Design007 Magazine

PCBD-Apr2016

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28 The PCB Design Magazine • April 2016 tience; situations like this cannot be fixed overnight. Over the years I have noticed that when I work with companies who have a 'design team' comprising electronic engineers, PCB design- ers, mechanical engineers signal integrity engi- neers etc. who are tasked with a specific board or product design there is less friction. I have seen most friction when the 'teams' are divided by function/discipline rather than by project teams. I also tend to see that the team is more effective when the aims/goals are shared; this especially works well where a con- current design process is needed. Shaughnessy: Is there anything else you'd like to add? Critcher: I think that the ability to perform the design of the PCB in parallel across the design team today is critical in many cases. If we have a single person performing each individual task in series this would not help reduce the design time. Shaughnessy: Thanks for your time, Andy. Critcher: Thank you. PCBDESIGN Designers anD Design engineers: tWo siDes of the same coin Using your skin as a touchscreen has been brought a step closer after UK scientists success- fully created tactile sensations on the palm using ultra- sound sent through the hand. The University of Sussex-led study - funded by the nokia Research Centre and the european Research Council - is the first to find a way for us- ers to feel what they are doing when interacting with displays projected on their hand. This solves one of the biggest challenges for technology companies who see the human body, particularly the hand, as the ideal display exten- sion for the next generation of smartwatches and other smart devices. Current ideas rely on vibrations or pins, which both need contact with the palm to work, inter- rupting the display. However, this new innovation, called Skin- Haptics, sends sensations to the palm from the other side of the hand, leaving the palm free to display the screen. The device uses 'time-reversal' processing to send ultrasound waves through the hand. This technique is effectively like ripples in water but in reverse - the waves become more tar- geted as they travel through the hand, ending at a precise point on the palm. It draws on a rapidly growing field of technology called haptics, which is the science of applying touch sensation and control to interaction with computers and technology. Professor Sriram Subramanian, who leads the research team at the University of Sussex, says that technologies will inevitably need to engage other senses, such as touch, as we enter what designers are calling an 'eye-free' age of technol - ogy. "Wearables are already big business and will only get bigger. But as we wear technology more, it gets smaller and we look at it less, and therefore multisensory capabilities become much more important," he says. "If you imagine you are on your bike and want to change the volume control on your smart - watch, the interaction space on the watch is very small. So companies are looking at how to ex- tend this space to the hand of the user. What we offer people is the ability to feel their actions when they are interacting with the hand." University of Sussex Research Brings 'Smart Hands' Closer to Reality

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