Blog Review: Aug. 20

Smarter baby monitors; 3D tools; high-tech hiking; DDR4-compatibility; verification; ESD design; OpenGL; memory bottlenecks; louder phones.

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Ansys’ Bill Vandermark highlights the top five engineering articles of the week. Check out the “Sprouting Baby Monitor.” This may be a sign of what the IoT is really good for. You can also use your cat (or dog or even your kids) to hack your neighbor’s Wi-Fi.

Cadence’s Richard Goering says gaps may be narrowing between available tools and what’s needed for 3D-IC design. Now all we need is someone to actually build them.

Mentor’s Nazita Saye uses the latest technology to buy a pair of hiking boots, then ties it to computational fluid dynamics. You might have to walk 15 miles to get the connection, but the technology is very interesting.

Synopsys’ Marc Greenberg points to the hubbub surrounding Intel’s upcoming launch of DDR4-compatible products. That should speed up DRAM considerably.

Independent verification expert Gaurav Jalan takes a fresh look at the state of verification, which is becoming as complex as the most recent designs.

Ansys’ Margaret Schmitt says that ESD is now an essential part of system design, including network connectors, USB ports, antennas, wearable devices and a slew of mobile electronics.

ARM’s Tom Olson looks at the next generation of OpenGL, which will be leaner, as well as multi-core and multi-thread friendly.

Cadence’s Brian Fuller points to promises and reality in flash memory storage systems, highlighting a speech by colleague Chris Rowen at the Flash Memory Summit. Memory is definitely a recurring bottleneck in SoC design.

NXP’s Shawn Scarlett turns up the volume on a smart phone without fear of distortion or blowing a speaker. This should put an interesting twist on hands-free conversations.

You’ve heard talk of a smart home, but what does a smart city look like? Rambus Press gives a glimpse into an efficiently managed urban area where traffic congestion is minimal and energy conservation is the norm.

Cadence’s Seow Yin Lim argues that a natural user interface will be essential for making the IoT successful. Emphasis should be placed on interfaces that actually interpret your words or gestures accurately.

And in case you missed last week’s Manufacturing, Design & Test newsletter, here are some noteworthy blogs:

Executive Editor Mark LaPedus says IBM’s semiconductor division is still in play, but it also could remain a viable part of the company — and a resouce for the entire semiconductor industry.

After months of research on quantum technology and qubits, technology editor Katherine Derbyshire finds plenty of material for anyone looking to dig deeper into this subject.

Mentor Graphics’ David Abercrombie argues that we need to spend some time pondering whether multi-patterning is good for us.

Semico Research’s Joanne Itow observes that Intel, TSMC and Samsung are involved in an interesting strategy game—one with no obvious winner because there are too many variables.

SEMI’s 450 Central editor shows off the first 450mm wafers patterned with immersion lithography.