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Arm and PragmatIC Semiconductor Design Inherently Flexible 32 Bit PlasticARM Microprocessor Arm and PragmatIC Semiconductor Design Inherently Flexible 32 Bit PlasticARM Microprocessor

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Arm and PragmatIC Semiconductor Design “Inherently Flexible” 32-Bit PlasticARM Microprocessor

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The journal Nature published an article describing a “natively flexible” 32-bit microprocessor based on the Arm architecture. It was created by specialists from Arm and PragmatIC Semiconductor.

Modern processors are made on a rigid basis – a silicon crystal using metal oxide field-effect transistor technology. Flexible microcircuits use flexible substrates – paper, plastic or metal foil and thin film transistor technology. The second approach expands the scope of electronics, but the microprocessor is too large and complex a circuit for this technology. According to the authors of the article, an intermediate solution in the form of integrating a processor crystal on a rigid basis into a flexible circuit does not allow overcoming the main obstacle to mass adoption – the relatively high cost.

The creators of the PlasticARM processor set out to solve the problem, initially designing it with the expectation of manufacturing it using “flexible” technology with thin-film metal oxide transistors on a polyimide substrate. The 0.8 micron processor is built on the Armv6-M architecture and is a variation of the Arm Cortex-M0 + core. It consists of 56,340 transistors and resistors, forming 18,334 gates (in terms of equivalent NAND2 gates), and is the most complex flexible thin-film metal oxide transistor chip to date. Operating at a frequency of up to 29 kHz, the processor consumes 21 mW.

Noting that the microcircuits manufactured by PragmatIC Semiconductor according to the described technology can withstand repeated bending with a radius of curvature of 3 mm, the authors of the article clarify that PlasticARM measurements were carried out using standard equipment for “hard” microcircuits while the processor was on a glass carrier.

The PlasticARM instruction set includes 86 instructions. The processor is compatible with existing software infrastructure, including development tools. It has built-in ROM for programs and RAM (456 and 128 bytes, respectively). At the manufacturing stage, three programs were written into the ROM memory, allowing you to check the execution of all commands. The processor turned out to be efficient, confirming the potential of the chosen approach.

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Gaming

For the first time in eight years, Xbox surpassed PlayStation. In Japan, Xbox Series S outperformed PS5 last week

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For the first time in eight years Xbox surpassed PlayStation

Japan is the birthplace of Sony and the PlayStation, so it is not surprising that in this market, the Sony console often outperforms the Microsoft set-top box in sales. However, the situation changed last week.

For the first time in eight years, Xbox surpassed PlayStation.  In Japan, Xbox Series S outperformed PS5 last week

According to sources, last week the Xbox console was ahead of the PlayStation in sales, and this happened for the first time in eight years.

We are talking about weekly sales, so in a normal situation this information would hardly be interesting, but still such an important achievement for Microsoft is worth attention.

True, the point is not at all in the decline in demand for the PS5 and the growth in demand for the Xbox, but simply in the availability of one or another set-top box. Actually, it is the offer that has been the main factor for the entire year and a half since the launch of the current generation consoles.

So, to the numbers. Last week, only 2693 PS5 consoles were sold in Japan, only 105 Xbox Series X consoles were sold, while the Series S sold 6120 units. That is, it was the younger Microsoft console that bypassed the Sony consoles.

For comparison, in the two weeks from April 25 to May 8, more than 46,000 PS5 consoles were sold. That is, their availability was simply many times higher. And the Xbox Series S sold 10,610 units.

In any case, the undisputed leader remains the Nintendo Switch. Last week, 35,868 Switch OLEDs, 20,443 Switch units and 9011 Switch Lite units were sold.

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The Voyager 1 spacecraft suddenly began sending strange data to Earth

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The Voyager 1 spacecraft suddenly began sending strange data to

The Voyager 1 spacecraft sends strange signals to Earth. NASA has published a message stating that the telemetry data of the apparatus does not reflect what is happening with the ship.

The Voyager 1 spacecraft suddenly began sending strange data to Earth

For now, Voyager 1 is operating normally, receiving and executing commands from Earth, and collecting and returning scientific data. But readings from the Probe’s Articulation and Attitude Control System (AACS) don’t reflect what’s actually happening on board.

The AACS module controls the attitude of the 45-year-old spacecraft. Among other tasks, it keeps Voyager 1’s high-gain antenna pointed exactly at Earth, allowing it to send data back home. All signs point to AACS still working, but the telemetry it returns is invalid. For example, the data may appear to be randomly generated or not reflect any possible state that the AACS may be in.

The issue did not trigger any of the onboard fail-safe systems that are designed to put the spacecraft into “safe mode” — a state in which only essential operations are performed, giving engineers time to diagnose the problem. Voyager 1’s signal has also not weakened, indicating that the high-gain antenna remains in the prescribed orientation relative to the Earth.

NASA writes that scientists will closely monitor data from Voyager 1 until the nature of the problem becomes clearer.

Voyager 1 is currently 23.3 billion kilometers from Earth, and it takes 20 hours and 33 minutes for the signal to travel that distance. Now the device is the most distant object from the Earth, produced by mankind.

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Gaming

Rumors attribute the PlayStation 5 Pro to the ability to deliver 240 fps in games. But without ray tracing and not in 4K

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Rumors attribute the PlayStation 5 Pro to the ability to

Rumors about the PlayStation 5 Pro console appeared even before the release of the current version. Given the situation with the PS4, it is reasonable to expect a new model a few years after the start of sales of the regular PS5. And now some details have appeared on the Web.

Rumors attribute the PlayStation 5 Pro to the ability to deliver 240 fps in games.  But without ray tracing and not in 4K

The source says that the new set-top box will have a GPU with a performance of 14-16 TFLOPS. To recap, the current PS5 has 10.28 TFLOPS. One could say that the Xbox Series X already offers 12.1 TFLOPS, but still there is no point in directly comparing it here – you need to pay attention to the increase within the same line.

PS5 Pro is also credited with 18-20 GB of memory versus the current 16 GB. It is possible that the memory will become faster.

But more the source concentrates not on parameters, but on performance targets. Allegedly, the main task of the updated set-top box is to deliver 60 fps in 4K resolution at maximum quality settings for ray tracing effects. At medium settings, performance should rise to 120 fps at 1440-1800p, and without ray tracing, the console will supposedly be able to deliver 240 fps at 1080-1440p. True, why 240 fps for the average gamer is completely unclear.

So far, these data should be considered as rumors, but still the first of the above goals looks more than logical. True, it is not clear whether a 40-60% increase in GPU performance will be enough to achieve it.

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