Business

The pandemic has pushed some Silicon Valley start-ups back into the garage.

Designing and creating new technology — never an easy task — has become far more difficult in the pandemic.

This is particularly true for companies building batteries, computer chips, robots, self-driving cars and any other technology that involves more than software code. While many American workers can get by with a laptop and an internet connection, start-up engineers piecing together new kinds of hardware also need circuit boards, car parts, soldering irons, microscopes and, at the end of it all, an assembly line.

But Silicon Valley is not the home of ingenuity for nothing. When the pandemic hit, many start-up engineers in the area moved their gear into their homes so they could keep innovating, The New York Times’s Cade Metz reports.

For example, an engineer at Cerebras Systems, a start-up in Los Altos, Calif., that is building what may be the world’s largest computer chip turned his living room into a hardware lab. In mid-March, Mr. Hedges packed the 10-by-14-foot room with chips and circuit boards. There were also monitors, soldering irons, microscopes and oscilloscopes, which analyze the electrical signals that travel across the hardware.

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