Week 44: IoT impossible Without EDA

IoT will be built on earlier innovations, but it won’t look anything like it.


Hype and timing aside, the IoT is likely to be the Internet’s next wave. Like all new waves, IoT probably won’t bear much resemblance to the descriptions of today’s prognosticators, though will lean heavily on earlier work and innovation – including by the EDA technologies that remain the core of DAC and our multibillion dollar industry, and the prime enabler of electronic design at large.

Try this: Next to time you hear about IoT, the future in which tiny bits of connected circuitry will be embedded nearly everywhere, pause to think back briefly to Rubylith, which I know at least some of you in the DAC crowd are old enough to remember. We certainly could not design today’s electronic devices cutting sheets of Rubylith masking film. The Rubylith Wikipedia entry suggests just what a game changer EDA software was when it arrived: “The physical layouts of the first generations of Intel microprocessors (at least the Intel 4004, 4040, 8008, 8080, 8085, and 8086) were designed by physically cutting sheets of Rubylith to create the different required artwork for production of the integrated circuits. The finished Rubylith artwork was photo reduced up to 100 times and then step and repeated on to glass plates for production use.”


Imagine reducing the Rubylith to today’s geometries, the nanoscale that wearables depend on. Of course it would be impossible. Do you remember the first mobile phones? There was nothing wearable about them, despite the recent interest in these retro designs by at least one hipster designer.

At DAC this year we have several sessions on IoT, enough that we put a link to IoT content on DAC site so you can find all the content in one place. From Google’s smart contact lens project to automotive electronics like Delphi Drive, nearly all our keynotes are in some way related to IoT. But there are also several IoT-themed SKY talks, DAC pavilion sessions and multiple conference sessions throughout the program.

And don’t forget the DAC exhibits. Many of the tools you need for IoT designs will be right there, no matter if you are working on the latest and greatest chip for connected IC devices and object identification, or on established nodes for simpler devices such as exercise trackers or toothbrushes that talk to your smartphone (yes, they exist). The vendors exhibiting at DAC have the technology you need, from high-end emulation technology to low-cost analog simulation tools. And not a sheet of Rubylith in sight.

Registration is open now. Take advantage of the early registration rates to get a nice discount before prices go up on May 12.

  • Ted Paone

    DRC’s measured with scales, LVS was an exercise in coloring between the lines, and woe be you if you find a stray contact on the floor.
    Rode my bike to work, 20 miles, uphill both ways (you have to know Austin), in Texas heat and icy winters. Now my grandson does layout from home and rolls his eyes when I go on.
    They were not the good old days but they were fun and I worked with great people. Still not the good old days but still having fun and working with great people.