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  • NVIDIA @ SIGGRAPH 2019: NV to Enable 30-bit OpenGL Support on GeForce/Titan Cards

    NVIDIA @ SIGGRAPH 2019: NV to Enable 30-bit OpenGL Support on GeForce/Titan Cards

    2019-08-05
    Kicking off Last week is SIGGRAPH, the annual North American professional graphics gathering that sees everyone from researchers to hardware vendors come together to show off new ideas and new products. Last year’s show ended up being particularly important, as NVIDIA used the show as a backdrop for the announcement of their Turing graphics architecture. This year’s NVIDIA presence is going to be far more low-key – NVIDIA doesn’t have any new hardware this time – but the company is still at the show with some announcements. Diving right into matters then, this year NVIDIA has an announcement that all professional and prosumer users will want to take note of. At long last, NVIDIA is dropping the requirement to use a Quadro card to get 30-bit (10bpc) color support on OpenGL applications; the company will finally be extending that feature to GeForce and Titan cards as well. Dubbed their Studio Driver: SIGGRAPH Edition, NVIDIA’s latest driver will eliminate the artificial restriction that prevented OpenGL applications from drawing in 30-bit color. For essentially all of the company’s existence, NVIDIA has restricted this feature to their professional visualization Quadro cards in order to create a larger degree of product segmentation between the two product families. With OpenGL (still) widely used for professional content creation applications, this restriction didn’t prevent applications like Photoshop from running on GeForce cards, but it kept true professional users from using it with the full, banding-free precision that the program (and their monitors) were capable of. So for the better part of 20 years, it has been one of the most important practical reasons to get a Quadro card over a GeForce card, as while it’s possible to use 30-bit color elsewhere (e.g. DirectX), it was held back in a very specific scenario that impacted content creators. But with this latest Studio Driver, that’s going away. NVIDIA’s Studio drivers, which can be installed on any Pascal or newer GeForce/Titan card – desktop and mobile – will no longer come with this 30-bit restriction. It will be possible to use 30-bit color anywhere that the application supports it, including OpenGL applications. To be honest, this wasn’t a restriction I was expecting NVIDIA to lift any time soon. Rival AMD has offered unrestricted 30-bit color support for ages, and it has never caused NVIDIA to flinch. NVIDIA’s official rationale for all of this feels kind of thin – it was a commonly requested feature since the launch of the Studio drivers, so they decided to enable it – but as their official press release notes, working with HDR material pretty much requires 30-bit color; so it’s seemingly no longer a feature NVIDIA can justify restricting from Quadro cards. Still, I suppose one shouldn’t look a gift horse too closely in the mouth. Otherwise, at this point I’m not clear on whether this is going to remain limited to the Studio drivers, or will come to the regular “game ready” GeForce dr...
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  • Toposens Launches TS3 Ultrasonic Sensor

    Toposens Launches TS3 Ultrasonic Sensor

    2019-08-02
    Toposens recently announced the release of their current flag-ship product TS3, a 3D ultrasonic sensor suitable for a wide range of applications in the autonomous systems market that require a strong need for reliable object detection and situational awareness. In comparison to common ultrasonic sensors, which usually measure the distance only to the closest reflecting surface, Toposens’ new 3D sensors achieve a wide field of view of up to 160° and provide simultaneous 3D measurements for multiple objects within the scanning area. The operation thus mimics the echolocation techniques used by bats and dolphins for navigation and orientation in the wild. The new TS3 sensor combines carefully selected hardware components with proprietary signal processing algorithms. It is ideally suited for indoor robotic navigation and object avoidance. Systems benefit from its real-time processing capabilities while keeping data transmission bandwidth and power consumption low, which is especially important for battery powered robots. Exemplary use cases include home cleaning robots and delivery/service robots. The TS3 sensor enables them to reliably map an environment with minimal processing power and to localize themselves in predefined maps to execute complex path planning algorithms. TS3 sensors perform independently of ambient light conditions and are even capable of detecting mirroring and transparent surfaces; adding an additional layer of safety where optical sensors tend to fail. For even higher reliability the generated 3D point cloud can easily be fused with data from other system-relevant sensors. The new TS3 sensor is an embedded sensor system that sends out ultrasound waves in a frequency range inaudible by humans. An array of microphones subsequently records the echoes from all objects in the sensor’s vicinity and computes their location in a 3-dimensional space. It therefore creates an entirely new way of ultrasonic sensing for autonomous systems. “Because our new “Bat Vision” TS3 sensor is compact, affordable and integration-ready,” explains Tobias Bahnemann, Managing Director of Toposens. “Engineers can easily add it to their sensor stacks to replace or complement their existing optical sensing systems, providing both redundancy and an improved level of accuracy compared to standard ultrasonic sensors in various autonomous navigation applications.” The core technology is based on the Toposens’ SoundVision1TM chip making the sensor system easily adaptable to a variety of product designs. This qualifies the TS3 as the perfect technology platform for developing next-level mass market vehicles in robotic and even automotive use cases like automated parking and next-level ADAS functionality. Technical specifications include a detection range of up to 5 meters and a scan rate of approximately 28 Hz. The TS3 returns up to 200 points per second with each 3D point corresponding to the cartesian coordinates and an additional volume measurement of the ultr...
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  • Aspinity smart-sensing edge architecture tackles power- and data-efficiency problems

    Aspinity smart-sensing edge architecture tackles power- and data-efficiency problems

    2019-07-29
    Aspinity, a semiconductor startup funded by Alexa Fund and others, and based in Pittsburgh, USA, recently announced the first smart-sensing edge architecture to tackle the power- and data-efficiency problems in the billions of battery-powered consumer electronics, smart home systems, and predictive-maintenance devices on which we increasingly rely. Aspinity announced its reconfigurable analog modular processor (RAMP) platform, an ultra-low power, analog processing platform, that overcomes the power and data handling challenges in battery-operated, always-on sensing devices. Incorporating machine learning into an analog neuromorphic processor, Aspinity’s RAMP platform enables 10x power savings over older architectures. Devices can now run for months or years, instead of days or weeks, without battery recharge or replacement. Smart-sensing edge architecture Elaborating on Aspinity’s smart-sensing edge architecture, Tom Doyle, CEO and founder, said that Aspinity offers a fundamentally new architectural approach to conserving power and data resources in always-on devices. The scalable and programmable RAMP technology incorporates powerful machine learning into an ultra-low power analog neuromorphic processor that can detect unique events from background noise before the data is digitized. By directly analyzing the analog raw sensor data for what’s important, the RAMP chip eliminates the higher-power processing of irrelevant data. System designers can now stop sacrificing features and accuracy for longer battery life. Aspinity’s analyze-first approach reduces the power consumption of always-sensing systems by up to 10x and data requirements by up to 100x. The RAMP chip’s analog blocks can be reprogrammed with application-specific algorithms for detection of different events and different types of sensor input. For example, designers can use a RAMP chip for always-listening applications, where the chip conserves system power by keeping the rest of the always-listening system in a low power sleep state, until a specific sound, such as voice or an alarm, has been detected. Unlike the other sensor edge solutions for voice activity detection, the RAMP chip also supports voice-first devices by storing the pre-roll data required by wake word engines. For industrial applications, designers can use a RAMP chip to sample and select only the most important data points from thousands of points of sensor data: compressing vibration data into a reduced number of frequency/energy pairs and dramatically decreasing the amount of data collected and transmitted for analysis. This is the USP for the RAMP platform. With so many ways to program a RAMP core, as well as broad algorithm support for different types of analysis and output, the RAMP chip uniquely enables a whole new generation of smaller, lower-cost, more power- and data-efficient, battery-operated, always-on devices for consumer, IoT, industrial and biomedical applications. Much longer battery life Short batter...
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  • OptimalPlus launches Lifecycle Analytics Solution for ADAS

    OptimalPlus launches Lifecycle Analytics Solution for ADAS

    2019-07-26
    OptimalPlus, a specialist in lifecycle analytics solutions, has launched a new Lifecycle Analytics Solution for Advanced Drivers Assistance System (ADAS) cameras. The offering provides manufacturers of ADAS with real-time data insights based on big data and machine learning to optimise production and increase product quality, according to the company. ADAS cameras are electro-optical systems that aid vehicle drivers and are intended to increase car and road safety and are a cornerstone of the technologies being developed to support autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. The manufacturing of ADAS cameras is a highly complicated and costly process, involving the integration of multiple specialised and sensitive sensors in a series of irreversible processes to create a high-performance system. This has made it difficult for manufacturers to detect defective products during the assembly process, resulting in unpredictable performance that remains undetermined until the camera system is fully assembled and tested. As a result, new designs of ADAS camera manufacturers struggle with extremely high scrap rates of around 25% on already expensive systems, leading to a high cost per unit and impeding the rate automakers can integrate the systems into their cars. “Automakers need a holistic solution that can provide the big picture about the health of a vehicle,” said Dan Glotter, CEO of OptimalPlus. “We are enabling automakers to take full advantage of the potential offered by new technologies while removing concerns about manufacturing quality products cost-efficiently. The next two waves facing the automotive industry are autonomy and electrification, and both are going to bring enormous manufacturing complexities, requiring new analytics methods for faster product ramp, reduced scrap rates, and improved quality & reliability.” Assembling ADAS cameras relies on a complicated supply chain to provide electronic and optical components from different geographical locations, all with different methods of ensuring and monitoring reliability, and with manufacturers relying on separate silos of product data and information, it is exceedingly difficult to ensure that these components will perform up to the required standards. OptimalPlus looks to address these issues by providing much greater visibility throughout the supply chain, connecting supplier data to field performance, enabling a full overview of production, increasing efficiency and enabling preemptive actions to find problematic products earlier in the manufacturing cycle and preventing unreliable products from being deployed or removing them in real-time from the factory floor, reducing scrap rates and avoiding costly recalls. “As systems such as ADAS cameras, that are the backbone of autonomous vehicles, become critical for safe driving, guaranteeing system quality is only going to become more important. As such OEMs are going to demand accountability from their technology providers on all suppl...
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  • Comment: Bluetooth as the smart building protocol of choice

    Comment: Bluetooth as the smart building protocol of choice

    2019-07-22
    With more than 374 million Bluetooth smart building devices expected to ship annually by 2023 there’s plenty of opportunity for developers and engineers to continue to join the Bluetooth mesh networking revolution. What is it exactly that is making everyone go mad for mesh? The new mesh capability enables many-to-many device communications and is optimised for creating large-scale device networks. Since its release in July 2017, Bluetooth mesh has become the clear choice for large-scale device networks. Already, more than 200 products with mesh networking capability have been qualified from leading silicon, stack, component, and end-product vendors. At the Bluetooth SIG we are seeing a tremendous amount of momentum behind the mesh networking capabilities of Bluetooth, including large players in the Smart Home market like Alibaba and Xiaomi making strategic platform decisions to support Bluetooth mesh networking for developers using their smart home platform. Commercial and industrial environments demand a solution that can reliably and securely connect tens, hundreds or even thousands of devices within a robust, low-latency, large-scale device network. Indeed, your choice of smart building protocols to automate whole facilities or enable wireless sensor networks at commercial scale can make or break your solution or product launch. Reliability The reliability of a mesh network is judged on its ability to deliver a message from one device to another. Bluetooth mesh is no exception and uses two forms of message relay to ensure uninterrupted message delivery, including; peer-to-peer communications and multipath message relay. But what exactly are these two methods and how do they work? With peer-to-peer messaging in Bluetooth mesh, you can expect all nodes to communicate directly with one another. There is no centralised hub, which means if one node breaks down there is no domino effect and no single point of failure to your network. Multipath messaging enables Bluetooth mesh to use a managed flood message relay architecture that is self-healing for reliable message delivery. If a pathway is blocked, the message can simply take an alternative route, allowing wireless installations to achieve the trouble-free performance and scalability of wired systems. Security One of the most discussed issues related to the smart building applications is security. Does Bluetooth mesh networking have a security architecture that is designed to address the pressing concerns of companies deploying a large-scale wireless device network? The answer is yes. To ensure all mesh messages are encrypted and authenticated, all communication is secured using AES-CCM with 128-bit keys – essentially a cryptographic algorithm that requires secure confidentiality and government-grade authentication. Don’t assume this all to be on one layer either. At the heart of Bluetooth mesh security are three types of security keys— device keys, application keys, and network keys. These keys p...
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  • Socionext encoder generates live 8K video streams

    Socionext encoder generates live 8K video streams

    2019-07-19
    Socionext, the video data processing specialist, has developed a streaming encoder unit – the “e8 – which generates live 8K video streams for expanding the use of HD high-quality video. The e8 is equipped with Socionext’s multi-channel, real-time encoder SoC, the MB86M31. It is capable of real-time encoding of 8K/60p video with HEVC/H.265, and enables live streaming of large, high-definition video data through IP networks. It also supports the 4:2:2 10-bit color profile required in high-quality professional video shooting, to deliver ultra-vivid, life-like video images. The e8 comes with a 12G-SDI interface (4ch) for easy connection to a wide range of 8K cameras. It supports a number of streaming protocols including HLS and RTP. With an intuitive user interface for configuring system settings, the e8 also enables users to develop a high-quality and reliable 8K live streaming system quickly and efficiently. Socionext has tested and verified operations in various environments by combining the e8 and the company’s “s8” media player. By connecting these two devices over the network, users will be able to attain an advanced video streaming solution where “high-definition”, “high-quality” and “real-time” are the essential requirements. The applications include viewing of sports and other events in the public space, and video communications in schools, commercial enterprises and other organizations. The solution can also facilitate live 8K VR streaming for the most immersive user experience possible. It will be available worldwide in September 2019.
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  • Lenovo Reclaims the #1 Spot in PC Rankings in Q3 2018, According to IDC

    Lenovo Reclaims the #1 Spot in PC Rankings in Q3 2018, According to IDC

    2019-07-15
    FRAMINGHAM, Mass., October 10, 2018 – Preliminary results for the third quarter of 2018 (3Q18) show that shipments of traditional PCs (desktop, notebook, and workstation) totaled nearly 67.4 million units, marking a decline of 0.9% in year-on-year terms, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. Unlike 2Q18, which grew, the 3Q18 results nonetheless outperformed the forecast which called for a decline of 3.0% due to several factors. The traditional PC market has trended toward stabilization since 2017 and even flirted with solid growth in 2Q18. While demand from mature regions remained key to the market, many emerging markets had to contend with unfavorable currency headwinds and other politico-economic factors that cramped demand. In addition, heading into Q3 there were some concerns about processor shortages. Despite these concerns, most of the top OEMs were able to fulfill a sizable portion of their demand and outperform the market. All in all, the quarter appears to have been driven by pockets of strong demand as well as a focus on increasing inventory ahead of further supply issues and expected price hikes. From a geographic perspective, all regions exceeded forecast, though Latin America and Asia/Pacific saw year-on-year declines. "Q3 came in better than expected," said Jay Chou, research manager with IDC's P ersona l C omputing Device Tracker. "But the outlook remains uncertain as we head into the holiday season, when volume will be boosted by many consumer-oriented promotions in entry-level SKUs. AMD supply could help with processor demand somewhat, but it will also take time for OEMs to spec in more models." "Despite looming concerns around CPU shortages, the PC market in the U.S. turned in a good quarter backed by strong results in the notebook segment," said Neha Mahajan, senior research analyst, US Devices & Displays. "Healthy business PC volume, steady Chromebook shipments to U.S. K-12, and a growing gaming consumer base have been the key reasons for the optimism around the U.S. PC markets." Regional Highlights USA – The U.S. PC market had yet another growth quarter with a total of 17.2 million units shipped. The boost in PC volume was a result of growing demand for notebook PCs in the enterprise segment and increasing popularity of gaming systems that supported the consumer segment. Europe, the Middle East and Africa – The traditional PC market recorded flattish results, with ongoing mobility demand leading to a slightly stronger notebook performance compared to desktops. Despite higher demand from the commercial space, component shortages slightly dampened the overall growth. Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ) – The traditional PC market in APeJ posted a single-digit decline but results were above expectations. Vendors and channel partners increased shipments in 3Q18 to hedge against expected price increases and CPU shortages. India saw a significant sequentia...
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  • X-FAB Expands its 180nm BCD-on-SOI Technology Platform with New High-Voltage Devices Designed for Next Generation Automotive Applications

    X-FAB Expands its 180nm BCD-on-SOI Technology Platform with New High-Voltage Devices Designed for Next Generation Automotive Applications

    2019-07-12
    X-FAB Silicon Foundries SE, the leading analog/mixed-signal and specialty foundry today announced the availability of new high-voltage primitive devices targeted at the growing market for automotive 48V board net and battery management system (BMS) ICs. Covering voltages of 70V to 125V, these complementary NMOS/PMOS devices are based on the company’s XT018 BCD-on-SOI platform with deep trench isolation (DTI) and support for automotive AEC-Q100 Grade 0 products. They deliver competitive on-resistance (Rdson) figures, while still providing robust safe-operating areas for Rdson, Idsat and Vth. A highly effective ESD protection mechanism has been incorporated to ensure long-term operational reliability. In addition, high-voltage N-channel depletion transistors based on the new voltage classes are also available. These will enable simple, area efficient start-up circuitry and voltage regulator implementations to be realized. 48V subsystems are being increasingly adopted by the world’s leading automakers as a means to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. Mild hybrid cars are the first to utilize 48V-rated components, which will initially focus on a number of core elements, like starter/generators, DC-DC converters and battery management subsystems, as well as other high-current functions, such as water pumps and cooling fans. At the same time, the fast growing Li-Ion battery markets for electric vehicles and energy storage is moving to taller battery cell stacks which require higher voltages. The XT018 BCD-on-SOI platform now provides an even more flexible voltage offering up to 200V to support the increasing number battery cells that need to be monitored by a single BMS IC. BCD-on-SOI is superior in many aspects when compared to conventional bulk BCD technologies, making it attractive to designers. Key advantages include virtual latch-up free circuits, strong EMC performance (due to complete isolation with buried oxide/DTI) and simplified handling of below ground transients. Furthermore, through the potential for significant die size reduction along with first-time-right implementation, development periods can be accelerated and lower costs per die can be achieved. “As the premier high-voltage SOI foundry, X-FAB is now better positioned than ever to support automobile electrification,” states X-FAB CEO Rudi De Winter. “This extension to the popular XT018 platform further strengthens our offering to the hybrid/electric vehicle sector. It means that through this, plus our SiC and galvanic isolation capabilities, we can supply clients with another vital building block that will help accelerate society’s migration to more environmentally friendly transportation.” About X-FAB X-FAB is the leading analog/mixed-signal and MEMS foundry group manufacturing silicon wafers for automotive, industrial, consumer, medical and other applications. Its customers worldwide benefit from the highest quality standards, manufacturing excellence and innovative s...
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  • Jaguar announces multi-million UK electric car investment

    Jaguar announces multi-million UK electric car investment

    2019-07-08
    The UK's biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover has announced that it is making a multi-million pound investment to build electric vehicles in its home market, in a major boost to a sector hit by a slump in diesel sales and Brexit uncertainty. The firm is currently undergoing a turnaround that is intended to offer consumers an electrified option to all of its new models from 2020 onwards, as it looks to move away from its reliance on diesel vehicles - a market that has been in sharp decline. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), which accounts for 30 percent of the 1.5 million cars built in the UK last year, will make a range of electrified vehicles at its Castle Bromwich plant in central England, beginning with its luxury saloon, the XJ. “The future of mobility is electric and, as a visionary British company, we are committed to making our next generation of zero-emission vehicles in the UK,” said chief executive Ralf Speth. Despite JLR's warnings about the dangers of a no-deal Brexit and the need to maintain frictionless trade with the European Union, it has signed a deal with workers at the Castle Bromwich factory to go from a 5-day to a 4-day working week with the same amount of hours which should allow the plant to operate more efficiently. JLR also called on the government to bring giga-scale battery production to the country so that Britain is not left behind in the rush to produce low and zero-emissions vehicles and technology. ——Source:Newelectronics.co.uk
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  • Cadence digital full flow achieves certification for Samsung foundry 5LPE process technology

    Cadence digital full flow achieves certification for Samsung foundry 5LPE process technology

    2019-07-05
    Cadence Design Systems has announced that the Cadence digital full flow has achieved certification for the Samsung Foundry 5nm Low-Power Early (5LPE) process with Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology.The Cadence tools have been confirmed to meet Samsung Foundry’s technology requirements, which let customers who produce high-end products for the mobile, networking, server and automotive markets attain optimal power, performance and area (PPA).“As part of our longstanding collaboration with Cadence, we’ve confirmed that its digital full-flow meets and exceeds the requirements for designing with the 5LPE process technology,” said Jung Yun Choi, vice president of the Design Technology Team at Samsung Electronics. “By deploying the latest Cadence market-leading digital flow and Samsung advanced-node technology, customers can confidently create innovative designs for emerging high-end markets such as the mobile, networking, server, automotive, industrial, and artificial intelligence markets.”The Cadence digital flow was certified by Samsung using the Arm Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 cores for the 5LPE process. To ensure the Cadence flow is easy to understand and use, it incorporates a Cadence flow manager with a common user interface across the complete toolset. The Cadence tools optimised for the Samsung 5LPE process include the Genus Synthesis Solution, Innovus Implementation System, Joules RTL Power Solution, Conformal Equivalence Checking, Conformal Low Power, Modus DFT Software Solution, Quantus Extraction Solution, Tempus Timing Signoff Solution, Voltus IC Power Integrity Solution, Physical Verification System, Litho Physical Analyzer and Cadence CMP Predictor.“Through our ongoing collaboration with Samsung Foundry, we’re making it faster and easier for customers to create advanced-node designs in an age of increasing complexity,” said KT Moore, vice president, product management in the Digital & Signoff Group at Cadence. “The powerful combination of the Cadence digital implementation and signoff full-flow, Samsung 5LPE process, and Arm cores gives customers access to the latest technologies to optimize PPA and create tomorrow’s innovations.”——Source:Newelectronics.co.uk
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