Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

Can injectable biosensor predict flu pandemics? Intel flaw; Google Cloud & teleco edge computing; Synopsys machine learning.


Pervasive computing — health
An injectable biosensor may someday help measure signs of influenza. DARPA (the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and digital health startup Profusa announced a study that uses Profusa’s Lumee Oxygen Platform to find ways to identify flu outbreaks, biological attacks and pandemics as much as three weeks earlier than currently possible. The Lumee platform consists of a wireless reader worn as a patch that picks up data from an injected oxygen sensor and sends the oxygen-level data to a mobile device in real time. Also collaborating on the study with the Emeryville, Calif.-based Profusa are RTI International, Imperial College of London, and Duke University. Study results are supposed to be available in 2021. According to Profusa, external pulse oximeters measure oxygen bound to the hemoglobin in larger blood vessel while Profusa’s Lumee Oxygen Platform measures dissolved oxygen at the tissue level in the fluid that bathes cells.

Researchers have found an unpatchable vulnerability in the boot ROM of Intel chips. While hard to exploit, the security flaw found by security firm Positive Technologies “jeopardizes everything Intel has done to build the root of trust and lay a solid security foundation on the company’s platforms,” writes Positive Technologies in a blog. The flaw in the ROM of the Intel Converged Security and Management Engine (CSME) leaves a tiny window open for attackers to access and control a computer when the computer is booting up.

Wired reports that hackers can steal cars by exploiting encryption flaws in automotive keyless start systems in millions of cars made by Toyota, Hyundai and Kia.

Cadence is integrating Dover Microsystems’s CoreGuard security software on Cadence’s Tensilica Xtensa LX7 processor to protect devices against network-based attacks, in a partnership announced this week. Primarily aimed at aerospace and defense markets but applicable to automotive, IoT and imaging markets, this technology combination blocks executed instructions that violate security, safety and privacy rules, or micropolicies. If an instruction violates an existing micropolicy, CoreGuard stops it from executing in real time before damage can be done.

Silicon Labs is launching new security features in its wireless SoCs to ward off security threats to IoT devices. Each chip has a device identifier that is supposed to guarantee a chip’s authenticity for life. Also, Silicon Lab’s Secure Vault isolates a security subsystem from the host processor and secures keys with physically unclonable function (PUF) hardware technology.

AI, machine learning
Samsung is using the machine learning in Synopsys’ IC Compiler II for chip design place and route, specifically for 5nm mobile SoC production design. “Machine learning-driven chip design represents a paradigm shift which delivers a significant QoR (quality of results) and productivity leap required to tackle the mounting challenges of smaller geometries,” said Youngmin Shin, vice president of System LSI Design Technology at Samsung Electronics in a press release. “We are extremely impressed with Synopsys for making the ML vision a reality in IC Compiler II and delivering exceptional QoR results.”

AI chip maker Hailo raised $60 million in Series B funding for its Hailo-8 deep learning chip.

Edge, data center, cloud
Google Cloud unveiled its plans to work with telecom companies on 5G edge computing to bring data to customers and money to the telecoms. Google’s Global Mobile Edge Cloud strategy is to build business services that offer edge, multi-cloud computing that telecoms can sell to their customers or use for their own network analytics. Google already has thousands of edge locations, according to a press release. Access to these locations can be turned on for telecoms. Also AT&T agreed to work with Google on an edge computing solution, and Google will offer its open-source Kubernetes-based Anthos cloud platform to telecom companies to run applications on the network edge or in the cloud. Google Cloud is also offering telecom companies machine learning and data analytics through its BigQuery platform.

Reference designs and dev kits are available now of Marvell’s OCTEON TX2 multicore network infrastructure chips, with up to 36 cores, based on the Arm v8-A architecture and programmable hardware accelerator blocks. “High-performance data networks require increased compute performance and efficiency as we enter the 5G era,” said Mohamed Awad, vice president of marketing, Infrastructure Line of Business, Arm, in a press release. “OCTEON TX2, based on the Armv8-A architecture, enables new levels of performance to meet the demands of next generation networking and cloud data center applications.”

Xilinx launched a SmartNIC platform that promises to deliver turnkey network, storage and compute acceleration to cloud data centers.

Intel announced it has integrated its 1.6 Tbps silicon photonics engine with its 12.8 Tbps programmable Ethernet switch. The switch is optimized for hyperscale data centers.

Ericsson‘s smart factory in Lewisville, Texas, has produced its first 5G base station. The base station is a millimeter-wave Street Macro, which Ericsson says is key for its 5G portfolio for its North American customers.

Ansys has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Lumerical Inc., a developer of photonic design and simulation tools. Expected to close in second quarter of 2020, the acquisition will add photonics products — used to model interacting optical, electrical and thermal effects in photonics — to Ansys’ multiphysics portfolio.

The automotive electronics market will reach $382.16 billion by 2026, says Allied Market Research, citing adoption of AI and IoT in automobiles plus in-vehicle safety and automated driving features as driving growth.

Left Hand Robotics announced its BOLT platform for equipment manufacturers who want to automate machines for outdoor jobs. The platform includes autonomous navigation and telemetry, sensors, cameras, controls, software and apps (a cloud-based robot operations center and job planning, reporting and analysis).

Jung Yun Choi, corporate vice president for the Samsung Electronics Design Technology team, has been elected to the Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2) board of directors.

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