Blog Review: Dec. 3

Energy loss; low-power progress; human CFD; home improvements; network function virtualization; disaster area app; next-gen shopping; electric vehicle range extenders; IOT tradeoffs; debug; mass transit.


Mentor’s Robin Bornoff zeroes in on some of the biggest and most frustrating causes of energy loss—the ones that have nothing to do with the intended task. In electronics, it’s a question of how much power is consumed pushing around electrons and photons.

Cadence’s Richard Goering follows a panel discussion about whether we’re really making progress in low-power design, where the challenges are and where the next big gains will come from.

Ansys’ Thierry Marchal finds that computational fluid dynamics is now being applied to the human body to evaluate some common plumbing problems such as clogged arteries. CFD may have found a new calling.

Synopsys’ Mick Posner shows off his home improvement projects. So this is what engineers do in their spare time.

ARM’s Richard Stamvik shines some light on network function virtualization, or NFV, which is an intriguing topic both for flexibility and security reasons involving a bunch of devices ranging from set-top boxes to home, personal and commercial networks.

The White House’s Brian Forde, Denice Ross and Derek Fempong show off a new mobile app that allows users in disaster areas find fuel and look up power outage maps. This opens some interesting possibilities for the IoT—even in places where everything is working properly.

NXP’s Sylvia Kaiser-Kershaw shows what shopping will be like in a couple of years, when near-field communications and Bluetooth Low-Energy become pervasive. You may never have to read a label again.

Mentor’s John Day notes that huge sums of money will be spent to extend the range of electric vehicles by 2025. That includes more than just cars, too. The prediction is that in 10 years, rotary combustion engines won’t be dominant anymore.

Cadence’s Raj Mathur digs into hardware-assisted verification using code coverage at the system level—an approach that has been talked about far more than it has been used.

Ansys’ Margaret Schmitt looks at the tradeoffs between performance and power on the Internet of Things, where a smart device has to behave as a connected smart device using an antenna.

ARM’s Joe Alderson shows how to capture a trace of program execution, which is useful for bare-metal or Linux kernel debugging. If you don’t speak software, here’s a crash course.

NXP’s Nav Bains shows off a new way of accessing mass transit—a phone scan. This won’t work in most of California, though. There’s good network coverage but there’s no mass transit.