What is the next breakthrough in battery technology?
Microcontrollers offer engineers a variety of power-saving techniques. But using them effectively requires careful attention to tradeoffs in software and hardware at the start of a project. "Engineers must partition their application so they have a rough idea how long their microcontroller will stay in a sleep mode or in an active mode," said Mike Salas...
To find out more about the state of motor-control design in embedded systems, I recently talked with three engineers at Texas Instruments who work with motor-related hardware and software. "Motor control looks simple to start but it covers many disciplines so it's almost impossible to have one designer do everything," noted Miroslav Oljaca...
The continued increase in mobile handset functionality is being enabled by more powerful baseband and applications processor chips, which are more frequently coupled with memory devices using package-on-package (PoP) stacking.
The emergence of energy-efficiency standards and continued evolution of processing and feature sets to support new products that consumers/enterprises use in everyday life: DVRs, set-top boxes and modems, industrial handhelds, portable media players, bar-code scanners have changed the methodologies employed for addressing DC power conversion, management and distribution.
Even with careful planning and reliance on industry-leading technologies, it’s not uncommon for records managers and their IT support teams to experience frustration and disappointment with their document capture and conversion workflow environment.
There are many industries that depend on the proven design concepts that require high voltages to operate. Radar, X-ray machines, traveling wave tubes, down-hole logging, particle accelerators, aerospace ignition systems, partial discharge detection, power utilities and welding equipment are some examples.
A major challenge facing power engineers today is how to overcome a reduction in board space for the power circuitry in commercial electronic products. A quick walk through any electronics retail store will reveal that personal computers have become smaller and even miniaturized which is a trend for many other types of electronic devices.
Medical electronics applications require components that are smaller, more robust, and highly versatile, particularly as medical equipment becomes increasingly portable. Because medical systems often use discrete electronic components in their circuit designs, passive components are critical to optimizing performance and reliability.
Portable products increasingly rely on a single 3.7V Li-Ion battery for the energy source. For these and other low-voltage applications, lower gate voltage power MOSFETs improve the efficiency for extended battery life and reduce the heat dissipation involved in switching the loads. In addition, they simplify the design of numerous control functions by allowing direct control / drive.
This year at APEC I moderated a rap session on dealing with the Smart Grid. It had a standing-room-only crowd, and demonstrated how much interest exists on both the technical and political issues involved.
With GPS rapidly becoming an increasingly vital part of our business and private lives, the market for these devices has seen a strong and steady business growth. Apart from traditional GPS applications, such as navigation and car breakdown emergency systems, GPS functionality has expanded well into the industrial and business markets.
Pick and place robotics has been a common sight in the automotive industry for some time. It is capable of auto racking, bin picking, positioning parts for assembly, and other repetitive tasks that help automate production sequences and reduce costs.
In the past, electronic control units (ECUs) in automotive applications were connected by individual signal wires. However, today, close to 100% of the ECUs are connected by bus systems such as LIN, CAN and FlexRay. This yields significant advantages, including improved data availability, straightforward wiring and standardized interfaces.
I recently had the great honor of moderating the Smart Grid Rap Session at this year’s Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC). It brought home to me that in addition to the technical challenges facing the power industry, there are also political issues that must be addressed as we move forward. The old political arguments around power revolved around NIMBY issues about the location of power plants...