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Fig. 3: Finite element calculations for the PiezoMAT concept using COMSOL Multiphysics: (a) Side view of a microfabricated pixel; (b) 3D representation of the simulated pixel; (c) Meshing and boundary conditions; (d) Profile of the piezoelectric potential generated within the bent nanowire (A) and the collecting electrodes (B) for a nanowire 600nm long with a 25nm radius. density in such sensors? To that question, Pauliac-Vaujour had a three-fold answer. “The 500dpi international standard was imposed by the FBI and is sufficiently reliable for fingerprint recognition. The question of a higher resolution addresses more specific issues: it increases image quality, which, from a purely visual point of view, will considerably facilitate the work of experts”. “Obtaining level 3 characteristics of fingerprints (pores, ridge shape, etc.) is only achievable with resolutions beyond 1000dpi and will provide additional information against ID fraud. Indeed, IBM Begins US Layoffs Jessica Lipsky IBM began its first round of United States layoffs Thursday as part of a “global rebalancing” act that could save about $1 billion in costs. The restructuring process could see as many as 15,000 jobs being cut globally, including India, Brazil, and the European region. Charles King, principal analyst at Pund- IT, told EE Times: The company has been undergoing a pretty elemental shift in its businesses over the last five to 10 years. IBM was mainly a hardware provider with a lot of attached services, has become a software provider with associated hardware. As the popularity of platforms waxes and wanes, they let workers go in divisions that aren’t as profitable as they used to be and hire new positions they believe will be more successful. Poor fourth quarter numbers, a 26% slump in hardware revenue, and various divestments have fueled layoffs. According to Alliance@IBM, an IBM employee organization, an unknown number of layoffs have occurred in Massachusetts, New York, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Minnesota, Arizona, and Vermont. Layoffs have already occurred in Bangalore, India, where unofficial estimates show 1,000 jobs lost. No official numbers were immediately available on IBM’s US employees. King said: up to date, it is impossible to reproduce pores on a fake finger for example. It is already very difficult to cheat a fingerprint sensor nowadays, but acquiring additional information would increase the level of resistance even further”. “Finally, some fast-growing populations appear to have fingerprints with similar looking characteristics (one of our experts gave me the example of the Indian population). Additional points of comparison facilitate the differentiation of the individuals in these populations, which today requires several-finger acquisition typically”, she concluded. When a product division like IBM’s low-end server business is sold off, what you’ll see is firings in the marketing and sales divisions; the business unit is slowing down and getting ready to be owned by someone else. And a lot of times, the people below managerial level are often the ones that feel the pain first. Alliance@IBM reported 10 to 15 jobs lost in Endicott, N.Y., while the Burlington Free Press reported that downsizing in Essex Junction, V.T. is expected to be about 140 jobs -- about one third the size of last year’s 419-person cutback. The Poughkeepsie Journal noted at least three local jobs had been cut from the Systems and Technology Group, which works on development and manufacturing of mainframes and other large computers. “The company, in a departure from past practice, has even left out some pages from its packages given to employees that let a person figure out the size of the downsize in a given business unit,” the Journal continued. IBM officials did not return calls for comment. “This magnitude of layoffs is something we’ve seen over and over again at other IT vendors. HP in particular has gone through some pretty devastating layoffs,” King said, adding that he does not think layoffs will have much effect on IBM’s market status. “I think, unfortunately, this is the kind of strategic headcount reduction that happens very often as technologies come and go and vendors try to respond to changes in the market.” Jessica Lipsky, Associate Editor, EE Times www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe March 2014 17


EETE MAR 2014
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