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The ZigBee impact

May 16, 2012 3:44 pm | by Janine E. Mooney, Editor | Articles | Comments

Your home and office contain a host of technologies working to improve the way you live. From monitoring energy intake and usage, to controlling your appliances and lighting, ZigBee is a protocol that is changing the way we live – and in some cases, we don’t even realize it.

The future of video inspection system products looks bright

May 8, 2012 4:04 pm | by Jim Norton, President, Custom Products & Services | Blogs | Comments

In recent years, many electronics manufacturers have been adopting the use of video inspection systems. These systems utilize digital cameras to perform many of the visual inspection functions formerly performed with optical microscopes. Digital camera technology has improved to the point where the image quality now rivals that of optical instruments for many applications.

Low power, low-cost testing

May 4, 2012 12:29 pm | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

I'm sure some of you were wondering about the board I described in A Beauty. What is it for? It is an electronic load of sorts for power supply testing. Low power (under a watt) power supply testing. The principle is simple. You apply a pulsing load to the power supply and watch its response.

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Higher solar cell efficiencies taking benefits of IC technology experience

May 4, 2012 9:36 am | by Philip Pieters, business development director Energy at imec, www.imec.be | Blogs | Comments

By bringing expertise of the semiconductor industry to the PV industry, we can significantly increase the efficiency of crystalline silicon solar cells. Of course, the semiconductor processes cannot simply be copied into the PV lines. They must be adapted towards higher throughput and lower cost. This is a challenge but also an opportunity for

Picking robotics stocks is complicated; some are a waste of time

May 2, 2012 2:32 pm | by Frank Tobe, Editor and Publisher, The Robot Report, www.therobotreport.com | Blogs | Comments

"Pure play" is an investment term that refers to a company which is exclusively focused on a particular product or service. An investor buys stock in pure play companies in order to obtain a market share in the industry as well as in the company. Robotics, to many, are just a tool to accomplish business tasks in an efficient way.

Enabling simplicity: How sophisticated MCU solutions can help reduce the complexity of consumer electronics designs

April 30, 2012 11:10 am | by Mike Salas, Vice President and General Manager, Microcontroller Products, Silicon Labs | Blogs | Comments

Innovation continues to flourish at the individual product-level as consumer electronics companies continue to find ways to add more appealing features and functions for end users in everything from thermostats and washing machines to wireless headsets and wristwatches. Clearly the push is on to “IP-enable” the entire consumer electronics industry...

Where is my performance?

April 27, 2012 1:49 pm | by Atul Verma, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

Without a doubt, multicore processing is becoming more mainstream these days. Multicore programming or parallel programming is no longer confined to esoteric applications coded by ninja programmers.  Advancements in tools and multicore programming paradigms such as OpenMP have certainly made programming simpler.

Adding a C to the CLA

April 27, 2012 1:42 pm | by Chris Clearman, Motor Control Solutions Manager, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

All motor control designers want to deliver the best possible motor control solution quickly. Part of this depends on the gauged difficulty of design. If you’ve investigated TI microcontrollers for your motor control designs, you may have run across something called a Control Law Accelerator (CLA).

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Earth Day at the EcoCAR 2 lab

April 27, 2012 11:38 am | by Tyler Rose, Outreach Coordinator, UW EcoCAR 2 Team and Tom Egel, Consulting Engineer, MathWorks | Blogs | Comments

Earth Day is our favorite holiday around the UW EcoCAR 2 lab. From our standpoint, this time of the year encourages people to celebrate the ways in which they can help reduce vehicle emissions and fuel consumption. We will be showcasing our team's EcoCAR 2 efforts alongside the Puget Sound Clean Cities Coalition at the Earth Day festivities put on by the University of Washington.

Losing the space race ex post facto

April 26, 2012 11:27 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The United States is conceding the space race...43 years after winning it. The Space Shuttle's ignominious retirement closes the door on an engineering marvel and an American institution. And the public didn’t bat an eyelash. How did we get to this point? How did space travel become blasé? When Neil Armstrong took one small step for (a) man, half a billion people tuned in around the world.  

Can you multi-task like a multicore processor?

April 25, 2012 8:55 am | by Zhihong Lin, multicore processors business unit, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

Multi-tasking seems to be an essential skill nowadays, whether it’s at work or home.  There are just not enough hours in the day, so we try to do everything we need to do at the same time.  Inevitably, the quality of the output will suffer when we try to juggle many things at once.

Seatbelts, embedded firewalls, and complacency

April 23, 2012 1:11 pm | by Alan Grau, President of Icon Labs | Blogs | Comments

What do embedded firewalls and seatbelts have in common, you ask? Quite a bit, as I see it. Both are simple, elegant, and effective solutions to important problems; protecting people in car crashes, and protecting embedded devices from hackers. Both an embedded firewall and seat belt are relatively inexpensive.

So, which PWM technique is best? (Part 7)

April 20, 2012 1:26 pm | by Dave Wilson, Motion Products Evangelist, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

So, which PWM technique is best for your motor control application?  There are certainly plenty of options to choose from, with each one exhibiting unique advantages as well as disadvantages.  In this final blog on this topic, let’s conclude with a discussion on regeneration for both DC and AC motors.

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A beauty

April 20, 2012 11:18 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

The picture is of a board I had made by the DorkbotPDX board service. It is a beauty. The gold plating is not guaranteed but depends on what others who use the service pay for. Dorkbot puts a number of boards on a panel in order to get a pretty good price.

Can Neil Young's studio-quality audio format curtail music piracy?

April 19, 2012 4:52 pm | by Ron M. Seidel, Editorial Intern | Articles | Comments

Young, who has been releasing albums since the 1960s, has his own ideas about innovating the way we consume music. In June, he filed six trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for names involving a new high-fidelity audio format. It appears the 66-year-old is on a crusade to bring the full sonic capacity of studio master recordings to the digital frontier.

So, which PWM technique is best? (Part 6)

April 17, 2012 9:25 am | by Dave Wilson, Motion Products Evangelist, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

So, which PWM technique is best for your motor control application? Hopefully by now you have seen just how versatile the PWM process can be, and how subtle changes in this process can have a dramatic effect on motor performance. In the previous blogs on this topic, I have only discussed the techniques as they apply to DC motors in an H-Bridge.

The human price point for electronics

April 16, 2012 9:51 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

“Americans will buy American products when they’re willing to pay for American work.” Those words came from one of my PR contacts a couple of years ago as we discussed bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. While a return to those standards seems light years away, a more pertinent question we should ask ourselves is “what price are we willing to pay to reclaim our humanity?”

Resource One

April 13, 2012 9:31 am | by M Simon | Blogs | Comments

I was looking around the 'net and came across the name of someone who worked on the design of Resource One. I logged on to Resource One in '74 (it was part of a hitch hiking trip with my girlfriend, and still wife, from Carbondale, Illinos to the West coast). There were 12 terminals around the Bay Area hooked up to an old SDS mainframe by modem.

Improvement needed for controversial full-body scanners

April 12, 2012 4:46 pm | by Ron M. Seidel, Editorial Intern | Articles | Comments

Recent developments have put into question the true capabilities and benefits of full-body scanners, the controversial devices that use what the Transportation Security Administration calls “advanced imaging technology.” One wonders if officials in Washington, having adamantly defended the scanners for years, might just be too stubborn to concede the equipment’s ineffectiveness.

So, which PWM technique is best? (Part 5)

April 12, 2012 11:12 am | by Dave Wilson, Motion Products Evangelist, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

So, which PWM technique is best for your motor control application?  By now you have probably surmised that there is no “one” PWM technique that is the best for all applications.  But the technique we are going to discuss today comes pretty close.  It's called the Unipolar 4-Quadrant PWM Technique (Form II)...

So, which PWM technique is best? (Part 4)

April 10, 2012 3:27 pm | by Dave Wilson, Motion Products Evangelist, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

So, which PWM technique is best for your motor control application? Up to now we have investigated three different PWM techniques. Some could regenerate energy back into the DC power supply, and some couldn’t. But they all had one characteristic in common: unipolar voltage waveforms.

The Tinker's Toolbox -- Chad Hall of Ioxus

April 10, 2012 8:54 am | Podcasts | Comments

The Tinker’s Toolbox is the Advantage Design Group’s web-based interview show where we talk about the latest technology, components, design, and systems integration issues for the electronic design engineering community. In this edition, Alix Paultre, formerly of ECN, chats with Chad Hall of Ioxus about power quality issues.

So, which PWM technique is best? (Part 3)

April 5, 2012 6:17 am | by Dave Wilson, Motion Products Evangelist, Texas Instruments | Articles | Comments

So, which PWM technique is best for your motor control application? So far we have studied two motor drive topologies that result in unipolar PWM voltage waveforms on the motor, but are incapable of providing any braking for the motor in the event you want to decelerate quickly.

New rumors of smaller Apple tablet continue to surface

April 5, 2012 5:42 am | by Ron M. Seidel, Editorial Intern | Articles | Comments

Stories about an “iPad mini” started receiving attention March 13 when 9to5Mac posted a link to a Korea Times report in which an unnamed Samsung official told the newspaper that Apple will be building a 7.85-inch version of the iPad utilizing Samsung displays.

So, which PWM technique is best? (Part 2)

April 3, 2012 12:25 pm | by Dave Wilson, Motion Products Evangelist, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

So, which PWM technique is best for your motor control application? In the previous blog, we examined the single-quadrant PWM technique, which is a good fit for extremely cost sensitive motor control applications where you want to control the motor’s speed...

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