Blog Review: Sept. 3

Hoverbikes; DDR4.1; cipher machines; bad orbits; brown thumb cure; slow buses; analog look-alikes; innovation; 3D printing.

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Ansys’ Bill Vandermark flags the top five engineering technology articles of the week. A couple of these are unusual, such as e-mailing brain waves, and hoverbikes, which could really improve bike safety—as long as you don’t hit a bird.

Synopsys’ Marc Greenberg looks at just how fast DDR4 can run. But what do you call it when you overclock everything? Is that still DDR4?

Cadence’s Seow Yin Lim talks about the changes coming with the IoT, including starting your car by talking into your smart phone, as well as a list of considerations ranging from bill of materials management to security.

Bet you didn’t know the Enigma cipher machine was used commercially in the 1920s to secure communication before being adopted by the German military in World War II as the best way of keeping communications secure. What prompted this nugget of history? Apparently Rambus’ Aharon Etengoff has one in his building.

Mentor’s J. VanDomelen notes a discrepancy between the intended and actual orbit of two satellites launched by the European Space Agency. This is a very expensive mistake, and one that’s extremely difficult to fix.

ARM’s Carissa Labriola has come up with an interesting application for people with brown thumbs—a $14 smart planter. This may be a breakthrough in communing with nature.

Applied Materials’ Siobhan Kenney links to the 25 tech award finalists. Some of these are really unusual, such as using plastic water bottles for 3D printing and a machine to deliver anesthesia without compressed oxygen or a need for continuous power.

Speaking of 3D printing, A Lam Research staff writer highlights some of the benefits and promises of this approach in semiconductor equipment prototyping.

Synopsys’ Richard Solomon and Scott Knowlton have come up with some interesting uses for slow serial buses, such as humidifying the air.

Cadence’s Richard Goering takes a dive into electromigration and what design engineers really need to know about it, including what can go wrong when you widen wires to mitigate it, and what kinds of effects you’re likely to encounter at advanced nodes using finFETs.

Ansys’ Hossam Metwally dissects heat exchangers, noting that the larger the exchanger the more expensive it is. Sound familiar?

ARM’s David Maidment points to a new Android watch that looks like an analog watch. Apparently not everyone wants to wear a large square device on their wrist.

Mentor’s John Day notes that younger people are more interested in automotive connectivity than older people. Hopefully that’s for safety reasons, not because they’re reading more text on the road.

And last but not least, Cadence’s Axel Scherer expounds on how he misjudged the value of the Macbook Pro’s Retina display.