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Silicene Structure concept art (via UT at Austin)


While some researchers are hard at work to achieve quantum computing on a chip, scientists from the University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School are busy making history. The research team recently created an atom-thick transistor made from silicon particles, called silicene, which may revolutionize computer chips.


There had been talk about the development of silicene, but it had yet to be constructed, until recently. Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Deji Akinwande and lead researcher Li Tao successfully built the first-ever silicene chip last month. The team looked to current graphene-based chip development for guidance, but discovered a major issue at the onset – silicene was sensitive to air.


To circumvent this issue, Akinwande and Tao worked with Alessandro Molle of the Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems in Agrate Brianza, Italy, to construct the delicate material in an airtight space. The team was able to form a thin silicene sheet by condensing silicon vapor onto a crystalline silver block in a vacuum chamber. Once the sheet was formed, silicene atoms were placed on a thin silver sheet and covered with a layer of alumina that was one nanometer thick. Once formed, the team was able to peel the silicene sheet off of the base and move it to an oxidized-silicon substrate. The result was a functional silicene transistor that joined two metal groups of electrodes.


The transistor was only functional for a few minutes before crumbling due to instability in air. While the transistor’s capabilities were rather archaic, the UT team was successfully able to fabricate silicene devices for the first time ever through low-temperature manufacturing. As silicone is a common base for computer chips, the researchers are confident that the technology could be adopted relatively easily, to make for faster, low-energy digital chips.


The team of scientists plans to continue its research to develop a more stable silicene chip. Having a super-thin silicene transistor could incredibly enhance the speed of computing, but it isn’t without competition. Graphene-based transistors have been under development for quite some time and may also be a solution to the question of how to enhance computing capabilities. Both technologies, however, may fail to surpass the potential power of the Università degli Studi di Pavia in Italy’s newest quantum chip. The chip features entanglement capabilities, potentially allowing an entire network to function as one unit. The new technology may also make cyber threats a thing of the past.


At present, emerging chip technologies are all still in need of further development before they are ready to hit the market. No one knows which technology will prevail, but it certainly is exciting.


The Cockrell School’s Southwest Academy of Nanoelectronics, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Army Research Office and the European Commission’s Future and Emerging Technologies Programme funded the University of Texas at Austin-based project.



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Photon Entanglement Ring Resonator visualization (via Davide Grassani, Stefano Azzini, Marco Liscidini, Matteo Galli, Michael J. Strain, Marc Sorel, J. E. Sipe, and Daniele Bajoni)

As IBM readies its brain-like computer-on-a-chip for mass production, the Università degli Studi di Pavia in Italy is making history, as it just built the very first chip capable of entangling individual light particles. The new technology may inspire a host of novel computing innovations and quite possibly put an end to cyber threats as we known them.


Entanglement is an essential quantum effect that enables the instant connection between two particles, regardless of distance. This means that anything done to one particle will be instantaneously done to another particle, even if it is at the other end of the universe. The entanglement of photons isn’t a new technology, but researchers at the Università degli Studi di Pavia, including co-author on the paper Daniele Bajoni, made history in successfully scaling the technology down to fit on a chip.


Researchers have been trying to scale down entanglement technology for years. Typically, the technology is harnessed through specialized crystals, but even the smallest set-up was still a few millimeters thick. Bajoni and his team decided to try a different approach and instead built what they call micro-ring resonators onto an ordinary silicon chip. The resonators embed coils into silicon wafers that capture and re-release photons. The design results in successful entanglement at an unparalleled width of 20 microns, or one-tenth the thickness of a strand of human hair.


The technology has huge implications for computing, as entanglement can exponentially increase computing power and speed. Computing communication can become instantaneous, as can other communication technologies. Tweeting at the speed of light, anyone? While these potentialities for advancements in computing are impressive, the biggest impact it may make is in inhibiting cyber threats.

In entanglement, particles act as one cohesive unit. Hackers operate by identifying weaknesses in computer and information systems and exploiting them. If computing and information systems, however, operate as one cohesive unit, there would be no way through which a hacker could breach the system, thus eliminating cyber threats. Sorry Dshell analysts.


The new quantum chip is infinitely more powerful than even the most cutting-edge supercomputers around today. It has the potential power to revolutionize communication, computing and cybersecurity, by enabling the adoption of quantum technologies, such as quantum cryptography and quantum information technologies. When we can expect to see this technology rule supreme, however, is another subject entirely.


Bajoni believes the technology is the connector through which innovation technologies can begin harnessing quantum power on a small scale, but others disagree. Some believe ring resonators must be produced on a nanoscale first to compete with up-and-coming nano-processors. Only time will tell, but our bet is cybersecurity stakeholders, at the least, will begin looking into the chip’s development. Until quantum mobile communication is available, however, you’ll just have to upload your social media photos like everybody else, 3-4GBs at a time.



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PowerBar installed (via Andice Labs)


If you've ever thought of designing a BeagleBone-based vigilante robot that fights crime in the rural Mojave Desert using only battery power, now you can with Andice Lab's PowerBar. The PowerBar was designed exclusively for the BeagleBone open hardware computer and enables it to function fully on DC, or battery, power. Portability is inspiring.



PowerBar attached to BeagleBone (via Andice Labs)


The PowerBar is a "micro cape" power supply that provides the low-power BeagleBone (SBC) computer with enough energy to run from anywhere, even in outer space (cue Twilight Zone theme song). The battery pack runs 5V of energy to the computer and even offers 15V over-voltage protection and reverse-voltage protection to protect against surges. It's a simple power pack that works for both BeagleBone White and Black.



BeagleBone White (via BeagleBoard)


BeagleBoard's BeagleBone is a single board computer based on Linux that runs Android and Ubuntu. The White version comes equipped with an AM335x 720MHz ARM processor, 256MB DDR2 RAM, 3D graphics chip, ARM Cortex-M3 and 2 PRU 32-bit RISC CPU's. BeagleBone Black was made with developers in mind and features double the power, with 512 DDR2 RAM, 4GB 8-bit built-in EMMC flash memory and a NEON point accelerator. Both computers offer USB, Ethernet and HDMI connectivity. It also runs Cloud9 IDE and Debian. What makes it unique is its open hardware design.



BeagleBone Black (via BeagleBone)


Open hardware designs take open-source to a whole new level. Not only are software platforms completely open to developers, but designs are too. That means you can buy a BeagleBone Black, or you can go directly to the BeagleBoard website and find the instructions for building your very own. Open hardware is developed for the love of innovation and raising up the next generation of tinkerers. My only critique of this cape is that I could do the same with an external cell-phone battery backup. Countless battery bricks out there too.


The development of the PowerBar now allows us to take our innovations on-the-go. Now remote locations all over the world can still gain access to the unscripted power of BeagleBone. If you take the lead from one tinkerer, you can power your very own brewery using the mini computer. Even the pirates in the Mojave Desert would raise a glass to that.


The cPulse is seen in action being used as a home rave device (via Codlight)

The French company, Codlight Inc. is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter to produce one of the first fully customizable LED Smartphone cases. While the prospect of becoming a walking, breathing billboard advertisement doesn't particularly appeal to me, I must give Codlight Inc. credit for the multitude of features and uses it offers.


The company certainly left no stone unturned when they programmed the cPulse smartphone case for a variety of uses. The cPulse LED case can act as everything from a notification banner, to a homemade rave device, to a form of light therapy. This feature can also be used to mimic a good old-fashioned analog clock radio.


The cPulse uses a panel of 128 high-efficiency LED lights powered by the Smartphone battery, and controlled by a custom program which allows the user to specify different commands, modes, notifications, and create customizable light shows set to music.

These light displays sap battery power at a rate of about 7% per hour so you may want to have quarters on hand if you need to call someone on short notice. - Remember payphones?


The LED light panel and the smartphone case  are 3D printed by Sketchfab and Sculpteo. Kickstarter backers who fund at least $79 to this Codlight initiative will receive a kit that will allow them to 3D print their very own cPulse case. Donors who are a bit more generous, funding at least $89 will receive a fully functioning cPulse case delivered to their home.


At the moment, the case is specifically made for the Android 4.4 smartphone, however if the project gets off of its feet, its easy customization could allow anyone to own a cPulse.


I must say, I am still pretty impressed by the functionality of this device, even though it is entirely unnecessary and a product of a culture of consumption and excess.


For now, Codlight Inc. is asking for no paltry sum, with a pledged goal of $350,000. They are currently nowhere near the goal, but still have about a month left to raise over a quarter of a million dollars.


If you are obsessed with bright, shiny objects and want to blind and dazzle those around you, you can get your very own cPulse from Kickstarter.


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A real-life Star Trek communicator for $99 (via OnBeep)

OnBeep is a San Francisco start-up company that recently unveiled its Onyx communicator to technocrats in New York, sparking buzz. OnBeep is only one year old, but they raised $6.25 million in early 2014 to develop their Onyx device: something that lets you communicate with groups of people at the touch of a button.


The working, finished product was only unveiled early last month, but Business Insider, CNN, Forbes, and Wired already have something to say about it. The design is meant to be worn on any type of clothing, handbags, belts, or even put inside your pocket. The ease of talking at the push of a button was inspired by Star Trek, so your LARPing adventures can be fortified by this device for sure.


In practice, the Onyx seems like an expensive, stylish speaker phone in the style of a walkie-talkie. In terms of hardware and design, it basically is exactly that. But the co-founder, Jessie Robbins notes that it does more: it allows a group of people to work together and stay focused on the task at hand. Both Robbins, and the OnBeep CTO, Greg Albrecht, have experience in emergency situations as firefighters and EMTs. Hence, the Onyx really makes sense when you need to communicate real-time with a group of colleagues and can’t afford to waste time messing around with a phone.


The cool thing about the Onyx is that in thoeryit allows you to collaborate with anyone around the world. For now, radio frequency regulations mean that people outside the US can't technically buy the Onyx. Considering the amount of funding OnBeep has raised, it seems like a matter of time before the Onyx is available everywhere. The device can currently be pre-ordered for expected release in December 2014. The current cost of the Onyx is $99 which seems a bit steep for an extension of your smartphone, but I can see how it can be super helpful depending on your job environment.


I can certainly see businesses adopting this technology as a new part of team management: cutting the time and space between employees. Perhaps this is why so many business gurus are interested in the technology since it enables people to work together, real-time, outside of boring meetings.


The Onyx works by using Bluetooth to sync to your smartphone. In order to take advantage of Onyx's capabilities, you must download the OnBeep smartphone app which is currently available for iPhone and Android systems. The Onyx then takes advantage of wireless data/WiFi to contact your networks and stay connected. The app allows you to manage your groups, see who's available, and see where every member of your team is located – if you are worried that Tom forgot the dip, for instance.


You can talk to up to 15 people at once with the Onyx, and you can create as many groups as you like. The platform works regardless of network carrier, however it is only compatible with iPhone and Android at the moment.



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Hello Everyone!  Just trying to network a little bit, on my breaks...


So, my team has developed some cool products that are actually being utilized out there in the market.


  • EISS™ Virtual Top Node Server




  • EISSBox - OpenADR 2.0b Certified Virtual End Node



  • EISSClient Software Platform



  • EISSBox Data Logger (for Data Logging / Telemetry Endpoint)





If you're close to the Eatontown, NJ area, we're always looking for Embedded Systems and Raspberry Pi experience on our team - growing pretty fast!  We have some real neat stuff going on.  Definitely let me know if you're interested.


















This article was first issued on embedded beat (Freescale blogs)


A mixed environment system is one where a multicore system runs a combination of a real-time operating system and a feature-rich operating system.  It’s not a new concept, and there are many examples of products in the industry today, particularly in automotive and high-end industrial. These devices are feature-rich and highly user-interactive, but must respond quickly and reliably to system level events that are driving critical operation of the device.


After presenting earlier this month on the topic at ARM TechCon, I was energized to see the level of interest in heterogeneous processing for mixed environment use cases. What’s new is that the underlying hardware architecture for a mixed environment use case, if implemented correctly, can now be used to solve new design challenges like improving energy efficiency of devices that need to stay connected and provide continuous monitoring of environmental inputs. The device itself does not need to be in a high level state of operation because it is essentially just maintaining a network connection (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, others), processing sensor inputs and is not required to perform heavy processing. But the device must also be able to quickly elevate to a higher state of processing when needed.




What I talked about in my session was the challenge of implementing this type of heterogeneous architecture in a single-chip solution that also provides system flexibility without sacrificing system integrity. System flexibility means that both cores have the ability to access all peripherals and shared memory. This ultimately allows the system to be able to adapt to new application use cases. However, this type of shared bus topology means that both cores now have the ability to access all peripherals and shared memory in the system. So the architecture must provide a way to configure and enforce the safe sharing of system resources.


What is the ultimate benefit of this type of heterogeneous architecture?  A more energy-efficient, system-aware device that can also provide a feature-rich user experience and yet not sacrifice on real-time responsiveness.


Where does Freescale fit in?

Freescale is no stranger to multicore and heterogeneous processing, but earlier this year we announced that this architecture will be coming to the i.MX 6 series with the first applications processor to integrate an ARM® Cortex®- A9 core with an Cortex-M4 core in a single chip design. And, heterogeneous processing will bring new applications and new levels of scalability to the i.MX 6 series which already has a broad footprint and acceptance in the embedded market.

You can see more on the next generation of i.MX 6 series in this short informational video.  (Full product disclosure coming in Q1 2015.)


Amanda McGregor is a product marketer for i.MX applications processors.

This article was first published on embedded beat (Freescale blogs)


Some of the Kinetis MCUs are designed to provide industry-leading new technologies, others are optimized to solve specific problems, while others are just designed to appeal to the biggest number of engineers and please everyone.


What type of Kinetis MCU are you most like?


Take this short Kinetis MCU Personality Quiz to find out!


What type of Kinetis MCU are you.

Kathleen Jachimiak is a Kinetis MCU product marketer.

This article was first published on embedded beat (Freescale blogs)


It’s not just about performance and integration, the ARM Cortex-M4 based Kinetis K Series brings world class low-power modes and a comprehensive set of development tools and software, helping you save precious time and resources.


If you haven’t noticed, the Kinetis portfolio is vast – from general embedded, to ultra-low power, to a wide range of application specific MCUs.  As for the Kinetis K Series, we’ve honed in on general embedded applications.  Need USB? We’ve got that. Ethernet, Crypto? Yep. Graphic LCD? Ditto.  And there’s more.  Kinetis K devices range in flash size from 32KB to 2MB, up to 256KB of onboard SRAM and a broad range of peripheral combinations for measurement and control, connectivity and security.


Selector Guide


Here’s the family lineup:

K0x Entry-level MCUs
K1x Baseline MCUs
K3x Segment LCD MCUs
K4x USB & Segment LCD MCUs
K5x Measurement MCUs
K6x Ethernet Crypto MCUs
K7x Graphic LCD MCUs

How do you decide which device is best for your design with what seems like endless options?

We’ve helped make the selection process easier with the Kinetis K Selector Guide.

Try it out and let me know what you think.


Justin Mortimer is a Kinetis Product Owner

This article was first issued on Freescale embedded beat blogs (http://blogs.freescale.com) by Kathleen Jachimiak, product marketing manager for Kinetis microcontrollers.



Remember playing with Rubik’s cubes back in t he 1980s? 2014 actually marks the 40th birthday of this 3D puzzle. It is a simple cube in which each side is made up of nine colored mini-cubes with an objective to somehow rotate it in exactly the correct way so that each side would be one solid color. They provide hours of fun, but are not always easy to figure out. I read online that with six colored sides, 21 pieces and 54 outer surfaces, there’s a combined total of over 43 quintillion different possible configurations. No wonder I failed to ever solve that thing on my own!


The thought of doing the next great engineering design can be equally daunting. And while Kinetis MCUs cannot help you solve the Rubik’s cube (unless of course you use some sort of cube-solving machine like the one shown here), Kinetis MCUs can help you solve today’s- and tomorrow’s- engineering design challenges with a broad portfolio of ARM®-based solutions. Though not quite a quintillion (yet), Freescale is offering close to 1,000 products for customers to choose from.


The Kinetis MCU portfolio is often referred to as the world’s broadest ARM® Cortex®-M-based portfolio. But, what makes a portfolio broad? And is that even a good thing?

A broad portfolio is about providing choices that span the technical limits in terms of low-end and high-end capabilities, and filling all of the gaps in between. It means offering solutions that can enable everything from a swallowable medical device to the electronics within a 5,000-pound truck. The Kinetis MCU portfolio has both general purpose and application-specific devices designed to do just that – meet the various needs of embedded designers while covering a breadth of options for performance, memory, package, integration and price.

General Purpose vs. Application-Specific Devices


The Kinetis MCU portfolio is most easily explained as six (and counting) series of general purpose and application-specific devices. General purpose series, like Kinetis K and Kinetis L series, reach the greatest number of customers, while application-specific series target vertical markets to provide specific integration and support. Within each series is a number of families that further divide the portfolio into various levels of integration and performance.


Kinetis K series MCUs were our first MCUs based on ARM Cortex-M cores and the industry’s first MCUs based on the ARM-Cortex-M4 core. As well, it is called the K series because that is how it all started – K for Kinetis. These devices are known for pushing high performance and various level of integration supporting the broadest range of customers.

Kinetis L series is our ultra- low power series and the industry’s first Cortex-M0+-based MCU. In fact, this series boasts the world’s most energy-efficient ARM-based MCU. It also holds the record as the world’s smallest ARM-based MCU, thanks to Freescale’s wafer-level chip-scale packaging (WLCSP) technology.

Kinetis E series MCUs are about supporting applications in electrically harsh conditions with high EMI and ESD thresholds. They are designed to maintain high robustness and reliability within electrically noisy environments. And in another first, Kinetis E series MCUs were the industry’s first 5V MCUs built on the ARM Cortex-M0+ processor.

Kinetis V series MCUs are designed for (vector) motor control and digital power conversion applications. This is the most recently introduced series for the Kinetis portfolio, launching in April 2014.

Kinetis M series MCUs are an application-specific series, targeted for metering and measurement applications.

Kinetis W series MCUs are for wireless applications. These Kinetis MCUs are with integrated radio transceivers for 802.15.4 2.4GHz and sub 1-GHz wireless communications.

Scalability and Compatibility: The Secret to Success
It’s not enough to have a lot of parts. To a designer looking for a specific solution, the fact that we have 999 other options is not all that interesting to him/her. The secret to making a broad portfolio successful is scalability and compatibility, and Kinetis MCUs offer both. Providing both pin-to-pin and software compatible options is key for customers wishing to scale up and down the portfolio to address various market segments and tiers of products within those segments. Additionally, Kinetis customers are able to reach faster time to market with common software and hardware tools.


Get more info on the Kinetis MCU portfolio @ Freescale.com/Kinetis


Kathleen Jachimiak is a product marketing manager for Kinetis microcontrollers.

This article was first published on Embedded Beat (oct. 2014) by Donnie Garcia, Freescale Kinetis New Products Team




I don’t have a home security system, but my second hand experience from family and friends is that they can be a real hassle. In addition to the cost of the system and having it physically installed, there are constant headaches with remembering to set the alarm, false alarms, and having to remember yet another password. When deciding to bring such a device into the home, home owners must balance cost and inconvenience with the benefits of peace of mind and crime deterrence. In the embedded world, as more “Things” get connected, a similar choice has to be made: accessibility via connectivity has opened up a new range of “Things” which are vulnerable to attacks. Embedded developers of home automation nodes, energy metering and payment solutions all have to deal with numerous and aggressive threats.


Protecting embedded assets is not a new problem, and for Freescale, a semiconductor company who can provide a solution for virtually all points within the Internet of Things (IoT) continuum, there is a strong legacy of excellence in security. As a Kinetis MCU product marketer, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with security experts from across the company who work on our numerous product lines to ensure that the best possible security is being implemented in our embedded solutions. Kinetis MCUs contain features to help improve reliance of end applications and have a type of embedded trust architecture that can be used to provide security in the age of increasing connectedness.

Kinetis devices provide an advantage that most other higher end applications processors do not typically have. Kinetis MCUs are architected to only boot up from internal memory.  This protects against the threat of hijacking an embedded application by changing an external memory device.

In addition, Kinetis devices have several levels of embedded protection that can be selected using non-volatile control bits. The protection, when enabled, restricts access to all internal resources (Flash, SRAM and peripheral registers) from the debug port. As well, to facilitate a safe firmware update via a serial peripheral, Kinetis devices have a 64-bit key, which can be set so that only authorized firmware updates are allowed.


The highest levels of Kinetis security can also lock the embedded memory by disabling Flash erase capabilities, forever locking the application code in the end device. This security level creates a secure ‘Read Only Memory’ version of the embedded application, essentially avoiding the threat of cloning of a device.

Some Kinetis devices have an additional external memory interface (for SRAM or NOR Flash). On these devices, when security is enabled, the attributes of this external memory are controlled by system level configuration bits. So, even in higher end embedded applications which rely on external memory expansion, the reliable Kinetis MCU security architecture has the capability of restricting execution from the external memory to protect against attacks.

Many Kinetis devices also contain a system level Memory Protection Unit (MPU). This peripheral can be used to define memory spaces with certain access rights, creating another layer of system checking to ensure that the execution of firmware is controlled.


Besides the standard features mentioned above, cryptographic acceleration hardware is available on a number of Kinetis sub-families. This hardware, which is enabled by a library, greatly speeds up cryptographic algorithms that can be used in firmware updates or in the protection of data as it passes from device to device.

On a sub-set of Kinetis devices there are advanced anti-tamper capabilities. The features of this peripheral include a tamper protected memory space for a master key. The security of a system depends on keeping the master key a secret. The tamper protected memory space is automatically erased if a tamper event is detected. This erasure of the master key happens without any software intervention, and so can be depended upon to protect the most sensitive data. Tamper events are not only physical attacks, and so the advanced security peripheral also protects against temperature, voltage or clock speed attacks.


One of the newest features on the Kinetis devices is the Flash Access Control (FAC). This feature was made to support the growing need of protection of software intellectual property (for example, proprietary sensor algorithms, or connectivity stacks). The FAC allows the use of software libraries while not allowing them to be read or downloaded from the device. This feature works in conjunction with the embedded security levels of the Kinetis MCUs to provide developers a platform to use to promote their innovations in a safe and reliable way. Being able to protect software property will be a key enabler to the propagation of embedded technology expected by the Internet of Things.

What will the future bring in regards to embedded security features? To support the expansion of Kinetis edge nodes, more advanced encryption acceleration and new algorithms are on the roadmap.


Finally, as a product definer, I am always looking for new requirements. What aspect of embedded security threat are you concerned with? Leave a comment.


Donnie Garcia is on the Kinetis New Products Team

For those familiar with TrueSTUDIO from Atollic, you already know how powerful this development environment is, and what it offers beyond the C/C++ compiler and debugger functionality.  For all the rest please check out more about it in element 14 Design Center and see the intro video here.


element14 is now selling TrueSTUDIO for your and your business' needs in the Americas.


Blueshift Hydrogen (via Blueshift)


If you thought the ‘80s mobile boombox was out of style, guess again. Blueshift recently announced the launch of its portable, supercapacitor-powered, Bluetooth speaker, Hydrogen – your new best friend.


The Blueshift Hydrogen speaker is changing the nature of mobile devices. The portable Bluetooth speaker is powered by supercapacitors, and while it only takes five minutes to fully charge, the 4lb speaker can play for more than 4 hours at 80 percent volume. Connect it to your computer, cell phone, or any other Bluetooth-capable device and let the beat drop.



Inside the Hydrogen speaker (via Blueshift)


Blueshift’s Hydrogen sits at 9” x 8” x 4.” What it lacks in stature it makes up for in sound. The beach-friendly box speaker features a 3” full-range driver, Class-D amplifier and volume controls, housed in a bamboo shell – a wood which really vibrates well for music., All of the speaker’s parts are custom-made in America and the entire unit is plastic-free. The real secret, however, are the supercapacitors.


While batteries store chemical energy, supercapacitors house energy in the form of a physical, electric field. This allows for the technology to charge rapidly and remain extremely durable. For example, the supercapacitors that power the Hydrogen speaker charge in five minutes and are guaranteed to function at optimal energy levels for up to half a million charges. If the same technology is applied to mobile devices everywhere (or any electronic devices, for that matter), your local energy company would be very upset.


The Hydrogen speaker is open-source and includes a Bluetooth A2DP and 1/8” wired input, 1/8” cable and AC charger in the box. Blueshift claims that the Hydrogen speaker is built to last. All of the parts are easily replaceable and/or upgradeable and all of the parts, from the components to the bamboo shell itself, are durable. With this, since the project is open-source, Blueshift welcomes new upgrades and enhancements from consumers. While supercapacitors are still more expensive than traditional batteries, having a practical way to use the technology really opens the doors for makers to change the way we charge. 

Blueshift has designed a number of other speakers, currently on presale via Crowd Supply, including a subwoofer, entitled Iron Subwoofer, preamp and home sound system. All of the speakers feature bamboo and the signature Blueshift simplistic design. While the designs are open hardware, the retail versions are proprietary.



Blueshift Product Line (via Blueshift)


Blueshift is currently running a crowd-funding campaign via Crowd Supply. The Hydrogen speaker will retail for $400, but is on sale for early backers at $330. All of the company’s speakers are on presale, but the Hydrogen may be the best bang for your buck. Cool Material was quoted saying that the portable speaker might be the best deal in the market, when factoring charge time vs. playback.


The crowd funding campaign is open for two more weeks, so if you’re considering buying one, act now. Honestly, who couldn’t use a portable speaker? So, hurry and support their effort!

Sure, they’re wonderfully useful at morning board meetings, but they’re epically awesome on the beach. C’mon man. Drop that bass.


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Dear Microcontroller and Microprocessor users


1. You are looking for some training to learn programming your RiOTboard (i.MX6 ARM Cortex-A9) or your Freedom board (Kinetis ARM Cortex-M0+/M4) ?

2. You are able to come to Paris, France to visit us at the Freescale DWF event scheduled October 14th 2014 in the famous Roland Garros tennis stadium ?

Farnell/Element14 will drive a technical hands-on for RiOT board and teach you step-by-step, how to create a webserver demo featuring a temperature sensor datalogger, which a nice IoT example.

During this 3h lab, you will learn how to copy a BSP image, generate a Linux BSP image with the Yocto builder tool and you will start creating the application based on Linux 3.10.

Computer and boards will be provided during the workshop session.

Freescale will drive a hands-on for Freedom board (FRDM-K64F) and teach you step-by-step how to create a sensing application which is another nice IoT peripheral example.

During this 3h lab, you will learn how to create from scratch a project using new Freescale development tools Kinetis Design Studio (IDE toolchain) and Kinetis Software Development Kit (peripheral libraries). 

Computer and boards will be provided during the workshop session.

All Freescale experts and several 3rd parties will be present to answer your questions.

More than 45 application demos will be exposed in the 620m² Techlab based on latest Freescale technologies (ARM Cortex-M Microcontrollers, ARM Cortex-A Processors, Motion Sensors, Radio, Analog).

And the best for the end ... This is a 100% free event including lunch and drinks.

I have posted below the official invitation and the link to register (please select Farnell as distributor for our invitation statistics).

Don't hesitate to answer this blog if you have some questions.

Nice to meet you there


Sans titre 1.jpg

Designing with Freescale Seminar, Paris Roland Garros, 14 Octobre 2014

Freescale a le plaisir de vous inviter à son événement technologique phare de l’année.

Ne manquez pas cette occasion de participer à notre journée de présentations et de formations portant sur nos technologies, produits et solutions pour l’électronique embarquée.

Designing with Freescale (DwF) offre des sessions interactives sur une large gamme de solutions Freescale pour les ingénieurs développant des produits et systèmes innovants.


Lors de cette journée, vous pourrez découvrir et participer à :


- Des sessions techniques présentant nos différentes familles de produits : microcontrôleurs et microprocesseurs basés sur les architectures ARM® et Power Architecture®,

capteurs, circuits analogiques, connectivité couvrant les marchés automobile, industriel, grand public et réseaux.


- Un Techlab de 620m²où seront exposées plus de 45 démonstrations d’applications mises en œuvre par Freescale et ses partenaires.


- Une formation ‘’hands-on’’ pour créer votre première application dans le monde de l’Internet des Objets (IOT).Grace à la carte communautaire  RIoT,

vous testerez toute la puissance de son processeur ARM®  i.MX 6Solo. Ses accessoires vous montreront comment il est rapide de

développer cette application sous un Operating Système Linux ou Android et connectée au ‘’Cloud’’.


- Une formation ‘’hands-on’’ sur les capteurs basée sur la plateforme de développement Freescale Freedom. Vous découvrirez notre outil de développement

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PCB stack-up design

Posted by skipbruce Aug 21, 2014
PCB Stack-Up Design

Before designing multi-layer PCB circuit boards, designers need to confirm the circuit boards structure primarily based on the scale of circuit, the size of circuit boards, and the requirements of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). It means that designers have to decide to use 2, 4, 6, or more layers of circuit boards. If the design requires the use of high density ball grid array (BGA) devices, the minimal number of wiring layers required for these devices must be considered. For years, people always believe that the less PCB layers, the lower the cost, however, there are many other factors affecting PCB manufacturing costs. In recent years, the differences between costs of multi-layer boards have been reduced significantly. As soon as the number of layers been determined, the placement of the inner layer and how to distribute different signals in these layers can then be decided --- this is the stack-up design of multi-layer PCB. Careful planning and choosing rational stack-up designs beforehand will save a lot of efforts in the following wiring and future production.


1.1 Layer Selection Principle

There are many factors to consider when determining the number of layers of multi-layer PCB board. For experienced designers, they will emphasize on the analysis of the bottlenecks of PCB wiring after the pre-placement of devices. In combination with other EDA tools to analyze wiring density of circuit board; and combined with the quantities and kinds of signal lines with specific wiring demands, such as differential lines, sensitive signal lines, to determine the number of signal layers; and then to determine the number of internal power layer according to the type of power supply, isolation and immunity requirements. Therefore, the layer number of the whole circuit board plates is basically determined.

The following table is the empirical data to determine number of signal layers based on the PIN density, for reference.

Ps: Definition of PIN density: Area of board (square inch)/ (Total number of pins on the Board/14)


1.2 PCB Stack-Up Principle

After the number of circuit board layers determined, the following job is to reasonably arrange the placement order of the circuit of each layer. In this part, there are two main factors to be considered:

(1) The distribution of special signal layers

(2) The distribution of power layer and ground layer

The more layers of circuit boards, the more varieties of arrangement of special signal layers, ground layers and power layers, thus it is more difficult to choose the best combination method, but the general principles are as follows.

(1) The signal layer should be next to an internal power layer (internal power/ground layer), shielded by the copper film of internal power layer.

(2) The internal power layer should be integrated with ground layer tightly, which means the thickness of medium between internal power layer and ground layer should take the smaller value, in order to improve the power supply capacitor between the internal power layer and ground layer, and increase the resonant frequency. If the electric potential difference between internal power layer and ground layer is not significant, a smaller insulation thickness can be used, like 5mil (0.127mm).

(3) To avoid the two signal layers directly adjacent. It is easy to introduce crosstalk between adjacent signal layers, leading to the fail of the circuit. To place a ground layer between two signal layers can avoid cross talk efficiently.

(4) Multiple grounded internal power layers can reduce the ground impedance effectively. For example, A signal layer and B signal layer use ground plane respectively can reduce common-mode interference effectively.

(5) The symmetry of layer structure.


1.3 Demonstration

For your reference, a stack-up design for the four, six, and eight layered high speed digital signal PCB is demonstrated in below:

1.3.1 Four Layer Stack–Up

Figure 1.3.1 Four Layer PCB Stack-Up Example

The high speed signals on the top layer are referenced to the ground plane on layer 2. Since the references for the high speed signals on the bottom layer are the power planes on layer 3, it is necessary to place stitching capacitors between the aforementioned power planes and ground. In this stack up, it is preferential to route high speed signals on the top layer as opposed to the bottom layer so that the signals have a direct reference to the ground layer. For some designs it may be desirable to have the bottom layer as primary high speed routing layer. In this case, the power and ground usage on Layer 2 and 3 could be swapped.

1.3.2 Six Layer Stack-Up


Figure 1.3.2 Six Layer PCB Stack-Up Example

In this example, the reference planes for the high speed signals on the top layer are the power planes on layer 2. Stitching capacitors from the associated reference power plane to ground are therefore required. The signal reference for the bottom layer is the ground plane on layer 5. In this stack-up, it is preferable to route high speed signals on the bottom layer. As in the previous example, power and ground layers could be swapped if it is desirable to have the primary high speed routing layer on the top layer.

The reference planes for signals on layer 3 are located on layer 2 and 5. The same reference planes are used by signals routed on layer 4. As the reference planes are on layers which have a relatively large distance from signal layers 3 and 4, the traces would need to be very wide in order to achieve a common impedance of 50Ω. Therefore, these layers are not suitable for routing high speed signals. In this stack-up approach, layers 3 and 4 can only be used for routing low speed signals where impedance matching is not required.

1.3.3 Eight Layer Stack-Up

Figure 1.3.3 Eight Layer PCB Stack-Up Example

The signals on the top layer are referenced to the plane in layer 2, while the signals on the bottom layer are referenced to layer 7. The reference planes for signal layer 3 are the ground plane on layer 2 and the power planes on layer 4. When routing high speed signals on layer 3, stitching capacitors need to be placed between the power and the ground planes. The power planes on layer 5 and 7 are used as references for the high speed signals routed on layer 6.

The inner layer 6 with the two adjacent ground planes is the best choice for routing high speed signals which have the most critical impedance control requirements. The inner layers cause less EMC problems as they are capsulated by the adjacent ground planes. As layer 3 is referenced to a power plane, outer layer 1 and 8 are preferable for high speed routing if layer 6 is already occupied.

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