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Showing posts for May 2019

29 May 2019

What's happening with Huawei


For the past few weeks, Chinese technology company Huawei has been put under severe restrictions by the United States of America. Mr Trump accuses the world’s second-largest smartphone maker of allowing its equipment to be used by Chinese spies.

In recent weeks, Alphabet’s Google has suspended business with Huawei, that requires the transfer of software, hardware and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing

Following Google’s lead several other American businesses have cut ties with Huawei and two British telecom giants EE and Vodafone have announced that their 5G services will not be offered on Huawei handsets.

The Trump administration on Thursday added Huawei Technologies to a trade blacklist, immediately enacting restrictions that will make it extremely difficult for the company to do business with US counterparts.

Washington is widely seen as having taken the initiative in the global campaign against Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, a tech magnate that in the three decades since its founding has become an important part of Beijing’s bid to expand its global power and influence.

Now, according to Reuters, German chipmaker Infineon has also suspended shipments to Huawei technologies, in a sign that US restrictions on Huawei are beginning to affect its relationships beyond America. Infineon joins Qualcomm, Qorvo, Micron Technology, and Western Digital as firms that no longer ship to Huawei. ST Microelectronics, TSMC, Toshiba Memory, and Japan Display Inc. have not yet stopped shipments to the Chinese firm but are investigating the issue and could also suspend business dealings.

Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s founder, told the media that the company would be fine even if their American suppliers refuse to sell chips to the company. He revealed that the firm has been preparing for this outcome and it’s believed that Huawei will be ready for the next six to twelve months on the hardware front. “We will not change our management at the request of the U.S. or accept monitoring, as ZTE has done,” he said to Reuters.

During Trump’s three day state visit, which kicks off today, he is expected to discuss ties between UK companies and Huawei- adding to suggestions by the Tory leadership that they could tear up plans for the Chinese tech giant to build parts of UK’s 5G network, after the ambassador, Woody Johnson, warned it was a “big risk”.

Tags: huawei trump uk infineon spies 5g network america

23 May 2019

Stretchable electronics: the future


(c) Rafael Libanori, Randall M. Erb and André R. Studart

Have you heard of stretchable electronics? You may already be using them! Stretchable electronics is an emerging technology that creates devices with the ability to conform dynamic surfaces such as the human body.

According to a study, current stretchable configurations are constrained to single-layer designs due to limited material processing capabilities in soft electronic systems but represent a promising new technology for next-generation wearable electronics.

The industry has, in the past, long predicted the emergence and growth of wearable technology that could be integrated with our clothing by installing sensors within the seams and stitching, indeed having electronics woven into our fabrics!

Traditional circuits are made from stiff and inflexible components, which might limit its use when it comes to wearable electronics, but a team in Switzerland have overcome the problem of snapping electronics by creating materials that mimics the way tendons connect to bones, which has sped up the development and delivery of stretchable wearable technology.

"You have two materials with very different mechanical properties," says Andre Studart, a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, told reuters. "The challenge is to bridge these different properties."

The swiss team have created a stretchy material made from polyurethane that contains "islands" stiff enough to house and protect delicate circuits.The soft part can stretch by 350 per cent without failure due to localised internal stresses, the hard  parts which house the electronic components and protect them are made stiff by using platelets of aluminium oxide and a synthetic clay called Laponite.

According to a research published in Nature Communications, the material is made from bonded layers formed by solvent welding and hot pressing individual layers with progressively higher elastic modulus using DMF as solvent.

"There are many biological materials that have these properties as well, like the way tendons link muscle to bone," says Studart. "But there are not so many examples in synthetic materials."

The practical applications for such technology is limitless, with it first being used by a US based company called MC-10 inc, who have used it to develop flexible skullcaps that can monitor impacts to the head during sports. But the use of these electronics can rage as far as rebuilding cartilage or even false teeth.

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