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Why Companies should have Contingency Plans for Unanticipated Game-Changers in Technology

This topic came to mind as I was ruminating on the future of semiconductor technology. Being involved in the verification phase of IC development, one could not help but wonder if silicon would remain the preponderating backbone of mobile/small-scale electronic devices. What if a material with properties that transcend GaN and SiC arrived in the playing field? What would happen to the plethora of entrenched protocols and procedures, IP building blocks, or - in a more drastic case - standard measurement methodologies that many engineers and technicians have grown accustomed to?

Expenses involved in migration would certainly imbalance the finances of any company, perhaps dealing a fatal blow to smaller enterprises (fabless ones maybe?). Having to throw away a fossilized habit or routine is, from common sense, never a walk in the park. There are accompanying challenges that must be overcome to make a smooth transition toward recovery.

Thus, why not cogitate on mitigation measures that a…
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A Look Back at the Trend-setters of 2017

This year's haul of outstanding emerging technologies are summarized below by yours truly.
Laser-Equipped Drones that Zap Small Unwanted Pests (in a fixed area)I've seen this topic popping up in popular tech. news (mostly from innovation labs) these past few months, and they do offer quite an effective solution. I remember a Youtube video detailing how an innovation lab (Intellectual Ventures) plans to use it in the fight against malaria, i.e. stationing guard posts at all 4 corners of a farmer's residence and zapping the mosquitoes with photonic lasers. (more information in the link below)
http://www.intellectualventures.com/inventions-patents/our-inventions/photonic-fence/

Technically, the idea has already been around for years, first introduced to the public around 6 years ago. But it has only gained traction quite recently. Take an application to ichthyology as an example. An increase in marine ectoparasites due to changes in climate and weather patterns have been causing…

Exploring Modern Deposition Techniques

We're all familiar with conventional deposition techniques, the most popular being CVD, but what are the other methods/ways currently under research?

HiTUS DepositionHiTUS ("high-target-utilization sputtering") is classified under sputter deposition, where plasma is used - making the ion current independent of the applied voltage. This PVD process differs from CVD as it uses a liquid or solid source (in this case plasma) to eject material from a "target" (typically a metal alloy for thin film applications such as TFTs) towards the substrate.
The HiTUS system produces a high-density magnetized plasma in the order of 10^13 ions per cubic centimeter. Control is achieved by manipulating the following variables: RF power, DC power, and process pressure. Major benefits of such a process include the ability to coat with a fast deposition rate, high density films onto temp. sensitive polymeric materials. 
PECVDPECVD ("plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition") …

Digitally Assisted Analog Circuits Unraveled

It may be the first time you've heard of the term, with function implied by semantics. But what are digitally assisted analog circuits? How do they perform or give "assistance" to the analog part exactly? What are their advantages and disadvantages? Does this field have any potential in emerging technologies (in my opinion they do, which is why I've decided to write all about them in this article).
Before anything else, a proper background to digitally assisted analog circuits is in order (what a mouthful! I'll be writing this as DAAC or DAA for short throughout the article).  
It all started when scaled CMOS technology began progressing rapidly, challenges in analog design becoming more difficult to surmount. Remember that with decreasing area, precision decreases and devices become more nonlinear. In addition, estimates show advances in the digital sector equating to 3 times longer in analog for catching up. Obviously, there was a burgeoning demand for a solution…

Yay or Nay? A Closer Look at AnDapt’s PMIC On-Demand Technology

Innovations on making product features customizable are recently gaining popularity. Take Andapt for example, a fabless start-up that unveiled its Multi-Rail Power Platform technology for On-Demand PMIC applications a few months back. (read all about it here: Will PMIC On-Demand Replace Catalog Power Devices?) Their online platform, WebAmp, enables the consumer to configure the PMIC based on desired specifications. Fortunately, I got a hands-on experience during the trial period (without the physical board (AmP8DB1) or adaptor (AmpLink)). In my opinion, their GUI is friendly but it lacks a verification method for tuning (i.e. the entered combination of specs). How would we know if it will perform as expected or if there are contradicting indications that yield queer behavior? Also, there is not just one IP available, but many that cater to a differing number of channels and voltage requirements (each with their own price tag).
Every new emerging technology has the potential to oversh…

Are we ready for Artificial Intelligence?

It was a pleasant Sunday afternoon when I felt the need for respite from my 32-bit layout. Remembering that I've already received my digital copy of IEEE Spectrum for the month of June, I decided to start reading. The theme I confess, got my eyes peeled on the articles and engaged me with enthusiasm and excitement. After the last page, I reclined on my chair eyes closed, my consciousness in a deep state of pensive contemplation and repose.

The topics covered almost every aspect one must be enlightened on to understand the challenges the engineering community is currently faced with when it comes to artificial intelligence. From the essential details of which part of the brain deep learning is concerned with (i.e. the neocortex) to the circuit configuration that mimics the neurons and synapse action (see below), the authors covered them all.




But there is one question that still remains open for heavy debate - are we ready?


Honestly, I myself feel that there were some advancements i…

Developing Lexical Resource for Engineering Applications [Useful Vocabulary for Engineers with Examples]

Face it. In delineating technical details of a particular situation or just venting out emotions of jubilation or frustration, effective expression won't be realized without a vast lexical resource under your belt. Ergo, this post aims to address any may-hap weakness or fallibility of the reader in this area. Hopefully, he/she could pick up an unfamiliar word or two below.



1.) Wanton (adj.) could mean lewd or bawdy; merciless or inhumane; being without check or limitation
Examples: 
"While waiting for the Analog FastSpice Simulation to finish, Bob seethed some scrumptious Wanton noodles on scalding-hot water."
"They happened on pirated floating licenses from Cadence online, so now they all wanton."
"Accidentally opening the feedback loop, the VCO was driven to wanton oscillation."


2.) Servile (adj.) meanly or cravenly submissive
Examples:
"She managed to turn all her stubborn male employees servile after snapping the soldering iron in half with …