Electronics News

Archive : 18 June 2017 year

64 layer NAND flash goes into volume


Samsung has begun volume production of 64 layer 256Gbit V-NAND flash devices and expects the devices to represent more than 50% of its monthly NAND flash production by the end of 2017.

According to the company, since it began producing an SSD based on 256Gbit V-NAND chips in January, it has been working on a range of V-NAND-based mobile and consumer storage solutions. These include embedded UFS memory, branded solid state drives and external memory cards.

Kye Hyun Kyung, executive vice president of Samsung’s flash product and technology team, said: “We will keep developing next-generation V-NAND products in sync with the global IT industry so that we can contribute to the timeliest launches of new systems and services, in bringing a higher level of satisfaction to consumers.”

The 64 layer 256Gbit V-NAND devices stores 3bit/cell and features a data transfer rate of 1Gbit/s, said to be the fastest among currently available NAND flash memories. Running from a 2.5V supply, the part is said to be 30% more energy efficient than the its 48 layer predecessor and about 20% more reliable.

Graham Pitcher

Source:  www.newelectronics.co.uk

Printed sensors monitor tyre wear in real time


An inexpensive printed sensor that can monitor the tread of car tyres in real time has been invented by electrical engineers at Duke University in collaboration with Fetch Automotive Design Group. If adopted, the device could increase safety, improve vehicle performance and reduce fuel consumption.

"With all of the technology and sensors that are in today's cars, it's crazy to think that there's almost no data being gathered from the only part of the vehicle that is actually touching the road," said associate professor Aaron Franklin.

The design uses metallic carbon nanotubes on a flexible polyimide film that could track millimetre-scale changes in tread depth with 99% accuracy.

The core of the sensor is formed by placing two electrodes very close to each other. By applying an oscillating electrical voltage to one and grounding the other, an electric field forms between the electrodes.

While most of this electric field passes directly between the two electrodes, some of the field arcs between them. When a material is placed on top of the electrodes, it interferes with this field. By measuring this interference through the electrical response of the grounded electrode, it is possible to determine the thickness of the material covering the sensor.

The sensors could be printed on most anything using an aerosol jet printer – even on the inside of the tyres themselves.

Franklin's group also wants to explore other automotive applications for the printed sensors, such as keeping tabs on the thickness of brake pads or the air pressure within tyres.

"This setup could be used with just about anything that isn't metallic or too thick," said Franklin. "Right now we're focusing on tyres, but really anything you'd rather not have to cut apart to determine its thickness could be monitored by this technology in real time."

Peggy Lee

Source:  www.newelectronics.co.uk

Microsemi launches Windows based RISC-V IDE


In a move that broadens support for the RISC-V core, Microsemi has launched SoftConsole version 5.1, said to be the first Windows based Eclipse IDE for such designs.

While the release supports the use of RISC-V soft CPUs in Microsemi’s PolarFire, RTG4, SmartFusion2 and IGLOO2 FPGA, there is also support for the HiFive1 Arduino kit from SiFive.

SoftConsole v5.1 is said to provide a flexible and easy-to-use graphical interface for managing embedded software development projects. “It has a standard GUI,” said Ted Marena, director of SoC marketing, “as well as the Eclipse ‘look and feel’.”

Marena noted the release also provides access to a firmware catalogue. “We’re not just putting this out for RTL engineers, we also want firmware engineers to get involved with RISC-V.” The catalogue includes drivers and example designs. Support will also be added for operating systems such as FreeRTOS.

SoftConsole v5.1 also works with the Libero FPGA design suite. “We have tremendous debug tools in Libero,” Marena continued. “The ability to stop clock enables break point logic, much like with a processor.”

Marena said Microsemi has customers in production with FPGAs featuring the RISC-V core. “Most are using a single core, but one customer is integrating multiple cores.”

Graham Pitcher

Source:  www.newelectronics.co.uk

Processor enables optical deep learning


A new approach that uses light instead of electricity in deep learning computer systems based on artificial neural networks has been developed by a team of researchers at MIT. The team claims this discovery could vastly improve the speed and efficiency of certain deep learning computations.

“This optical chip, once you tune it, can carry out matrix multiplication with, in principle, zero energy, almost instantly,” Professor Marin Soljačić said. “We’ve demonstrated the crucial building blocks but not yet the full system.”

The new approach uses multiple light beams directed in such a way that their waves interact with each other, producing interference patterns that convey the result of the intended operation. The device is called a programmable nanophotonic processor.

“The advantage of using light to do matrix multiplication plays a big part in the speed up and power savings, because dense matrix multiplications are the most power hungry and time consuming part in AI algorithms,” Prof Soljačić added.

The programmable nanophotonic processor uses an array of waveguides that are interconnected in a way that can be modified as needed, programming that set of beams for a specific computation.

To demonstrate the concept, the team set the processor to implement a neural network that recognises four basic vowel sounds. They achieved a 77% accuracy level, compared to 90% for conventional systems, and the researchers believe there are no substantial obstacles to scaling up the system for greater accuracy.

According to the researchers, the nanophotonic processor could have other applications as well, including signal processing for data transmission. “This approach could do processing directly in the analogue domain,” said Prof Dirk Englund.

The system could also benefit data centres, security systems, self-driving cars and drones.

Peggy Lee

Source:  www.newelectronics.co.uk

MIPS addresses functional safety


Following the launch last year of the I6500 CPU core, Imagination Technologies has unveiled a scalable 64bit MIPS multiprocessing solution that meets the functional safety requirements of ISO26262 and IEC61508.

The I6500-F is said to provide a high performance, efficient backbone for many-core designs in a range of applications, with the ability to create up to 64 heterogeneous clusters of multithreaded multicore MIPS CPUs and other accelerators.

Imagination is looking at the automotive sector, in particular. Tim Mace, business development manager with the MIPS business unit, said: “Auto manufacturers are looking to consolidate resources in a central server. This multicore, multicluster CPU is good for that. In order to meet ISO26262 requirements, an autonomous system needs to perform to ASIL-D levels. This requires a proper process and methodology to make sure the IP works correctly.”

According to Mace, the core has been designed for Safety Element out of Context applications. “We chose to design the I6500-F for this as it allows us to address other customers and applications with the same product.” Imagination’s lead customer is Mobileye, whose EyeQ 5 SoC will feature the I6500-F CPU, targeted at a 7nm FinFET proces.

Graham Pitcher

Source:  www.newelectronics.co.uk

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