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Showing posts from 2017

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…

The Perfect Hacking System?

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
"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
"She managed to turn all her stubborn male employees servile after snapping the soldering iron in half with …

Brief Introduction to L-Edit and S-Edit Tanner EDA Mentor Graphics

Comparing Simulation Times between FinFET and BSIM4 Models using Electric VLSI and LTSpice

A Comprehensive Summary of Different Types of Resistors

The preceding table summarizes important electrical characteristics of various resistor types. There are 5 kinds being compared: carbon composition, carbon film, metal film, wire wound, and chip resistors. Skimming quickly through the visual, one can infer that there is no single resistor that tops the rest in all aspects. There is always a trade-off, consequently making the table a pivotal tool for an electronics hobbyist in making the right choice.
9 characteristics have been bluntly shown, with the last 2 rows describing advantages and disadvantages concluded from those 9 factors. In terms of accuracy and stability, wire wound resistors are the way to go, and not the carbon composition ones which happen to be the worst. Those with stringent budgets may find carbon film resistors a reasonable alternative, at the cost of a significantly high tempco.
Metal film resistors seem to balance everything, with the minor flaw of having a poor surge capacity. From personal experience, I tried …

Simple Modifiable Threshold Extraction Utility for a Myriad of Characteristic Curves

Depletion Capacitance (Strange Char. Equations)

Current Mirror: Design, Layout and Simulation

An Appetizer
The Main Course

Common Difficulties and Mishaps in 6.004 Computation Structures (by MITx)

June 2, 2017
VLSI Project: The Beta Layout [help needed]Current Tasks: ►Finish the basic first. [paused] 32-bit Beta layout [unpipelined] in a 3-metal-layer C5 process. ►Program an Excel VBA macro to complement simulation.
Current Obstacles/Unresolved Decisions:
►Use of complementary CMOS or pass transistor logic (do both? time expensive, will depend on sched.
►Adder selection: Brent-Kung; Kogge Stone; Ladner Fischer (brent takes up most space but seems to be fastest, consider fan-out) [do all? time expensive, will depend on sched.)
►layout requirements and DRC errors

Please leave a comment on the post below for advise. Any help is highly appreciated.

4duino and 3D printers at the IoT Summit 2017 Phils.

In the Philippines’ second IoT Summit themed “Powering a smart and connected Philippines”, more than 30 exhibitors gathered to display a variety of technologies that contribute to the dynamic development and spreading popularity of IoT. From RFID to augmented reality applications, one can’t help but be amazed at how IoT’s encompassing influence spurs innovation from all sectors of society. Below are some technologies worth noting from the summit.

What comes to mind when one encounters the term “4D”? Could it refer to the 4th dimension, time? In the jargon of IoT, it has another meaning. 4D Systems, involved in intelligent graphics solutions for a myriad of applications, developed the 4duino, an Arduino compatible TFT LCD display module (resistive touch) with Wi-Fi. 

Figure 1. The 4duino, an Arduino equipped with an LCD interface and Wi-Fi

As with any conveniently priced commercial programmable controller, the 4duino has sparked the imagination of makers, birthing the 4D Maker movement…

An Amateur’s View on the P2: Diode Bridge and Gain Adjust [Part 3]

After a concise investigation on the P2’s oscillator and slew rate response, we proceed with the diode bridge and offset adjust blocks. A diode bridge can be configured as a double balanced modulator/mixer by adding transformers that “multiply” the signals, forming 2 sidebands. Remember that we can represent the trigonometric functions sin(x) or cos(x) with their complex exponential counterparts. When we do this for the product of 2 trigonometric functions and simplify, we end up with the sum of 2 trigonometric functions whose frequencies have been added and subtracted to each other. Therefore, we expect the output of the diode bridge to be a resultant wave composed of f1+f2 and f1-f2, given that f1 and f2 are the frequencies of the 2 input signals to the bridge.

Figure 1. Simplified block representation showing how the oscillator, diode bridge, P2 inputs and gain/phase adjust interact.

By doing this, DC-related noise is significantly reduced (since information from the input signal i…