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Climate watch: choosing Kyoto's successor

December 29, 2009 7:07 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

Global investments in renewable energy technology dipped 40% from 2008-09—this according to United Nations Industrial Development Organization Director, General Kandeh Yumkella. “Due to the current economic crisis we have seen almost a 40 percent decline in 2009 alone in these investments,” said Yumkella...

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CEC holds hearing on TV regulations

December 29, 2009 7:01 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

Back in March, we reported on the California Energy Commission’s proposal to set a cap on the maximum active mode power usage (watts) for TV’s. All units above the maximum would be banned for sale in California—this would preclude the vast majority of Plasma, DLP, and Rear-projection TV’s.

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The Truth About Intel's New Netbook Chip

December 22, 2009 4:06 am | by David Coursey | Comments

 Way, way, way too much is being made of the supposed impact Intel's new Atom N450 chip will have on the netbook and, by extension, laptop markets.

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The ECN Roundtable - Multicore Adoption

December 21, 2009 11:43 am | Comments

This month's question, "What is the biggest challenge facing the adoption of multicore processors by the engineering community for more applications?" was answered by people from Texas Instruments, Freescale, The Mathworks, and National Instruments.

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Design Talk: January 2010

December 21, 2009 8:21 am | Comments

As electronic devices are getting smaller and as consumers are demanding more features, designing printed circuit boards (PCBs) is becoming increasingly complex, not to mention that any finished design must face both performance testing and testing for compliance with Federal Communications Commission rules and other codes.

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IPv6 Goes Embedded

December 21, 2009 4:27 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

Most networked equipment uses Internet Protocol version 4, or IPv4, which provides for about four billion 32-bit IP addresses. Concerns about exhausting these addresses--and other technical issues--led the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)to develop Internet Protocol version 6, or IPv6.

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Li ion Battery Monitoring Solutions: Accuracy and Safety

December 21, 2009 4:11 am | by Andrew Glascott-Jones & Thierry Masson, e2v | Comments

Li ion is an obvious choice to power future electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). It has a number of advantages: a high-cell voltage of 3.6 Volts means that fewer cells, with their associated connections and electronics, are needed for high voltage batteries.

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Seek Production Expertise During Li-ion Cells Selection

December 18, 2009 9:13 am | by Chris Turner, Director Battery Technology, Nexergy, Inc. & Dr. George Thomas, Vice President, Shiningstar Technology Corp. | Comments

From a modest start in 1990, lithium-ion cell production has mushroomed into a multibillion-units-per-year industry with manufacturing facilities spread all over the world. Because of the potential for dangerous thermal-related incidents during the manufacture and use of Li-ion cells, extreme care must be taken during the manufacturing processes to produce high-quality cells that are as safe as possible.

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Improvements in Battery Charger ICs Keep Pace with Rapid Increases in Mobile Handset Capabilities

December 18, 2009 7:24 am | by Giampaolo Marino and Tamara Schmitz, Intersil Corporation | Comments

In the era of global wireless connectivity, almost nothing is more important than keeping a smart phone or mobile Internet device charged. Expanding features on the constantly improving portable and handheld device create a major challenge for designers of battery charger ICs.

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How to Survive the Quest for a Useful Multicore Benchmark

December 15, 2009 4:31 am | by Shay Gal-On, Markus Levy, and Steve Leibson | Comments

Selecting an optimal multicore chip or SoC architecture is considerably more complex than picking a lone processor chip or core. As with processor selection, benchmarks can help. A good multicore benchmark will identify bottlenecks in the multicore system design including memory and I/O bottlenecks, computational bottlenecks, and real-time bottlenecks.

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Gifts for geeks

December 11, 2009 8:02 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

Geeks, the most misunderstood of all species (yes, I’m a member), are notoriously difficult to shop for. We don’t bow to the fashion gods (to put it kindly), our literary tastes are unpredictable, and as for electronics, forgetaboutit—only geeks know what other geeks want. Thus, I present Gifts for Geeks. If you’re a parent/friend/relative with one of these eclectic individuals on your shopping list, take note.

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Shielding Materials Help Prevent Last-Minute Test Failures

December 9, 2009 12:17 pm | by David Garagnani, Application Engineer, W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., www.gore.com | Comments

Electronics packaging solutions are developed on many levels, from the board architecture all the way up to the mechanical enclosure. The individual elements that compose these solutions need to work together so that the device can pass compliance tests.

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Human Fall Detection Using New MEMS Accelerometer Technology

December 9, 2009 6:10 am | by Ning Jia, field applications engineer, Analog Devices, Inc., www.analog.com | Comments

For humans, an unobserved fall can have very serious consequences. In some cases, the initial injury can become more traumatic if not treated within a short time. In other cases, an individual can suffer an accidental fall as the result of weakness or dizziness due to a diminished self-care and self-protective ability.

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Ultracapacitors Make Battery Modules Greener

December 9, 2009 5:18 am | by Michael Tentnowski, vice president of marketing and business development of Ioxus, www.ioxus.com | Comments

In order to see how ultracapacitors make battery modules greener, one needs to have a basic description of the devices.  Batteries rely on a chemical reaction to dissipate stored energy. There is no chemical reaction in ultracapacitors, as they store energy in an electrostatic field.

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System Optimization for Netbooks, Ultra-mobile PCs, and Mobile Internet Devices

December 9, 2009 5:07 am | by Jinrong Qian, Battery Charge Management Manager, Distinguished Member Technical Staff, Texas Instruments, www.ti.com | Comments

Small-size and low-cost netbooks, ultra-mobile PCs (UMPC) and mobile internet devices (MIDs) are becoming more popular and gaining wide user acceptance. The Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery charging system used in these portable devices is much more sophisticated than that used in cellular phones.

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