EDA / PCB Design

The world of electronic design automation is broad, covering everything from the simplest PCB to the most complex custom device. But without such tools, designers would be unable to create innovative consumer and industrial products.

In this section, New Electronics provides technical insight on the latest PCB design packages, as well as on the design tools essential to the creation of devices such as FPGAs and ASICs.

Will the attractions of embedded FPGA overcome traditional cost objections and finally see accelerated growth?

Twenty years ago, it looked like a concept that was ready for primetime: putting programmable logic inside ASICs and SoCs. At the time, the move seemed inevitable. ASIC mask prices were rising fast, driven by the need to pull more and more from a bag of optical tricks to keep Moore’s Law on track. The cost of respins alone seemed enough to persuade designers to leave some reprogrammable “sewing kits” in their SoCs to let them iron out bugs after tapeout instead of committing tens of thousands of dollars more to the project to get some new masks.

Heart of glass

The encroachment of glass into mainstream production has been slow up till now, but could the push to deliver higher throughput more cheaply see the material have a bigger role to play?

EMC basics and practical PCB design tips

Though often used as synonyms, Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) is really the controlling of radiated and conducted Electromagnetic Interference (EMI); and poor EMC is one of the main reasons for PCB re-designs. Indeed, an estimated 50% of first-run boards fail because they either emit unwanted EM and/or are susceptible to it.

Going circular

Technology manufacturers are increasingly being encouraged to think about the circular economy – the concept that materials and goods should be kept in circulation for longer rather than follow the traditional ‘linear’ model of make, sell, use, then dispose.

An in-house prototyping revolution

At a time when the capabilities of electronic products are breaking new ground, it could be true to say that their potential is being held back by design, development and production processes that haven’t kept pace with the speed of innovation.

Meeting the PCB design challenge

Although the IoT is still in its early days, applications developers are already looking to put more electronics into smaller packages. Not only that, many products are being designed to fit into odd shapes or to fit into whatever space may be available in existing devices.

Machine learning to enable bug free chips

Two years ago, ARM decided to investigate the way in which its teams undertake hardware design. Using tools developed for cloud computing, the company now sifts through every result from the thousands of tests and simulations it runs on a daily basis in order to look for patterns.

How to cope with data intensive IoT applications

The downstream performance requirements of SaaS and streaming services are increasing constantly. The same goes for upstream workloads, which are rising dramatically as a result of IoT applications with voice control or with tens of thousands of vision sensors.

Snapdragon processors for embedded systems

Since its establishment in 1985, Qualcomm has been involved in the mobile communications market, although its Qualcomm Technologies arm has made forays into other areas, such as MEMs based displays and wireless vehicle charging.

Are PCB design skills keeping up with increasing complexity?

It may seem something of an understatement, but Phil Mayo, director of sales for Altium UK, believes: “The PCB is important.” And perhaps that’s one reason why the workshop and conference sessions addressing PCB design at last year’s Electronics Design Show (EDS) attracted record numbers of engineers.

Composite amplifiers can improve performance

It is a familiar situation. An application needs an amplifier with excellent output drive capability, say several hundred milliamps, to drive a large capacitive load. The supplier’s engineering team can fairly quickly recommend a suitable part. But then the designers throw in additional requirements, such as low noise and high DC precision. This time, no single device is available to meet that specification. While you might think that placing a precision amplifier and high-output-current amplifier in series would give designers the best of both worlds, sadly, this turns out to be not the case.

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