The Shaughnessy Report: DesignCon - A PCB Design Show

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Every DesignCon, we get a chance to check out the current state of PCB (and IC) design, as well as the latest from the EDA tool industry. This year’s conference boasted a variety of papers on signal integrity, EMC, test and measurement, and high-speed PCB design in general. There was plenty of focus on 10 Gb Ethernet, and a slew of skew coverage too. I also heard a lot about convergence, such as signal and power integrity capabilities in the same tool environment, and signal integrity and EMC.   

The true geeks started off by performing a teardown of their badges to examine the RFID chips that lay behind our names. (I was afraid I’d mess up my badge and have to sneak onto the show floor through a back door. Not that I’ve ever done that, of course.) It’s hard to believe that RFID is cheap enough to be printed onto disposable trade show badges.

Who’s working on the next RFID, the next big thing?

Keynote speaker Eileen Bartholomew, senior vice president of prize development for the XPRIZE Foundation, is weighing that same question. The foundation is helping speed the development of new technology by incentivizing innovation with unique, press-grabbing contests. In 2004, the group awarded a $10 million prize to the developers of Spaceship One, which carried three people 100 kilometers into space.

Bartholomew challenged attendees to think in terms of disruptive technology, and to avoid being afraid of failure. And, as she explained, money is a great motivational tool. She pointed out that Charles Lindbergh, a hero of XPRIZE creator Peter Diamandis, was motivated to fly across the Atlantic Ocean by a $25,000 prize offered by hotelier Raymond Orteig.Read the full column here.Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of The PCB Design Magazine.


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