Blog Review: June 3

Devices to make extreme situations and everyday activities better; how is an octopus like the IoT?; creating Ethernet standards; Agile development debate; FPGA prototyping patience; dynamics of the embedded computing board market; all languages exist for a reason; easy rental car pickup; sensor system for fender benders.

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An emergency torch that lets you breathe while escaping a smoke-filled building; a car that shrinks to fit into parking spaces that aren’t quite big enough: from extreme situations to everyday activities, Ansys’ Justin Nescott features devices designed to make life easier and safer in his picks for week’s top five engineering articles. Check out the prosthetic foot that takes commands from sensors embedded in living calf muscle.

How is an octopus like the IoT? Rambus’ Aharon Etengoff looks at the dispersed, specialized sensors embedded in the colorblind cephalopods’ skin that make their camouflage possible.

Cadence’s Arthur Marris returns from Pittsburg with some very nice photos of the city and insight into the creation of 802.3 Ethernet standards.

Whether you are a believer in Agile development methods or a skeptic, Mentor’s Harry Foster invites you to a discussion on if it can address the root cause of functional flaws at the Verification Academy booth at DAC.

Hardware is only a fraction of the challenge of FPGA-based prototyping, says Synopsys’ Michael Posner, and patience is necessary because without an implementation tool flow a complete solution isn’t possible.

ARM’s David Blaza considers what happened in the last couple years to rapidly change the dynamics of the embedded computing board market, plus three predictions for what’s next.

Cadence’s Efrat Shneydor says that all languages exist for a reason and that if you can simply integrate them all together you can finish up with the best of all worlds.

If your next rental car pickup is surprisingly easy, NXP’s Mahdi Mekic says that might be thanks to RFID.

And if the car got dinged along the way, Mentor’s John Day looks at a sensor system for telling exactly when and where it happened.

For more reading, check out the blogs featured in last week’s System Level Design newsletter:

Editor in Chief Ed Sperling predicts more acquisitions and deals as the IoT begins to take shape.

Technology Editor Brian Bailey contends that patents are no longer useful in industries where development and product lifecycles are shorter than patent filings and litigation times.

Synopsys’ Tom De Schutter argues it’s time to add automation into automotive design.

Cadence’s Frank Schirrmeister points to three trends that will drive discussions at this year’s DAC.

Mentor’s Kurt Takara and Joe Hupcey take on clock domain crossing, metastability and asynchronous clock relationships.

Arteris’ Kurt Shuler finds it’s increasingly easy to design a chip that’s impossible to manufacture.

Sonics’ Randy Smith argues that a methodology used for developing software is now required in hardware.

eSilicon’s Mike Gianfagna notes that given the success of companies like Facebook and Uber, maybe owning physical assets isn’t so important anymore.