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Design Talk: Mechatronics

February 19, 2009 8:04 am | Comments

More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. This growth has sparked renewed interest in developing more sophisticated assistive technologies to enable an oftentimes disabling environment. This growth presents semiconductor suppliers with an opportunity to enable this field

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Brainstorm: Environmental Issues

February 17, 2009 6:28 am | Comments

Which green technology has the most commercial potential?

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Where Do the LEDs Belong?

February 12, 2009 12:14 pm | by Alfred Poor, Contributing Editor | Comments

At CES 2009 in Las Vegas this year, it appeared that every major LCD TV manufacturer had at least one model with an LED backlight. It quickly became apparent that there are some clear advantages to using LEDs as the light source, but a closer look at the way this solid state lighting is implemented raises some interesting questions. First, let’s cover the plus side.

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6LoWPAN Goes Where ZigBee Can't

February 12, 2009 8:25 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

Many “standard” and proprietary protocols use the media-access controller (MAC) and the physical circuits (PHY) associated with IEEE 802.15.4 radios. Those protocols use their own arrangements of bits and bytes to transfer information between nodes, but none of them use the Internet Protocol (IP). So they cannot directly communicate with Internet-based devices and Web servers/browsers.

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Take a Top-Down View of Industrial Imaging

February 12, 2009 8:23 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

Before you think about using an industrial imaging system to solve an inspection problem, you must exactly define the problem or problems you need to solve. To start, John Keating, product marketing manager at Cognex breaks vision tasks into four categories: inspection that detects flaws, gauging that performs a dimensional measurement, identification that reads information, and guidance that directs movement.

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Achieving High Efficiency with Power Switches

February 12, 2009 8:18 am | by Gwan-Bon Koo, Senior Engineer, Fairchild Semiconductor | Comments

In general, high frequency operation allows the use of small-sized passive components in switch mode power supplies (SMPS), while it causes switching losses to increase in a hard switching mode. To reduce switching losses at high switching frequencies, many soft switching techniques have been developed. Among them, load resonant techniques and zero voltage transition techniques are widely used.

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Brainstorm: Technology Obsolescence

February 5, 2009 3:28 am | by Edited by Jason Lomberg | Comments

What technology will become obsolete in the near future?

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Interview With CEO of Dialog Semiconductor

February 3, 2009 5:53 am | Comments

Dialog Semiconductor has had a something of a rollercoaster ride in recent times. Once part of the European semiconductor industry’s first order, it suffered many years of poor management and complacency that left it foundering. With the appointment of Jalal Bagherli, the firm is finally back on its feet. He has put together a ‘redeem team’ of executives to aid him in recapturing the glories of the past. ECN’s Mike Green gets some insight on how he is going about it.

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Linux Update

January 20, 2009 6:19 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

A view of Linux from several perspectives will help embedded-system designers better understand how they can use this open-source operating system. Experts at Eurotech, Texas Instruments, and Rowebots share their approaches. "Contrary to what some engineers might think, Linux provides a mature operating system," said Arlen Nipper, president and CTO at Eurotech. "You can obtain best-in-class security, TCP/IP stacks, and support for wireless networking, for example. The associated code drops into Linux and works right away."

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Semiconductor Highlight: Standards for Embedded Microcontrollers

January 20, 2009 6:00 am | by Reinhard Keil, ARM | Comments

Typically, industries use standards to improve product quality and enable component sharing across projects. In practice, such standards achieve wide acceptance since the synergistic effects provide significant benefits to the user community. The hardware and software industry is full of such standards, but there is an exception

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Industry Focus: Automotive Electronics

January 20, 2009 5:14 am | by Akio Nezu, Fujitsu Microelectronics America | Comments

Despite recent economic challenges facing the auto industry, many leaders are moving forward with new and innovative systems for in-vehicle entertainment, and sophisticated audio-video capabilities.  Industry analysts such as iSuppli Corporation have cited significant consumer demand for audio-video connectivity and networking in the vehicle, noting that the industry is at a point where A/V connectivity clearly influences sales.

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Looking forward

January 20, 2009 4:49 am | by Alix Paultre, Editor-in-Chief | Comments

By the time you read this column, Barak Obama will be the President of the United States of America. Politics aside, I think that this is a positive thing for many reasons, the most predominant being that this is a President that understands technology. He was in High School when the first generation of computers arrived, and came of age...

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Security is All in Vein

January 16, 2009 10:09 am | by Alfred Poor, Contributing Editor | Comments

We’ve seen biometric scanning devices so often in movies and television shows that many people feel that they are commonplace. You even have a choice of notebook computers that have fingerprint scanners built in as a security device to limit access to the computer’s contents.

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Cover Story: Distributed Power Goes from Utilities Down to ICs

January 14, 2009 6:12 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

Distributed power means different things to engineers. Some think of it only as the distribution of different DC voltages on a circuit board or in a rack of equipment. But good power-distribution engineering starts at the power company's connection to a building's wiring and goes all the way down to IC power inputs.

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Auld Lang Syne

December 23, 2008 12:06 pm | by Alix Paultre, Editor-in-Chief | Comments

As we head into the New Year, looking towards the future, our minds are always drawn to the past. “Auld Lang Syne” means roughly ‘long times past”. Our ruminations on the past vary from individual to individual; one may look back nostalgic, another regretful, and the third satisfied. The most important thing to remember is that the past is past, and we must embrace the future or face the consequences.

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