Blog Review: Dec. 17

Fridge tricks; mixed-signal mistakes; PCB pointers; smart rings; clocks; LPDDR4 phones; smarter cards; science fiction; mobile app changes; parallel apps; Millennial connections; DNA.

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Ansys’ Bill Vandermark unearths the top five engineering articles for this week. Check out the ship-based laser weapon used to destroy drones. There’s also a product called The Sphere that allows you to do strange things like answer the phone by tapping on the refrigerator. Bet you didn’t think of that one.

Cadence’s Steve Carlson lists the top five things that can go wrong in mixed signal verification. No. 3 is particularly interesting.

Mentor’s John McMillan points to the latest trend in PCB design—touch screens.

ARM’s Kris Hong observes how wearable technology has evolved over the past 12 months in the Asia/Pacific region. Check out the ring that translates sign language into voice or text. There are also smart shoes to help you get to your destination.

Synopsys’ Mick Posner digs into automated gated clock conversion to ensure an FPGA prototype runs at the highest performance functionality equivalent to the source.

Rambus’ Aharon Etengoff says top smartphone with LPDDR4 will start showing up next year in volume. That should help with battery life.

NXP’s Christian Lackner examines new ways of paying for stuff using a single card. Smart cards are about to get even smarter, but what about the people using them?

Ansys’ Robert Harwood fuses science fiction with systems engineering under an experimental dome simulator. It’s no longer fiction, though.

Mentor’s Robin Bornoff is out to find a better way to heat water. After thousands of years, someone has finally come up with a better idea.

ARM’s Alban Rampon explains changes for mobile app support for the Android and iOS platforms. If you work in this space, you probably should read this.

Cadence’s Richard Goering follows a speech by Stanford’s Kunle Olukotun on writing parallel applications without parallel programming.

Semico Research’s Tony Massimini assesses the Freescale acquisition of Zenverge, which is the video Internet of Things. That’s a new way to slice it.

Mentor’s John Day looks at three big announcements for Ethernet in cars and why they’re significant.

And in case you missed the latest issues of the IoT & Security and Manufacturing, Design & Test newsletters, here are some noteworthy blogs:

Technology Editor Ernest Worthman contends that everyone should take notice of the über-connected Millennials.

Executive Editor Ann Steffora Mutschler observes that we need to ask the big picture questions when it comes to IoT devices.

Executive Editor Mark LaPedus finds that CMOS-based DNA sequencing chips and competing technologies face a number of cost and technical hurdles.

Mentor Graphics’ David Abercrombie takes a deep dive into what you expect to encounter, and what you’ll really find in multi-patterning at advanced nodes.

Applied Materials’ Max McDaniel cites a survey that shows four common threads for displays in the U.S., China and India.

Semico Research’s Joanne Itow attends Semicon Japan and finds big growth opportunities in wearables, health care and energy control and monitoring.

SEMI’s Christopher Dieseldorff projects capital equipment sales in the range in 2014 and 2015.