Author Archives: John Donovan

About John Donovan

Writer, editor, Dad

Does Your Rice Cooker Have Its Head in the Clouds?

Recently I read an amusing article in IEEE Spectrum titled “Android My Rice Cooker: Gateway to Future Home Invasion?Why would my rice cooker need to be part of the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT)? Because it’s lonely and wants to … Continue reading

Posted in Embedded, IoT | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Bluetooth Low Energy Gets Smart

Bluetooth has long been one of those technologies we take for granted—it’s in all our wireless headsets and increasingly in ­hands-free audio in our cars. But until the emergence of Bluetooth Low Energy it had trouble breaking out of the … Continue reading

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Kids FIRST

“To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”–FIRST mission statement At last month’s Renesas DevCon inventor Dean Kamen delivered an amusing and inspiring keynote—which … Continue reading

Posted in FIRST, Robotics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Power Wall: Are we scaling it or is it just getting higher?

Cadence hosted a Low-Power Summit this month at which Jan Rabaey was the keynote speaker. Jan is the Donald O. Pederson  Distinguished Professor in the EECS department at U.C. Berkeley; Scientific Co-Director of the Berkeley Wireless Research Center (BWRC); and … Continue reading

Posted in Cloud computing, Low-power design, semiconductors | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mixed-Signals: Tribulations of Combining Analog and Digital Design

“Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”—Rudyard Kipling Kipling’s line goes back over 100 years but today it could just as well apply to digital and analog engineers. Engineering graduates for at least … Continue reading

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Solar is only part of the solution

I’m a big fan of solar energy but also a realist, so I’ve long taken a skeptical view of claims that renewable energy sources—solar in particular—will obviate the need for more (hopefully fairly clean) fossil fuel power plants. A new … Continue reading

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Solar, Wind power | 2 Comments

Verifying the Cloud

So called “cloud computing” is the presumptive wave of the future, and not just to deliver software-as-a-service (SAAS), which will certainly challenge Microsoft’s business model. The ‘cloud’ is of course all those mainframes that Amazon, Google, Rackspace and others use … Continue reading

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Low Energy ANTs?

As we noted elsewhere Nordic Semi has just launched its nRF51 Series of multi-mode, ultra-low-power (ULP) wireless SoCs. The first two ICs to debut in the nRF51 Series are the nRF51822, a multi-protocol Bluetooth low energy/2.4GHz proprietary RF SoC, and … Continue reading

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Low Power to the People!

No, this isn’t another of Donovan’s rants, it’s a DAC Pavilion Panel on low-power design that I’ll be moderating on Monday morning. Here’s your chance to grill the gurus–well, three of them anyway–on numerous aspects of low-power design. It’s in … Continue reading

Posted in DAC, EDA, Energy Efficiency, Microcontrollers, Power management | Leave a comment

Trust and Verify

While system-level design has been proceeding apace for many years—approaching the goal haltingly and asymptotically—system-level verification remains the Achilles heel of that enterprise. SoC design in particular increasingly consists of assembling IP from a variety of vendors, reusing some of … Continue reading

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