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GPS Modules put Products on the Map

March 20, 2008 9:42 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

When a product such as a child locator, surveying instrument, or autonomous vehicle requires position information, a GPS module can provide it. Prices for devices that provide this information range from less than a dollar for chips used in cell phones to hundreds of dollars for modules and boards that offer high accuracy. Cell-phone GPS receivers might get you “close enough,” but higher-end modules can offer centimeter accuracy. “At its simplest, a GPS receiver acquires satellite signals, decodes their information, and calculates a position, time, and velocity,” explained Joel Avey, director of marketing at Trimble for the company’s advanced devices.

Designing Appliances that Communicate

March 19, 2008 10:03 am | by Bob Gohn, vice president marketing, Ember Corporation | Comments

The need for our appliances to be networked is rapidly emerging, and fortunately, so are the means with the advent of ZigBee low-cost wireless platforms.

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Switch Requirements for Medical Applications

March 14, 2008 10:05 am | by Jerome Smolinski, Senior Product Manager, C&K Components | Comments

In the area of  medical switch components, current trends continue to call for further miniaturization to meet the needs of space-saving applications like hearing aids.

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Books and Boards 2006

March 5, 2008 5:56 am | Comments

Jon Titus reviews Silicon Labs ToolStick Starter Kit and Robert Oshana's DSP Software Development Techniques for Embedded and Real-Time Systems.

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Confidence as world commodity

February 29, 2008 8:58 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Comments

For all the new component demos I see each year, particularly those with applications for consumer electronics, I often wonder whether the latest whiz-bang feature that a particular component is intended to deliver for the end-product is really satisfying some sort of demand. In other words, does the end-user have an appetite for that revolutionary new feature?

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Battery and IC Products Enable Portable Consumer-Electronic Devices

February 26, 2008 11:21 am | by Kevin Tretter, Senior Product Marketing Engineer, Analog & Interface Products Division, Microchip Technology Inc | Comments

In the world of portable consumer-electronic devices, manufacturers are faced with a challenging prospect — creating physically smaller devices that have enhanced performance while maintaining or extending operating battery life. These requirements have rippled throughout the entire electronics industry, forcing battery and Integrated Circuit (IC) manufacturers to constantly push the boundaries of technology.

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Select the Optimal Power Management IC

February 26, 2008 6:25 am | by Bob Lyle, Intersil Corp. | Comments

Managing power is a critical requirement for all electronic equipment from notebooks to PDAs to storage peripherals. Power management ICs can optimize power usage to match the constantly changing demands of whatever task the device is carrying out. There are several important criteria to consider when selecting the best IC for an application.

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Small Logic Analyzers Pack in the Bits

February 25, 2008 10:09 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

Small logic analyzers put many digital channels, trigger options and I/O capabilities in an instrument that engineers can consider as their own. These small analyzers connect through a USB port to a host PC that controls functions and displays, and saves information.

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Instruments Scope Out Bus Details

February 25, 2008 9:48 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

Although serial ports may seem like antiques, for many years ahead, equipment will continue to rely on serial communications via RS-485, I2C, SPI, SATA and 10-Gigabit Ethernet links, for example. But testing and troubleshooting communications on these and other serial buses can get ugly. No one wants to sit in front of a scope to try to make sense of endless streams of 1s and 0s.

Brainstorm - Military & Aerospace Electronics

February 11, 2008 6:14 am | Comments

We asked industry leaders what key technologies will enhance thermal management in military/aerospace equipment in the next three years?

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People are talking

February 11, 2008 5:23 am | Comments

If you’re like most people living in the “digital home,” you have a plethora of those bulky, brick-like power adapters — wall warts as they’re commonly known — connected to a wall and one of perhaps a dozen or more electronic devices, each with its own unique DC power requirement. Whether to power a laptop, cell phone, computer and peripherals, games or power tools...

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Silicon Temp Sensors Measure by Degrees

January 25, 2008 6:05 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

People measure temperature more than any other physical characteristic. As a result, semiconductor vendors offer a large variety of silicon-based temperature sensors that usually operate in a range from -40°C to 125°C, although vendors sometimes tailor sensor spans for specific applications. Sensors used in PCs and servers, for example, may measure in a narrower range — about 75°C to 110°C. Depending on your application and budget, you can purchase inexpensive sensors with an accuracy of ±1°C to ±2°C.

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Charger-Circuit Designs Fulfill Consumer Needs

January 25, 2008 6:00 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

Lithium-ion batteries have taken the portable-electronics world by storm. Tony Armstrong, the power-products marketing manager at Linear Technology Corp. recently told me he bought his son a radio-controlled all-terrain vehicle. About half of the RC models and transmitters he examined came with lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries. Just two years ago, Armstrong found almost all models relied on nickel-cadmium or nickel-metal-hydride batteries.

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Networked Digital Video Surveillance — What’s the Impact?

January 25, 2008 5:53 am | by Michael L Long – Product Line Manager, Industrial Video Applications | Comments

The field of video surveillance has seen explosive growth in the last 3 years. The convergence of heightened security demand and innovative technology, in the acquisition, transport, analysis and storage of quality video has resulted in a massive deployment of cameras and systems in a number of venues. Major cities, transportation centers, highways, military installations, retail and business centers are all covered by the un-blinking gaze of millions of cameras. According to some reports, the UK alone has over 15 million security cameras.

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Building Automotive GUIs “In a Flash”

January 25, 2008 5:51 am | Comments

According to Adobe Systems, over 300 million mobile devices have graphical user interfaces (GUIs) based on Adobe Flash technology – a number that may exceed a billion by 2010. Developers of in-car navigation and infotainment systems are also beginning to embrace Flash, for a simple reason: it can reduce the time to build a GUI by up to 50%. In the past, software teams had to translate their GUI prototypes into C, C++, or Java code, a labor-intensive process that can take many months. Now, teams can prototype their GUIs with high-level Flash tools and run those GUIs directly on embedded Flash players, without having to write graphics code.

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