The advanced semiconductor nodes are demanding that designers scrutinize the physical structures they propose before they actually fab them. Experienced designers depend on their personal knowledge bases, but as design rules shrink increasingly odd-ball discontinuities are popping up, especially at the boundaries of 3D structures like FinFETs. Tools exist for simulating detailed 3D structures, but usually only in very small areas, since they are incredibly computationally intensive. As a result, MEMS tools like this one which make estimations that the detailed tools won't allow are becoming more popular for "what if" scenarios that allow designers the luxury of making educated guesses, then confirming their suspicions before they even their EDA toolset.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.