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Monday, December 17, 2018

Power news this week

By Nick Flaherty

. Rambus' Black takes over at turbulent Imagination

. Bee carries sensor pack with tiny battery
. Meyer Burger in first large-scale deal for SmartWire PV equipment
. £100m for renewable energy in Africa
. Murata signs Fidus as pan-European distributor

. First vertical gallium oxide power MOSFET developed

. Prototype 450kW fast charger opens in Germany

. Daimler plans €20bn spend on batteries

. Consultancy service tackles legacy power systems in the Industrial IoT
. Solar panel paired with lithium cells for LED street lighting
. Form, fit and function replacements for obsolete power supplies

. Pentek: Critical Techniques for High-Speed A/D Converters in Real-Time Systems

. Coilcraft: An introduction to inductor specifications

. Analog Devices: Linear; Active Rectifier Controller with Ultrafast Transient Response

Dual band 802.11ac modules for IoT designs

By Nick Flaherty

Taiyo Yuden has launched two 802.11ac wireless modules for nodes in the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine communications as data traffic increases.

The WYSAGVDXG and WYSEGVDXG measure 24.0×11.5×2.0 mm high for applications such as robot control, handy terminals used for reading barcodes, and mobile printers for printing read out data and IoT-related devices. The WYSAGVDXG is equipped with a proprietary dual-band antenna that can be used for both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands for data rates up to 433Mbit/s, while the WYSEGVDXG is equipped with a connector for an antenna. Both products are compliant with wireless requirements in Japan, North America and the EU, reducing the development time.

Mass production of the products will commence in December 2018.

The company sees IoT driving up the number of devices employing wireless communications with data traffic also showing an increasing trend. In particular, Industry 4.0 and other M2M-based robot control for coordinating manufacturing processes and production machines have come to attention, boosting the demand for wireless communications not only in the consumer product market but also the industry equipment market. In such environments, the available frequency band can become busy and generate mutual interference, causing various obstacles such as reduced wireless communications speed and connection failure. Moreover, wireless communications devices must be compliant with the Radio Law of the countries in which they are used, and the cost and time required to obtain certification in various countries have become a burden for development.
The company is also working on higher-speed wireless communications such as IEEE802.11ac Wave2.

Friday, December 14, 2018

On-chips comms vulnerable to stress attacks

By Nick Flaherty

Researchers at Washington State University have identified vulnerabilities in on-chip communications networks that can deliberately damage chips.

The researchers devised three attacks to test the network-on-a-chip (NoC) that connects cores. This additional workload enhanced electromigration-induced stress and crosstalk noise. The researchers found that a limited number of crucial vertical links of the communication system were particularly vulnerable to fail. Those links connect the processors in a stack and allows them to talk with each other, and the attacks were optimised to stress these links.

"We determined how an agent can target the communication system to start malfunctions in the chip," said Partha Pande, assistant professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. "The role of the communications and the threat had not been clear to the research community before. The communications system is the glue that holds everything together. "When it starts to malfunction, the whole system is going to crumble."

The team set up a security analysis framework by aging the NoC to study planned obsolescence by makers of manycore System-on-Chip (SoC) devices. Planned obsolescence may adopt any vulnerability in the NoC to cause the SoC to fail. The results showed how an OEM can craft workloads to generate electromigration-induced stress and crosstalk noise in through silicon vias (TSVs) in the NoC to hasten failure. 

The three malicious workloads confirmed that a crafted workload that injects 3-10% more traffic on to a few selected critical vertical links can shorten the lifetime of the NoC by 11%-25% averaged over the benchmarks considered in this work.

The researchers will now be working to develop ways to mitigate the problem, such as automated techniques and algorithms to detect and thwart attacks.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Ports trial IoT tech

By Nick Flaherty

Several European ports are using IoT and machine learning technology to improve their efficiency.

Traxens in France is working with the MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company on a pilot IoT project in the Port of Valencia, Spain, while the Smart Port North East Testbed will evaluate satellite-based systems at the Port of Berwick, Port of Blyth, Port of Sunderland, Teesport and Port of Tyne in the UK.

As part of the Spanish pilot, MSC Spain trucks have been equipped with Traxens’ dedicated IoT devices, allowing for near real-time tracking of movement of vehicles. This helps the port operators predict and manage potential congestion, as well as to anticipate truck arrivals at the gates.

Traxens has installed a gateway in the MSC Terminal to allow enhanced and secured connectivity. It will also provide access to its big data analytics platform, TraxensHub, via APIs, bringing enhanced analytics and reporting capabilities for port authorities.

“Our pilot project at the Port of Valencia is one of the first applications of an IoT system in a port environment and we are eagerly awaiting results,” said Jacques Delort, managing director of Traxens. “We believe that big data is the future of the shipping industry. We are delighted that we could co-operate on such an important project with the Port of Valencia, which has ValenciaportPCS, one of the best-in-class Port Community Systems.”

“We have already used IoT devices by Traxens for tracking our containers and we believe that the functionality can really help port authorities in improving operations. This could bring benefits to all parties,” said Jaime Lopez, intermodal project leader, MSC Spain.

“The Port of Valencia believes in the role of innovation and digitalization in the future of shipping ports, for example by using the PCS (Port Community Systems) integration platform. We are delighted to provide a trial site for Traxens, which could eventually result in the improvement of operations for the whole of the shipping industry,” said Miguel Llop, director of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), at the Fundacion Valenciaport.

Following a successful pilot trial, Traxens aims to extend its solution to other terminals within the Port of Valencia, by deploying additional gateways. The existing gateway will then be used for testing and improving processes related to all smart containers passing through the area.

The SmartPort scheme will explore technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, unmanned marine vessels and airborne UAVs to examine ways of speeding up trade, increasing efficiency and reliability, reducing costs, tracking cargo, improving security and protecting the environment.

The Smart Port North East Testbed is the first initiative of the Situational Awareness Information National Technology Service (SAINTS) that was recently launched by the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence.

The project targets four key outcomes for the ports: new business opportunities and hinterland engagement; boosting the growth of green energy and low carbon solutions; improved customer experiences; and operational excellence and security in and around the port.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Royalty-free version of I3C for mass roll out

By Nick Flaherty

The MIPI Alliance has released the first version of I3C Basic v1.0, a subset of the MIPI I3C specification that bundles the most commonly needed I3C features for developers and other standards organisations and is available without membership or royalties.

Released in January 2017, MIPI I3C v1.0 streamlines and advances interface technologies for connecting processors, sensors and many other devices that had previously used I2C (Inter-Integrated Circuit), the de facto standard for over the last 35 years. 
MIPI I3C Basic v1.0 provides 20 key features from MIPI I3C, including backward compatibility with I2C, a multi-drop bus that, at 12.5 MHz, is over 12 times faster than I2C supports while using significantly less power and in-band interrupts to allow slaves to notify masters of interrupts, a design that eliminates the need for a separate general-purpose input/output (GPIO) for each slave and thus reduces system cost and complexity. 

It also supports dynamic address assignment to avoid conflicting static addresses, providing flexibility and pin savings along with standardized discovery, and bus configuration and control, and sses standard low-cost pads and requires minimal cost in logic to support

“We have seen tremendous interest in I3C from the mobile ecosystem. Now, with I3C Basic, the broader developer community can immediately and efficiently begin using these capabilities as an alternative to I2C,” said Joel Huloux, chairman of MIPI Alliance. ”In addition, we are already working with several standards organizations to integrate I3C Basic into their specifications. We believe it provides tremendous value to mobile and many other industries in multiple ways. For example, as the IoT market expands, it will serve a growing need to transfer data collected from a wide range of mechanical, environmental, biometric and health sensors.”

MIPI I3C Basic is available for implementation royalty-free without MIPI membership. Companies interested in implementing additional functionality (e.g., timing control, HDR Double Data Rate Mode) offered with MIPI I3C v1.0 may join MIPI Alliance for access to the specification and member IPR licensing, and to participate in specification development activities, interoperability workshops and other events.
“MIPI I3C has been a springboard for innovation within MIPI, as its capabilities have been integrated into multiple new specifications,” said Ken Foust, chair, MIPI I3C Basic Ad Hoc Working Group. ”With this broader release it can now serve as a catalyst for innovation in industries well beyond mobile, allowing them to openly adopt and embrace the advantages that I3C offers over I2C.”

MIPI member companies that participated in the development of MIPI I3C Basic v1.0 include: Analogix Semiconductor; Cadence Design Systems; Intel; Introspect Technology; InvenSense; L&T Technology Services; Lattice Semiconductor;; NXP Semiconductors; STMicroelectronics; Synopsys and others.

MIPI I3C Basic Resources
In conjunction with the I3C Basic release, MIPI has also published a new application note, “System Integrators Application Note for I3C v1.0 and I3C Basic v1.0,” that provides implementation guidance. Additional resources may be found at

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ayla adds low power cellular to its IoT platform

By Nick Flaherty

IoT platform-as-a-service (PaaS) company Alya Networks has added Cat M1 and NB-IoT capabilities to its offering.

It is launching four new device agents and modules for embedding cellular connectivity into edge devices: a Linux cellular agent; a cellular portable agent; cellular LPWAN production modules using SimCom and Quectel hardware; and a Qualcomm cellular IoT software development kit (SDK) collaboration

The IoT cloud management over cellular network is being used by Asia Pacific Telecom (APT) for NB-IoT projects, and a web SDK allows for rapid development of business applications that use the cellular device data.
“These new cellular IoT capabilities provide yet another example of how the Ayla platform can speed time to market while also future-proofing IoT products,” said Jonathan Cobb, CEO of Ayla Networks. “It’s all part of the philosophy Ayla Networks has followed since its inception: integrate all the tough parts of doing IoT into a comprehensive IoT platform that’s continually updated and improved. That way, product manufacturers and service providers using the Ayla platform can put all their attention on their own businesses, without worrying about the ‘IoT’ aspect of their offerings.”

The new cellular capabilities are suited to IoT applications such as remotely located equipment that lacks Wi-Fi access, but whose types and volumes of data transmission make LTE cellular services prohibitively expensive. Advancements in LPWAN cellular technologies are making deployments of Cat-M1 and NB-IoT networks more prevalent, but previous IoT connectivity solutions required dedicated connectivity to one of these cellular protocols. In other words, IoT solution makers had to commit to a particular communications network from the beginning of their design process.

This allows product manufacturers to move from one connectivity type to another, whether Wi-Fi, LTE, Cat-M1, NB-IoT, or other protocols such as Zigbee or LoRa. It also allows Ayla Networks to meet the needs of the widest range of customers, with Wi-Fi connectivity for residential IoT applications, cellular connectivity for commercial applications and gateway products for industrial applications.

Once connected to the Ayla IoT platform, IoT devices running on low-power cellular networks can take advantage of Ayla platform features such as battery and data usage optimization. For instance, a remotely located battery-powered IoT device can send an alert that its battery power is running low or that it is reaching the limits of its data plan. The device’s operator can reduce battery or data usage as needed through the Ayla platform, without having to change anything on the device itself.

“Ayla Networks is the leading platform provider of IoT device connectivity, virtualization and management,” said Nicole Chen, Director of IoT Business Development Division of APT. “We selected Ayla Networks as our strategic partner for our commercial projects in Taiwan and are already seeing rapid time-to-value as well as market-leading scale and performance.”

At the cloud level, the capabilities include an enhanced messaging architecture optimized for LPWAN networks’ data usage and frequency of sending data. They also include an improved device management platform for developing and deploying cellular devices at scale.

The web SDK will help IoT device makers and service providers to create new applications that take advantage of their devices’ cellular data. For instance, they could build support portals, service applications that minimize truck rolls, or anomaly detection and other product performance monitoring applications.

Infineon ships world’s first industrial-grade eSIM in chipscale package

By Nick Flaherty

Infineon Technologies has started shipping the world’s first industrial-grade embedded SIM (eSIM) in a Wafer-level Chip-scale Package (WLCSP).

Machine-to-machine communication in the Internet of Things (IoT) requires reliable data collection and uninterrupted data transmission. The chipscale package allows manufacturers of industrial machines and equipment ranging from vending machines to remote sensors to asset trackers can optimise the design of their IoT devices without compromising on security and quality.

Deploying eSIM brings a number of advantages for a smooth adoption of cellular connectivity into industrial environments. Device manufacturers can increase their design flexibility due to the eSIM’s small footprint, and simplify manufacturing processes as well as global distribution thanks to a single stock-keeping unit. Customers also have the possibility to change their mobile service provider at any time, for example, if the quality of the network deteriorates or in the event of a better contract from the mobile operator.

The SLM 97 security controller measures 2.5mm x 2.7mm in size, supports an extended temperature range of -40 to 105° C. It provides a high-end feature set fully compliant with the latest GSMA specifications for eSIM.

The SLM 97 security chip in WLCSP is manufactured at Infineon’s production site in Dresden and Regensburg and now available in volume quantities. 


Monday, December 10, 2018

Atmosic chooses CEVA for battery-free Bluetooth 5 IoT chip

By Nick Flaherty

Chip designer Atmosic Technologies is to use the RivieraWaves Bluetooth 5 Low Energy (RW-BLE5)  IP core for a range of low power chips that do not need batteries for wireless communications in the Internet of Things (IoT).
The Atmosic M2 and M3 Series IoT systems-on-chip (SoCs) target a range of end markets for low power wireless applications, including wearables, personal and asset trackers, beacons, remotes, keyboards, mice, and more.

To achieve battery free operation, Atmosic developed a number of innovative RF CMOS technologies, including Lowest Power Radio, On-demand Wake-up, and Controlled Energy Harvesting. The On-demand Wake-up reduces the power consumption so that energy harvesting becomes a viable power source. The Atmosic M3 Series Bluetooth 5 SoC expands on the M2 with Controlled Energy Harvesting, which can provide forever battery life or even eliminate the need for battery power. The M2 and M3 Series will be demonstrated during the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

"Our 'Forever Connected, Anywhere' M2 and M3 Series platforms showcase just what can be achieved with Bluetooth low-energy, connected devices," said David Su, CEO of Atmosic. "Our low power architecture integrates the RW-BLE5 Software and Link Layer IP from CEVA, a perfect complement to our power saving and energy harvesting RF CMOS innovations, to help achieve our vision of a battery-free IoT future."

"We are excited by the immense potential of battery-free, Bluetooth-connected IoT," said Aviv Malinovitch, vice president and general manager of the Connectivity Business Unit at CEVA. "We look forward to seeing the Atmosic M2 and M3 SoCs deployed in all manner of innovative products in the market."

The RivieraWaves Bluetooth IP platforms support both Bluetooth LE and Bluetooth dual mode connectivity. Each platform consists of a hardware baseband controller with a software protocol stack. A flexible radio interface allows the platforms to be deployed with either RivieraWaves RF or various partners' RF IP, enabling optimal selection of foundry and process node. All Bluetooth 5 features are supported, including LE 2Mbps data rate, Long Range and LE Advertising Extension. 

Power news this week

By Nick Flaherty

. 400kV HVDC interconnect from UK to Belgium opens

. Electric vehicle trends for 2019

. Iten starts production of solid state microbatteries

. Ceres deepens Chinese solid oxide fuel cell deal

POWER TECHNOLOGIES TO WATCH . New battery chemistry targets ten times the energy density of lithium

. German venture taps Bolivian lithium deposits

. Mitsubishi boosts reliability of silicon carbide devices

. 3D liquid crystals create solar panels that track the sun


. Transphorm teams for fanless portable GaN-based power generator

. Low-noise LDO regulator for smart automation

. EMI filters for single phase AC supplies

. The ideal filter in just 6 steps

. European Union Startup Monitor Report 2018

. Linear Tech: LTC7000/-01 MOSFET Gate Drivers

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Qualcomm launches 5G chip platform

By Nick Flaherty

Qualcomm has launched its first commercial 5G chips, the Snapdragon 855 built in a 7nm process.

5G will be a commercial reality starting in early 2019 with mobile device launches and network rollouts across North America, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia and China, says Cristiano Amon, president, Qualcomm. The 855, coupled with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem family and QTM052 mmWave antenna modules with integrated RF transceiver, RF front-end and antenna elements are helping OEMs address the exponential increase in device design complexity that comes with 5G in both sub-6 GHz and mmWave bands.
“Today marks a massive and exciting step forward underscoring how Qualcomm Technologies and ecosystem leaders are driving 5G commercialization, a journey that went from R&D, accelerated standardization and trials, the launch of innovative products and technologies, to the imminent launch of 5G networks and smartphones across the globe starting in early 2019,” he said. “Together we are demonstrating our role in transforming the mobile industry and enriching consumer experiences with 5G mobile devices on live 5G networks at this year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit.”

Operators AT&T, EE( part of BT in the UK), Telstra in Australia and Verizon have discussed in more detail their 5G deployment plans. AT&T and Verizon turned on live millimeter wave 5G networks during a showcase in Hawaii yesterday and showed a number of 5G consumer experiences powered by the Snapdragon X50 5G Modem and RF subsystem.

“Over the last several years AT&T, Qualcomm Technologies and others have worked closely to accelerate the standardization and commercialization of the 5G NR network in a growing number of cities across the U.S. As the first to establish a 5G data connection and with plans to offer first true mobile 5G connectivity for businesses and consumers, our leadership doesn’t happen without close coordination with technology leaders like Qualcomm Technologies, NETGEAR and Ericsson,” said Kevin Petersen, senior vice president of device and network experiences, AT&T.

“We are focused on bringing the benefits of 5G NR networks for our business and consumer customers in the UK. In conjunction with Qualcomm Technologies, we have tested many of the underlying technologies that will be used to deliver 5G,” said Fotis Karonis, executive advisor for 5G, BT Group. “We are eagerly anticipating 5G mobile devices featuring the new Snapdragon 855 with Snapdragon X50 arriving here along with the rollout of our 5G network in 2019.”

“At Samsung, we have a vision of a connected world powered by 5G that will benefit consumers, communities, industries and governments,” said Justin Denison, senior vice president, mobile product strategy and marketing, Samsung Electronics America. “5G will fuel collaboration, connectivity and productivity worldwide, and we’re excited to be at the forefront working alongside partners like Qualcomm Technologies to make the transformation to 5G a reality.”

“Telstra, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies were first in the world to deploy Gigabit LTE technologies and at that time, we showcased the experiences made possible with blazing fast LTE. Working with mobile industry leaders Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, we also recently achieved Australia’s first live 5G connection using a mobile test device powered by the Snapdragon X50 5G modem, on our network. 5G will provide improved performance and data rates opening a range of new use cases for our consumer and enterprise customers, and we look forward to making it commercially available for Australians in 2019,” said Channa Seneviratne, network engineering executive, Telstra.

“Through our close collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, Verizon reached a number of milestones over the last year to help make 5G a reality for consumers in 2019,” said Nicki Palmer, chief network engineering officer, Verizon. “Our relationship with Qualcomm Technologies and other key ecosystem players has allowed Verizon to work closely with OEMs to integrate 5G technology into their new mobile devices, including the moto z3 paired with a 5G moto mod - the world’s first 5G-upgradeable smartphone - that Verizon and Motorola announced in August.”

Monday, December 03, 2018

Top posts in November on the embedded blog

By Nick Flaherty

We love that the solar powered autonomous camera that can be stuck anywhere is the stop story in November on the Embedded blog. There's been less about AI and more about mainstream embedded and the Internet of Things, but look out for more 5G as commercial networks start rolling out in December.

19 Nov 2018
12 Nov 2018

Qualcomm shows 5G mmWave data while SK Telecom starts 5G commercial data network

By Nick Flaherty

Qualcomm Technologies has successfully made over-the-air (OTA) 5G NR data calls in both the mmWave and sub-6 GHz spectrum bands with Nokia. 

Compliant with the global 3GPP 5G NR Release 15 specification in NSA (Non-Standalone) mode, the interoperability testing milestones were completed at Nokia’s 5G centre of excellence in Oulu, Finland using commercially available Nokia AirScale base stations and a mobile smartphone form-factor test device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem and antenna modules with integrated RF transceiver, RF front-end and antenna elements (above).

This follows the first 5G call on a commercial network by SK Telecom in S Korea and a 5G-AI Machine Vision system that started on 1st December. Myunghwa is an auto parts company based in Banwol Industrial Complex, Ansan, Gyeonggi-do and started using the 5G network to transmit high-resolution, multi-angle photos of auto parts on the conveyor belts taken by 12 million-pixel cameras to a cloud server where machine learning algorithms scan the photos to check for defects.

“5G opens doors to infinite possibilities beyond our imaginations. As the ICT leader that has spearheaded the advancement of mobile communications from CDMA to LTE, SK Telecom will once again create a new future with the best 5G network,” said Park Jung-ho, SKT CEO.

SKT's 5G network currently covers main areas of 13 cities and counties nationwide, including Seoul, four cities in Gyeonggi-do (Seongnam, An-san, Hwaseong, Siheung), six metropolitan cities, Seogwipo in Jeju Island, and Ullengdo and Dokdo Islands in Ulleng county.

The first call over SK Telecom’s commercial 5G network was made between CEO Park located in Bundang, Gyeonggi-do and SK Telecom Manager Park Sook-hee located in Myeongdong, Seoul, using Samsung’s 5G smartphone prototype.

Self-driving cars began test-driving on public roads in Siheung as well as test tracks of ‘K-City,’ a large-scale test site for autonomous vehicles located in Hwaseong, Gyeongg-do using the 5G network. The cars were able to exchange surrounding information with the control centre and traffic lights.

Back in February 2018, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies first completed key 3GPP-compliant 5G NR interoperability testing in the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz spectrum bands using a commercially available Nokia AirScale base station and device prototypes from Qualcomm Technologies. The OTA calls are key steps in enabling customers in the 5G ecosystem to launch commercial networks and mobile devices from early 2019 onwards, in the United States, Korea, Europe, Australia, Japan and China.

“These successful data calls are a significant step in making 5G a commercial reality in early 2019, and this milestone with Nokia will help enable 5G network deployments across various operators and regions around the world,” said Durga Malladi, senior vice president and general manager, 4G/5G, at Qualcomm Technologies.

“These key milestone tests with Qualcomm Technologies show the flexibility and capabilities of our AirScale radio access technology to deliver on the promise of commercial 5G,” said Tommi Uitto, president of mobile networks, Nokia. “We continue to collaborate with Qualcomm Technologies to ensure our customers can unleash the power of their commercial 5G networks, to support the many new and diverse applications that will meet the demands of people and connected things, as they begin to launch commercial services in early 2019.”

Why cloud infrastructure matters to Analog Devices

By Nick Flaherty

Nick Flaherty talks to Chris Mann and Rob Chiacchia at Analog Devices on the power trends for infrastructure for cloud computing, 5G and the Internet of Things and its implications for the next generation PMbus specification and even the Internet from space