David Manners in Electronics Weekly is highlighting that the US also suffers from a lack of understanding of the needs of the silicon industry, which is suffering from an ‘innovation deficit’ says the CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), Brian Toohey.
“One threat to the semiconductor market’s continued growth and America’s overall economic strength is the innovation deficit – the gap between needed and actual federal investments in research and higher education,” says Toohey,
“Policymakers should act swiftly to close the innovation deficit by committing to robust and sustained investments in basic scientific research and higher education,” he said. This also applies across the UK and European industry.
The worldwide semiconductor industry had a record quarter with sales of $78.47 billion in Q1. March sales were $26.16 billion. “Sales in March increased across all regions and every semiconductor product category compared to last year, demonstrating the and diverse strength,” says Toohey.
Regionally, year-to-year sales increased in the Americas 16.1 percent, Asia Pacific 12.9 percent, Europe 8 percent, and Japan 0.4 percent, marking the first time in more than three years that year-to-year sales increased across all regions. Sales were up compared to the previous month in Europe 3.9 percent, Asia Pacific 1.4 percent, and Japan 0.3 percent, but down slightly in the Americas -4.3 percent.
“The global semiconductor market has demonstrated consistent momentum in recent months, and sales are well ahead of last year’s pace through the first quarter of 2014,” says Toohey.
Easyjet is developing drones to inspect its fleet of Airbus aircraft using technology from the Bristol Robotics Lab, reports BBC News, and may introduce the flying maintenance robots as early as next year.
The drones will be used to scan and assess Easyjet planes and report damage back to engineers.
“Aircraft inspection is a great application for drones,” said Dr Arthur Richards, head of aerial robotics at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory which is a collaboration between UWE and the University of Bristol. “Coupled with smart navigation and computer vision, they can get accurate data from really awkward places.”
The robot can be remotely controlled, but Easyjet wants to automate drone flights. They are fitted with high definition video cameras, but can also use lasers to scan the outside of the aircraft, Easyjet head of engineering Ian Davies told the BBC.
“We could zoom [the laser scanner] up and down the aircraft and map the surface,” he said. “If we’ve mapped the aeroplane we can have a complete history of its full life.”
He added that it is safer to have drones working at height than humans having to go up on a rig.
One of the main challenges for the drones is how to get them to work outside in windy conditions, Mr Richards said.
The drones are built to be light in weight, but that can make them vulnerable to gusts of wind on an airfield.
They plan to use research into how animals such as bees and birds cope with blustery weather to “see how nature solves the same problem”.
Another challenge is to automate drone flights, he added.
At the moment engineers and pilots email pictures and call Easyjet’s control centre to try to resolve issues over the phone, but Easyjet is planning to use hi-tech glasses that can relay high definition video images back to base.
Engineers could be directed to do repairs by a team looking at the video stream coming from the glasses, Mr Davies said. The technology also uses “augmented reality”, where a computer image is superimposed on the view as seen through the glasses.
For example, an engineer can compare an image of a fuselage projected onto the glasses with the actual fuselage, to see what work needs to be done.
At the moment, the data is transmitted using 4G, but Easyjet is discussing options for satellite links with communications company Iridium, Mr Davies said.
Samsung is looking to meet SouthWest companies with interesting technology in sensors, camera technologies, wearables, embedded software and new materials
June 16th, techUK offices, 10 St Bride Street, London
Successful companies will be invited to exhibit at Samsung’s Technology Innovation Exhibition in Korea this October
Samsung Electronics are continually scouting for new technology or innovations that will deliver enhanced value to their product and service portfolio. Their technology scouting team invite technology providers to demonstrate how new innovations can enhance the performance, quality and functionality of their products and services.
At this Open Innovation event, you will hear directly from Samsung’s technology sourcing team who will outline their future technology needs. If you have technology IP or capability or wish to collaborate in the following areas, then Samsung’s technology sourcing team would be happy to meet with you:
- Sensor technologies (Temperature, Distance, Vital Signs, Biometrics, Spectroscopy)
- Sensors for Office Automation (Paper, Colour, Character, Density)
- Wearable device technologies
- Camera technologies
- Energy & Power technologies
- Software Solutions & Applications technologies
- New materials, finishes or packaging
- Sensor technologies (Fibre, Image, Face, Emotion, Dust)
- Samsung’s New Technology Requirements.
To participate, simply register and provide your details. There is a small delegate fee to cover the event day costs and administration of the one-2-one brokerage process (see below).
When you register, you will be asked to briefly outline your company capability, and to indicate how you can match any specific technology needs that Samsung have identified.
You will be allocated a private meeting schedule for the day, accessed from this website, and will be able to schedule meetings directly with the Samsung team.
Successful delegates, who demonstrate to Samsung an innovative technology that matches their needs will be invited to Korea to exhibit at their global conference in October 2014.
Delegate Fees as follows:
– techUK Company Member: no charge (included in your subscription fee)
– techUK Network Plus Member: £52.50 + VAT
– techUK Network Member: £75 + VAT
– Non-Member: £225 + VAT
For more details and to register: http://samsung.easy2partner.com/techweek.aspx
Bath startup Thalia Design Automation has raised its first equity funding to commercialize natural algorithms such as those used by ants for analogue, mixed signal and power design tools and is set to launch the beta versions of two new tools.
The key is that the Amalia and Emera tools use algorithms borrowed from natural processes such as ant movements to optimize placement and routing in these designs. This is traditionally regarded as a black art, needing highly skilled and scarce engineering resource, relatively long design cycles and often multiple design iterations to get to a production product, so using natural algorithms is a way to automate the design process further. Optimizations which typically took several days to weeks to complete can now be performed in a matter of hours says the company.
“Analogue design methodology has remained unchanged for a long time,” said founder and CEO Sowmyan Rajagopalan. “I have seen the technical and time consuming efforts analogue designers have had to live with in order to design and optimise their circuits. Thalia’s tools will enable users to meet more challenging design requirements within shorter time frames. Custom chip design companies will benefit from reduced design times, shortened redesign cycles, better performing parts and more effective use of scarce skilled design resource.”
A further benefit is that the toolsets can be used to rapidly retarget existing designs to alternative silicon foundries for cost reduction and sourcing flexibility.
Thalia has now completed its initial equity funding round with Mercia Fund Management and Finance Wales. In addition the company has secured grant support from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Welsh Government.
“We are extremely pleased to have invested in a company that has developed solutions that not only address a technical challenge but also bring productivity gains for customers,” said Everard Mascarenhas, Investment Manager at Mercia Fund Management. “Thalia has developed a truly disruptive technology in a multi-billion dollar worldwide market where the incumbents grow and expand their offer through acquisition.”
Thalia provides two suites of EDA design tools; AMALIA, an intelligent analogue design optimisation and automation toolset and EMERA, a unique power device optimiser, schematic and layout generator. As well as offering these tools on a time-based software license, Thalia will also offer a design optimisation service directly and through partners.