October 24, 2016

NIST’s Top Cyber Scientist: Start Plugging Internet Vulnerabilities

It’s a scary, ominous thought: The cybersecurity systems we currently have in place aren’t working. That’s what Ron Ross told the National Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity during a meeting in Minneapolis. Ross should know what he’s talking about; he’s the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s top computer security […]
October 12, 2016
Empty chairs at the DMV

Autonomous Chairs? Seriously?

I came across some articles recently about Nissan’s autonomous chairs (here and here). Wait! Is that a typo? Should “chairs” be “cars”? No, it was not a typo. Seriously? Then is it a parody? Nope. Nissan does have autonomous chairs. Instead of standing in a line, patrons can instead sit […]
September 29, 2016
Semi Truck on a Highway

Limit Conditions for Autonomous Trucks

A few companies are working on developing autonomous long-haul trucks for freeways. Articles here, here, and here mention the following as some of the driving (pun intended) factors for this technology: A driver shortage exists. Old drivers are retiring faster than new ones are joining. Trucks can stay on the […]
September 27, 2016

Get Ready for the Internet of (Practically) Everything

You’re driving down a road in the middle of the winter. It’s the morning rush hour, and ice still clutches the roads. Without you being aware of it, the bridge up ahead of you sends a signal (via an internet connection) to your car, warning you to slow down because […]
August 19, 2016
Robot arm demonstration

Embedded Systems Industry Expected to grow, Grow, GROW

We interact with embedded systems every day. You wake up, and turn on the coffee machine. You watch TV as you get dressed. At work, you send a fax. After work, you stop by the bank’s ATM, then use a GPS system to find a new restaurant. Some people return […]
August 4, 2016
Tesla Roadster

The New Frontier of Self-Driving Car Embedded Systems

When the new self-driving Tesla S car is in autopilot mode, a number of embedded systems are activated: Forward radar. Forward-looking camera. 360-degree ultrasonic sonar capable of detecting cars, children and pets 16 feet in any direction. A high-precision, digitally-controlled electric assist braking system. Thus, it’s no surprise that on […]
July 28, 2016
Traffic through construction zone

Can Autonomous Cars Make Split Decisions?

While many people wonder if they’re ready for self-driving cars, maybe we ought to be asking, “Are autonomous cars ready for us to use?” With almost daily headlines about such cars getting into accidents, it’s clear that they still struggle to discern conflicting data which we humans even struggle resolving. […]
July 12, 2016
Insulation cut away to expose the +5V wire

Not All USB Cables Are Created Equal

Could you be wasting money on the next USB cable you buy? It’s possible. Maybe even probable. Recently I needed to monitor the current flow through a USB cable charging the battery in a USB device as part of a patent claim analysis. I used an oscilloscope with data-collection capabilities […]
April 30, 2014

Copyright Infringement of Software

Most people have a good understanding of what copyright protection means with regards to written words, such as a book or an article. Those same protections also apply to software source code. Suppose I write some software in C as follows: y = 0; for (i=1; i<=x; i++) y += […]
April 30, 2014

Patent Infringement of Software

Patents protect an invention. Unlike copyrights (see post on copyrights), one must apply for a patent by filing with the patent office. If the patent is granted, then the patent holder has exclusive rights to that invention. When an invention is submitted for a patent, it becomes public domain. Others […]