Name: Cosmin Iorga
My professional experience includes over 20 years of high-speed analog and mixed-signal circuit design and troubleshooting at system, board, and integrated circuit levels, with emphasis on signal integrity, power integrity, and noise coupling reduction. I have 14 patents awarded covering innovative solutions in noise coupling reduction and signal integrity and I have published the book “Noise Coupling in Integrated Circuits: A Practical Approach to Analysis, Modeling, and Suppression”. I am also a part time instructor at UCLA Extension where I teach courses in analog circuit design, data converters, and power integrity at UCLA Extension.
Please answer these questions in no more than 50-75 words per question. (sorry for using more words that instructed - I am also a writer and I feel that I cannot express what I think if I don't "unleash" my creativity in writing and if I don't let ideas flow "freely" out of my mind)
How did you find the element14 community?
I didn’t know anything about element14 community until I read an ad about the “Smarter Life Design Challenge” back in 2013. I signed-up for that challenge and I enjoyed working on my project. That was the moment when I started to explore the element14 community and over these years I really enjoyed being part of this community and contributing with various blog posts, participating in design challenges and product road tests.
What is your earliest memory involving electronics or engineering?
My early memories go back to when I was five years old and I was fascinating of how a small flashlight bulb lighted up when I was holding it between the blades of a 4.5V battery (these are old batteries that were used in flashlights back in 1970s; they were made of three cylinders packed together and had two flexible blades attached to “+” and “–“ terminals). I remember begging my mom to buy me another bulb after by mistake I dropped and broke it or buy another battery when the previous one got discharged. My first electric circuit had two wires twisted together, tied to the bulb, and connected to the battery (I wanted to evolve from holding the battery with my fingers between the blades of the battery); however, first few versions did not function because the two wires had no insulation and were just shorting the battery (which was becoming quite hot). Later when I was in middle school (around 12 years old) I built my first radio transmitter that would send MORSE code signals from my room to an FM radio that my parents had in the kitchen. I was demonstrating this project to my parents and I remember my mom telling me that I should learn and become an electronics engineer. Over the following years I went on that path and I passed the admission exam to Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest in Romania, then I continued with a master degree from California State University in Northridge and later with a Ph.D. from Stanford University. My mom did not leave to see me on this career path but I am sure she would have been very proud of me.
Who is your biggest engineering inspiration?
While I think I was mostly “self-inspired” I do have a number of people who made a difference for me and my career. First one was an electronic engineer who worked in the same research institute with my mom and who when learning that I am passionate for electronics has sent me through my mom two bags full of various electronic components and instruments. I still have some of these materials in my garage after so many years. I also have in mind my electronics practice teacher in high-school who would sell me transistors at a much lower price (10-15 times cheaper) than in the store so I could build my projects that I had in mind. Transistor prices in the store were way out of my financial possibilities (I think about a one day salary of a professional job). Later I had multiple professors who gave me confidence that motivated me to follow this career path.
Name a book, blog or paper that everybody in your field should read
I think for high speed circuit design “High Speed Digital Design: A Handbook of Black Magic” by Howard Johnson and Martin Graham is a great book.
What would you like to see more of on the element14 community?
I really enjoy reading message posts, watch various videos that members post, and participate in road tests and design challenges. I think expanding on these in the future would be great.
Words to live by:
Please provide a quote that inspires you or sums up your approach to engineering in some way. This can be a personal quote or a quote from a personal or professional inspiration
I think anything can be done; it is just a matter of time to figure how to get there. (not sure if it is only mine or if it is someone else's too, but this is the basis of how I function)
My top maker tip:
Please share your favourite Design Tip in no more than 40-50 words.
Always try to understand what you work on all the way down to the basic fundamental principles of Physics.
My favourite Project
In no more than 100-150 words, please describe a project you have undertaken that you are particularly proud of. This could be a submission for an element14 design challenge or a personal/professional project.
Please also provide a photo of this project if available.
I really enjoyed two design challenges that I have participated: “Sudden Impact Wearable Design Challenge” that I have won and “Smarter Life Design Challenge” that I did not win. I would like to pick this second one , that I did not win, to talk about here. What I was mostly proud of in this challenge was that I was able to make my idea work even though at the beginning it looked more or less like science fiction. In this project I wanted to enable people to control home appliances only by mind without using traditional methods like remote controls, switches, clapping hands, voice activated switches and so on… Well, I wasn’t completely able to achieve 100% mind driven control, but I was able to build a project that would sense human eye movements and code them into controls for turning on/off lights, turning on/off a TV set, changing channels and adjusting the volume. I spent many hours and I have worked on many experiments some successful and many not successful unit I came up with a solutions that worked. I have demonstrated it in a few videos and I was very excited to read people comments. The comments that I liked the most were from people who did not believe what they saw in the video – it was awesome to read those comments. I want one day to further transform this project into a product for people who cannot move and some who cannot move their hands either. I think it would make a significant difference in their lives if they become able to control TVs, home appliances, and computers – imagine what would mean for these people to become able to play games on a computer by controlling the computer with only the eye movement. I think the pictures and videos are still available on element14 website for my “Brainwaves Appliance Control” project.
Makers on Makers
Please nominate a member of the element14 community whose work you find interesting or inspiring. Tell us why this member of the community stands out to you in no more than 50-75 words.
There are many very talented members and I am very impressed of them. It is hard to choose only one, but if I need to I would choose Ravi Butani who impressed me significantly with his project for Sudden Impact Wearable Design Challenge. I think he is a great person and a very talented engineer from whom a lot of element14 members can be inspired.