. Because while innovation may have a starting point, there is no finish line. INNOVATORS START HERE.
    • NEWS OF THETIMES bBiofeedback valentine You might want to hold tight to this heart-shaped device when you’re away from your loved one. It lets you transmit your body temperature and heartbeat to a waiting digital heart back home, bStaking a claim for Galapagos according to NTT Docomo. Japanese mobile handsets have often been light-years Think of it as a mood ring on steroids. ahead of the competition, so why have they so rarely The digital heart is embedded with sensors and an LED to meas- found a global market? The stock answer is “Galápagos ure your heartbeat, body temperature and grip pressure. The device syndrome,” a metaphor for Japan’s increasing techno- translates information into vibrations, warmth and LED colors, then logical isolation from the rest of the world. transmits the data to your mobile phone via Bluetooth. Your phone Japanese mobile phones, the theory goes, are like sends the information via a 3G wireless network to your loved one’s the endemic species that Darwin discovered on the handset, which transmits the data via Bluetooth to his or her own Galápagos Islands: so highly adapted to their environ- digital heart. That device then vibrates, glows red or blue and ment that they bear little resemblance to their mainland warms up in response. Once the two hearts are in perfect sync, cousins. Packed with bells and whistles that make they flash in rainbow colors. Ain’t love grand. sense only in the local market, Japanese cell phones have evolved to the point that they have no relevance to users outside Japan. Now Sharp has chosen to wear the Galapagos label as a badge of honor, using it as the brand for a series of media tablets. The 5.5-inch mobile version features a 1,024 x 600 LCD touchscreen and a trackball; the home version has a 1,366 x 800 display. Both come with 802.11/b/g Wi-Fi, and, of course, run Android. fMEMS shutter display ditches the filter Hitachi Displays demonstrated a MEMS shutter display co-developed with Pixtronix Inc. MEMS shutter displays, unlike LCD displays, need no color filter or polarizer and are said to use light very efficiently. The device adjusts color tones by opening and shutting the MEMS shutter at high speed, nimbly changing the amount of light coming from the LED backlight as well as natural light. The specs show that the prototype display has a screen size of 2.5 inch- es, pixel counts of 320 x 240 (QVGA), a pixel pitch of 163 micrometers and a 120 percent color gamut based on NTSC standards. Hitachi claims that the device can display images in reflective mono- chrome mode with very low power consumption, suiting e-reader applica- tions, and that it can display moving pictures at lower temperatures compared with LCDs. 16 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
    • • Easy-to-use, low power, serial transceivers support up to 3.125Gbps to enable industry standards such as PCIe® • Low voltage option reduces total power consumption by 65% over previous generations • Integrated DSP, memory controllers, and clocking technology simplifies designs • High bandwidth serial connectivity with up to 72 low-power transceivers supporting up to 11.18Gbps • Ultra high-performance DSP using up to 2016 low-power, performance-optimized DSP slices • Integrated high-performance ExpressFabric™ technology running at 600 MHz clocking and performance-tuned IP blocks • Proven cost-reduction with EasyPath™-6 FPGAs Potential. Realized. Unleash the full potential of your product design with Xilinx® Virtex®-6 and Spartan®-6 FPGA families — the programmable foundation for Targeted Design Platforms. • Reduce system costs by up to 60% • Lower power by 65% • Shrink development time by 50% Realize your potential. Visit www.xilinx.com/6. © Copyright 2010 Xilinx, Inc. All rights reserved. Xilinx and the Xilinx logo are registered trademarks of Xilinx in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective holders.
    • NEWS OF THETIMES Benchmark MOSFETs GOOGLE TV DC-DC Buck Converter and POL Applications Praise, pans for Logitech’s Revue By Rick Merritt SO-8 Part V nC m SAN FRANCISCO — The first Google Dish Network, thus far the only serv- IRF8252PBF 25 35 2.7 TV device, the $300 Logitech Revue, ice provider supporting Google TV, IRF8788PBF 30 44 2.8 premiered here to mixed reviews. helped create a special protocol to let IRF8721PBF (Cntrl) 30 8.3 8.5 The product scored kudos for integrat- users search content stored on a Dish IRF7862PBF (Sync) 30 30 3.7 ing broadcast and Web video on any DVR and schedule recording. APIs for HDMI-capable HDTV and for support- the protocol will be made available ing personal media playback and 720- when a Google Android Web site for progressive videoconferencing. But its Google TV apps goes live early next year. PQFN (5x6) $300 price tag—plus another $149 for Dish will sell the Revue set-top and Part V nC m an HDTV camera—will dampen sales, keyboard for $179 plus a $4/month acti- IRFH7928TRPBF 30 40 2.8 analysts said. vation fee to new and existing cus- IRFH7921TRPBF (Cntrl) 30 9.3 8.5 The Revue integrates the functionali- tomers. The unit can access electronic IRFH7932TRPBF (Sync) 30 34 3.3 ty of Logitech’s Harmony IRFH7934TRPBF 30 20 3.5 Remote universal A/V IRFH7914TRPBF (Cntrl) 30 8.3 8.7 controllers, which cost as IRFH7936TRPBF (Sync) 30 17 4.8 much as $200 and are not widely used. Meanwhile, Roku and Apple are sell- PQFN (3x3) ing set-tops that bring Part V nC m Web content to the TV IRFH3702TRPBF 30 9.6 7.1 for as little as $99. The Logitech offering Logitech’s pricey set-stop will IRFH3707TRPBF 30 5.4 12.4 will also compete with a growing array compete with an array of choices for bringing Web content to TV. of TVs, game consoles and Blu-ray play- ers that bring Web content to the TV. program guide data from any cable or “If Logitech sells a million of these, satellite service, but it will not provide D-PAK they will be doing very well,” said Colin interactive services such as searching or Part V nC m Dixon, senior partner at market watcher automating recording on DVRs from IRLR8743PBF 30 39 3.1 The Diffusion Group (Frisco, Texas), other service providers. IRLR8726PBF 30 18 8.4 which predicts “steady but not spectacu- The Revue keyboard uses Logitech’s lar growth” overall for Web TV set-tops. 2.4-GHz wireless technology running The Revue is nonetheless a com- on two AA batteries to link to the set- OICE Your FIRST CH pelling alternative to Cisco Systems’ top. A smartphone-sized remote con- e Umi, a $599 device that delivers HDTV troller sells as a $129 option. for Performanc videoconferencing at 1080-progressive Logitech’ s $149 TV cam is its first resolution using an Intel Canmore excursion outside PC Webcams. It will For more information call 1.800.981.8699 processor and other dedicated hardware. also sell indoor and outdoor security or visit www.irf.com “It will be hard for Cisco to compete cameras that can be controlled using with the Revue,” said Dixon. “Logitech’ s Google TV for $299 and $349. video quality is clearly not as good as Logitech CEO Gerald Quindlen said the Umi’s, but it is good enough.” the Revue is the first of many products The Revue uses the Intel CE4100 in the works for Google TV. But the Sodaville; the same processor will power company’ s focus will continue to be on an upcoming Sony TV integrating the keyboards, remotes and other peripher- Google TV software. The code that als, not set-tops, he added. THE POWER MANAGEMENT LEADER enables searches across broadcast TV and “Today is just the beginning of this Web content requires at least 1 Gbyte of platform and what we intend to do DRAM and 4 Gbytes of NAND flash. around it,” Quindlen said. p 18 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
    • Intel Embedded Solutions: In-Vehicle Infotainment MA P ENTERTAIN T STREAM NTROL MATCH A LINK DISPLAY PLAY AY MAP ACK ALERTLINK TRACK MAP IGATE A AM LINK PLAY A ALERT PER P CONTROL LINK STREAM A H ENTERTAIN NAVIGATE ATC T A A CO NT RO L NAVIGATE A ALERT K ALERT CONNECT MAP DISPLAY A PLAY MATCH A TRACK NAVIGATE A A TRACK ERT GATE STREAM TRACK PLAY LINK M MAP DISPLAY LINK MATCH A PERSONALIZE A ENTERTAIN NA TR ONNECT ENTERTAIN STREAM DISPLAY STREAM A DISPLAY A ALERT PLAY A C ENTERTAIN DISPLAY STREAM T A K LINK DISPLAY TRACK LINK TRACK ALERT TCH CONTROL ALERT CONNECT TRACK ALERT MATCH NAVIGATE PERSONALIZE CONTROL ENTERTAIN PERSONALIZE MATCH A CONTROL MAPPLAY MAPCO ENTERTAIN T AY PERSONALIZE A PL AY MAP TRACK C L NAV IGATE CONNECT CONNECT DISPLAY MAP Y EN O NNECT LINK STREAM STREAM ENTERTAIN NAVIGATE MAP DISPLAY TRACK T A A A CONNECT ENTERTAIN AL RT L LE TRACK A TRA MATCH MAP LINK DIS MATCH NAVIGATE PLAY A PERSONALIZE STREAM ERT TROL L TRACK LINK MAP A A E PLAY MATCH A STREAM PLA L LAY LINK PERS MATCH TRACK LINK ALERTTRACK PERSONALIZE TR NAVIGATE A A S SONALIZE LINK ALERT LINK ENTERTAIN PLAY RSONALIZE CONNECT PERSONALIZE RT MAP DISPLAY A ALERT CONNECT NAVIGATE A PERSONALIZE MA CONTROL DISPLAY LINK AP AY MAT ATCH T DISPLAY TRACK A CONTROL PLAY CONNECT PERSONALIZE STREAM MATCH CONTROL MAP E PLAY CONTROL ENTERTAIN T A ENTERTAIN EN A T TAIN ALERT LINK MATCH LINK STREAM MAP DISPLAY PLAY PERSONALIZE NAVIGATE CONNECT A A TRACK A TRACK NAVIGATE T STREA DISPLAY TRACK CONTROL NAVIGATE ALERT TRACK LINK MATCH CONNECT MAP NAVIGATE A PERSONALIZE CONTROL NAVIGATE MAP PERSONALIZE DISPLAY MATCH A AM A A ST REAM MA P A A AP ENTERTAIN T A ENTERTAIN NK STREAM ALERT MA P M AP CONTROL TRACK ALERT STRE CONTROL ALERT CONNECT LINK DISPLAY A STREAM INK MATCH TRACK A ALERT CONNECT A A ALERT PERSONALIZE DISPLAY MAP ENTERTAIN NAVIGATE CONNECT MAP NAVIGATE A A LINK CONTROL E ENTERTAIN TR N STREAM CONTROLPERSONALIZE CONNECT LIN PLAY P NK A PLAY MAP CONNECTSTREAM PLAY TRACK DISPLAY CONTRO T CONNECT MATCH DISPLAY AY DISPLAY MAP ENTERTA IN A A CONNECT PLAY STREAM A IZE DISPLAY ALERT TRACK PLAY LINK MAP DISPLAY ENTERTAIN CONTROL A T PERSONALIZE NAVIGATE A AT TRACK PE RSONALIZE MAP ENTERTAIN DISPLA A CONNECT ENTERTAIN CONTROL STREAM MAP LINK MATCH CONN A ALERT STR PLAYMAP NAVIGATE A A A MATCH A PERSONALIZE MAP PERSONALIZE TRACK T PLAY A A ALERT ENTERTAIN T ALERT PLAY A STREAM CONNEC MAP C CT STREAM PERSONALIZE TRACK LINK MATCH A MATCH A DISPLAY A A ALERT TREAM CONTROL STREAM MATCH A PERSONALIZE ALERT P PERSONALIZE NAVIGATE A MAP TRACK ALERT DISPLAY A PLAY ENTERTAIN STR PLAY T CONTROL LINK NAVIGATE A PLAY MATCH MATCH TRACK CONTROL MAP TRACK PERSONALIZE NAVIGATE LINK A STREAM DISPLAY MAPTRACK MATCH CONNECT ENTERTAIN A C T MATCH CONTROLALE ERT LINK PLAY ENTERTAIN ALERT LINK NAVIGATE DISPLAY A A CONTROL ENTERTAIN AY NNECT PERSONALIZE STREAM CONNECT LINK DISPLAY CONTROL A A P A PLAY DISPLAY MAP ALERT NAVIGATE L A A TRACK Intelligence where you need it. The Intel® Atom™ processor brings expanded capabilities to low-power applications—fueling an entirely new in-vehicle infotainment experience. Get rolling with the developer’s playbook at intel.com/embedded/intelligence © 2010 Intel Corporation. Intel, the Intel logo, Intel Sponsors of Tomorrow™ and Intel Sponsors of Tomorrow logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.
    • NEWS OF THETIMES IP IN THE COURTS Microprocessor pioneer sues patent pool firms By Peter Clarke CHARLES H. MOORE, who developed cense president; and Michael Davis, Alli- ductor companies, including Advanced many patented microprocessor tech- acense senior vice president of licensing. Micro Devices, Intel and several Japan- nologies and is known as the inventor Numerous patents originally filed by ese vendors, to pay for licenses. Though of the Forth programming language, is Moore are included in the Moore Micro- details were not disclosed, it is believed suing patent licensing firm Technology processor Patent (MMP) portfolio, that many of the payments, involving Properties Ltd. LLC (The TPL Group) which was owned and administered by sums in the millions of dollars, were and its subsidiary Alliacense LLC, alleg- Patriot Scientific Corp. (San Diego) one-off fees for licenses in perpetuity. ing fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and until a June 2005 settlement of an earli- In April of this year, Patriot sued TPL, breach of contract. er patent dispute under which Patriot alleging contractual breach on nonpay- Moore filed the suit in California agreed to unify its interests in the MMP ment of $1 million that had been due Superior Court in Santa Clara County. patents with those of TPL Group. on Feb. 28, 2010. He is also requesting preliminary At that point the TPL Group and The MMP portfolio includes patents injunctive relief against TPL and Allia- Patriot became joint owners of the that are said to cover fundamental tech- cense and has filed individual suits MMP portfolio. With Alliacense acting nology used in microprocessors, micro- against Daniel E. Leckrone, TPL Group as the licensing agent, they achieved controllers, DSPs, embedded processors chairman; Daniel M. Leckrone, Allia- some success in persuading semicon- and systems-on-chip.p How many Channels do you need? 1 Channel Scope 3 Channel Scope 6 Channel Scope CL4000 Oscilloscope Module Full product data sheet, price list & ordering info: www.chronologic.com.au +61 8 8410 5955 20 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
    • Global WATCH of about 40° (if viewers step beyond that boundary, they will see double images on the screen). The previous viewing- angle maximum for experimental glass- es-free approaches was about 20°, Hirayama said. “We doubled the view- ing angle by developing special soft- ware to optimize light emission from the center, right and left of the screen.” To improve the screen resolution, Toshiba engineers developed a special panel technology and integrated propri- etary multiparallax conversion chips with Toshiba’s Cell processor engine. Conventional 3-D using a lenticular sheet. Toshiba’s new glasses-free 3-D technology. More pixels The panel design team turned out a high-definition, LED-backlit LCD panel that packs 8.29 million pixels, or “about four times the pixels used in a full HD panel,” Hirayama said. The Toshiba Toshiba doubled the viewing angle for its new panel used in the 20-inch TV can pro- glasses-free 3-D TV by optimizing light emission from the center, right and left areas of the screen. duce a final 3-D image at 1,280 x 720 res- olution, Hirayama noted. CONSUMER The panel also uses 1,440 LEDs posi- tioned directly under the LCD to bright- Toshiba’s glasses-free 3-D TV: en 3-D images. The 20-inch TV’s resolution still falls Worth the wait? short of the 1,920 x 1,080 resolution reproduced on a large-screen TV requir- By Junko Yoshida ing glasses for 3-D viewing. Still, Toshi- ba’s autostereoscopic TV looks far better than other glasses-free 3-D TV demos. Beyond packing more pixels into the MAKUHARI, JAPAN — CEATEC atten- multimedia laboratory of Toshiba’s cor- LCD panel, Toshiba engineers arranged dees queued up at Toshiba’s booth here porate R&D center, said the company’s each pixel to support the display of last week for a peek at what 3-D will management had decided there was “no RGB in a layout expressly designed for look like without those clunky glasses. reason to keep the fruits of our research 3-D imaging. By systematically aligning The wait averaged 90 minutes to results hidden in our lab. ‘If we know it pixels and adopting a perpendicular check out the 20- and 12-inch autostereo- works,’ they said, ‘we should get it out lenticular sheet, Toshiba’s LCD panel scopic LCD 3-D TV sets that Toshiba there in commercial products.’ ” Hiraya- eliminates blurring, or the vertical plans to release for the Japanese market ma has been working on glasses-free wave pattern (caused by interference in December. A host of consumer elec- 3-D TV technologies since 2005. in the display cycle) that plagues other tronics manufacturers, including Sony, Toshiba designed its TVs using a autostereoscopic 3-D technologies. are believed to be working on glasses- lenticular lens system, which leverages The difference was visible on the free 3-D TV solutions, but only Toshiba well-understood principles for enabling CEATEC show floor, where Sharp thus far has shown models scheduled autostereoscopic high-definition 3-D. showed 3.8-inch and 10.6-inch glasses- for commercial launch. Developers of glasses-free approaches free 3-D panels on which the vertical Toshiba also demonstrated a 56-inch have long struggled to overcome the wave pattern could be seen. Sharp is the LCD 3-D TV prototype that will require technology’s low resolution and limited LCD panel supplier for Nintendo’s no special glasses for 3-D viewing. But viewing angle. Toshiba claims to have upcoming 3-D handheld. the company said it has no immediate addressed those problems in its first Toshiba collaborated on 3-D panel plans to launch the 56-inch model. commercial autostereoscopic models. development with Toshiba Mobile In an interview with EE Times, Yuzo The demonstration showed that all Display Co., a subsidiary focused on Hirayama, chief research scientist at the three Toshiba TVs have a viewing angle small to midsized LCD displays. Toshiba 22 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
    • Our engineers needed a better scope. So we built it. J One million waveforms/second J Fastest realtime processing J Industry‘s first digital trigger J World‘s only single-core ADC J Lowest noise front end J Coolest user interface See for yourself www.scope-of-the-art.com/ad/scope-us
    • GLOBAL WATCH declined to identify its partner for its developed several chips to accomplish models’ screen size, and Toshiba Mobile 56-inch glasses-free 3-D TV prototype. various image postprocessing tasks. “In Display has no plans to develop large- principle, what such LSIs have to do is screen LCDs, so finding a large-panel Heavy-duty postprocessing to take a 2-D image, estimate its depth partner is a must. The 12-inch model At the heart of Toshiba’s 3-D technology and create nine images from nine direc- will sell for roughly $1,400 and the 20- are an integral imaging system and a tions to deliver 3-D images,” he said. inch model for $2,800, so Toshiba will perpendicular lenticular sheet to dis- So was the 90-minute wait for the also have to tweak its architecture to get play natural images, according to Toshi- demo worth it? Judging by Toshiba’s the cost down. And it may have to decide ba. The image processing technology results compared with earlier technolo- soon whether to allow its chip division creates nine parallax images from the gies for glasses-free 3-D viewing, the to sell or license Cell engines to others. original content to deliver 3-D images. answer would be yes. But consumers are For now, Toshiba is offering no Hirayama said Toshiba engineers bound to be underwhelmed by the initial answers to those questions. p BUSINESS FOUNDRIES Renesas reaches for cloud TSMC gets nod for markets with SoC strategy 130 nm in China By Peter Clarke By Mark LaPedus JAPAN’S RENESAS ELECTRONICS rate/double-data-rate SRAM, low-laten- TAIWAN’S GOVERNMENT has Corp. has announced measures it says cy DRAM and ternary content-address- approved foundry giant Taiwan Semi- will strengthen the company’s system- able memory. conductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd.’s on-chip business and its approach to the The company also intends to expand application to upgrade its 200-mm fab networking and industrial infrastruc- its SoC lineup with devices that inte- in Shanghai, China, to 0.13-micron tures that support cloud computing. grate memory and peripheral functions. (130-nm) technology, according to a Emphasizing the importance of inter- It aims to grow its market share in Reuters report. nal design and manufacturing, Renesas memory devices for network equip- The change represents a further relax- said its main thrusts would include ment from 40 percent this year to 60 ation of the rules governing TSMC’s pro- memory devices and SoCs with memo- percent in fiscal 2012. duction in China; Taiwan earlier ry for networking; USB controllers; Renesas has released a USB 3.0-com- allowed TSMC to migrate to 0.18 micron SoCs with built-in Ethernet PHYs; and pliant host controller chip and said it from 0.25 micron before approving the microcontrollers for smart-grid applica- plans to launch hub controllers and most recent application. The restrictions tions. It laid out plans to gain market other USB 3.0-compliant SoCs for reflect the Taiwanese government’s share in many of those areas. peripheral devices starting in 2011. It desire to keep leading-edge chip produc- Renesas’ first SoC business unit will aims to increase its global market share tion on the island. concentrate on the infrastructures that of USB SoCs from 15 percent at present TSMC continues to operate its lead- support cloud computing, whereby var- to 30 percent in the 2012 fiscal year. ing-edge fabs on its home turf. The com- ious service applications are provided Next month, Renesas plans to sample pany announced recently that after the over the Internet via such devices as SoCs that incorporate Ethernet physi- 28-nm node, it plans to skip the 22-nm PCs, smartphones and mobile handsets. cal-layer functions for real-time pro- “full node” and move directly to the By concentrating resources on the net- cessing and high reliability in 20-nm “half node”; manufacturing will working and industrial areas, Renesas industrial automation products. The take place in Taiwan. aims to increase the annual sales of its company said it expects to build its Even at 130 nm, TSMC is behind the SoC business by an average of 5 to 7 per- global market share in SoCs for indus- curve in China, where homegrown cent per year from fiscal 2010 to fiscal trial devices from 25 percent this year foundry Semiconductor Manufacturing 2012, expanding its market share in to 30 percent in fiscal 2012. International Corp. is ramping up 65-nm each focused area. For the smart-grid market, Renesas production. For example, Renesas will focus on will provide SoCs with Ethernet, ZigBee Hynix Semiconductor, meanwhile, memory devices for networking equip- and powerline communications func- manufactures leading-edge memories ment and SoCs for USB devices. It can tionality, together with MCUs offering in China. And Intel plans to make 65- supply such memories as quad-data- power measurement features. p nm devices at its new Chinese fab. p 24 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
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    • COVER STORY ‘Ideas’ could be India’s next growth industry By Sufia Tippu BANGALORE — If eyes roll when talk turns to India’s stood the power of entrepreneurship and wealth creation.” promise as a high-tech innovation hub, it’s understandable; If you’re wondering how India might go about reinventing certainly, that promise remains unrealized. Still, there are itself as a country known for its inventions, cast a glance at signs everywhere of an emerging entrepreneurial class, some of its prosperous Asian neighbors. “India has to move and potentially game-changing ideas are being hatched not away from the me-too mindset. If a product or service comes only among the country’s IT establishment, but also in the out of the U.S. or elsewhere, there is a tendency to think that humblest corners of a land where 70 percent of the popula- it should be copied here, probably tweaked a bit to fit into the tion of 1.2 billion still scrapes by on half a dollar a day. Indian environment,” said Bob Kondamoori, managing direc- “We get literally 30 to 40 ideas from entrepreneurs every tor of venture capitalist firm Sandalwood Partners. But Japan, week. Not all are great, but there is a lot of confidence and too, “was into the copy act” before its engineers and entrepre- enthusiasm,” said N.R. Narayana Murthy, chief mentor and neurs became innovators, Kondamoori noted. “Then came co-founder of Infosys Technologies and the founder of $129 China. [Now] you see a tremendous amount of innovation million venture capital firm Catamaran, symbolically named coming from these two countries, as well as from Taiwan. for the light, nimble craft used by local fishermen. India’s “It’s just a matter of time before India emerges from 8.5 percent GDP growth has engendered “tremendous confi- its cocoon.” dence in the country among the younger generation,” Murthy India watchers note that world-changing innovations like said. “A lot of them are willing to take risk; they have under- the transistor, the PC, the cell phone and the Internet didn’t PA N O R A M I C V I E W O F T H E G E I N D I A T E C H N O L O G Y C E N T E R C A M P U S . 26 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
    • Equity financing for venture-backed 8 companies* 7 Amount invested ($B) spring from arid soil but were nurtured in rich R&D environ- ments where the supporting ecosystem was already well 6 established. In contrast, India’s infrastructure buildout began in earnest only three decades ago. 5 IT and beyond Total U.S. 4 Total Europe (converted $)** The seeds of India’s rise as an IT power were planted in the Total Mainland China 1980s, when conglomerates Tata Consultancy Services and 3 Total Canada Wipro zeroed in on the software business and Infosys opened Total Israel its doors. Several hundred startups followed in their foot- Total India 2 steps, but only a few have stood out from the pack in terms of patented innovations. They include Cosmic Circuits in power 1 management, Ittiam in DSP applications, MindTree in com- munications products, Subex in operations support systems and Tejas Networks in the telecom space. 0 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Going forward, India’s best chances to make its mark on 2009 2010 innovation may be in cleantech and other disruptive tech- *Includes cash investments by professional venture capital firms, corporations, other equity firms and individuals in companies that have received at least nologies that can improve the quality of life for the world’s one round of venture funding poor while enriching their inventors and investors. One such **Exchange rate based on the first day of the month of the financing round invention along that vein, a low-cost, durable, prosthesis known as the Jaipur foot, has restored function to amputees the world over and is probably the best-known Indian inno- Venture capital investment in India vation to have found a global market. Deals and equity flow into startups Other recent inventions that hold similar promise include: • A hybrid electric/kerosene stove that saves 70 percent on $400 Amount invested ($M) Amount invested ($M) fuel costs compared with conventional stoves that burn liq- 30 Number of deals $300 Number of deals uefied petroleum gas. The stove uses a 6-V coil to heat kerosene for cooking. One liter of kerosene lasts for eight 20 $200 hours, and the stove consumes one unit of electrical power for every 20 hours of use. $100 10 • Mitti Cool, the so-called village fridge. Invented by a pot- ter, Mitti Cool is made from special clay (mitti) and uses evap- $0 0 oration to cool three or more storage chambers for water, 1Q ’09 2Q ’09 3Q ’09 4Q ’09 1Q ’10 2Q ’10 fruits and vegetables. Source: Dow Jones VentureSource October 11, 2010 Electronic Engineering Times 27
    • COVER STORY AT GE, INDIA IS ALREADY • Modified lanterns that produce light equal to a 100-watt bulb but run on kerosene, diesel or ethanol. The lamp has a AN R&D HUB wick coated with high-temperature materials, such as silica; a self-cleaning nozzle; and a special glass that reduces the “The greatest danger for most of us,” Michelangelo Buonarroti chances of explosion. said, “is not that our aim is too high and we miss it but that it • A diesel motorcycle that doubles as a tractor when the is too low and we reach it.” The 5,500 employees of the GE back wheel is removed and replaced with a spiked cylinder. India Technology Center, which has filed more than 1,000 • A micro-windmill-based mobile charger that uses wind patents in the 10 years since its founding, cannot be accused power to charge phones and laptops. of aiming too low. Chances are, the creators of these inventions weren’t think- A decade ago, the center was housed in a small, rented ing far beyond their own needs or those of their nearest space in the International Tech Park and employed a couple of neighbors when they devised their novel solutions to com- hundred people. Today it sits on a sprawling, bucolic campus monplace problems. Few probably dared to hope they would grab the attention of the Indian market at large, much less the global marketplace. They weren’t looking for what the late management guru C.K. Prahlad called “the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid.” But others are. Enter the VCs “I feel the only way to abolish poverty is to embrace entrepre- neurship and create lots of jobs with high disposable income. If I can encourage entrepreneurs and youngsters to do that, it would be wonderful,” said Murthy. Among the organizations in which his firm has invested is SKS Microfinance, which funds cottage industries launched by poor rural women. Weighing just 1.2 kg, the MAC 400 portable ECG machine A number of well-known funds have set up shop in India, can record up to 100 ECGs on a single battery charge and but entrepreneurs looking for angels are often disappointed. does not require extensive medical training to operate. “Indian startups and entrepreneurs have to work with a very different environment, and is GE’s largest integrated R&D operation outside the U.S. and we recognize that out “When you cross-fertilize scientists, engineers and market- here in [Silicon] Valley,” ing people, they all come together not just to create new sci- said Sun Microsystems co- ence and engineering but to create new ways to approach founder Vinod Khosla, who your development,” said Sanjay Correa, vice president and later became a general part- managing director of GE Tech India. ner at VC firm Kleiner, The results of the center’s R&D work are funneled into GE Perkins, Caufield & Byers products and often go to serve local needs. One device under- and today is a partner at going pilot testing, for example, would filter groundwater to Khosla Ventures. “To do reduce toxins such as arsenic, which is present at dangerous business in India, you have levels in some village water supplies. The device would be mar- to be a little creative and keted “through not-for-profit organizations or the government to innovative to thrive. But I get it installed in those villages,” Correa said. “The device does am still quite positive on not need electricity; gravity pulls the water through a specialized India. The way to grow an membrane that will get rid of bacteria as well as toxic metals.” economy is through entre- Biomass conversion technology that would collect agricul- preneurship and capital- tural waste and convert into usable energy is another focus. ism, and India seems to ‘To do business in India, Since the usable biomass varies from crop to crop, a special- have figured out the right you have to be a little creative and innovative to ized converter that could handle the different biomass types is formula. thrive,’ says Vinod Khosla due to be tested soon. “Clearly, there are still a of Khosla Ventures. One GE Tech India innovation that has already found local lot of issues. Starting a use is the MAC 400 Ultra portable ECG machine. Designed, business in India is still harder than it needs to be. But I developed and manufactured in India, the simple, lightweight believe fundamentally that the major energy breakthroughs (1.2-kg) portable machine can record up to 100 ECGs on a will have to compete at ‘Chindia’ prices, because you have single battery charge and does not require a trained physician 2.5 billion people [in China and India] trying to raise them- for operation. A standard 12-lead ECG interpretation program selves from poverty to a Western standard of living.” is built in. — Sufia Tippu Organizations such as The Indus Entrepreneurs; the National Entrepreneurship Network, a Wadhani Foundation 28 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
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    • COVER STORY project; Nasscom; the India Semiconductor Association; the preneurship another go in the future. National Innovation Foundation; and the Rural Innovation MindTree Consulting (now MindTree Ltd.) co-founder Network offer networking opportunities for Indian entrepre- S. Janakiraman suspects the VC and private-equity firms that neurs. But most of the business founders here who manage to got burned as a result of the recent global economic melt- hold their heads above water are able to do so only with down pulled back in India just as they did elsewhere. But financial help from friends and relatives. Janakiraman expects “the investment climate for startups to “It’s all about connecting with the right VC and getting change for the better as firms see a few success stories from someone to vouch for you; otherwise things just don’t hap- startups making it big in India.” pen,” said Partha Ray, who with partner T. Rai tried and failed Nasscom, the primary trade organization for India’s soft- to secure funding for a semiconductor project. Today, Ray and ware services industry, estimates that there are 652 early- Rai are back at their office jobs, but both hope to give entre- stage IT companies in the country. VC Sharad Sharma at the WHERE THE IDEAS ARE: STARTUPS TO WATCH Sources at Indian IT trade organization Nasscom and at various Les Travenues Technologies venture capital firms that do business in India listed the following Offers a mobile travel search engine that lets users search startups as among the country’s most promising: across multiple sites and book directly on the transactional site. http://www.ixigo.com 8KMiles Web Services Media Synpatics Provides on-demand outsourcing infrastructure and collaboration A provider of teleradiology solutions that can transfer images on tools to enable a distributed development platform in a cloud very low bandwidth for remote diagnosis. environment. http://www.medsynaptic.com/ http://www.8kmiles.com PathPartner Technology Consulting Cocubes.com A design services firm targeting semiconductor companies, Offers an SMS-enabled online campus recruiting and job place- mobile OEMs and videoconferencing equipment OEMs; recently ment platform that connects colleges, companies and students. released an Android-based media-phone software stack for ODMs http://www.cocubes.com and telecom operators. Eko India Financial Services http://www.pathpartnertech.com Developer of a financial transaction platform that delivers basic SammaaN Foundation banking services through mobile access devices by connecting Calling itself an advocate for India’s “downtrodden,” rents mobile and banking infrastructures. rickshaws to drivers for a nominal fee; also helps drivers obtain http://eko.co.in insurance and set up small bank accounts. Expert Voicetap Technologies http://www.sammaan.org/ Provides knowledge engine to connect knowledge seekers with Srishti Software experts over various media, including textual chat or voice. Software provider focusing on Web content management and http://voicetap.in health care markets. GQuotient Systems http://www.srishtisoft.com Designs green ICT solutions for information and communications TeleDNA technology optimization; leverages SaaS technology for delivery Provides mobile value-added service infrastructure for telecom to customers. providers. http://www.gquotient.com http://www.teledna.com Gridbots Technologies Webaroo Technology Makes industrial, educational and domestic robots for the Indian Provides a mobile-enabled social messaging platform that can market; some models are used as learning tools for robotics be tailored for consumers or businesses. students. http://www.smsgupshup.com http://gridbots.com Indrion Technologies India An infrastructure automation solutions provider whose focus is embedding context sensitivity into apps for the industrial, enterprise and public utility/service markets, among others. http://indrion.co.in 30 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
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    • COVER STORY Indian Angel Network said the numbers are rising as the India has engineering talent in spades, that’s not enough to startup environment grows more hospitable “due to several build successful startups. “You need product managers who factors: better availability of angel/seed capital, the opening are able to chart out the road map and carry it through. And up of the domestic market and the ability to penetrate the you need customers who would like to buy tech innovation SMB [small- and midsized-business] market in the West using from India—and right now, we don’t see customers rushing software-as-a-service business models.” to buy products from startups. This, in turn, affects the avail- But India is a huge country with enormous needs, and the ability of capital” for Indian tech startups. VC pool is just not deep enough to float every worthy busi- The dearth of global customers for Indian innovations ness plan. Seedfund partner Bharati Jacob said it’s not even reflects Indian companies’ inability thus far to get the hang of possible to go through all the plans the fund receives. global marketing, said Ravindran Govindan, executive chair- One hurdle for startups seeking funding is India’s asset- man of Singapore-based Mercatus Capital. “Most of the [Indi- based economy. “For a working capital loan from an Indian an] companies I meet with have global products, but they are bank, you have to show asset-based collateral; they don’t val- not able to brand the product well and market it. When VCs ue the intellectual property or capitalization of R&D that you like us do manage to connect with some good companies, we have,” said Sandalwood’s Kondamoori, who has spent more are able to accelerate the growth tenfold,” Govindan said. than 25 years in the Silicon Valley investment community Indian companies are self-sufficient and steeped in the cul- and says he is always on the lookout for promising startups ture—perhaps to a fault, as they can be provincial in outlook, said Govindan. “They carry the culture into the market, and 30% of investment ventures are outside U.S. it’s extremely difficult to break through. When you enter a Venture capital investment by major region, foreign market, it is just not about opening an office there; it’s first half of 2010 about knowing how to talk, how to engage people in relevant Canada conversation, how to negotiate shrewdly and, most important, China Israel 2% how to sell. I feel this where India is really lacking.” 2% 8% On the other hand, the eastward expansion of technology markets is bringing the global marketplace to Indian compa- India nies’ doorstep, noted Raj Khare, co-founder of media conver- 3% gence startup SureWaves. “The center of gravity is shifting to Europe emerging markets such as India and China. Earlier, the [vol- ume] markets were in the Western world, and it was not really 15% United States possible for someone to sit here and say that he or she was 70% going to innovate for someone living in San Francisco. But now it’s much easier, and entrepreneurs feel it’s a risk worth taking.” Those startups that do succeed here are often led by sea- soned professionals. “I had three very important things checked off: I had a fair idea of what I wanted to do in my com- Source: Dow Jones VentureSource pany, I had a team that I trusted to be able to do that and I had in India and China. “It’s different in the U.S., which is an earn- done this startup thing before,” noted Narasimhan (Kishore) ings-based economy; the valuations [of U.S. companies] are Mandyam, co-founder of cloud computing startup Impelcrm very high based on earnings. A lot of this kind of metrics— (formerly PK4 Software Technologies), which sells the Impel measuring and building valuation in companies—needs to CRM contact management SaaS. “The initial challenge was to come into Indian management teams. Anyone I speak to in convince people in India that a cloud offering made sense. India always talks about revenue and top-line growth; they When we realized, very quickly, that it was an evangelical sale, don’t concentrate on net margins.” we switched the emphasis to marketing Impel CMS to people Kondamoori believes such metrics will fall into place as [who were already sold on the cloud concept]. Although that’s more Indian companies start listing on the established global a smaller number, any number in India is big.” exchanges, as reservations booking service Makemytrip did A final piece of the puzzle for India’s tech entrepreneurs is in April with its Nasdaq IPO. the cooperation and support of the country’s government. “Right now, there is no saturation in the [Indian] marketplace Kondamoori believes tax exemptions on the portion of for any product or service,” he said. “Take the telecom sector, for profits poured back into R&D would stimulate “innovation, instance . . . today every telecom operator is interested in merely IP [creation] and long-term sustainability.” Couple that with putting up towers and attracting subscribers, and the way they global reach and global ambition, he said, and “it’s just a go after the subscribers [by making incremental, cent-by-cent matter of time” before India is known as an innovation hub. cuts in charges for calls] is taking its toll; they are losing money Said Mercatus’ Govindan, “I see a spark in India, and if this all the way. There is so much one can do in the telecom space if country if given the right platform—government support, an you really want to innovate, but everyone is too busy grabbing organized initiative—innovation will take off. their share of subscribers . . . I think once saturation takes place, “This is the future wealth [of India] . . . the wealth of ideas.” p then innovation will definitely come in.” Alok Mittal, a partner at Canaan Partners, noted that while Sufia Tippu is a freelance technology journalist in Bangalore, India. 32 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
    • Intelligence MATERIALS IBM characterizes single-atom memory By R. Colin Johnson TOMORROW’S “ULTIMATE” MEMORY chips are expected (San Jose, Calif.). to encode bits on individual atoms. IBM’s Almaden Research Invented at IBM in the 1980s, scanning tunneling micro- Center recently demonstrated the capability using iron atoms scopes have become the workhorse of the semiconductor when it unveiled a pulsed technique for scanning tunneling materials industry. Their resolution extends to the atomic microscopes. scale, allowing individual atoms to be imaged, but conven- Pulsed STMs yield nanosecond time resolution, a require- tional STMs are slow at making such delicate measure- ment for designing the atomic-scale memory chips, solar pan- ments. IBM researchers claim the pulsed technique puts the els and quantum computers of the future. STM’s ability to measure time on a par with the nanoscale accuracy of its distance measurements. Pumping iron IBM’s pump-probe technique works similarly to how a pulsed laser works. First, a pump signal is passed into the material from the STM tip to put the atom’s electron spin in a known state. Next, after a waiting period, a smaller probe signal is used to make a measurement. By repeating the process, each time extending the delay between the pulses by a few nanoseconds, the method can accurately measure the electron spin relaxation time, or how long a bit of information is retained by a single iron atom. Today’s DRAM cells must have their bits refreshed every 50 milliseconds or so, but by using the pulsed- STM technique, IBM has determined that single iron atoms would need to be refreshed about every 250 nanoseconds—about 200,000 times more frequently. “We now know the answer to the question, ‘What happens when you try to store information on a single iron atom?’ And we hope that in the longer-term future, we can make similar progress in answering questions about solar cell efficiency and quantum com- puters,” said Heinrich. The pulsed-STM technique will be adapted to meas- Pulsed STMs yield nanosecond time uring the efficiency of individual solar cells by using a resolution, required for designing light pulse as the pump to stimulate the solar cell, then probing it with the STM tip. atomic-scale memory, solar panels As for using pulsed STM to reveal the inner workings and quantum computers of quantum computer gates, Heinrich believes that “if we can put quantum bits on surfaces so they have to “My hope is that we can spawn a great following [of interact with each other, then basically we will be showing developers who will be] doing nanosecond time resolution a new way of performing quantum computations truly on and atomic-scale spatial resolution with their STMs,” said the atomic scale. Andreas Heinrich, a physicist at the IBM Almaden Lab “That’s my vision of the future of quantum mechanics.” p 34 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
    • INTELLIGENCE MARKET FORECAST Semiconductor industry watcher cuts 2010 growth projection By Peter Clarke CURBING ITS ENTHUSIASM a bit for the global chip The next-strongest growth area is wireless communica- market as 2010 winds down, forecaster iSuppli Corp. has tions, fueled by booming demand for smartphones. Global trimmed its growth forecast for the year to a still-impressive semiconductor sales to the wireless communications area 32 percent. will rise by 30 percent in 2010. Having predicted in May that the market would record Even the lowest-growth markets are expected to generate growth of 31 percent in 2010, the research firm joined with impressive semiconductor consumption in 2010. Wired com- most other forecasters in raising its chip growth prediction to munications and consumer electronics will drive semicon- 35 percent in August. But iSuppli now says it sees softening ductor revenue growth of 25.4 percent and 26.5 percent, demand and rising inventories tempering 2010’s growth per- respectively, this year. formance, and it expects the chip business to experience a soft In terms of specific semiconductor products, the hottest landing in 2011, with semiconductor revenues set to rise just 5.1 percent. “There has been a significant slowdown in the Semiconductor revenue by application market second half in consumer demand for some elec- tronic devices, including PCs,” Dale Ford, senior 140 45% vice president at iSuppli, noted in a statement. “Meanwhile, inventories have been building 120 2009 40% throughout the semiconductor supply chain. 2010 35% Revenue ($billions) 100 Growth “These factors will conspire to cause a small 30% sequential decline in semiconductor revenue in Growth (%) the fourth quarter.” 80 25% The 32 percent growth figure implies global 20% 60 semiconductor sales amounting to $302 billion in 2010, up from $228 billion in 2009, a particularly 15% 40 difficult year that saw markets tank in the first 10% half as the global economic crisis spread. 20 5% Despite the reduced outlook, revenues in 2010 will still rise by about $74 billion over 2009’s total, 0 0% Data Automotive Consumer resulting in a record sales year that will come in processing electronics electronics $28 billion higher than 2007, the previous peak Wireless Industrial Wired year for semiconductor revenues, according to communication electronics communication Source: iSuppli iSuppli’s semiconductor industry analysis. The firm now expects that industry revenues in the fourth quarter will decline 0.3 percent compared with the items in 2010 are DRAMs, voltage regulators, LEDs, program- third quarter, which would be roughly in line with typical sea- mable logic devices and data converters. Revenues for each of sonal changes and would be the first sequential decrease since those products are projected to grow by more than 43 percent the market collapse in the fourth quarter of 2008 and first quar- this year. DRAMs lead the group, with 87 percent projected ter of 2009. growth, on the strength of the soaring PC market and firming average selling prices. PC market leads rebound Sequential quarterly growth in 2011 is expected to follow a Semiconductor demand this year has been driven by sales of more normal seasonal pattern compared with 2010, with data processing equipment, including the various PC cate- declining revenues in the first quarter followed by improving gories. With shipments of mobile PCs and tablets having sales that will reach a peak in the third quarter. soared in 2010, semiconductor sales to this area will have The long-term growth expectation is for average annual risen overall by 38.6 percent by the end of December, accord- growth of slightly more than 4 percent between 2010 and ing to iSuppli. 2014, according to iSuppli. p 36 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
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    • DESIGN + PRODUCTS Editor’s note: In early Sep- tember, EE Times’ Com- munications Designline published an article by QLogic’s Joseph Yaworski outlining how to achieve greater Infiniband per- formance using onload- ing (view the article at http://tiny.cc/jh0x8). Naturally, Mellanox’s Gilad Shainer took excep- tion to Yaworski’s con- tention and submitted a rebuttal, presented here. Shainer makes a per- formance-based argu- ment for offloading networks, explaining why, in the case of Infini- band, they provide the GLOBAL FEATURE needed scalability for multiple system cores while ensuring maxi- Network- vs. host-based mum core performance for user applications. processing: Lessons learned Some readers disagreed; By Gilad Shainer you might too. Join the discussion at CPU CLOCK SPEEDS have remained elements used in a single user job have essentially constant over the past sever- increased the urgency of addressing sys- http://tiny.cc/0alqg. al years, resulting in a rapid rise in the tem characteristics that impede applica- And to submit your number of CPUs used in high-end sys- tion scalability. tems to keep pace with the performance By providing low latency, high band- own technical feature to boosts predicted by Moore’s Law. Sys- width and extremely low CPU over- EE Times and its network tem size on the Top500 list of supercom- head, Infiniband has become the most puting sites has changed rapidly; in commonly deployed high-speed inter- of Designlines, contact November 2009, the top 10 systems connect, replacing proprietary or low- Patrick Mannion at averaged 134,893 cores, with five sys- performance solutions. The Infiniband architecture is an industry-standard fab- patrick.mannion@ubm.com tems larger than 100,000system size and This rapid increase of cores. ric designed to provide high scalability or (631) 543-0445. the associated proliferation of compute and efficient utilization of compute October 11, 2010 Electronic Engineering Times 39
    • DESIGN + PRODUCTS processing resources. RDMA write latency comparison process protections Infiniband scalability 8 (or security) and data has already been proved 7 segmentation and on multiple large-scale reassembly. Moreover, Latency (microseconds) 6 systems on the Top500 list. offloading is the only Los Alamos National Lab’s 5 Onloading latency way to counter the Roadrunner (4k nodes and 4 Offloading latency effect of system noise 130k cores), NASA’s instal- and jitter on application 3 lation (more than 9k performance and scala- nodes and 82k cores), the 2 bility (for example, by China National University 1 offloading MPI collec- of Defense Technology’s 0 tive communications), Tianhe (3k nodes and 72k 2 4 8 16 32 64 128 and it is the only way cores), Jülich Supercom- Message size (B) to allow overlap be- puting Center’s JuRoPa tween computations and HPC-FF (3k nodes and Figure 1. Latency comparison of a network write transaction and communications 30k cores), the Texas on different Infiniband solutions. within the server. Advanced Computing Scientific simulation Center installation (4k nodes and 63k bridge from the host-based interface codes frequently use collective commu- cores) and Sandia National Labs’ Red (in most cases today, it is PCI-Express) nications. Offloading networks typical- Sky (5.4k nodes and 43k cores) all use and the network interface (Infiniband, ly include programming capabilities for Infiniband solutions that provide net- Ethernet, etc.), along with a buffer for special features, as well as simulation work-based processing. shock absorption (protecting the net- of future problems. In offloading solutions, or network- work from data bursts). Such systems With the increase in demand for based processing, the entire network require no investments in new technol- higher performance and scalability, transport is handled and performed by ogy development. offloading solutions are required in the network interface card (NIC) or The big drawback to onloading solu- order to balance the increased number adapter, including error handling, data tions is the scalability and performance of CPU cores and to provide a solution retransmissions for reliable data trans- they can provide. As more overhead that can maximize the platform com- fer, and other sophisticated communi- processing is done by the CPU, less CPU pute capability. Offloading does require cations such as the Message Passing time is available for user applications, sophisticated technology and advanced Interface (MPI). Onloading (host-based) resulting in lower system performance simulations for the NIC or adapter de- solutions, by contrast, rely on the host and scalability. sign, however, so only a limited num- CPUs to perform any task that is related Consider the difference between the ber of vendors have the knowledge and to data transfer between servers or Ethernet and Infiniband solutions on capabilities required to produce between servers and storage—from data the Top500 list. Since most of the Ether- offloading networks. gathering to data packet creation, trans- net solutions require the TCP (i.e., the port checks, reliability, physical-to-vir- transport) to be handled by the CPU, System latency tual memory translation and security. the Ethernet-connected systems achieve User applications reside in the user Simply put, offloading frees the only 50 percent efficiency on average, space, where no protection can be guar- CPU from the need to handle server- meaning 50 percent of the system capa- anteed for the process data. Data move- to-server communications and instead bility is wasted. But the network-pro- ment thus needs to involve a safeguard dedicates most cycles to the user appli- cessing based Infiniband-connected entity to ensure that data from one cations. Onloading networks, by con- systems on the Top500 list demonstrate process will not erroneously overwrite trast, are analogous to the proverbial up to 96 percent efficiency, maximizing the memory space of another process, string and two metal cans that we the CPU cycles for the user application which would result in data destruction played with as children. and hence the overall system return on and security issues. Such an entity can investment. be the host CPU in the kernel space or Why onloading? the networking adapter. The appeal of onloading solutions is the Balancing the system If the task falls to the CPU in the ker- simplicity of building them (thus my Offloading network solutions eliminate nel space, a buffer copy of the user data telephone-game analogy). Since all net- the CPU overhead related to process-to- needs to be made there before the data work processing is done by the host, the process communications, data transfer is sent to the wire, and a user-to-kernel NIC or the adapter need only include a reliability, memory translations and system call and CPU interrupt need to be triggered. Data copying in large Gilad Shainer is a senior director of HPC and technical computing at Mellanox messages can increase the negative per- Technologies. He holds a BSc and an MSc from Technion-Israel Institute of formance effects as a result of cache Technology. trashing, translation lookaside buffers (TLBs) and the like. That implies higher 40 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
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    • DESIGN + PRODUCTS latency for data transfer, as upper boundary) that a Message rate comparison given interconnect solu- can be seen in Figure 1, 80 which compares server tion can support, from a write transaction latencies 70 single packet message Message rate (millions) in onloading and offload- 60 to multiple messages ing Infiniband solutions. encapsulated within a Latencies can be up to 700 50 single network packet. percent higher for onload- 40 The message rate that an ing solutions. 30 application will see will One can question the be within that range. latency difference for 20 If the application has remote direct memory 10 burstiness characteris- access (RDMA) writes in 0 tics—that is, if it tends to light of the MPI latency 1PPN 2PPN 3PPN 8PPN send bursts of small mes- data provided by various Mellanox msg rate area (between lower and upper boundaries) sages between nodes— vendors. Vendors of Qlogic msg rate area (between lower and upper boundaries) the message rate used offloading and onloading will be toward the upper Figure. 2. Message rate area comparison between offloading solutions alike tout about (green) and onloading (red) Infiniband solutions. limit of the interconnect. a 1-microsecond latency Figure 2 compares the for MPI transactions. Since message rate areas offloading solutions demonstrate speed, more messages will be sent on between two Infiniband solutions: one around 1-μs latency for RDMA write the wire as more CPU cores are used for that includes full transport offload and send transactions, it is obvious that network packet creation. (Mellanox ConnectX-2 adapters, in this the MPI latency would be in the same But there are two things to keep in case) and one that relies on the CPU for range. On the other hand, onloading mind when this benchmark is applied to onloading (QLogic QLE7342 adapters, in solutions demonstrate 7-μs latency for an onloading solution. First, all of the this case). As can be seen, the message RDMA write transactions, so how can CPU resources are being used for net- rate supported by the offloading solu- vendors promote figures of around 1 μs work packet creation; therefore no CPU tions ranges from 22 million to 90 mil- for MPI latency? is available for the user applications. Sec- lion messages/second; the range The reason is that with onloading ond, the same network packet is being supported by the onloading solutions solutions, MPI latency benchmarks send sent to the wire over and over again. extends from fewer than 1 million mes- the data directly from the user space to That does not reflect the real application sages/s to 23 million messages/s. the network and write the data back situation, in which the data on the wire Moreover, the onloading results from the network to the user space, varies from packet to packet. require CPU cycles to create the net- avoiding the buffer copy and the kernel In other words, for onloading net- working packets, so in the presence of a space memory mapping. While that’s works, message rate is a CPU bench- real application, the onloading message acceptable in the case of artificial bench- mark and not really a network rate area would shrink. marks, avoiding memory checking and benchmark. allowing process isolation in production For offloading networks, the message Applications performance usage can result in data reliability and rate benchmark truly measures the net- When considering interconnect latency, security issues that would be unaccept- work’s ability to create data packets and CPU overhead and the message rate able in systems that host many users, send them to the target. The CPU is not influence performance and productivity. such as in cloud computing. involved in the data transfer and there- To demonstrate the performance differ- fore is free for the user applications. ence, we tested two of the most com- Network message rate For Infiniband message rate testing, monly used applications in the high- In addition to latency and throughput, in particular, there are two known performance computing space: Fluent a well-known benchmark is the net- benchmarks: the Infiniband message and LS-DYNA (see Figures 3 and 4). work message rate, which is basically rate and MPI message rate. The application performance testing the network throughput divided by the The IB message rate benchmark provides a genuine comparison. A sin- message size (for small message sizes). measures the number of Infiniband gle benchmarking platform was used: In the case of onloading networks, packets that can be sent between two eight nodes, each with dual Intel Xeon this benchmark tests the ability of the hosts. The MPI message rate bench- X5670 processors at 2.93 GHz. CPU cores to create a network packet mark measures the number of MPI mes- The results show that Mellanox and send it through the two metal cans sages that can be sent between two Infiniband (offloading) demonstrates and the string. Assuming that the bridg- hosts and allows several MPI messages up to 16 percent higher performance ing between the host interface, or PCI- to be accumulated within a single with Fluent and up to 36 percent higher Express, and the network interface Infiniband packet. performance with LS-DYNA on the (Infiniband, for example) is sufficient to These two tests describe the range of eight-node system. The performance allow the interfaces’ maximum data message rates (lower boundary and gap increases with system size. 42 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
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    • DESIGN + PRODUCTS Scalability and productivity ANSYS Fluent When one invests in the latest CPU (Aircraft-2M) technologies and a fast connection to 6000 18% host memory, it is critical to ensure 5000 15% that those resources can be fully uti- lized, as well as to connect them via 4000 12% Rating high-performance, offloaded network- 3000 9% ing solutions. As indicated above, the Mellanox 2000 6% ConnectX Infiniband adapter is an 1000 3% offloading solution. It delivers the entire transport offload with added 0 0% Higher is better 2 4 8 sophistication, such as MPI collective Number of nodes offloads and data reduction. Mellanox Infiniband QDR QLogic Infiniband QDR Percentage The ability to offload MPI collective communications is important for high- Figure 3. Performance comparison between offloading (blue) and onload- performance computing applications ing (red) for Fluent app; green line indicates the percentage difference. based on MPI. Collective communications, which have a crucial impact on the applica- LSTC LS-DYNA tion’s scalability, are frequently used by (Neon refined revised) scientific simulation codes, such as 600 40% broadcasts for sending initial input 500 35% data, reductions for consolidating data 30% 400 25% from multiple sources and barriers for Time global synchronization. Any collective 300 20% communication executes certain global 200 15% communications operations by cou- 10% 100 5% pling all processes in a given group. 0 0% That behavior tends to have the most Lower is better 2 4 8 significant negative impact on the Number of nodes application’s scalability. Mellanox Infiniband QDR QLogic Infiniband QDR Percentage In addition, explicit and implicit com- munication coupling, used in high-per- formance implementations of collective Figure 4. Performance comparison between offloading (blue) and onload- algorithms, tends to magnify the effects ing (red) for LS-DYNA app; green line indicates the percentage difference. of system noise on application perform- ance, hampering application scalability. Mellanox ConnectX adapters address solutions are critical for high-perfor- offloading networks provide the need- the collective communication scalabili- mance system scalability, performance ed scalability for multiple system cores ty problem by offloading a sequence of and productivity. Onloading solutions while ensuring maximum core per- data-dependent communications to the can negatively affect the system efficien- formance for user applications. One host channel adapter. This solution pro- cy and therefore are not recommended can argue that the frequency of the vides the mechanism needed to support for scalable HPC systems. The main (and NIC or adapter is not as fast as the computation and communications probably only) reason for onloading CPU, but such speed is not required. overlap, allowing the communications solutions could be their price. Surpris- Offloading adapters need to be able to to progress asynchronously in hard- ingly, however, public market surveys handle all incoming and outgoing data ware as computations are processed by have found no real price gap between at wire speed, and since this is done in the CPU. It also reduces the effect of sys- onloading solutions and offloading solu- a highly parallel way, they can main- tem noise and application skew on tions in the Infiniband market. tain the needed scalability and high application scalability. For cases in which price gaps do exist, performance without running at CPU- Onloading solutions do the opposite; one should always review the entire like frequencies. As the number of they eliminate any way to overlap system cost (i.e., by taking into account cores grows, the adapters provide high- computation and communications both capital expenses and operational er throughput. cycles. Thus they magnify the effects expenses) and the desired return on Thus, using adapters that can handle of system noise and jitter on applica- investment before making a decision. all network data at wire speed, as in a tion performance. From the performance figures, one full offloading architecture, is the secret As tests show, network offloading can see that for Infiniband systems, for scalable systems. p 44 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
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    • DESIGN + PRODUCTS Toshiba TMP86CP23AUG Microcontroller Connection to pressure sensor Cypress Semiconductor USD and PS/2 controller UNDER THE HOOD Semiconductor scaling: Strong cessful implantation of an artificial car- diac pacemaker in 1958; the use of ultra- medicine for home health care sound imaging for diagnostics by 1960; the invention of computed tomography By Allan Yogasingam scanning in 1972; and the arrival of commercial MRI scanners in 1980. As semiconductor technology improved and met increasingly strin- THERE HAS ALWAYS been a natural physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen in gent requirements for performance, convergence between the worlds of 1895 and the invention of the electro- reliability, power consumption and technology and medicine. As long ago cardiograph by Dutch physiologist compact size, its utility for medical as 1612, Italian physicist Sanctorius’ Willem Einthoven in 1906, further apps became more apparent to design- development of the first medical ther- advanced the state of the medical arts. ers and engineers. The characteristics mometer hinted at how science and A milestone for the melding of tech- and form factor of ASICs and FPGAs engineering would increasingly be nology and medicine was the invention have made them a natural fit for use in relied upon to advance the practice of of the silicon transistor in 1954; from small patient monitors such as blood medicine. Over time, other scientific there the integration of electronics into glucose meters and blood pressure mon- discoveries and developments, such as medical applications took off, leading itors. For example, ultralow-power the harnessing of X-rays by German to such developments as the first suc- ASICs have been designed into hearing aids to improve utility without com- prising the units’ small size. Allan Yogasingam (ayogasingam@ubmtechinsights.com) is technical marketing Systems-on-chip are increasingly analyst for UBM TechInsights. being designed into portable and implantable medical equipment. And October 11, 2010 Electronic Engineering Times 47
    • DESIGN + PRODUCTS RFICs and other wireless sensors are being pursued for their ability to trans- mit data from inside the body via small, implantable units to external devices that monitor a patient’s organ activity. Inside a BP monitor Some of semiconductor scaling’s contri- butions to medical technology can now be found at the corner drug store. At my local pharmacy, for example, I was able to purchase the Omron HEM-790ITCAN arm cuff blood pressure monitor. Until very recently, if you wanted an accurate determination of your blood pressure, you would visit your doctor’s office, where the doctor or an assistant would take your reading using a med- ical laboratory-grade sphygmomanome- Toshiba 8-bit CP23AUG microcontroller. ter. If you had a chronic ailment that required continual monitoring of your blood pressure, you would have to make repeated office visits—unless you had your own lab-grade sphygmo- manometer and the medical training to operate it properly and then accurately interpret the results. Blood pressure monitors like the Omron model now let you measure your pressure easily at home, using electric inflation, sensors and algo- rithms to return readings that can be stored in the devices’ software manage- ment system and reviewed by your doctor. How have advancements in technolo- gy made such home medical devices a reality? A look inside the Omron unit Cypress combination USB and revealed a simple design that effectively PS/2 controller. uses semiconductor technology to repli- cate a classic medical instrument. The pressure sensor itself is notable. the pressure measurement. CP23AUG microcontroller, which Within the sensor part of the unit, the The main board of the blood pressure features 48 kbytes of ROM; 2 kbytes active sensor is a pressure transducer. monitor features two ICs that help of RAM; and an eight-channel, 10-bit As the arm cuff is inflated and then implement its primary functions. The A/D converter. deflated, a membrane within the trans- Cypress Semiconductor enCoRe The future of medicine is one in ducer flexes as the air pressure changes. (enhanced component reduction) USB which technology will have penetrated The sensor measures the differential combination low-speed USB and PS/2 every facet of health care. And with pressure and produces an output volt- peripheral controller is the primary advances in technology that have seen age that varies with the pressure meas- interface between the blood pressure computers scaled down to the size of ured in the cuff. Special circuitry unit and the user-designated computer a dime and wireless technology readily within the pressure sensor minimizes on which the data will be stored. The available through evolutions in wire- errors caused by changes in tempera- Cypress device, an 8-bit RISC microcon- less architecture, the future of medicine ture, and an amplifier circuit condi- troller, features 256 bytes of RAM and a is now. tions the signal sent from the pressure Serial Peripheral Interface communica- Health care facilities and professionals transducer. With that circuit, the out- tions block. are embracing the advances in comput- put voltage from the blood pressure Data received from the pressure sen- ing and wireless technology to provide sensor becomes linear with respect to sor is handled by the Toshiba 8-bit more efficient, more effective care. p 48 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
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    • DESIGN + PRODUCTS PLANET ANALOG Accommodating dc-level mismatch in multi-gigabit serial data transmission By Eric Sweetman AC COUPLING USING a series capaci- tor is a simple method for coupling multi-gigabit transmitters and receivers. It requires only one inexpen- sive passive component and eliminates complications due to mismatched transmitter and receiver dc voltage lev- els. However, low-frequency cutoff limi- tations of ac coupling capacitors can limit system performance for random and long run-length encoded data. Careful matching of transmitter and receiver common-mode voltages allows direct coupling of the transmit- ter and receiver, eliminating the need for ac coupling capacitors. When it is impossible to match the common- mode voltages, dc coupling of the transmitter and receiver can be real- ized by using voltage-leveling circuits. While voltage leveling circuits do add complexity to the circuit, dc coupling can enable significant improvements Figure 1 in system performance. the signal in ways that can be difficult random and is not readily compensated Signal distortions that may to observe on a high-speed oscilloscope, by transmit pre-emphasis or analog result from ac coupling but these distortions may cause bit receive equalization techniques. This article describes the low-frequency errors. In a commonly observed exam- components of long data patterns and ple, a system may exhibit error-free per- Resistive networks the signal distortion that occurs from formance with a 27 – 1 pseudorandom The familiar pi or tee network, used to blocking these components. Other bit sequence (PRBS), but the same sys- match unequal impedances, can be related issues, such as the effects of tem may generate many errors when extended to shift dc levels while main- unbalanced high and low logic levels, the test pattern is changed to a 231 – 1 taining equal characteristic imped- (e.g., baseline wander and resulting bit PRBS, Figure 1. The RC filtering effect ances, Figure 2. This can work well if errors) are also discussed. On the high of the coupling capacitor results in slow the dc mismatch is not large but it caus- frequency end of the spectrum, ac cou- baseline fluctuations that induce zero- es greater than 6-dB attenuation when pling capacitors exhibit self-resonance cross jitter. This jitter, although path the common mode voltage differs by and begin to behave like inductors. and pattern dependent, appears almost more than a 3:2 ratio. In addition, the However, the inductive reactance is actually quite small compared with the characteristic impedance (Z0) and the real problem is with lower frequencies. Attenuation of the low- frequency portions of a serial data stream distorts Figure 2 October 11, 2010 Electronic Engineering Times 51
    • DESIGN + PRODUCTS Figure 3 resistor network requires board space diode forward bias voltage is within the equalizers. Each method has its place and additional attachment pads, both of spread of the difference in dc common depending on data rate, encoding com- which can degrade signal integrity at mode voltage. A small forward bias cur- plexity and dc common mode mis- high data rates. Finally, the resistive rent, through a resistor to VCC, keeps match. For the most demanding matching network consumes a signifi- the diode in conduction. This matches combination of design constraints, we cant amount of power. dc offset with no ac signal attenuation. have shown that the biased series diode It requires fewer components than a offers the best performance with mini- Common positive supply rail resistor network and, since the bias mal increase in complexity and power Typically, CML outputs are referenced resistor is high resistance, does not consumption. p to the positive supply. When transmit- affect signal integrity. Pre-emphasis and ters and receivers are powered with dif- input equalization can function nor- ferent voltages, the resulting dc mally and complex run-length encoded Eric Sweetman is a principal engineer for the common modes differ by about the or scrambled data do not degrade jitter Serial Data Solutions Product group at same amount as their respective sup- as much as with ac coupling. Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation. Eric has plies. The signal common-mode volt- worked in various research and development ages can be made identical by operating Proven method roles covering signal integrity, radio frequen- the devices from a common positive Each of these methods is quantitatively cy identification (RFID) and interconnect voltage supply with different negative analyzed as well as validated with lab technologies. Prior to joining Vitesse in supplies, Figure 3. measurements of practical systems. Eye 2003, Eric held signal integrity and RFID diagrams, jitter plots and bit error ratio R&D positions at Accelerant Networks and Series diode (BER) data are included to illustrate the Lucent Technologies. Eric holds several A third approach is to use a series diode effects of the different coupling meth- patents in RFID technology. He holds a PhD in place of the ac coupling capacitor, ods on multi-gigabit systems that and MS in physics from the University of Figure 4. This is possible when the include lossy transmission lines and Michigan and an BS in physics from MIT. Figure 4 52 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
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    • DESIGN + PRODUCTS EETIMES.COM PRODUCTS: megasamples per second. http://bit.ly/cW3Dg4 Products’ ruggedize four-slot conduction- cooled enclosure is marketed under the IT’S SHOW TIME Vendor: www.analog.com brand name VPX Cube. http://bit.ly/bKdADA September marks the return of conference Precision, high-bandwidth op amp Vendor: www.dawnvme.com and exhibition season, and two of the indus- Maxim Integrated Products has introduced try’s biggest are the Intel Developer Forum the MAX9622, a precision operational Mentor unveils ready-to-use platform for and Embedded Systems Conference–Boston. amplifier with high gain bandwidth. embedded systems development Product stories abounded. Our product-story http://bit.ly/aOxZ9y Mentor Graphics Corp. has delivered the list this issue includes two synopses of our Vendor: www.maxim-ic.com Embedded ReadyStart Platform, a “ready to coverage, with links to those roundup stories. use” solution comprising integrated soft- DC-DC buck regulators ware IP, tools and services targeting popular IDF coverage simplify PoL power designs hardware boards and SoCs. Intel’s vision for new 32- and 22-nm proces- Micrel Inc. rolled out its SuperSwitcher http://bit.ly/9DKmzV sors; Dialog’s one-chip power manage- II family of integrated MOSFET buck Vendor: www.mentor.com ment/clock driver companion IC; congatec’s regulators for high power density dc/dc new Ultra-Mobile Module; Aurora’s single- applications. IP/EDA board computer; LeCroy’s new interposer; http://bit.ly/b7RCCJ Synopsys enhances FPGA synthesis: Green Hills’ optimized RTOS and more. Vendor: www.micrel.com 4x speedup plus team design capabilities http://bit.ly/9fK7Um Synopsys announced a number of enhance- Boards, buses: ments to its Synplify Pro and Synplify Pre- ESC Boston coverage Roboteq programmable 2 x150A dc motor mier FPGA synthesis tools to offer a 4X RFM’s low-cost 900-MHZ FHSS module; controller targets mobile robot, automation speedup over traditional logic synthesis. Freescale–Cirrus’s reference design for digi- The HDC2450 is an intelligent motor con- http://bit.ly/cMkfYA tal utility meters; Green Hills support for troller from Roboteq capable of directly driv- Vendor: www.synopsys.com NetLogic’s XLP CPUs; Cypherbridge, Nabto ing two dc motors up to 150 amps each at roll Web server module. up to 50 volts. Cadence defines Cortex-A15 MPCore http://bit.ly/bLLsIi http://bit.ly/9KWwCH implementation methodology Vendor: www.roboteq.com Cadence Design Systems Inc. said it is pro- Analog viding an optimized implementation Analog Devices offers Electromechanical methodology for the new ARM Cortex-A15 16-bit ADC at 250 Msamples/s FOUR-slot 3U conduction-cooled enclosure MPCore processor. ADI announced the AD9647 16-bit ana- meets mil specs http://bit.ly/9v2uj6 log/digital converter, operating at 250 Designed for VPX 3U modules, Dawn VME Vendor: www.cadence.com PRODUCT OF THE TIMES 54 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
    • PRODUCT OF THE TIMES DESIGN ENGINEERING Special Offers!! & CONSULTING 2 Layers $11/ea receivers - transmitters - synthesizers - modulators - antennas RF, Microwave, Mixed Signal 4 Layers $33/ea Lead Free We can fix your tough RF problems! www.vpirf.com Free Ground Tel: (801) 495-2310 info@vpirf.com Shipment engineering October 11, 2010 Electronic Engineering Times 55
    • EE LIFE POP CULTURE Software team’s omission sounds alarm for cross-team dialogue By Glen Chenier IT WAS THE BIG DAY for the software software team, which wanted to demon- competitors’ products into oblivion. team, which was scheduled to demon- strate how its management information At the end of the presentation, I real- strate the latest and greatest version of base (MIB) could tally and report all ized that a significant feature had not its SNMP network management soft- sorts of transmission anomalies. been demonstrated, but rather than ware for marketing. Many As a member of the hard- bring it up without sufficient data I wait- months’ worth of sweat- ware team, I watched from ed until I had the equipment all to and-blood software design the sidelines as the software myself. With nobody watching, I simu- work was about to be team put on its dog-and-pony lated the “backhoe has cut the cable” sce- judged. The new hardware show, demonstrating the vari- nario by removing the fiber-optic cable was, well, just hardware. ous packet counters and that interconnected two hubs. I waited The prototype hardware potential alarm scenarios that for the alarm; nothing. What the heck? had already been set up in would be flagged upon When I asked a software team mem- the lab and debugged, and receipt of packets in excess of ber why the software had not sent out it was transmitting test traffic packets preset thresholds. The marketing team an alarm when presented with my “loss between multiport network hubs with- was impressed with how our product’s of optical signal” hardware alarm bits, out error. That was a problem for the software was about to kick assorted he replied, “We don’t monitor those bits; ENGINEERING INVESTIGATIONS Pesky diagonal lines on custom CRT confound designers By Charles Glorioso A STARTUP I worked for in the early blue and green color fil- code. It took a few hours to ’80s invented a technique to “burn” ters, to produce an 8-Mbit build up an image. When we images on 35-mm slide film, a pixel at a bit-mapped image with developed the film, the results time. We used a custom CRT that pro- 24-bit color resolution. were good enough to indicate duced a very small spot of constant That quality level is we were on the right track. brightness, along with optics to image about where consumer Management was pleased and, the spot onto film. The electronics posi- digital cameras are now based on our early success, tioned the spot in x and y on the CRT —and this was at a time arranged to display the product face, turned on the spot to expose 1 pix- when computer moni- at an upcoming trade show. el on the film for a precise amount of tors were just beginning to have color. When we took the next step and sped time, then turned off that spot and We built an early prototype to test up the deflection circuitry, however, the moved to the next pixel. The procedure the concepts. It filled a rolling bench, images were full of diagonal light and was repeated for 4,000 spots horizontal- allowing us to roll it into a darkroom dark stripes. We made some changes in ly and 2,000 rows. for imaging, since the imaging path the electronics and tried again, to no The image was built up through a red wasn’t light tight. We hooked up the avail. Fixing the problem was going to color filter and then repeated through prototype to a PC and ran some test be a slow process. There was no image 56 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
    • EE LIFE that was never in the requirements for could not report a broken optical link, team has gotten it right. Further, keep the MIB.” That annoyed me, since I had and it insisted that the code be rewrit- in contact with other design teams dur- put a lot of effort into the fiber-optic ten to include monitoring and report- ing a project, even if their work does link design and had specifically includ- ing of optical carrier detect bits. The not directly affect yours. Recognizing ed the optical carrier sense hardware cir- director of software soon disappeared. another team’s design oversight early in cuit for alarm reporting purposes. After Lessons learned? First, when a a project saves trouble at the end, when all, if an interhub fiber link crashed, hardware function is designed into a all of the contributions are integrated. p hundreds of users would be cut off. product, be sure the software team When I asked the director of software understands why. Then recheck part- Glen Chenier is a design consultant based about the omission, he answered that way through the project to ensure the in Allen, Texas. designing software specific to the opti- cal link functions would have taken extra development time, so he’d kept all port software as simple as possible. SJOIN THE FUN After all, zero packets could just mean Like this content? Check out EE Life, our new community site, or sign up for our that nobody was using the network. weekly EE Life newsletter and get this content delivered directly to your inbox: He didn’t get the difference between http://tinyurl.com/335x6q3. It’s chock full of unique content written by, inspired an individual twisted-pair port for a sin- by and commented on by engineers. From things that go bump in the lab to products gle user and an optical interhub port that didn’t perform quite as expected and the absurd things that happen, EE Life that served hundreds. So the MIB could explores what it means to be an engineer today. Have a good story you’d like to see report damaged packets, but not a com- published? E-mail karen.field@ubm.com, and we’ll be happy to eat up a chunk of your plete network failure. Huge oversight. 15 minutes of fame. Marketing was upset to learn the MIB to look at on the CRT, just a slowly mov- tion of the stripes changed. But we bench in the original location, it was ing spot; the only way to see the image could not find an electrical path for the nearly perfect. It turned out the CRT was to expose color film and then spend interference. Meanwhile, the trade was so sensitive that its beam was being an hour or so developing it. show was drawing nearer—as were the deflected by the line-voltage wiring run- Still, we tried everything we could managers looking over our shoulders. ning in the wall next to the test bench. think of. Was the high-voltage power Eventually, and in desperation, we We managed to get the first full unit supply modulating the spot brightness? moved the whole table out into the finished by working all night before the Turn off its modulation and expose a main lab, closed all the shades, waited trade show. The demo unit had two lev- frame. Develop the film. Cuss; same until after dark, turned out the lights els of magnetic protection: a steel hous- stripes of light and dark. Was the low- and made some images—which bore ing and a mu metal cone fitted to the voltage power supply modulating the almost no pattern of stripes. When we CRT. It weighed 50 pounds, and it made analog deflection? Create an experi- moved the bench back to its original great images. ment and expose the film. Cuss; same position, the patterns returned. Tired Ultimately, the product was a techni- stripes. Was the PC somehow interfer- and confused, we went home. cal success. The market wasn’t there, ing with the unit? Build a very long In the morning, someone suggested however. The company was soon cable to the PC, move the PC out of the magnetic interference with the CRT acquired, and our lab was closed. room, expose more film. Cuss. beam itself. We bought some mu metal, We became fairly sure that the pat- which is used for magnetic shielding. Charles Glorioso has more than 40 years’ terns were beats against 60-Hz interfer- We formed a cone of the mu metal and experience in electronics design and man- ence, because when we changed the inserted the CRT totally into the cone. agement. He has a BSEE from Purdue and deflection rate, the width and orienta- When we made an image with the an MSEE from Illinois Institute of Technology. October 11, 2010 Electronic Engineering Times 57
    • LAST WORD When tight lips sink projects nessed the disastrous test. It was his responsibility to tell the King and halt the design, but he was too frightened of the King’s response and never men- tioned the stability problem. At 4 p.m. on launch day, the ship set sail for what was to be a short cruise around the bay, with 90 sailors and The Boss is under pressure to show up the com- their families—wives and children— aboard to celebrate the pride of the petition, and he is pressuring his product Swedish navy. With only four of her 10 development team to deliver something that sails unfurled, the Vasa pulled away from the pier. will blow everyone else away. A new product is The Council of the Realm described planned that will show the world how power- the events in a letter to the King, who was still away waging war in Prussia: ful and important The Boss and his operation “When the ship left the shelter of Tegelviken, a stronger wind entered the really are. sails and she immediately began to heel An earlier model had worked great, Sweden’s navy, with only single-gun- over hard to the lee side. She righted herself but the new design has an important deck ships in its fleet, was behind its slightly again until she approached Beck- new feature, and there are no analytical rivals. Gustavus II wanted the Vasa to holmen, where she heeled right over, and models to predict its performance. The sport two decks of guns to project Swe- water gushed in through the gun ports until designer is nervous; the new design is den’s power. But shipbuilding was an she slowly went to the bottom, under sail, beyond his experience, but there’s no art, and no designer in the Swedish pennants and all.” time to inch up the learning The top-heavy Vasa had trav- curve. The Boss is impatient. eled just 1,300 meters before The original designer leaves The 400- sinking, leaving 25 entombed. the project midway through. year-old Why did the Vasa fail? The bal- Meanwhile, management story last not only was insufficient to keeps changing the spec. Product testing is suspended of the offset the weight of thewas com- and the gun decks but masts when the test manager realizes Vasa posed of round river rocks that the handcrafted first article offers a rolled with the ship, inducing would catastrophically fail. moral for the craft to roll even more. An But the Boss is out of town and can’t be reached, and no one is advanced inquiry was held and one was heard. Ultimately, no testimony brave enough to tell him about design punished, though many had the failure anyway. projects been culpable. Production moves ahead. The story of the Vasa still The product is released to great holds lessons for advanced prod- fanfare and is a spectacular disaster. Empire was sufficiently versed in dimen- uct development. In less than an hour of operation, as sion and ballast to design such a vessel. • Express your concerns when man- friends, families and competitors watch, The initial designer, Henrick Hybersts- agement changes the specs in the mid- it destroys itself and several lives as well. son, had been conservative, specifying dle of the product design. The Boss, who is still out of town, issues 24-pound guns for the lower deck and • There is no substitute for an analyti- a statement: “Imprudence and negli- 12-pound guns for the upper deck. cal model that can accurately predict gence must have been the cause, and the Hyberstsson died a year before construc- performance before you commit to guilty parties must be punished.” tion finished. The King decided he want- hardware. This isn’t the story of the latest tech ed to project more power and ordered • When you test the first article, use industry flameout but the tragic tale of 24-pound guns for the upper deck as the data to verify how well it matches the the Vasa, a ship launched on Aug. 10, well. The new shipbuilders complied. predictions; use the data to “hack into” 1628. The Boss was King Gustavus II As part of the stability testing of the design to determine its limitations. Adolphus of Sweden, who at the time of every ship, 30 sailors would run from • Never hesitate to voice your con- the Vasa’s construction and testing was side to side 10 times to try to capsize it. cerns to management. The last thing leading his invading army into Poland When testing the Vasa, shipmaster they want is a surprise. p and counting on his new ship to help Joran Matsson, quickly realizing the win the war. craft would flip, called off the test after By Eric Bogatin, signal integrity evangelist at When the Vasa was commissioned, three cycles. Admiral Klas Fleming wit- Bogatin Enterprises (www.bethesignal.com) 58 Electronic Engineering Times October 11, 2010
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