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Highlights this week: 👾 cryptographic semiconductor fingerprints, 🚙 automakers + custom silicon, 🥽 and chimpanzees in virtual reality.

👩‍🔧 Featured job: Perceptive is hiring a Radar DSP Engineer. See more roles in the Interesting Jobs section below!

🔗 Last week’s most-clicked link: A link to purchase the Hardware Hacking Handbook.

Automakers = hardware co’s? Custom silicon + manufacturing

What’s happening: Until recently, many auto components could easily be controlled by more “generic” electronics. This is no longer the case, as manufacturers add increasingly complex features such as battery monitoring and advanced driver-assistance systems. Now their plan is to design their own hardware, consolidate many of the functions onto custom chips, and work directly with semiconductor manufacturers to ensure supply and quality.

Some background: In recent years, U.S. automakers have hired thousands of software developers and programmers. Ford and GM are now looking to bring on chip designers as well, as they expect the number of chips used in automobiles to double over the next few years.

Automakers have historically relied on an intermediary group of so-called Tier 1 companies that buy chips to design modules to handle particular functions in cars, such as controlling engines and transmissions. This is changing as automakers need more stability in supply, and their differentiation in the market is much more dependent on features controlled by semiconductors.

GM, for example, is now working directly with chip companies to develop three types of microprocessors to handle almost all of its computing needs. These three new microcontroller families will reduce the number of unique chips by as much as 95 percent. This consolidation and robustness in design should help increase chip supply while cutting costs significantly. Suppliers GM is working with to develop this custom silicon include Qualcomm, STM, TSMC, Renesas, ON Semi, NXP, and Infineon.

Ford also signed a nonbinding agreement with GlobalFoundries to collaborate on developing chips for Ford vehicles and expand domestic chip production.

Analog Insights: Where to look for an EE job

Startup News 🚀💰:

  • Searoutes, a startup helping shippers reduce their carbon footprint, raised a $2.7M series A led by WSB Beteiligungs.

  • Vollebak, a clothes-for-the-future company, raised a series A led by Venrex along with Joe Gebbia and Sean Brecker and others.

  • Dent Reality, a startup building an AR-for-retail platform, raised a $3.4M seed led by Pi Labs, with participation from Sugar Capital and 7Percent Ventures.

  • Tenafe, an SSD controller semiconductor startup, raised a $58M series B led by Shunwei Capital and joined by Northern Light Venture Capital, Tyche Partners, Eight Roads Ventures, and Source Code Capital.

  • Jala Tech, a shrimp farming technology startup, raised $6M led by Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund, along with the Meloy Fund and Real Tech Fund.

Interesting Links 🔗:

  • Physically Uncloneable Function’s (PUF) are a “secure silicon fingerprint” often based on unique physical variations at the transistor level. An example is the SRAM PUF -- at power-on, inherent differences between transistors in the circuit will result in a definitive 1 or 0, that chained together results in an ID that is unique to that device and impossible to replicate. There are issues with bit flipping and other errors induced by the environment, and there is still vulnerability to attack. A good breakdown here.

  • A really great breakdown on the history of the Omicron variant and what we know now about the variant, including that it’s detectable by a PCR test, we’re catching it early, and that we’ll be able to quickly generate a new mRNA vaccine for this variant should we need to.

  • Chimpanzees can apparently thrive in virtual reality, as shown by experimental data from a zoo where this experiment was ran.

Interesting Jobs 👩‍🔧:

To see previous jobs that may still be open, check out our previous issues!

Want to share an exciting role at your company? Reach out to us at

One Interesting Picture 📸: From Archillect, an AI created to discover/share stimulating content

One Interesting Tweet 🐦: Walking stimulates 💆‍♂️

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