Electronic Design

Electronic Design UPDATE: March 12, 2003


Electronic Design UPDATE e-Newsletter Electronic Design Magazine - http://www.planetee.com March 12, 2003


*************************ADVERTISEMENT************************** SPONSORED BY: TRUE CIRCUITS, INC. Check-out our new line of Low Bandwidth and Spread Spectrum PLLs. We offer a complete family of innovative, standardized and silicon proven PLL designs that are available in a range of frequencies, multiplication factors and functions in TI, TSMC and UMC CMOS processes from 0.25um to 0.13um. Call (650) 691-2500 or visit http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08B30A2 **************************************************************** You've received this e-newsletter for one of two reasons: 1) you subscribe to Electronic Design magazine 2) you've signed up for it at http://www.planetee.com Please see below for unsubscribe and address-change instructions. Today's Table of Contents: 1. Editor's View -- Commentary 2. News -- From The Editors 3. Upcoming Industry Events 4. Magazine Highlights ********************** 1. Editor's View -- Exclusive to Electronic Design UPDATE ********************** Wireless Sensor Networks: A Potentially Huge Enabling Technology By Roger Allan, Components /Test /Packaging Editor Recent developments in sensors and networking promise to create a powerful and vast enabling technology: networking via wireless sensors. These advances bode well for tremedous growth in new markets in the home, office and plant automation, automotive, health-care, industrial, and military/security sectors. These leaps forward are natural partners to developments in networking sensors of all types, where the economic advantages of networking sensors lead to vastly more efficient operations. Companies like Analog Devices (www.analog.com) and MEMSIC ( http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08B40A3 ), who have been making MEMS sensors for a number of years, are now taking advantage of the economics of mass-producing MEMS sensors and have brought their prices down under $5 in large volumes. This price level meets a primary requirement for an electronic component to gain a strong foothold in lucrative multimillion-unit markets, like the consumer electronics market, where affordability and small size are paramount. Sensors are also becoming easier to apply thanks to their simplicity of use. They're becoming unobtrusive, "drop-in" components. Fujitsu understood these factors when it developed its MBF300 SweepSensor fingerprint sensing device (www.fma.fujitsu.com/biometric). This simple capacitive unit is just 1.28 by 0.2 cm (packaged in a 54-pin FBGA or LPGA) and costs just $8 to $10 in lots of just 100 units, making it ideal for cell phones and PDAs. Concurrent and rapid developments in wireless networking technologies are all competing for a larger share of a looming, huge market for sensor interfacing. Bluetooth, WiFi (IEEE 802.11b), and ZigBee are some of the prominent approaches, each with its own pros and cons. But none of these can claim to be all things to all applications, since none can offer optimum performance and price for all applications when it comes to power consumption, range, susceptibility to noise, reliability, and of course, cost. Some may well be suited for specific applications only. As a result, a number of companies are offering proprietary techniques as alternatives, further muddying the process of a standard design. This has nudged the IEEE P1451.5 Committee, many of whose members are from industry, to tackle this problem. The committee is working on a proposal for a wireless networking standard that will bridge the differences between all of the present interface approaches and make for a clearer and easier design approach, although its efforts are not expected to bear final fruit for at least a couple of years. But the fact that this standardization effort has begun is in itself a harbinger that industry is thinking about impending large networking markets. Some large chip companies aren't only listening but are also preparing for an era where sensors will permeate every facet of our lives. Recently at the Intel Developer's Forum ( http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08B50A4 ) in San Jose, Calif., keynote speaker and Intel chief technology officer Patrick Gelsinger predicted that "the microconvergence of sensor nets, computers, and wireless communications technologies will result in the macroconvergence of context-aware aging-in-place and precision biological technologies." With aging-in-place, elderly people don't have to move into institutions that provide round-the-clock care. Instead, these folks can stay and live in their own homes while medical professionals use technology to monitor them from a distance. Gelsinger compared this advance to the combination of the horse-drawn wagon and the internal-combustion engine, which led to the automobile, the trucking industry, the interstate highway system, and a host of other related infrastructures. Also, Intel sees itself as committed to marrying sensor networks to wireless computers and communications. "By 2018, we will be able to put short-range high-bandwidth radios on any chip we make," Gelsinger added. Are designers and strategic marketers taking note? Contact Roger Allan at: mailto:[email protected] ********************** 2. News -- From The Editors ********************** ***60-dB Logarithmic Converter Suits Cost-Sensitive Fiber-Optic Networks The ADL5306 is the latest addition to a growing family of high-precision control/monitor ICs for optical-networking applications. The 60-dB logarithmic converter measures optical power-signal levels in a variety of fiber-optic network elements. Linear response is accurate to within 0.1 dB, which improves monitoring capability and system performance. Its 60-dB range is sufficient for less demanding requirements, offering a price-competitive alternative to less accurate transimpedance amplifier measurement approaches. The 3- by 3-mm chip-scale package makes it appropriate for small-form-factor modules. The ADL5306 joins the AD8304 (160-dB dynamic range) and the AD8305 (100-dB dynamic range) logarithmic converters to create a family of solutions that cover all signal-level ranges required by optical networking designers. The ADL5306's lower dynamic range suits applications such as transceiver modules, add/drop multiplexers, and tunable lasers. It costs $4.69 each in 1000-unit lots. The device is currently sampling and will be available in volume next month. For more information, call (800) 262-5643 or visit http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ05Tq0AK ***Signal-Conditioning Boards Target Palm Handhelds Two signal-conditioning boards from Datastick Systems permit a wide range of voltage inputs to the DAS-1245 data-acquisition system for Palm handhelds while powering diverse types of sensors. The SB-675 multirange signal-adapter board enables the system to read measurements across a very wide range of input voltages and to supply power to sensors with a wide range of power requirements. The SB-675ZP high-impedance multirange signal adapter board additionally protects the DAS-1245 peripheral from voltage surges with high-impedance analog isolation for its four analog channels and optical digital isolation for its digital counter channel. The board also powers the DAS-1245, which in turn provides pass-through power to the Palm handheld. Both boards come with a 24-V power supply. The DAS-1245 module consists of the snap-on peripheral and one of three Datastick Connection software packages. It snaps onto the Palm handheld via the Palm universal connector and acquires data from sensors on up to four analog input channels and one digital counter channel. Sensors are then attached to the module, or to one of the accessory boards that attach to the module. Measurements are displayed on Datastick Connection software on the handheld, recorded, and transferred to desktop computers in a Palm HotSync operation. The DAS-1245 has a 0- to 5-V input level. The two new boards enable an additional seven unipolar input ranges from 0 to 50 mV to 0 to 24 V and seven bipolar input ranges from +/-25 mV to +/-12 V, selectable for each channel. They also provide sensor power of +5 V, +24 V, and a range of five adjustable output voltages from +2 V to +15 V. Users can place both boards inside industrial enclosures with or without corresponding sensor arrays and other equipment. For more information, contact Datastick at (408) 615-5774 or go to http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08B70A6 ***Leadless 3D PC-Board Unit Suits High-Speed Memories The latest-generation leadless Canopy pc-board subassembly lets designers increase memory capacity without stacking yet still have multipoint flexibility. The leadless Canopy's design flexibility enables easy modifications of most packaging types and supports decoupling capacitors on board. It's impedance controlled and has top-accessible probe points for timing verification, signal-integrity analysis, or pretesting. The unit targets high-density, high-speed IC memory applications, including SDRAM DIMMs, PC 100, PC 133, and double-data-rate SDRAMs. "Manufacturers who wait for vendor-provided proprietary-process memory modules rather than assemble in-house can now do their own leadless assembly and take control of product reliability and accountability," says Jason Engle, presdient of Legacy Electronics. "Or they can purchase leadless Canopy along with the associated assembly services. The choice is theirs." For more information, contact Legacy Electronics at (888) 466-3853 or go to http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08B80A7 ***Exerciser/Protocol Analyzer Eases Development Of PCI-X 2.0 Technology Agilent Technologies has introduced the first exerciser and protocol analyzer test tools for PCI-X 2.0 development. PCI-SIG, the industry organization chartered to develop and manage PCI, PCI-X, and PCI Express industry-standard I/O technologies, has selected the new Agilent tools for testing of PCI-X 2.0 for double-data-rate (DDR) technologies at upcoming PCI-SIG compliance workshops. The Agilent E2930A system allows R&D, quality assurance, and system design engineers to develop next-generation servers and chip sets based on the PCI-X 2.0 I/O interface. The tools speed test execution, ensure compliance to the specifications, increase test coverage, save costs when compared with "hot mock-up" methods, and improve product quality with real-time performance measurements. The protocol exerciser is a key tool for validation and compliance testing of intelligent I/O buses. When used with the protocol analyzer, the exerciser expands debug, test, and validation capabilities. The E2930A is fully programmable, enabling BIOS testing as well as the ability to stress all data paths in a system, test corner cases, and test the error-recovery system. The test tool can access and communicate with configuration, memory, and the I/O space of devices on the bus, and it supports split transactions as well as immediate responses. Pushbutton tests and compliance tests are available with the System Validation Package software. New validation and test environments can be created using the C application programming interface (C-API). The E2930A is used to view traffic on the PCI bus and debug system performance through root-cause analysis and troubleshooting. It comes with a built-in protocol checker that simultaneously tests for more than 60 protocol rules in real time. The analyzer can display bus transfers graphically with trigger, filter, and search functions. It also provides post-processed and/or real-time performance analysis capabilities. The E2930A and the C-API can be ordered now, with deliveries expected to begin in June. The System Validation Package is expected to be available in October. Prices start at $14,000. More information is available at http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CA0AI ***IC Simplifies Design Of 5.8-GHz Cordless Phones Leveraging the higher bandwidth possible with silicon-germanium process technology, designers at MicroLinear Corp., San Jose, Calif., are developing the first 5.8-GHz RF transceiver IC for cordless telephones. The single-chip transceiver (ML5800) will integrate all frequency generation, receiver, and transmit functions, including a low-IF receiver with completely integrated filters and on-chip regulators to protect critical circuits from power-supply noise. That drastically simplifies the design of the radio portion of the cordless phone. All that the RF subsystem requires will be an external low-noise amplifier for the receive channel, a power amplifier for the transmit channel, and an antenna transmit/receive switch. When all the components are interconnected, they will form a complete 5.725- to 5.850-GHz radio that operates under U.S. Federal Communications Commission Part 15 or European EN 300-440 regulations. Operation at 5.8 GHz eliminates interference from appliances, wireless local-area networks, and other RF sources that produce signals in the sub-3-GHz bands. The transceiver can operate in either the direct-sequence or the frequency-hopping spread-spectrum modes. When used in the direct-sequence spread-spectrum mode, the chip uses low-complexity frequency-shift-keying direct-sequence with all the power efficiency advantages of a constant-envelope modulation scheme. Channel hop times also support wideband frequency hopping operation at data rates of up to 1.5 Mbits/s. The chip transmits and receives signals at 1.536 Mbits/s in 2.048-MHz spaced channels. Able to operate from supply voltages from 2.7 to 3.8 V, the ML5800 has a low-power standby mode. A standard unidirectional three-wire bus sets transceiver parameters and programs the on-chip phase-locked loops. The chip will be housed in a 32-lead thin, quad-sided plastic package. Samples will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. For more data, go to http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CB0AJ ***3D Graphics Controllers Bring More Realism To Games, Animation Dubbed Cinematic graphic processor units, the GeForce FX family of graphics processors from NVIDIA Corp., Santa Clara, Calif., has upped the performance ante to deliver movie-like performance at mainstream prices to desktop PCs. There are three chips in the family: the GeForce FX5200, the FX5600, and the previously released, top-of-the-line FX5800. The two just-released chips, the FX5200 and FX5600, are reduced-cost versions that will allow card manufacturers to deliver graphics cards with Microsoft DirectX version 9 for as little as $79 (suggested retail). This opens the computer user and PC-gamer markets to new levels of cinematic graphics. The FX5600 incorporates the company's full GeForce feature set, including Intellisample 2.0, so it can deliver top-notch quality for gamers. The chip will deliver 30% better performance at half the price of the company's GeForce4 Ti4600 graphics chip. To achieve that performance, the company "borrowed ahead" from the next generation graphics chip still in development and used a portion of the architecture to improve the antialiasing. Offering the lowest-cost DirectX 9.0 implementation, the FX5200 forsakes some of the compute acceleration features but not full software compatibility to deliver the best image generation of any low-cost graphics solution. The DX-9 implementation on all chips includes pixel shading, vertex shading, and 128-bit floating-point color per pixel. All FX-family chips include a high-precision 3D rendering engine, a high-performance 2D rendering engine, and a high-throughput display pipeline with dual 400 MHz digital-to-analog converters (DACs) to permit resolutions of up to 2048 by 1536 pixels at 85 Hz. For more data, go to http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CC0AK ***Finely Tuned DSP Chips Deliver Blistering Performance With a throughput of 2880 million multiply-accumulates/second, the speed enhanced versions of Texas Instruments' TMS320C6414, 6415, and 6416 deliver the highest throughput of any general-purpose DSP chips. Although based on the same architecture and 532-contact pinout of the company's original MS320C6414, 15, and 16, the higher-performance versions operate at clock rates to 720 MHz, thanks to some fine-tuning of the internal signal paths and better control of the 130-nm process with copper metalization. When clocked at top speed, the chips consume about 1.2 W. The chips are all based on the TMS320C64X DSP core and include dual 16-kbyte program and data caches as well as a four-bank level 2 cache that packs 1 Mbyte of total storage. The chips also contain an enhanced 64-channel DMA controller and many interface options. The TMS320C6414 includes two 133-MHz memory interfaces as well as several other parallel and three multichannel, buffered, serial interfaces. The 'C6415 adds a PCI or HPI32 host interface and a UTOPIA 2 ATM connection. The high-end 'C6416 adds both Viterbi and Turbocode coprocessors to better handle communication applications such as 3G wireless basestations. Prices for the DSP chips start at $199 each and increase to $277 each for the 'C6416, both in 10,000-unit lots. All three speed-upgraded DSP chips are available immediately and are 100% software compatible with previous C64X-based devices. For more data, go to http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CD0AL ***Compact Three-Pin Package Boosts RF Transistor Reliability The SOT490 three-pin package, to be used with Vishay's RF transistors, occupies just 60% of the board space required by the SOT323 package and only 40% of the space needed with the SOT23. One of the devices available in the new package, the BFQ67F RF transistor, has a 1.6- by 0.7-mm footprint. The SOT490's flat-lead design increases moisture resistance by eliminating the mechanical handling that can cause cracks or gaps. A short lead length reduces package inductances. Besides space savings and enhanced electrical performance, the SOT490-packaged transistors are more reliable than the three-pin devices with gull-wing leads. The transistors also improve feedback capacitances and typical transition frequencies, making them cost-effective solutions for a variety of RF applications. Prices for the transistors in the SOT490 package start at $10 per 100 pieces in 100,000-unit lots. Lead time is four to eight weeks for larger orders. For more information, contact Vishay Americas Inc. at (203) 445-5501 or go to http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ0pdA0Al ********************** 3. Upcoming Industry Events ********************** April 7-9, Ceramic Interconnect Technology: The Next Generation, and Tabletop Exhibition, the Westin Tabor Center Hotel, Denver, Colo. Sponsored by IMAPS and the Ceramic Interconnect Initiative. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CE0AM April 7-12, World Fair for Applied Microsystems Technology, Hannover, Germany (part of Hannover Fair). Technical presentations and exhibits on microsystem and nanosystem technologies. Contact Angela Dessables at (609) 987-1202 or go to http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CF0AN or http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CG0AO April 22-24, Third International Conference on Lead-Free Components and Assemblies, Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, Calif. Jointly sponsored by IPC and JEDEC, this conference offers technical presentations, tutorials, guest speakers, and educational classes. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CH0AP or http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CI0AQ April 22-26, Embedded Systems Conference, San Francisco, Calif. This show will present more than 140 conference sessions, including tracks concentrating on system-on-a-chip designs and consumer electronics. Topics will include security, WiFi, audio and video, Linux, and real-time design. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CJ0AR April 23-24, Military and Aerospace Electronics East Show with COTScon, Baltimore, Md. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CK0AS or call (603) 891-9267. May 11-13, NanoBusiness Spring, New York Marriott Financial Center, New York. Produced in association with the NanoBusiness Alliance, the show will feature presentations, demonstrations, networking, and business deals covering the emerging business of microsystems and nanaotechnology. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ0plc0AT May 18-23, SID2003, Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Md., Society For Information Display: International Symposium, Seminar, And Exhibition. This show is the industry's premier gathering for display technology. Symposium: May 20-22; Seminars, Applications, Tutorials, and Short Course: May 18-23; Exhibition: May 20-22; Business Conference: May 19. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CL0AT May 27-30, 53rd Electronic Components Technology Conferfence, New Orleans, La. Organized by the IEEE/CPMT ( http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CR0AZ ), the conference focuses on electronic components with a concentration on packaging and includes sessions on optical and fiber-optic components. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CM0AU June 2-5, Sensors Expo & Conference, Chicago, Ill. (co-located with International Robots & Vision Show and the Industrial Fastener & Forming International Exhibition & Conference) Sponsored by Sensors Magazine. Contact [email protected] for registration and [email protected] (Eastern U.S. and Canada) or [email protected] (Western U.S. and international) for exhibits. June 2-6, Design Automation Conference. Anaheim, Calif. DAC has long been the EDA industry's premier venue for product announcements, technical presentations, and networking. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CN0AV June 8-12, Transducers’03 12th International Conference on Solid-State Sensors, Actuators, and Microsystems, Boston, Mass. www.transducers03.org or contact Katharine Cline at (619) 232-9499. June 10-13, JavaOne, San Francisco, Calif. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CO0AW June 18, 3rd Conference on Microelectronics and Packaging, Herzelia on the Sea, Israel. Sponsored by IMAPS of Israel, the conference will focus on how new technologies and applications are expanding and redefining the international role of microelectronics. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CE0AM or contact conference office at [email protected] July 20-23, International Conference on MEMS, Nano, and Smart Systems, Banff, Alberta, Canada. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CS0Aa Sept. 8-11, Eighth International Conference on the Commercialization of Micro and Nano Systems (COMS 2003), Krasnapolsky Hotel, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Sponsored by MANCEF. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CT0Ab Sept. 22-24, Third Annual Symposium on Global Business Issues in Semiconductors and Nanotechnology, Sagamore Hotel, Lake George, N.Y. Hosted by Albany Nanotech and the Center for Economic Growth. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CU0Ac Oct. 6-9, Sensors Expo & Conference, Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, Calif. Sponsored by Sensors Magazine. Contact [email protected] for registration and [email protected] (Eastern U.S. and Canada) or [email protected] (Western U.S. and International) for exhibits. Nov. 16-20, iMAPS, 36th International Symposium on Microelectronics. Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Mass. Sponsored by iMAPS. http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CE0AM ********************** 4. Magazine Highlights ********************** In case you missed them, here are some of the high points of our most recent issue, March 3, 2003. * Editorial -- The Columbia Tragedy Must Not Deter Mankind From Exploring Our Universe * Point Of View -- How To Design Your Next Bestseller In Systematic Fashion * Cover Story -- Industry-Aligning Standards Boost Sensor Networking The IEEE 1451 Committee steps forward to join conflicting sensor user and manufacturer demands by adopting compatible interface standards. * Leapfrog: Industry First -- EDA Tool Unwraps Mystery Of SoC Voltage Drops Voltage-drop effects across an SoC weave a tangled web that impacts design closure. The key to unraveling it is instantaneous, dynamic voltage-drop analysis. * Design View -- Protect Code Distribution For Flash-Based Microcontrollers The ubiquitous and accessible Internet is great for providing code to customers, but it isn't entirely secure. * Embedded in Electronic Design -- Processor Interconnects For the complete Table of Contents, go to http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/flo/y/ePy20DJhUf0EmQ08CP0AX




Editorial: Lucinda Mattera, Associate Chief Editor: mailto:[email protected] Advertising/Sponsorship Opportunities: Bill Baumann, Associate Publisher: mailto:[email protected]


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