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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.

Congress Opens Market for Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems

February 22, 2012 11:52 am | by Paul Dempsey, Senior Correspondent, Footwasher Media | Articles | Comments

Buried deep in this month’s controversial Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding bill, passed by the Senate in an unusually bipartisan 75-20 vote were provisions to boost commercial potential for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Assuming President Obama’s signature, the four-year $63B budget bill mandates the FAA to

It’s been fun

February 17, 2012 9:49 am | by Alix Paultre | Articles | Comments

This is the last column I’ll write as an editor and least for now, as I’m moving on to another job where I will continue to serve the electronic design industry. Since joining this publishing group five years ago, I have had a fantastic time working with a great team...

Don’t be alarmed - SIMS keeps you protected

February 15, 2012 11:02 am | by Steve Ryckman, VP Technical Services, SIMS | Articles | Comments

It’s no secret that alarm systems provide crucial functions for homes and business, but what would happen if the technology that keeps an alarm system up and running failed? There’s about a million different scenarios that come to my mind alone...


Five Reasons You Need Effective WAN Optimization For Cloud Storage

February 15, 2012 5:25 am | by Robert MacIntyre, Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, NetEx | Blogs | Comments

Cloud storage is positioned to be one of the hottest IT trends of 2012. At the same time network WAN performance has been identified as a key inhibitor to cloud storage adoption, according to NetEx...

The Tinker's Toolbox - Sasha Gurke of Knovel on the Next Generation of Engineers

February 14, 2012 6:06 am | Podcasts | Comments

In this episode of the Tinker's Toolbox we talk to Sasha Gurke,  Senior Vice President and co-founder of Knovel, about inspiring and creating the next generation of engineers to serve the industry.

Technical Training Series in China Shows How To Move Applications Among 8, 16 and 32-bit

February 13, 2012 5:48 am | News | Comments

Microchip Technology Inc. announced a series of technical training seminars in China-beginning in February - that will show designers how to easily adapt to changing product requirements by migrating a real-world application from 8, to 16, to 32-bit PIC microcontrollers (MCUs). The seminars will run from

A Digital Power System Demonstration from Texas Instruments

February 10, 2012 7:34 am | Videos | Comments

This is a video shot at the Applied Power Electronics Conference at the Texas Instruments booth of their latest PM-BUS-compatible digital power system solutions.

Maxim's Power Measurement Technology Demonstration at APEC 2012

February 9, 2012 8:29 am | Videos | Comments

Maxim demonstrates their latest single-, three-, and multiphase power measurement solutions at their booth at the 2012 Power Electronics Conference.

The Tinker's Toolbox - Energy Management and Device Efficiency

February 9, 2012 7:16 am | Podcasts | Comments

Here we talk to J. Francois Crepin and James Ashe of Akros Silicon about energy management vs. power managment, and how proper energy management impacts device efficiency.

The Tinker's Toolbox - Mrinalini of Motorola on Civic Infrasturctures and Large Scale Systems of Intelligent Subsystems

February 7, 2012 10:25 am | News | Comments

Hosted by ECN's Editorial Director, Alix Paultre, the Tinker's Toolbox is ECN's web-based interview show where we talk about the latest technology, components, and design issues for the electronic design engineering community.

The Tinker's Toolbox - Dr. Scott Nelson of Logic PD on Developing Smart Devices

February 6, 2012 4:43 am | Podcasts | Comments

Hosted by ECN's Editorial Director, Alix Paultre, the Tinker's Toolbox is ECN's web-based interview show where we talk about the latest technology, components, and design issues for the electronic design engineering community.

The Tinker's Toolbox - Mark Adams of CUI on Advanced Power System Design

February 3, 2012 4:45 am | Podcasts | Comments

In this episode of the Tinker's Toolbox we talk to Mark Adams, VP of Advanced Power Marketing at CUI, about designing next-generation power systems.

Dungeons and Dragons Dice Gauntlet

February 3, 2012 4:33 am | by Dia Campbell, TechStyle Specialist at Spark Fun | Blogs | Comments

The D&D bracer is a fairly quick, fun, nerdy LilyPad project. The final product is a wearable bracer with a display that will randomly generate numbers between 1 and 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 20, or 100 in response to arm movement, so it can effectively replace all of the dice in your bag for a D&D session.


February 2, 2012 4:02 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

I'd like some genius to define sustainable. Could we count something that we can keep doing for 100 billion years - beyond the death of the Universe as we currently understand such things - as sustainable? How about a billion years?

Jim Williams Remembered

February 1, 2012 7:36 am | by Jon Titus, senior technical editor | Articles | Comments

Analog guru Jim Williams died in mid 2011, but his work lives on in circuits, magazine articles, books and photographs. Part of his lab lives on, too, in the exhibit, "An Analog Life: Remembering Jim Williams," at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.

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