The Blog

Next Generation FPGAs Address Demands of the Zettabyte Era

in Electronic Design Services, FPGA Design Services, Product Design


Electronic Design Example: FDR InfiniBand PCIe Card

Nuvation developed this Xilinx Virtex-7 driven FDR InfiniBand adapter card for a broadcast video server.

Global IP traffic has been significantly increasing over the last few years and is anticipated to continue to increase into the future. Here are a few highlights from Cisco’s VNI June 2014 report

  • Annual global IP traffic will pass the zettabyte threshold by the end of 2016 and will reach 1.6 zettabytes per year by 2018
  • Global IP traffic has increased fivefold over the past 5 years and will increase threefold over the next 5 years
  • Over half of all IP traffic will originate with non-PC devices by 2018
  • Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will exceed traffic from wired devices by 2016
  • Broadband speed will nearly triple by 2018 compared with 2013 speeds
  • Globally, IP video traffic will be 79 percent of all IP traffic by 2018
  • Globally, mobile data traffic will increase 11-fold between 2013 and 2018
  • Global mobile data traffic will grow three times faster than fixed IP traffic from 2013 to 2018

These trends point to the need for significant improvements in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector infrastructure in order to support the demand for IP traffic. The trend towards mobile devices and increases in broadband speeds will require performance improvements throughout the ICT infrastructure. These market demands require faster high-speed serial interfaces to transfer data between nodes as well as faster and deeper memory interfaces for data buffering. Furthermore, these performance increases must occur without increasing power consumption. Fortunately, today’s next-gen FPGA devices have risen to these challenges.
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FPGA Design Tip: How to Automatically Identify Your Build Time/Date

in FPGA Design Services

This Nuvation-developed Altera Cyclone IV based high-speed HD camera transmits HD-SDI 1080P video and provides advanced real-time on-camera video processing using a symmetrical multi-processor environment.

FPGA engineers tend to compile a lot of images, fixing this, testing that. With multiple bitstreams being loaded during system integration, it can be confusing as to which gateware (what I like to call “FPGA source code”) revision is the working image and which image is actually in the part.

Including a software-accessible, read-only register containing the date and time the FPGA was compiled is a great way for software to query the FPGA to see which gateware revision is currently in the part. The only problem is that when this value is hard coded, we designers sometimes forget to update it which can cause confusion, or even the wrong software to be used.
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The Future of Large-Scale Battery Management Systems

in Battery Management System, News

Video Recordings of an Industry Event:

Battery Management System Design  – A Panel Discussion & Audience Q&A

During an Open Technology Forum panel discussion on the show floor at the 2014 Battery Show in Novi, Michigan, leading industry experts from Nuvation Engineering, Linear Technology, and Bloomy partnered together to discuss the future of Battery Management System design. We recorded this 45-minute industry event and are pleased to share it with you here.

Panel Discussion Video

Audience Q&A Video

Topics discussed:

  • Active vs passive balancing
  • How BMS design decisions impact cost, safety, pack range and lifetime
  • Mitigating EMI in distance communications
  • When and why to use battery simulators
  • BMS architectures: centralized, modular, fully distributed
  • BMS design considerations for future energy storage platforms

Topics discussed:

  • Balancing methods: separating hype from reality
  • Costs vs benefits of different balancing methods
  • Voltage vs State of Health: when to use which for balancing
  • Industry standards for BMS testing

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Battery Management: Measuring State of Charge and Battery Health

in Battery Management System

How Battery Management Systems Utilize State of Charge (SOC), Health (SOH), and Life Measures (SOL)

I was participating in a panel discussion about battery management system (BMS) design at the 2014 Battery Show in Novi Michigan and was asked for some of my opinions around State of Charge, State of Health, and State of Life measurement for large-scale batteries. While I was presenting Nuvation’s new battery management system at our booth on the exhibition floor, similar questions came up again a few times, so I thought I would share my answers here.

- Michael Worry, President and CEO, Nuvation Engineering
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Electronic Design: Getting to First Time Right

in Electronic Design Services

5 Principles of First Time Right Electronic Design

Getting to “first time right” is a key goal at Nuvation Engineering and is built into our electronic design methodology. Broadly speaking, it means two things: First, when you design and build new hardware, your methodology delivers new boards with zero cuts and jumps. You may need to still tweak a component value or two or change component population options, but you’ve avoided those problems that would require a board re-spin. Second, your first board spin has NO architectural or serious performance issues that would require a re-spin before transitioning to volume manufacturing. So basically “First Time Right” means “no board re-spin required.” This helps your project stay on budget, on schedule, and maybe even ahead of the curve on both of those critical KPIs.
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Discofish Meets Paparazzi at Burning Man 2014

in Autonomous Vehicles, DiscoFish, Electronic Design Services, Garage, Robots


It look like the tech paparazzi got a snap of Discofish, Nuvation’s ever evolving autonomous vehicle experiment, at Burning Man 2014, and an honorable mention in Techcrunch. Well, to be fair, they called her a “horror from the depths of the ocean” instead of Discofish, but hey, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right? But seriously Techcrunch folks, if you want to actually get to know her by name, do drop by and let us take you on a tour, she lives at the Nuvation Garage in Sunnyvale California. Be sure to come visit at night though, so we can light ‘er up for ya! This year we added LED-expressive iridescent tail fins to the humble camper van that has grown into a an extra long fully autonomous vehicle with LIDAR, a sound stage, flamethrower, and (ahem, cough cough) “dancing pole” on it’s “tongue.” Here she is all lit up at Burning Man in 2013.

And (drumroll….) we also made internet TV! It was Andy Warhol who said we all get 15 minutes of fame. I counted about a 3/4 of a second for Discofish at 2:35 (the timer runs backwards, so that’s at the beginning) of Katie Kouric’s video about Burning Man. Andy, you owe us 14 minutes, 59.25 seconds.

Nuvation Launches New Battery Management System

in Battery Management System

After developing four generations of custom battery management systems for large-scale batteries, Nuvation Engineering has launched a modular and scalable off-the-shelf BMS that reduces the need for manufacturers in the electric vehicle, grid energy storage, and telecom power backup industries to develop their own custom solutions.


September 16, 2014, Novi, Michigan, THE BATTERY SHOW. Nuvation Engineering has begun taking orders for a Q4 product release of Nuvation BMS™, their new battery management system for high capacity battery packs with outputs in the 36VDC to 1200VDC range. Many off-the-shelf battery management systems do not natively support voltages as high as 1200VDC, a target set by Nuvation’s Director of Product Management, John Corman, to address the upper end of grid energy storage requirements.
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Battery Management System Scalability

in Battery Management System

When designing Nuvation BMS™, Nuvation’s fourth-generation battery management system and first off-the-shelf BMS, our goal was to create a set of modules that could be connected to the battery pack in different configurations to support a wide range of battery topologies with different chemistries, voltages, and capacities. Our industry research and consultations with customers revealed three main market verticals where such a configurable BMS was of greatest interest to manufacturers:

  • Specialty Vehicles – Battery powered traction systems and subsystems
  • Telecom Power Backup – Data centers and telecom towers
  • Grid Energy Storage – Micro grid, solar, wind, etc.

While not every target battery deployment we encounter fits neatly into one of these categories, this matrix enables one to evaluate the Nuvation BMS in terms of its suitability to meet the full range of its target battery topologies.

A battery pack is typically scaled in one or both of two directions: vertically and horizontally. Scaling vertically involves stacking battery cells in series to increase pack voltage. Scaling horizontally involves connecting multiple stacks of cells in parallel to create greater capacity at the same pack voltage. Very large systems usually require the pack to scale both vertically and horizontally to deliver high voltage and high capacity.
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Visit Nuvation at the Battery Show

in Battery Management System

Battery Show banner
Nuvation Engineering will be launching our new  off-the-shelf Battery Management System at The Battery Show in the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan Sept. 16-18, 2014.

  • Visit us in booth #  B1621 on the show floor to see our new off-the-shelf BMS product demonstration in action. Linear Technology will also be showcasing their products using Nuvation’ BMS in their own booth, # E905
  • On Wednesday September 17, 3:00pm-3:45pm, in booth B1853 on the exhibition floor, Nuvation Engineering, Bloomy, and Linear Technology will be participating in a panel discussion about the future of battery management systems with respect to large-scale battery technologies. This panel discussion is free to all Battery Show attendees, and will offer expert insights into this rapidly growing area of battery technology.
  • September 18, 1:30-3:15, Conference Track 2, Ruby Ballroom – Battery Management Systems – Michael Worry, Nuvation’s CEO, will be participating in this conference track and discussing “Real-world challenges for battery management systems.

For more details, please visit our website Events Page.

Engineering Scholarship Winner

in Robots, Scholarship

Congratulations to Marina Dimitrov from Portland Oregon, the 2014 winner of Nuvation’s $1,000 engineering scholarship. Applicants were asked to submit a short essay about something they really enjoyed about engineering. Marina told us all about her work on robots that make elephants exercise!

Check out Marina’s winning essay.

Packy the Elephant Meet “Packy,” one of Marina’s oldest customers. Robot feeder and worktable Packy’s robot personal trainer is getting some upgrades from Marina’s FIRST Robotics team. Marina gets ready to make a robot!

Now a Sophomore at Stanford University majoring in Biomechanical Engineering, Marina discovered her passion for robotics during high school in the FIRST Robotics Competition, where she created robots that play Frisbee, soccer, and basketball (this time the robots did the exercising!).

Marina cutting metal Marina working in the lab. Elephant Feeder Process Flow Chart Elephant feeder UI flow chart. Robot playing sports Robots playing, ummm, what sport is that?

This summer she studied the “biomechanics of tuna” and is thinking of ways to make robots swim better by “striving to understand and mimic what nature has had millions of years to design.” Not a bad resume for eighteen years old – wait a minute, are we saying “Marina” is studying the biomechanics of fish at Stanford Hopkins Marine Station…I get the feeling we will be hearing more about this dynamic future engineer in the…future. Congratulations again Marina, and please drop by Nuvation’s California office sometime, and see if you have any biomechanical engineering tips for our air hockey playing robot.