Showing posts from February, 2018

Surprising Uses for Oobleck

Oobleck is a common name for a non-Newtonian fluid comprising cornstarch and water. Named after a substance humorously described in Dr. Seuss’s classic children’s story, Bartholomew and the Ooblek, the cornstarch and water concoction is frequently used in children’s science classes as a fun way to learn about fluid mechanics. You may have fond memories, yourself, of playing with oobleck as a youth. Oobleck behaves as a fluid when touched gently, but becomes hard as a solid when hit with great velocity. For example, a person could run across a swimming pool of oobleck without getting their feet wet. However, if a person stood still on the oobleck, then they would slowly sink. Because oobleck is a children’s plaything and because of its simple recipe (cornstarch and water), one may be surprised to learn that inventors have attempted to patent serious industrial uses for the material. As an example, one current patent application, US 2015/0016885 (now abandoned), is for a system of fi

The Integrated Fan-Out Package and the Patents Protecting It

Manufacturing processors for Apple’s iPhone is prized business. The development of the Integrated Fan-Out (InFO) package has helped Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) manufacture the Apple A10 and A11 processors. Competitors such as Samsung have manufactured processors for Apple as recently as the generation before the introduction of InFO. The InFO package is not a radically new design. InFO is a combination of processes that are known in the field. Fan-out wafer level processing (FOWLP), which InFO is based on, has been in use since embedded wafer-level ball-grid arrays in 2009. However, the InFO packaging combine FOWLP with redistribution layers, through layer vias, and package on package architecture to create a more efficient overall design. FOWLP provides several advantages over other types of packaging. A fundamental problem of semiconductor manufacturing is that performance of integrated circuits increase as dimensions decrease but performance of interconnects

More Than Just Money

Cryptocurrencies have found themselves in the spotlight as of late, with the most popular being Bitcoin.  The understanding of cryptocurrencies appears to be fairly limited, with consumers trying to predict if cryptocurrencies are a flash in the pan or here to stay.  Regardless of your assumptions regarding Bitcoin, which is often characterized as a way for drug dealers to operate without getting caught, there are over 1,000 cryptocurrencies, many of which provide a service, often regarded to as a blockchain technology.             Bitcoins blockchain technology tracks ownership of bitcoins between peer-to-peer transactions.  However, blockchain technologies offer so much more than that.  For example, Ethereum allows participants to create smart contracts, wherein the smart contract self-executes management, payment, and enforcement.  Additionally, due to the distribution of such contracts (e.g., they are arranged in more than one location), they are nearly impossible to doctor.