The efabless Newsletter – Issue #3


In this third Newsletter, I would like to focus on two related topics: the power of community and the commercial rise of open source hardware.

Community: An excellent recent article in Semiconductor Engineering by Ann Steffora Mutschler titled “Can Analog And Digital Get Along Better?” asserts that mixed signal is getting renewed attention with the rise of consumer and industrial IoT applications.  We could not agree more!

Ann goes on to write:  “Solving the (mixed signal) problem isn’t going to be easy, …digital designers view designs in voltages.  Analog designers…look at currents.”  The article quotes industry leaders bemoaning the difficulties with existing tools, and more importantly, the difficulty in getting the right people under one organizational roof to collaborate on the problem. Geoffrey Ling, director of AMS marketing at Synopsys, says “…unfortunately we don’t have a pushbutton solution to address this.”

That is exactly where we see community coming to the rescue. At efabless, our customers will define their design requests in easy to use templates provided by efabless. These requests will be automatically posted on our Service.  Our community of digital and analog designers will then design and collaborate through the efabless crowd-sourced solution.  Customers choose among an array of efabless-verified solutions. Analog IP in 2016, mixed signal IP in early 2017 and ICs thereafter.  All the right resources under one virtual organizational “roof” incented and enabled to solve mixed signal problems for companies large and small.

Open Source Hardware:  Facebook recently acquired a company called Nascent : that has created a modular electronics system that non-electronics savvy people can use to create and prototype new products quickly and for little cost.  Please see the following link and scroll to a terrific short video by Nascent (https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/19/facebook-acquires-modular-consumer-hardware-maker-nascent-objects/)

We are aware of other similar intrapreneurial and entrepreneurial efforts and are extremely excited about the movement to enable people with great ideas to make great products.  Hardware like software.  Efabless intends to supply the “last mile”, enabling access for innovators to true deep electronics solutions.  A white paper released last June from Microsoft and the University of Wisconsin discussed the need for open source chips and the issues to solve to make this happen (http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~vinay/pubs/osh-2016.pdf).  Watch our progress as we execute our plan to address these issues and make open source community designed IP and ICs a reality.

Mike Wishart
CEO, efabless

Open Innovation

GE startup will usher in the ‘future of work’ and potentially change GE’s future | ZDNet
A veteran GE executive speaking at Brightidea’s user conference reveals hugely ambitious plans to change the business world.
  Facebook acquires modular consumer hardware maker Nascent Objects | TechCrunch

Facebook has acquired Nascent Objects, a small California startup founded in 2014 that focuses on creating a modular electronics system that consumers could..

  IoT Startup Taps Blockchain | EE Times

Startup Filament has developed an end node for the industrial Internet of Things than extends the LoRa network and uses blockchain as part of its security.

Recommended Readings

  Batteryless electronics – 5 tips to get started with Energy Harvesting | Johan Pedersen | Pulse | LinkedIn

Batteryless electronics – 5 tips to get started with Energy Harvesting | Johan Pedersen | Pulse | LinkedIn