humble-beginnings-to-mobile-dominance-for-6502-processor

The recent passing of American processor developer, Charles (Chuck) Ingerham Peddle (Nov. 25, 1937 to Dec. 15, 2019), reminded me of a video interview I conducted with Dominic Pajak, ARM’s embedded strategist, concerning the 6502 and British Acorn PC.

Chuck Peddle was best known for his design of the MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor, as well as the KIM-1 single-board computer and its successor, the Commodore PC. The 6502 was an 8-bit processor that gain wide use in the late 70s and early 80s. It was so successful that Jack Tramiel, president of Commodore, used it in his famous Commodore Computers.

In Britain, the MOS 6502 gained fame in 1979 when Acorn Computers used it as the basis for the BBC Model B microcomputer, which was the company’s first big success. Acorn went on to design the ARM processor, which spun out into the Arm company whose processors still dominate the mobile markets.

Check out my interview with Dominic Pajak from Arm on the amazing evolution of the 6502.

IoT – From the 6502 Processor to the ARM MCUs

John Blyler is a Design News senior editor, covering the electronics and advanced manufacturing spaces. With a BS in Engineering Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering, he has years of hardware-software-network systems experience as an editor and engineer within the advanced manufacturing, IoT and semiconductor industries. John has co-authored books related to system engineering and electronics for IEEE, Wiley, and Elsevier.

the-top-consumer-electronic-articles-of-2019

According to Statista, the consumer electronics industry is expected to grow by around 2.2 percent between 2018 and 2019. While this rate is significantly less than in previous years, it still shows a strong upward trend. 

Design News covered all of the leading growth areas in both consumer electronics and product manufacturing trends. Below are 12 of the editor’s top picks for 2019.

Image: Vectorfusionart/Adobe Stock

Which companies were naughty—and which were nice—in 2019?

It’s time to draft the naughty and nice lists for 2019 and see which companies deserve to be rewarded and which ones will get a lump of coal in their stocking.

printed circuits, Linköping University, RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden, Campus Norrköping, organic transistors

Image source: Thor Balkhed

Complete integrated circuits fabricated using printing press

The breakthrough eliminates the need to use multiple manufacturing methods to create an integrated circuit with more than 100 organic transistors.

Image Source: Adam Traidman, Turkey

What does every engineer want for the holidays?

Skip the presents and go for the (engineering) experience.

During the holiday season, one tends to think of presents. But today’s designers, manufacturers and sellers tell us the product is but a commodity and what we really want is the experience.

10 Technologies That Can Make You Into a Superhero

There are technologies that exist today that aren’t far off from what you’ve seen in superhero movies and comic books.

digital twin, Altair, physics-based testing, simulation testing, crash test dummies

Image source: Altair

Save Your Crash Test Dummy

The blend of physics-based testing and data-based simulation has an impressive impact on the ability to shorten the time-to-market of new designs. Add simulation, but don’t throw away the dummy.

Image Source: Netflix

8 Popular Products You Didn’t Know Were Built with Open Source

A popular streaming service, video games consoles, and mobile messaging all owe a debt to FreeBSD.

Image Source: Cisco

The 7 Best LoRaWAN Devices on the Market

Whether you’re building a DIY project, or attempting to manufacture something for market, there are ready-made LoRaWAN gateway products to support your efforts.

New Material Could Transform How Electronics Are Built

A new family of crystal materials can serve a dual purpose in electron movement in electronic devices, potentially changing how they will be designed in the future.

Image source: Clarke Lab/Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Method for Soft Actuation Eyed for New Devices, Robots

A new method for actuation can change the shape of a flat sheet of elastomer with rapid and reversible action for new designs in robotics and other applications.

Image source: NürnbergMesse

3 Trends from Embedded World 2019

Embedded World revealed a number of trends that we can expect to see in the mass markets over the next six months to two years.

e-bandage

Image source: UW/Sam Million-Weaver

Electronic Bandage Can Speed Wound Healing 

An e-bandage dramatically speeds wound-healing using electrical energy harvested from a patient’s body.

smart textile

(Image source: The Laboratory of Monica Craciun, University of Exeter)

Graphene-Based Electronic Fibers for Wearable Textiles

Graphene could be used to incorporate electronics directly into fabric for next-generation smart textiles.

John Blyler is a Design News senior editor, covering the electronics and advanced manufacturing spaces. With a BS in Engineering Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering, he has years of hardware-software-network systems experience as an editor and engineer within the advanced manufacturing, IoT and semiconductor industries. John has co-authored books related to system engineering and electronics for IEEE, Wiley, and Elsevier.

friday-funny:-a-taylor-swift-play-on-stem

STEM gets cool as these students find a way to communicate the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math through the modification of a Taylor Swift song.

Get ready for this acapella version of Taylor Swift. It’s all for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 19 years, 17 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.

DesignCon 2020 25th anniversary Logo

January 28-30: North America’s largest chip, board, and systems event, DesignCon, returns to Silicon Valley for its 25th year! The premier educational conference and technology exhibition, this three-day event brings together the brightest minds across the high-speed communications and semiconductor industries, who are looking to engineer the technology of tomorrow. DesignCon is your rocket to the future. Ready to come aboard? Register to attend!

food-derived-materials-used-to-make-safer,-stickier-glues

The Purdue University team chose compounds in foods, like plants, nuts and fruits – all of which might have similar chemistry to the adhesives seen in shellfish that stick to rock – to develop new, non-toxic adhesives for single-use applications.. (Image source: Purdue University)

A research team a Purdue University has taken inspiration from natural food sources to develop new, strong adhesive materials from compounds in nuts, fruits, and plants.

Gudrun Schmidt, an associate professor in Purdue’s College of Science, said the researchers hope their materials can replace the glues currently used in electronics and other consumer products, which are typically made from petroleum-based materials and are toxic to the environment.

“Adhesives are used in almost every consumer product that we touch each day,” Schmidt said in a press statement. “We would love to leave this planet a better place for the future generations. It turns out creating new adhesives is one way that we will get there.”

The team is especially interested in developing more eco-friendly adhesives for single-use products, which are those that produce the most waste and thus could significantly benefit from non-toxic adhesives, researchers said.

High performance without toxicity

The materials the researchers focused on are formed from corn zein protein and tannic acid, according to an abstract for a paper published about the work in the journal Advanced Sustainable Systems.

“High-strength adhesive bonding is found when the formulations are optimized with regard to composition, pH, and curing temperature,” the researchers explained in the abstract.

The team tested the bonding of their adhesive on aluminum substrates using lap shear configurations. In these tests, they reported that adhesives formed from these materials, at maximum adhesion, can be as strong as commercial Super Glue “when measured under similar conditions.”

“Adhesion strengths exceed the minimal bonding of zein‐only controls,” they wrote. “The system forms nanometer and micrometer-sized pores throughout the bulk adhesive.”

A low amount of tannic acid and neutral pH of the strongest adhesive make the materials based on corn zein–tannic acid “potentially appealing” for a number of commercial applications. Those include “adhesives used in packaging, cosmetics, and other single-use applications where biomedical grade purity is not required.”

“We found that some combinations of zein protein and tannic acid could be reacted together in order to generate high-performance adhesives that could be alternatives to carcinogenic formaldehyde used in the glues that hold lots of furniture and other household items together,” Schmidt said in a press statement. “It would be a big health benefit if we could switch over to bio-based or even food-based adhesives.”

Other potential applications for the adhesive materials developed by the team include cardboard packaging, cosmetics, and construction materials like plywood, she added.

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 20 years. She has lived and worked as a professional journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco and New York City. In her free time she enjoys surfing, traveling, music, yoga and cooking. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.

best-ai-stories-of-2019
(Image source: Adobe Stock)

We’ve picked our favorite AI-related stories from 2019.

The 10 greatest issues AI needs to face

While we celebrate the positive impacts of artificial intelligence let’s not forget there’s also a lot to be concerned about.

The Apple Card Is the Most High-Profile Case of AI Bias Yet

Apple Card users have alleged that its credit decision algorithm discriminates against women.

How AI at the Edge Is Defining Next-Generation Hardware Platforms

Moving AI from the cloud to the edge was a big trend in 2019. Chris Cheng, distinguished technologist on the hardware machine learning team at Hewlett Packard, takes a look at some of the latest research being done on AI inference at the edge.

(Image source: OpenAI)

OpenAI’s Robot Hand Taught Itself How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube

Rubik’s Cube Solving Robot Hand Sparks Debate in the AI Community

Using novel neural networks, OpenAI enabled a robotic hand is able to learn how to solve a Rubik’s Cube on its own. Concerns regarding OpenAI’s robot hand that can solve a Rubik’s Cube have created a debate among engineers and AI experts on social media.

What’s the State of Emotional AI?

Artificial intelligence that can recognize human emotions – emotional AI – has been gaining momentum. But something’s missing. How long until we’ll be seeing it in our devices and cars?

(Image source: TuSimple)

UPS Has Invested in Autonomous Trucks After Ongoing Tests

TuSimple’s Autonomous Trucks Are Being Tested by the USPS

In 2019, TuSimple entered into partnerships with UPS and the US Postal Service to test self-driving trucks for hauling mail freight.

The New Raspberry Pi 4 Is All About AI and Embedded IoT

The Raspberry Pi has grown from a hobbyist machine to an IoT developer platform capable of even handling machine learning applications. Here’s our hands-on look.

A Look at the US/China Battle for AI Leadership

The US and China are waging a behind-the-scenes war over who will emerge as the global powerhouse of artificial intelligence. Where do each country’s strengths and weaknesses lie?

There’s a Diversity Crisis in the AI Industry

A lack of racial and gender diversity at the companies creating AI ties closely with issues of bias and racial discrimination in artificial intelligence algorithms, according to a new NYU study.

(Image source: Pixabay)

Can Trump’s New Initiative Make American AI Great Again?

A look at President Trump’s executive order aimed at accelerating America’s lead in artificial intelligence.

AI Could Make Quantum Computers a Reality

New research is examining the use of artificial intelligence to handle the calculations necessary for quantum computers to function.

friday-funny:-25-science-experiments-you-can-do-at-home

Even though this is designed for kids, it’s amazingly entertaining. Cool science as well.

Here’s a great reminder that we’re surrounded by example of scientific principles. Who would have guessed that you can move cereal around in the milk using a magnet? More iron that you’d expect in Cheerios. Or plant the romaine lettuce stem to grow new lettuce.

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 19 years, 17 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.

hhhn

plastics-in-song:-our-take-on-the-all-time-classic-contributions-of-plastic-to-music

From 78s manufactured until the late 1950s from shellac, to LP records that debuted in 1948 pressed from PVC, and the compact disc released in 1982 that was injection-molded using polycarbonate, plastics traditionally played a key role in disseminating all manner of music, and thence culture, globally. And while vinyl records have been making a comeback of sorts of late, music has for all intents and purpose transitioned to a digital product, much to the detriment of album cover artwork.

Plastic has also played its part in music culture, be it band and artist names, track names, lyrics and, indeed, costumes and props. Here, we’d like to pay homage to the best—and worst—in our all-time Plastic Emmy/Razzie awards.

                                                                                                                                              [Photo: Bandcamp]

Best song title: “Plastic Factory” by Captain Beefheart. An all-time classic from the late multi-instrumentalist born Don Van Vliet. I never got the connection with phosphorus, but apparently the Captain didn’t like working there judging from the lyrics: Phos’phrous chimney burnin’, modern-men’s a-learnin’, Time and space a-turnin’, Motor’s engine churnin’, fac’trys no place for me boss man let me be. Special mention here for Icelandic electronic band Gus Gus and its 1998 song, “Polyesterday.”

2019's-10-best-books-for-engineers-and-technologists

Engineers will find something of interest in these selections, from Heaviside and Silicon Valley, to sustainable manufacturing, organs-on-a-chip, and more.

  • Don’t know what to get the engineer in your life? Here’s a mix of easily understood, yet engaging, books combined with a few hardcore technical works. All of these books were published in 2019, except for two that still remain worthy of note today.

  • The Forgotten Genius of Oliver Heaviside: A Maverick of Electrical Science

    By: Basil Mahon

    Publisher: Prometheus

    With the release of the film The Current War, it’s easy to forget the contributions of Oliver Heaviside. While The “current war” focused on the competition between Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla to bring electricity to all of America, Heaviside (a contemporary of Edison and Westinghouse) was focused on electrical engineering technology to help bring mass communication to the country.

    Heaviside gave us the unit step function (remember calculus class?), coaxial cable, and the small coils placed in series with every telephone line to improve the signal by providing inductive loading.

    From the publisher:

    “This biography of Oliver Heaviside profiles the life of an underappreciated genius and describes his many contributions to electrical science, which proved to be essential to the future of mass communications. Oliver Heaviside (1850 -1925) may not be a household name, but he was one of the great pioneers of electrical science: His work led to huge advances in communications and became the bedrock of the subject of electrical engineering as it is taught and practiced today. His achievements include creating the mathematical tools that were to prove essential to the proper understanding and use of electricity, finding a way to rid telephone lines of the distortion that had stifled progress, and showing that electrical power doesn’t flow in a wire but in the space alongside it.

    At first his ideas were thought to be weird, even outrageous, and he had to battle long and hard to get them accepted. Yet by the end of his life he was awarded the first Faraday Medal. This story will restore long-overdue recognition to a scientist whose achievements in many ways were as crucial to our modern age as those of Edison’s and Tesla’s.”

  • Make, Think, Imagine: Engineering the Future of Civilization

    By: John Browne

    Publisher: Pegasus Books

    From the publisher:

    “Today’s unprecedented pace of change leaves many people wondering what new technologies are doing to our lives. Has social media robbed us of our privacy and fed us with false information? Are the decisions about our health, security and finances made by computer programs inexplicable and biased? Will these algorithms become so complex that we can no longer control them? Are robots going to take our jobs? Will better health care lead to an aging population which cannot be cared for? Can we provide housing for our ever-growing urban populations? And has our demand for energy driven the Earth’s climate to the edge of catastrophe? John Browne argues that we need not and must not put the brakes on technological advance. Civilization is founded on engineering innovation; all progress stems from the human urge to make things and to shape the world around us, resulting in greater freedom, health and wealth for all. Drawing on history, his own experiences and conversations with many of today’s great innovators, he uncovers the basis for all progress and its consequences, both good and bad. He argues compellingly that the same spark that triggers each innovation can be used to counter its negative consequences. This book provides an blueprint for how we can keep moving towards a brighter future.”

  • The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America

    By: Margaret O’Mara

    Publisher: Penguin

    Margaret O’Mara worked in the White House of Bill Clinton and Al Gore in the earliest days of the commercial Internet. There she saw firsthand how deeply intertwined Silicon Valley was with the federal government–and always had been–and how shallow the common understanding of the secrets of the Valley’s success actually was.

    In this work, she tells the story of mavericks and visionaries, but also of powerful institutions creating the framework for innovation, from the Pentagon to Stanford University. It is also a story of a community that started off remarkably homogeneous and tight-knit and stayed that way, and whose belief in its own mythology has deepened into a collective hubris that has led to astonishing triumphs as well as devastating second-order effects.

  • The Design of Coffee: An Engineering Approach

    By: William Ristenpart, Tonya Kuhl

    Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

    Here’s another work that was published a few years ago but is relevant this year for its emphasis on cross-discipline collaboration, a trend noted in the chemistry industry.

    From the publisher:

    “[This book] provides a non-mathematical introduction to chemical engineering, as illustrated by the roasting and brewing of coffee. Hands-on coffee experiments demonstrate key engineering principles, including material balances, chemical kinetics, mass transfer, fluid mechanics, conservation of energy, and colloidal phenomena. The experiments lead to an engineering design competition where contestants strive to make the best tasting coffee using the least amount of energy – a classic engineering optimization problem, but one that is both fun and tasty! 

    Anybody with access to a sink, electricity, and inexpensive coffee roasting and brewing equipment can do these experiments, either as part of a class or with your friends at home. The Design of Coffee will help you understand how to think like an engineer – and how to make excellent coffee!”

  • Human Compatible: AI and the Problem of Control

    By: Stuart Russell, Allen Lane

    Publisher: Viking

    From the publisher:

    “Creating superior intelligence would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, according to the world’s pre-eminent AI expert, it could also be the last. In this book on the biggest question facing humanity, the author explains why he has come to consider his own discipline an existential threat to his own species, and lays out how we can change course before it’s too late. There is no one better placed to assess the promise and perils of the dominant technology of the future than Russell, who has spent decades at the forefront of AI research. Through brilliant analogies prose, he explains how AI actually works, how it has an enormous capacity to improve our lives – but why we must ensure that we never lose control of machines more powerful than we are. Here Russell shows how we can avert the worst threats by reshaping the foundations of AI to guarantee that machines pursue our objectives, not theirs.”

  • Organ-on-a-Chip: Engineered Microenvironments for Safety and Efficacy Testing

    By: Julia Hoeng (Editor), David Bovard (Editor), Manuel Peitsch (Editor)

    Publisher: Academic Press/Elsevier

    From the publisher:

    “[This book] contains chapters from world-leading researchers in the field of organ on a chip development and applications, with perspectives from life sciences, medicine, physiology and engineering. The book details the field, with sections covering the major organ systems and currently available technologies, platforms and methods. As readers may also be interested in creating biochips, materials and engineering best practice, these topics are also described. Users will learn about the limitations of 2D in-vitro models and the available 3D in-vitro models (what benefits they offer and some examples). Finally, the MOC section shows how the organ on a chip technology can be adapted to improve the physiology of in-vitro models.”

  • Sustainable Engineering Products and Manufacturing Technologies

    By: Kaushik Kumar (Editor), Divya Zindani (Editor), J. Paulo Davim (Editor)

    Publisher: Academic Press/Elsevier

    From the publisher:

    “[This book] provides the reader with a detailed look at the latest research into technologies that reduce the environmental impacts of manufacturing. All points where engineering decisions can influence the environmental sustainability of a product are examined, including the sourcing of non-toxic, sustainable raw materials, how to choose manufacturing processes that use energy responsibly and minimize waste, and how to design products to maximize reusability and recyclability. The subject of environmental regulation is also addressed, with references to both the US and EU and the future direction of legislation.”

    Finally, sustainability factors are investigated alongside other product considerations, such as quality, price, manufacturability and functionality, to help readers design processes and products that are economically viable and environmentally friendly.”

  • Introductory Electrical Engineering With Math Explained in Accessible Language

    By: Magno Urbano

    Publisher: Wiley

    From the publisher:

    “[This work] offers a text that explores the basic concepts and principles of electrical engineering. The author explains the underlying mathematics involved in electrical engineering through the use of examples that help with an understanding of the theory. The text contains clear explanations of the mathematical theory that is needed to understand every topic presented, which will aid students in engineering courses who may lack the necessary basic math knowledge.”

    “Designed to breakdown complex math concepts into understandable terms, the book incorporates several math tricks and knowledge such as matrices determinant and multiplication. The author also explains how certain mathematical formulas are derived. In addition, the text includes tables of integrals and other tables to help, for example, find resistors’ and capacitors’ values. The author provides the accessible language, examples, and images that make the topic accessible and understandable.”

  • What Is Data Engineering?

    By: Lewis Gavin

    Publisher: O’Reilly Media, Inc.

    From the publisher:

    “The demand for data scientists is well-known, but when it comes time to build solutions based on data, your company also needs data engineers—people with strong data warehousing and programming backgrounds. In fact, whether you’re powering self-driving cars or creating music playlists, this field has emerged as one of the most important in modern business. In this report, Lewis Gavin explores key aspects of data engineering and presents a case study from Spotify that demonstrates the tremendous value of this role.”

  • Lithium-Ion Battery Failures in Consumer Electronics

    By: Ashish Arora, Sneha Arun Lele, Noshirwan Medora, Shukri Souri 

    Publisher: Artech House

    From the publisher:

    “This comprehensive resource caters to system designers that are looking to incorporate lithium ion (li-ion) batteries in their applications. Detailed discussion of the various system considerations that must be addressed at the design stage to reduce the risk of failures in the field is presented. The book includes technical details of all state-of-the-art Li-on energy storage subsystems and their requirements and provides a system designer a single resource detailing all of the common issues navigated when using Li-ion batteries to reduce the risk of field failures.

    “The book details the various industry standards that are applicable to the subsystems of Li-ion energy storage systems and how the requirements of these standards may impact the design of their system. Checklists are included to help readers evaluate their own battery system designs and identify gaps in the designs that increase the risk of field failures. The book is packed with numerous examples of issues that have caused field failures and how a proper design/assembly process could have reduced the risk of these failures.”

John Blyler is a Design News senior editor, covering the electronics and advanced manufacturing spaces. With a BS in Engineering Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering, he has years of hardware-software-network systems experience as an editor and engineer within the advanced manufacturing, IoT and semiconductor industries. John has co-authored books related to system engineering and electronics for IEEE, Wiley, and Elsevier.

the-global-top-20-cities-for-innovation-and-technology
  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam

    What are the best cities for innovation and technology? Silicon Valley certainly comes to mind, but how about Atlanta or Vienna? Sydney? The business site Business Insider did an analysis of the best cities for technology entrepreneurs. Here’s their list of the top 20.

    Business Insider assessed each city based on 31 segments of their industries and economy, and 162 indicators of innovation. However, the firm’s data analysts compile each city’s index score, out of 60, from three key factors: cultural assets, human infrastructure, and networked markets.

    Here’s the countdown to the top 20 cities for technology and innovation.

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta

    20. Atlanta

    Change from last year’s ranking: -2

    Companies that call this city home: Aptos, UPS, Bluefin, Cricket Wireless

    (Image source: City of Atlanta)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna

    19. Vienna

    Change from last year’s ranking: -9

    Companies that call this city home: TourRadar, Kompany, Tricentis, Robo Wunderkind

    (Image source: City oif Vienna)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna

    18. Amsterdam

    Change from last year’s ranking: -6

    Companies that call this city home: Booking.com, Philips, TomTom, BTC.com

    (Image source: City of Amsterdam)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston

    17. Houston

    Change from last year’s ranking:  5

    Companies that call this city home: Citgo, cPanel, FlightAware, Sysco

    (Image source: City of Houston)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne

    16. Melbourne

    Change from last year’s ranking:  9

    Companies that call this city home: Redbubble, Telstra, Catapult

    (Image source: City of Melbourne)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Seattle

    15. Seattle

    Change from last year’s ranking:  6

    Companies that call this city home: Amazon, Zillow, Qualtrics, Rover

    (Image source: City of Seattle)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin

    14. Berlin

    Change from last year’s ranking:  3

    Companies that call this city home: SoundCloud, HelloFresh, Babbel, Zalando

    (Image source: City of Berlin)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Dallas,

    13. Dallas-Fort Worth

    Change from last year’s ranking:  3

    Companies that call this city home: AT&T, American Airlines, Texas Instruments, Energy Transfer Equity

    (Image source: City of Dallas)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Seoul, Dallas

    12. Seoul

    Change from last year’s ranking: -1

    Companies that call this city home: Samsung, Hyundai Motor, LG Electronics, SK Holdings

    (Image source: City of Seoul)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Chicago

    11. Chicago

    Change from last year’s ranking:  9

    Companies that call this city home: Grubhub, Boeing, Groupon, Motorola Mobility

    (Image source: City of Chicago)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Sidney

    10. Sydney

    Change from last year’s ranking:  4

    Companies that call this city home: Canva, Atlassian, Zip Money, Nuix

    (Image source: City of Sidney)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Paris

    9. Paris

    Change from last year’s ranking: no change

    Companies that call this city home: Orange Communications, Deezer, Thales Group, DailyMotion

    (Image source: City of Paris)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Toronto

    8. Toronto

    Change from last year’s ranking: no change

    Companies that call this city home: Wealthsimple, InterAxon, Wattpad, The Stars Group

    (Image source: City of Toronto)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Toronto

    7. Boston

    Change from last year’s ranking: -2

    Companies that call this city home: General Electric, HubSpot, Bain Capital, Boston Dynamics

    (Image source: City of Boston)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Singapore

    6. Singapore

    Change from last year’s ranking:  1

    Companies that call this city home: DBS Bank, Singtel, CapitaLand Limited, Flex

    (Image source: City of Singapore)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Los Angeles

    5. Los Angeles

    Change from last year’s ranking:  1

    Companies that call this city home: Snap Inc., SpaceX, Riot Games, Hulu

    (Image source: City of Los Angeles)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, New York

    4. New York City

    Change from last year’s ranking: -2

    Companies that call this city home: WeWork, Verizon, IBM Watson, Citigroup

    (Image source: City of New York)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Silicon Valley

    3. Silicon Valley (San Francisco and San Jose

    Change from last year’s ranking:  1

    Companies that call this city home: Apple, Google (Alphabet), Facebook, HP, Intel, Netflix, Tesla

    (Image source: City of San Jose)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, London

    2. London

    Change from last year’s ranking: -1

    Companies that call this city home: Barclays, TransferWise, BP, ASOS.com, Monzo

    (Image source: City of London)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, tokyo

    1. Tokyo

    Change from last year’s ranking:  2

    Companies that call this city home: SoftBank, Hitachi, Toshiba, Sony Corporation, Mitsubishi

    (Image source: City of Tokyo)

the-history-and-future-of-the-bci

Mindflex, from Mattel and NeuroSky, used brainwaves to control a series of fans to navigate a floating ball through an obstacle course. (Image source: NeuroSky)

Remember about five years ago when several consumer headsets from NeuroSky and Emotiv were pitched as a computer game controllers? For example, NeuroSky promoted its EEG Headset as a training aid for young padawans to focus their minds through various exercises so they could control the movement of tablet-projected holograms. Based upon the wearer’s focus and concentration, the brainwave sensors on the EEG headset would allow them to interact with an application on a table.

NeuroSky and others (most notably, Emotiv) have created EEG headsets for gaming, neurological rehabilitation, and other applications. These headsets are examples of brain computer interface (BCI) technology – a computer-based system that acquires brain signals, analyzes them, and translates them into commands that are relayed to an output device like a computer, game console, medical prosthetic, or similar devices.

A BCI doesn’t actually read thoughts but rather detects the smallest of changes in the energy radiated by the brain when you think in a certain way. A BCI recognizes specific energy/frequency patterns in the brain. Some believe that the combination of humans and technology could be more powerful than artificial intelligence (AI) alone. For example, instead of relying on human perception and reasoning, one could use neurotechnologies to improve our perception, as in the case of interpreting a blurry security camera image before deciding whether to take action.

In the future, perhaps the carbon-based mind will connect directly with silicon-based artificial intelligence, robots, and other minds through BCI technologies to greatly extend our existing senses or maybe add new ones.

In order to appreciate what BCI technologies have to offer, it helps to understand a bit of their history.

Infographic – History of Brain Computer Interface (BCI) Tech

John Blyler is a Design News senior editor, covering the electronics and advanced manufacturing spaces. With a BS in Engineering Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering, he has years of hardware-software-network systems experience as an editor and engineer within the advanced manufacturing, IoT and semiconductor industries. John has co-authored books related to system engineering and electronics for IEEE, Wiley, and Elsevier