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Hungry? Press the emergency pizza button

April 3, 2012 12:15 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

In this era of instant gratification, an emergency pizza button ranks somewhere between the invention of sliced bread and the printing press.

So, which PWM technique is best? (Part 1)

April 2, 2012 11:17 am | by Dave Wilson, Motion Products Evangelist, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

So, which PWM technique is best for your motor control application? In case you haven’t guessed, this is somewhat of a trick question. It’s kind of like asking “which ice-cream flavor is the best”, since everybody knows that the answer is obviously “chocolate chip.”

Number nine

March 30, 2012 4:57 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

A while back I wrote up how to make A Perfect Divider which divides a voltage by 10, 100, 1,000 etc. using mostly very common resistors (100K, 10K, 1K etc.) with only two uncommon resistors to make a resistance divider that divides by decade increments.


The Tinker’s Toolbox – Jeff Klaus of Intel

March 26, 2012 12:35 pm | Podcasts | Comments

Tinker’s Toolbox returns to the data center with Jeff Klaus, Director of Data Center Solutions at Intel. Workload, power consumption, thermal management and energy efficiency are always concerns in the data center, and Jeff will

Touch screen market to reach $14 billion in 2012

March 23, 2012 6:00 am | by Cathleen Thiele, Technology Analyst, IDTechEx | Blogs | Comments

IDTechEx forecasts the touch screen market to reach $14 billion in 2012. The biggest application for touch screens in general, and projected capacitive screens in particular, is mobile phones and, right behind, tablets.

Tips Help Engineers Write Well -- Part 2

March 21, 2012 1:26 pm | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

A conclusion at the start of a report and the active voice improve engineers' written communications.

Design with your eyes on the road

March 21, 2012 6:57 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

The other day, I received a press release from a company that announced plans to apply its technology to the automotive space. The memo cited research from Strategic Analytics which predicts a 10 percent compound annual growth rate in the market for the next five years.

From prototype to volume

March 19, 2012 5:18 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

David Jones has a very good video up on YouTube about how to go from a working prototype to high volume manufacture. The video is a bit over 50 minutes long so be prepared to put some time in. The information is oriented to the novice...


Forth is getting institutionalized

March 16, 2012 5:42 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

GreenArrays, a company I have written about extensively is opening an on line institute for those who want to learn more about how to program and use their chips. They call it the Array Forth Institute. First time log-in is fast and simple.

EC Working on Regulations for Commercial UAV Use

March 14, 2012 6:09 am | Blogs | Comments

Working hard to catch up to the rest of the world, the European Commission's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Panel began meetings February 9 in Brussels, Belgium, to agree on the key flight rules and technologies for commercial UAVs

Driving next-generation medical devices

March 13, 2012 7:14 am | by Alix Paultre, GlobTek, | Articles | Comments

Electronic bone healing technology has been around for a while but has increased in popularity as electronics technology enables increased functionality in significantly smaller form factors. The need to integrate advanced functionality into a small device also creates

TI industrial control training comes to Boston!

March 13, 2012 6:47 am | by Dave Wilson, Motion Products Evangelist, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

This blog is for all you control engineers up there in the New England area. The TI Industrial Control training event is coming to Boston on Tuesday, March 27th through Thursday, March 29th. We did this about a month ago in Chicago...

Atmel Broadens AVR MCU Family

March 12, 2012 1:38 pm | Atmel Corporation | Product Releases | Comments

Atmel Corporation announced 14 new devices in its AVR microcontroller (MCU) family, providing more options to meet unique design requirements. Used by well over 100,000 engineers worldwide, AVR microcontrollers are regarded for their performance, power efficiency and flexibility across many application areas. Adding more memory, connectivity peripherals and system integration, the newest devices


Notes from the electronic underground

March 9, 2012 4:19 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

I was hanging out at the FreePCB blog where commenter gnuarm suggested DorkbotPDX for production of hobby boards. The production process is not hobby grade. You get a solder mask on both sides, silk screen (legend), and a 6/6 process.

The Tinker's Toolbox - Joseph Citrano of Honeywell on Industrial Wireless

March 8, 2012 6:12 am | Podcasts | Comments

Joseph Citrano of Honeywell Sensing and Control (S&C) is my guest for this edition of Tinker’s Toolbox. As wireless technology gains widespread adoption on the factory floor, concerns about

Electric power steering turns the corner

March 7, 2012 10:15 am | by Dave Wilson, Motion Products Evangelist, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

Did you know that your hydraulic steering system wastes more energy than any other system in your car and is third highest in total vehicular energy losses (right behind wind resistance and road resistance)?

Gerbers: Food for designers

March 5, 2012 7:49 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

In my search for good tools that don't cost too much (I like free) I have found an excellent tool for viewing Gerber and drill files. Those are the files produced by most PC board design software and required by most board producers to produce boards.

Elevator TARDIS

March 5, 2012 4:48 am | by Mike Grusin, Engineer, SparkFun Electronics | Blogs | Comments

We here at SparkFun have been known to use our products to play pranks on each other from time to time, and we're always on the lookout for ways to make life at the office more Fun.

Bright Bunny Kit

March 2, 2012 7:49 am | by Chris Taylor, Project Manager – Engineering Department, SparkFun Electronics | Blogs | Comments

The Bright Bunny Kit is a great way to learn soldering and hand sewing. At the end of this project, you'll have a cute stuffed animal that lights up when you feed it a carrot! The original design for the Bright Bunny came from Phillip Lindsay, aka follower.

Laser Limbo

February 29, 2012 6:39 am | by Jordan McConnell, Engineer, SparkFun Electronics | Blogs | Comments

Sometime around mid 2011, Sparkfun had the idea of holding an Open House as a fun event that would give us the opportunity to interact with the community. We brainstormed many fun ideas for the event and decided on which ones to shoot for.

General-Purpose 8-bit MCUs Include Next-Generation Digital and Analog Peripherals

February 28, 2012 12:28 pm | Microchip Technology Inc. | Product Releases | Comments

Microchip Technology Inc. announced a new family of 8-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) featuring next-generation analog and digital peripherals, making them desirable for general-purpose applications, as well as

Turn your ProMicro into a USB keyboard-mouse

February 28, 2012 10:59 am | by Jim Lindblom, Engineer, SparkFun Electronics | Blogs | Comments

How cool would it be if you turn any button, joystick, sensor, or other electronic gizmo into a USB keyboard and/or mouse? You could make just about any input device you want into a controller for your computer programs or games.

Office door Young Frankenstein castle knocker

February 28, 2012 6:04 am | by Chris Taylor, Project Manager – Engineering Department, SparkFun Electronics | Blogs | Comments

We're always looking for more ways to make our office fun and strange. One of our engineers, Mike, recently rigged up the elevator to play the Tardis noise. I wanted to do something similar, but, specifically, in my office.

Key Metrics for Understanding Color Quality for LED Lighting

February 27, 2012 5:03 am | by Gui-Rong Zhou, Synopsys, Inc., | Articles | Comments

Terminology used to describe the color quality of an LED light source is often reduced to three letters: CCT and CRI, which are probably the most familiar, and CQS and GAI, which are relatively new. What do these abbreviations stand for, and how are they used?

Tips Help Engineers Write Well -- Part 1

February 24, 2012 6:45 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

Many engineers see engineering and writing as mutually exclusive skills. They think people can do one or the other, but not both. Engineers can write well, although it takes some practice.

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