The Chip Shortage is a Manufacturing Problem with a Technology Solution

The demand for semiconductor chips has exploded with the rise of technology consumption in the last couple of years. Semiconductor chips are used in every electronic device from smartphones, laptops, game consoles, to smart IoT appliances that we use everyday. The automotive industry also heavily relies on semiconductor chips, especially with increased production of electric cars and autonomous self-driving vehicles.

Semiconductor chips are like the nuts and bolts of our digital world: we use them every day but don’t often give them much thought. Chips are essential in powering modern day technology, which is why the global chip shortage can have a huge impact on our daily lives.

We have been in a severe global chip shortage since 2020. In fact, chip suppliers are finally catching up and increasing production to pre-pandemic levels, but the demand for chips has only increased since then. The fact that companies are still ramping up IoT production underlines that the silicon shortage will continue to be an issue in the coming years.

So what’s causing this chip shortage? And how can we navigate this global problem?

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Why Digital Twinning is the Future of IoT

Prototype with digital twins helps de-risk IoT hardware development
Prototype with digital twins helps de-risk hardware development

There are so many things that have to go right with a new IoT product before it can be sold to the public. For hardware developers, managing all of these variables and unknowns can be an overwhelming, daunting task. One of the most common and biggest barriers to product launch is the requirement to develop physical prototypes. Developers might waste precious time developing and testing each new prototype. Working with a digital twin can bring in significant time and cost savings.

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The Hardware Development Revolution Hasn’t Arrived (Yet)

In the world of technology, we often speak of hardware and software as two sides of the same coin. Hardware (the physical component of an electronic system) and software (the programs and applications installed on hardware) are very different, but still must work together to deliver the familiar products and services we use every day.

Since the invention of the very first computer, both hardware and software have played an integral part in technological innovation. We can’t build SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) products without powerful servers and data centers. Nor can we use our personal computers to their fullest potential without well-designed operating systems and software applications.

However, despite their symbiotic relationship, development tools for hardware and software have had very different evolutionary paths in recent years. While software development tools have become powerful, mobile, and accessible, professional hardware development tools remain largely stuck in the ’90s, with clunky GUIs, and hard-to-use interfaces.

Why is there a lack of innovation in hardware development tools, and why does that matter?

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5 Best Free Online Circuit Simulators for PCB Design

Sahara Cloud platform with circuit simulation feature

Circuit simulators are often used during the PCB design process to help verify how electrical components interact with each other.

There are several different types of softwares for designing electronic systems such as integrated circuits and printed circuit boards, and they are commonly categorized as Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools.

Digital circuits are often designed and built with software using specific programming languages. On the other hand, analog circuits needs to be designed by SPICE-type (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) simulator.

Depending on the complexity of features, EDA softwares can range from $0 to hundreds and thousands of dollars. We compiled a list of free online circuit builders that are great for developers who are looking for easy to use circuit simulators that won’t break the bank.

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SaharaCloud.io Updates: Digital Scope Testing Feature

Probing data pins from an Arduino to get the Voltage Readings from The Test Window

The product team at Sahara Cloud releases regular feature updates based on feedback from our beta users. This week, we are focusing on the digital scope testing feature on our platform. Sign up to join our beta here.

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SaharaCloud.io Updates: Supporting Arduino Uno & Micro, LCDs, and LEDs

Using SaharaCloud to program a simulated Arduino Uno & blinking LED

The product team at Sahara Cloud releases regular feature updates based on feedback from our beta users. This week, we are focusing on the boards and sensors we support on our platform which currently includes Arduino Uno, Arduino Micro, LCDs, and LEDs. Sign up to join our beta here.

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SaharaCloud.io: Virtually prototype hardware on the cloud

Use Sahara Cloud to design, code, and test hardware systems in the cloud.

What is Sahara Cloud?

Sahara Cloud is a cloud-based hardware development platform that enables users to design, code, and test their hardware systems virtually without needing any physical components or equipment. We are currently running a private beta, join the waitlist!

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How to Develop a Hardware MVP

Hardware prototype of the Dio speaker

You have a great idea about a hardware device that can solve a problem that many people have, but you don’t have the budget or the expertise required to build the product – so where do you start?

This is a common problem that a lot of hardware startup founders have: lack of resources to test out their hypothesis. Whether it is not having enough time, money, or talent – entrepreneurs often have to be creative and learn to be scrappy with the limited resources they have to build their product.

The key to achieve product market fit as a startup is to run many lean experiments, apply the learnings, and rapidly iterate the product development cycle. However, it is harder to be lean when you are building a physical hardware product. Building hardware is a more complex process than software development, and you can’t just release a new software update to fix a hardware problem. Therefore, knowing how to build a good hardware MVP (minimum viable product) is essential to a hardware startup’s success.

We spoke with Akarsh Vinod, founder of Dio, to learn about how he developed his hardware MVP. Dio makes simple and affordable multi-room speakers that aim to make listening to audio easy and convenient.

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