Early in my career, I knew a woman who had a medical condition that confined her to an electric wheelchair and made her speech quiet and hard to understand. When she was in a crowd, it was hard for her to navigate through it because people did not see or hear her.
I built her a simple two transistor siren that could be attached to the chair and was operated by pushing a momentary push button. When people heard that siren (it was not loud) they moved out of her path. She was tickled with it.
That was one my first few circuits too. Much before I studied engineering, since my childhood I was passionate about building small electronic gadgets by referring to books/magazines which used to publish hobby circuits. Even though I did not fully understand how that circuit worked, I built that circuit with two transistors and a small speaker form an old radio. My friends and I had fun with that for some time.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.