Editor’s Choice: Round Out 2022 With Our Top 10 News Articles
Take a journey back in time to remember some of the tech and events from the world of electronics in 2022.
This year, 2022, has been a year chocked full of new technology, from RISC-V chips to new oscilloscopes. As the new year approaches, it’s always important to see where you’ve been before looking to where you’re heading.
In this article, let’s take a look back at some of our (and maybe some of your) favorite new tech and news to come out of 2022.
When 5G Threatened Thousands of Flights
As bright, shiny, new tech starts to make its way as a common technology, often there are hiccups (usually unexpected) along the way.
One instance happened early on in January 2022, with AT&T and Verizon delaying a mass 5G rollout near airports because the 5G C-band could mess with plane altimeters.
A high-level diagram showing how the 5G C-band and altimeters operate at close frequencies. Image used courtesy of the BBC and FCC
To learn more about the C-band and what the actual concerns more, check out the article:
How Did the 5G C-Band Threaten to Ground Thousands of Flights?
RISC-V Took a Shot at Easing the Continuous Chip Shortage
As you’re well aware, the chip shortage has been an ongoing issue in everyone’s newsfeeds since 2020. Tons of solutions have been proposed, from funding for semiconductor fabs to companies switching to in-house chips, each hoping to ease the burden the industry has been struggling with.
One potential solution that has its merits is the use of RISC-V. RISC-V is an open-source chip architecture that has grown in use and popularity over the years. Hoping to leverage its benefits, namely how easy it makes custom chip designs, many companies have started exploring and creating chips using this open-source technology.
An example RISC-V chip. Image used courtesy of Wikipedia Commons and Derrick Coetzee
To read more about this trend, take a look at this article which goes over why and how some companies are benefiting from RISC-V:
Amid Chip Shortages, Companies Bet on RISC-V
Tektronix Shrunk Bench Quality Oscilloscopes Down to Size
The shrinking of technology is nothing new. We’ve gone from brick-sized mobile phones in the 80s to tiny supercomputers (which also function as phones) that can easily fit into a pocket. As chips get more efficient and smaller, so does the technology those chips go into (plus the ones that help with the design and testing processes of said chips).
The 2 Series MSO. Image used courtesy of Tektronix
Bench oscilloscopes tend to have more bells and whistles than their handheld or portable counterparts. However, they can be a bit bulkier. After a 3-year effort, Tektronix released a thin version that can fit into a basic laptop case. To learn more about this innovation, check out the original article on the 2 Series MSO:
Tektronix Goes Small with 1.5-inch Thick Bench Quality Oscilloscope
For 6 Dollars, Wi-Fi Came to IoT Designs With Raspberry Pi Pico W
Introduced back in January 2021, Raspberry Pi released its first MCU-based product. After a year and a half on the market, this breakout board, the RP2040, had a major upheaval by adding wireless connectivity.
Raspberry Pi Pico. Image used courtesy of Raspberry Pi
This board added two new ways of wireless communication: 1) using a wireless system-on-a-chip (SoC), like the CC3100 Wi-Fi network processor from TI, and 2) using a wireless module. Not only did this board add new features for makers, but it also came in at a great price point of just $6 USD.
Check out the original article to learn more about this board when it was released back in July:
At Just $6, Raspberry Pi Pico W Brings Wi-Fi to IoT Designs
Getting an Education in PCB Design Got Easier Thanks to Altium
The need for PCB designers is always lucrative and in high demand. One solution for bolstering new PCB design recruits is called “Altium Education.” This program provides a variety of open-source or free online educational modules to teach students and those new to PCB design.
Example course in the Altium Education program. Image used courtesy of Altium
Altium Education lays out PCB education both through text- and video-based units. Overall, this program hopes to spark interest and create a foundation for future PCB designers. If you want to learn a bit more about this program, take a look at the article here:
Altium Education Brings Free PCB Design Courses to Students
Texas Instruments Zeroed in on Safer EVs With Solid-state Relays
As electric vehicles (EVs) start to become more commonplace, it’s important for them to, of course, be safe. Aiming to do just that, Texas Instruments created two solid-state relay chips designed to replace traditional automotive mechanical relays.
TI's SSR relay chip. Image used courtesy of TI
Hoping to get the inside scoop on these new solid-state relays, All About Circuits’ editor-in-chief, Jeff Child, had the opportunity to interview Priya Thanigai, the Manager of Power Switches at TI. Check out Jeff’s article on these new relays, how they aim to create safer EVs, and the technology being incorporated, namely the on-chip isolation barrier:
TI Touts Solid-state Relays to Enable Safer EVs
IoT Virtual Hardware Got a Boost From Arm’s M85 Core
The Internet-of-Things (IoT) was once a new technology but has since skyrocketed into being a key technology for many companies to create technology for, from chips to Wi-Fi protocols. Jumping into the foray to keep this technology advancing comes Arm’s latest core processor, the M85.
Overview of Arm's IoT efforts roadmap. Image used courtesy of Arm
Fitting into its Arm Total Solutions initiative, Mohamed Awad, VP of IoT and Embedded Arm, talked to Jeff about how this new core (and other related efforts) focus on expanding IoT capabilities and technology. You can read about the original article and interview down below:
Arm Unveils New M85 Core and Expands IoT Virtual Hardware Offerings
AMD Pushes Past Custom Robotic Designs With SOM Kit
In the past, we’ve covered Kria SOMs (system-on-module). AMD, leveraging Xilinx’s technology (which was acquired this year), created a Kria KR260 Robotics Starter Kit. Announced during this year’s 2022 Embedded Vision Summit, this new kit hopes to accelerate industrial robotic designs. To do so, it uses adaptive system-on-chip (SoC) technology, a robot operating system 2 (ROS 2), and an approach to pre-built robotics interfaces similar to an “app store.”
AMD's Xilinx Kria robotics stack. Image used courtesy of AMD
Since there was a lot to unpack during an interview with Chetan Khona, AMD’s Senior Director for Industrial, Vision, Healthcare, and Sciences, you can dive deeper into the conversation in the original article below:
AMD SOM Kit Propels Robotics Beyond Custom Designs
Siemens Tried to Break Down Barriers for DFM Design With PCBflow
EDA tools are constantly evolving and fighting to become a staple in a design engineer's workflow. One tool that stood out this year was Siemens’ PCBflow. Announced at 2022’s Electronica trade fair, this tool seeks to provide PCB design-for-manufacturing (DFM) for small organizations and individual engineers.
Susan Kayesar, Siemens' PCBflow Technical Product Manager (left) and Jeff Child, All About Circuits' Editor-in-chief (right), talking at Electronica
Thanks to an interview with Susan Kayesar, PCBflow Technical Product Manager at Siemens, we learned more details about this new tool and all of its bells and whistles, namely how it helps clear up the lag in communication between the PCB designer and the PCB manufacturer. To see what other ways EEs could benefit from PCBflow, take a look at the article down below:
Siemens Touts its Online PCBflow as “DFM for the Rest of Us”
Not Technically ‘New’ News—Hedy Lamarr, the Mother of Wi-Fi
Though not technically “news,” we sometimes like to create articles looking back on history and recognizing those that made waves in the world of technology. One of our favorite historical engineer articles of 2022 was on how actress, Hedy Lamarr, was considered the “mother of Wi-Fi” and helped create the foundation for modern radio frequency (RF) technology.
An example block diagram of Lamarr's patent. Image used courtesy of Free Patents Online
To see how this famous actress had a hand in shaping Wi-Fi and RF technology, you can find the article here:
How Actress Hedy Lamarr, the “Mother of Wi-Fi,” Laid the Foundation for Modern RF Tech
Did we cover all the bases? Let us know in the comments down below if you have any other favorite or memorable articles from 2022!