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FPGAs The Life Savers

FPGAs The Life Savers
by Luke Miller on 08-27-2013 at 1:00 pm

Silicon dominates our lives, CPU’s, GPU’s are in the limelight but the unsung hero is the FPGA. They simply do the work where other silicon dare not tread, as they are unfit for the task. Never send a boy to do a man’s job.

For a moment, if we can, just for a few minutes perhaps we can break away from the social media bubble and the grip from entertainment (By the way I do not care what you are eating right now so stop tweeting it) and look at where FPGAs are servicing the important medical and safety needs of life. And no it is not in your TV, even though you will find FPGAs in them.

Because of FPGAs I was able to see my next child thru mama’s belly. He’s a 2013 model due out in Oct. Lord willing, and let’s hope he has my looks right? Know what else that DSP in the FPGA did for us? It showed problems with the little guy, you see they were able to see that his feet are just not right. That Doppler knowledge months ago, led to a plan and if all goes well, his feet will be just fine. We are very thankful that is all that is wrong. FPGAs are revolutionizing the medical and surgical field today! I believe due to better analogue to digital converters (ADCs/DACs) coupled with denser and denser FPGAs we will see better CT’s, MRIs, etc… and lower doses of radiation. Can you say imaging kiosk at Wally world? I know…

Xilinx’s FPGAs are featured in the Intuitive Surgical, ‘da Vinci Surgical System’. That’s a mouth full but it’s a modern marvel. I wish they used that thing last Oct. when I had my gall bladder out. From the Intuitive Surgical website:

“Using the most advanced technology available today, the da Vinci Surgical System enables surgeons to perform delicate and complex operations through a few tiny incisions with increased vision, precision, dexterity and control. The da Vinci Surgical System consists of several key components, including: an ergonomically designed console where the surgeon sits while operating, a patient-side cart where the patient lays during surgery, four interactive robotic arms, a high-definition 3D vision system, and proprietary EndoWrist® instruments. da Vinci is powered by state-of-the-art robotic technology that allows the surgeon’s hand movements to be scaled, filtered and translated into precise movements of the EndoWrist instruments working inside the patient’s body.”

Personally I like a strong national defense (I’m one of those, you know freedom is not free), in particular I am not a fan of invasion, terrorist attacks or the possibilities thereof. FPGA’s are red, white and blueas they serve a very important RADAR market most people take for granted. FPGAs are the heart of RADAR, which are the invisible patriot eyes on land, sea and air allowing us to sleep in peace as long as we do not think too much on the state of congress. Do you ever think about congress? Do you get a raise with a 7% approval rating😡

Currently I am working a design/invention that uses a Xilinx FPGA/CPLD to bring water to the parts of the world where it is not so easy. (Called ‘Well Doctor’). While FPGAs are not necessarily so called ‘entertaining’ us with “gaming” and how anyone can think games like ‘grand theft’ are morally adapt is beyond me, contrary FPGAs sure are making our lives safer and healthier. Thanks to all you FPGA guys & gals!


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