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Do you have what it takes to be a Roundtable expert?

November 8, 2012 11:11 am | Articles | Comments

In October, we asked you for your words of wisdom for a brand-new design engineer and boy, did you guys have advice in spades. The responses we received were so good in fact, we’ve decided to open up our December Roundtable to our faithful readers in hopes that you can offer more words of wisdom. 

Engineering Newswire 10: Amphibious ATV rides on water, for $40K

November 7, 2012 9:32 am | Videos | Comments

Today on Engineering Newswire, brought to you by Memory Protection Devices, we're building nanoscale structures with metal, solving the iPhone's picture problems, manufacturing 40 custom coupés, engineering Porsche's greatest model yet, and designing an amphibious ATV.

DC/DC converter developed for transportation, industrial applications

November 6, 2012 2:38 pm | Murata Power Solutions Inc. | Product Releases | Comments

The Murata Power Solutions RUW15 series of 15 W ultra-wide single output isolated DC-DC converters has been developed for transportation and industrial applications where the input voltage may vary widely and a hold-up capability is required. Accommodating an extremely wide input range from 16 to 160 VDC,


Custom gear boxes designed for high torque, low speed applications

November 5, 2012 10:34 am | Product Releases | Comments

Applimotion introduces custom gear motors for your high torque low speed and low profile applications. The assemblies combine precision gearing and direct drive frameless motor kits to form a new high torque alternative to coupling a servo motor to a traditional gear box.

Multiple Code Reading Applications Made Easy

November 2, 2012 11:32 am | by Cognex | White Papers

Reading more than one barcode at a time is a challenging application for many manufacturing and material handling engineers. In these applications there is a need to read multiple codes of the same symbology as well as multiple codes of mixed symbologies within one field of view (FOV). Even more difficult is reading one or more codes on multiple sides of a package to verify that the codes match or to output both sides’ read results as one piece of data. Laser scanners have difficulty reading codes that are poorly printed, damaged or defective, are at extreme perspectives and that are omnidirectional. They cannot manage when variations occur in part and package positioning. And they cannot read 2-D codes at all, which means that they have no way to compete in two of the four types of multiple code reading applications we commonly see. Image-based code reading technology can handle much more variation in barcode printing than traditional laser scanners and can also read codes presented at any angle or omnidirectionally. Additionally, the life of an image-based scanner, with no moving parts, is longer and more reliable than a mechanical based laser scanner. With this information, image-based barcode reading solutions make a great replacement for laser scanners even when reading single barcodes and are especially exceptional with multiple barcodes of the same or different symbology types

Top 10 must-see posts from October

November 1, 2012 1:49 pm | by The ECN Editors | Articles | Comments

Here’s a rundown of the most read, most popular, most awesome articles on the web. Take a look at what you missed the first time around or check up on an old favorite to see the conversation in the comments. Keep checking out the Lead at and follow us on Twitter @ecnonline for our most up-to-date articles.

Why I don't trust cars that think for themselves

November 1, 2012 10:32 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Most drivers wouldn't feel comfortable just handing over control of their vehicle to, well, their vehicle, but a new system from Nissan may do just that. The Autonomous Emergency Steering System, as the name suggests, will take over steering in emergency situations in which a crash could be avoided when you remove human error from the equation.

Module delivers 100Mbps-down and 50Mbps-up data rates on LTE networks

October 25, 2012 1:25 pm | Product Releases | Comments

Telit Wireless Solutions announced the introduction of the LE920 LTE module for European and North American OEM automotive and aftermarket segments. The new 920 form factor measures 34x40x2.8mm on a 198-pad LGA automotive-grade package.


Company develops device that fools red-light cameras

October 24, 2012 12:27 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Red-light cameras are a hot-button issue. One side calls them a necessary safety precaution, while the other questions their constitutionality. Not to mention, since the red-light camera are run by big business that occasionally gets paid by the ticket, it seems a little shady.

GM tests magnesium sheet metal to make cars lighter

October 24, 2012 9:10 am | by Bernie Woodall, Reuters | News | Comments

Engineers and scientists at General Motors Co believe they are making major strides toward lighter vehicles by developing a way to expand the use of magnesium in auto parts. Making auto parts from magnesium sheets by heating the lightweight metal so it can be formed into precise, rigid shapes will help GM.

System-on-chip family suitable for dash-mounted sound-system control panels

October 17, 2012 10:37 am | Stmicroelectronics | Product Releases | Comments

STMicroelectronics has revealed the industry’s first full-digital audio-amplifier system-on-chip family suitable for use in dash-mounted sound-system control panels in the car. Class-D amplifiers achieve about 80 percent higher energy efficiency than analog class-AB amplifiers. 

Intelligent power switch optimized for automotive PTC electric heaters

October 17, 2012 10:14 am | International Rectifier | Product Releases | Comments

International Rectifier introduced the reliable AUIR3320S high-side intelligent power switch (IPS) optimized for automotive auxiliary positive temperature coefficient (PTC) electric heaters. Offering very low on-state resistance (Rds(on)) of 4 mohm (max.) at 25°C, the AUIR3320S delivers higher current with a smaller heat sink to reduce system footprint.

Hyundai, Broadcom collaborate on in-car ethernet

October 16, 2012 12:36 pm | by Andrew Berg | News | Comments

Broadcom today announced a joint initiative with auto manufacturer Hyundai to create a new in-car infotainment system that will be built around Broadcom's Ethernet technology. The companies say the solution will make advanced safety and entertainment options cheaper and available in more cars...


High-brightness LED backlights intended for sunlight readable displays

October 15, 2012 9:51 am | Product Releases | Comments

Global Lighting Technologies (GLT) has introduced new high-brightness backlight solutions for high-efficiency sunlight-readable displays. GLT can design and build the new high brightness light guides in different sizes – e.g., 5-, 7-, 9- and 12-inch diagonal – to fit the customer’s requirements.

Rugged MEMs pressure sensors deliver high accuracy and ease of use

October 15, 2012 9:19 am | Product Releases | Comments

Melexis introduces the first of its line of commercial, off the shelf, packaged MEMs pressure sensors. The MLX90809 benefits from 10+ years of developing custom MEMs pressure sensors for demanding automotive applications. This new device is a highly accurate, AEC Q100 qualified relative pressure sensor specifically targeted at 1 Bar applications.

RF transceiver IC family features industry's lowest power consumption

October 12, 2012 9:31 am | Atmel Corporation | Product Releases | Comments

Atmel announced the availability of a new family of low-power, high-performance microcontroller-based RF transceivers designed specifically for the automotive and smart RF markets. With the industry's lowest power consumption, high sensitivity and high output power, the three new devices (ATA5831, ATA5832 and ATA5833) are ideal for automotive applications...

AC fan-cooling solutions serve electric vehicle charging systems

October 11, 2012 9:57 am | Product Releases | Comments

Dallas-based Orion Fans, a division of Knight Electronics, has developed a thermally-controlled series of AC fans designed for electric vehicle (EV) charging systems. The smart AC axial fans feature a ball-bearing design that can deliver airflows up to 100 CFM...

Toyota announces voluntary recall of certain vehicles

October 10, 2012 9:55 am | News | Comments

Toyota announced that it will conduct a safety recall involving approximately 2.5 million vehicles to inspect and apply special fluorine grease to the driver’s side power window master switch. An an uneven application of the grease during the switch assembly process is causing safety concerns...

Engineering Newswire 7: A fully 3D-printed race car

October 10, 2012 9:12 am | Videos | Comments

zero2infinity hopes to offer a slow and steady ascent aboard bloon, an intimate six-person pod attached to a zero-pressure polyethylene helium balloon. Gov. Jerry Brown rides to Google headquarters in a self-driving Toyota Prius before signing legislation that will pave the way for driverless cars in California.

Prevent accidents by making your backseat disappear

October 9, 2012 11:16 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Crunch. That’s the last sound you want to hear when you’re backing up your car. It is scary. It is alarming. It is NOT a good sound.It’s the reason dashboard cams were invented. Unfortunately, the embedded cameras only show a small portion of what’s behind the car, and accidents still happen.

September 2012: Power

October 9, 2012 10:53 am | Digital Editions | Comments

In this issue of ECN, Associate Editor Kasey Panetta writes about the steady proliferation of electric vehicle charging stations, Jon Titus discusses brushless DC motors, and Executive Editor Chris Warner sounds the alarm about the encroaching reality of sci-fi dystopias.

Warning, automatic braking systems on autos will help save lives, research predicts

October 4, 2012 8:45 am | by Eurekalert! | News | Comments

The second highest cause of automobile crashes is rear-end collisions – 17 percent. Thousands of people die. The solution? "It is simple," said Clay Gabler, a professor of biomedical engineering at Virginia Tech. "Slow the striking vehicle." The concept is simple. Execution is complex and expensive.

Controller area network (CAN): Teaching an old dog new tricks

October 3, 2012 12:06 pm | by Scott Monroe, Texas Instruments | Articles | Comments

There is a saying that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. While CAN is 25 years old, it continues to grow and gain new capabilities. It has been adapted into widely varying applications starting with its roots in simple automotive multiplexing to the current automotive networks, transportation, and industrial applications.

Why you should support improvements in electric car chargers

October 3, 2012 8:55 am | Articles | Comments

People simply don’t think of electric cars as long-distance vehicles. It’s a car to run down the street and grab some groceries, make the 15 miles commute to work or—like one of my friends—if you live in Hawaii and can’t really drive that far. It’s not an option most people think about for a regular car.

MCUs target instrument cluster systems for two- and four-wheeled vehicles

October 2, 2012 5:20 pm | Renesas | Product Releases | Comments

Renesas Electronics Corporation announced 21 new 16-bit microcontroller (MCU) products in the RL78/D1A Group, including 48-pin versions, which are said to be the industry’s smallest single-chip MCUs for two-wheeled vehicle meter applications. The new devices with packages ranging from 48 to 100 pins are designed fo

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