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Hackaday Article: 2018: As The Hardware World Turns

By December 27, 2018May 12th, 2021No Comments

Not everything is terrible in 2018: Makerbot released a new printer and oddly no one complained; Elon Musk is having a great year, press and Joe Rogan notwithstanding, by launching a record number of rockets and shipping a record number of cars, and he built a subway that we’re not calling a subway. FPGA development is getting easier with new platforms and new boards. There is a vast untapped resource in 18650 cells just sitting on sidewalks in the form of scooters, and I’m going to keep mentioning this until someone actually builds a power wall out of scooters.
RISC-V has been on the tip of our tongue for a few years now, and already we have really fast microcontrollers based on this architecture (that are also really expensive, but that’s beside the point). 2019 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years yet for RISC-V, and with that popularity comes decreasing prices. SiFive is releasing a multicore processor that runs Linux. There are smaller, lower-power RISC-V cores and completely random online shops on TaoBao are selling RISC-V cores.
The RISC-V proposition has always been a weird one. Yes, it’s a big-O Open architecture for everything from microcontrollers to Systems on a Chip. But it’s just a design. You need fab houses cranking out silicon wafers with RISC-V chips on them. That’s expensive at first, but then the price starts to drop. It looks like 2019 is shaping up to be the year that everyone can get their hands on a RISC-V chip.
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