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Industry Focus: Interaction in Consumer Devices

March 10, 2009 10:34 am | by Christopher Keuling, Associate Editor | Comments

It’s a fact that consumers want end products that give them the most user interaction. Two of the most popular examples on the market are Apple’s iPhone and Nintendo’s Wii. These end products serve very different purposes to their desired consumers, but share electronic advances that make these products, amongst others, an interactive experience for the user. In this month's Industry Focus, we talked to six different companies

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Print your own Stormtrooper

March 10, 2009 7:06 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

For those who’ve never been, Electronics West is one of seven shows (including EW, Medical Design and Manufacturing West, Pacific Design and Manufacturing West, Automation Technology Expo West, Plastec West, West Pack, and Green Manufacturing West) co-located within the Anaheim Convention Center. One badge earned admittance to all, so from 10-12 February, I “attended” each.

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Enclosure Design: Integrating Aesthetics and Functionality

February 20, 2009 5:22 am | by Dan Farrar, Polycase | Comments

Enclosure manufacturers strive to anticipate the demands of the electronics marketplace with state-of-the-art enclosure designs. The challenge is for designers to develop products with unique features that meet customers’ needs, yet still appeal to the broadest market possible. With this in mind, manufacturers endeavor to engineer enclosures with features, options and accessories that provide a breadth of solutions specific to customers’ applications.

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Sensor Zone: March 2009

February 19, 2009 10:37 am | by Tony Beswick, Russ Petrucci and Phil Slater, Morgan Technical Ceramics | Comments

Piezoelectric ceramic components composed of Lead Zirconate Titanates (PZT) have enabled many recent technological innovations in the automobile industry.  PZT components can be found throughout many state-of-the-art vehicles, enhancing safety, performance, energy-efficiency and comfort. For example, you will find PZT sensors under the hood detecting engine knocking, PZT transducers in the gas tank measuring the fuel level, PZT actuators operating valves

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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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