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24 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2022 • Plated through-hole vias are the most affordable and should be used when- ever possible. Blind and buried vias will increase your costs. • Dense BGA designs are more suited to the use of microvias. • e larger the trace/clearance, the less the cost. Going below 4/4 mil technology will incur a cost premium. • When each material is used for the right target application, the resultant PCB will have the lowest possible cost while still satisfying the design and performance goals of the project. • Utilizing efficient EDA tools can also streamline the PCB development cycle. • Simulation enables one to obtain valuable feedback when designing real-world circuits. • e cost of development is dramatically reduced if simulation is employed early in the design cycle. • e advantage of simulation is that it identifies issues early in the design process and rectifies them before they become a major problem. DESIGN007 Reference 1. Beyond Design columns by Barry Olney: The Key to Product Reliability; Designing for the SAP PCB Fabrication Process; Simulation Slashes Itera- tions; It's a Material World. Barry Olney is managing director of In-Circuit Design Pty Ltd (iCD), Australia, a PCB design service bureau that specializes in board-level sim- ulation. The company devel- oped the iCD Design Integrity software incorporating the iCD Stackup, PDN, and CPW Planner. The software can be downloaded at To read past columns or contact Olney, click here. As meetings shifted online during the COVID-19 lockdown, many people found that chattering room- mates, garbage trucks and other loud sounds dis- rupted important conversations. This experience inspired three University of Wash- ington researchers, who were roommates during the pandemic, to develop better earbuds. To enhance the speaker's voice and reduce background noise, "ClearBuds" use a novel microphone system and one of the first machine-learning systems to operate in real time and run on a smartphone. "ClearBuds differentiate themselves from other wireless earbuds in two key ways," said co-lead author Maruchi Kim, a doctoral student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. "First, ClearBuds use a dual micro- phone array. Microphones in each earbud create two synchronized audio streams that provide information and allow us to spatially separate sounds coming from different directions with higher resolution. Second, the lightweight neural network further enhances the speaker's voice." With ClearBuds, each earbud sends a stream of audio to the phone. The researchers designed Blue- tooth networking protocols to allow these streams to be synchronized within 70 microseconds of each other. The team also tested ClearBuds "in the wild," by recording eight people reading from Project Guten- berg in noisy environments, such as a coffee shop or on a busy street. The researchers then had 37 people rate 10- to 60-second clips of these record- ings. Participants rated clips that were processed through ClearBuds' neural network as having the best noise suppression and the best overall listening experi- ence. (Source: Sarah McQuate, UW News) ClearBuds: First Wireless Earbuds That Clear Up Calls Using Deep Learning

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