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LEDs: Redefining the basic assumptions of lighting

August 1, 2012 9:57 am | by Doug Bailey, Power Integrations | Articles | Comments

Over the past 150 years or so, the lighting industry has evolved into a mass production industry built around the concept of standardized bulbs, designed with built-in obsolescence.  Consumers find themselves frequently replacing identical, short-lived products with more of the same. This trend is supported by a small number of large manufacturers that meet demand by building billions of identical products at low cost.

Efficient tuning of capacitive-sensing designs

June 14, 2012 3:14 pm | by Robert Jania, Cypress Semiconductor | Articles | Comments

A fundamental aspect of any capacitive sensing design is the calibration of the sensor. Calibration eliminates the sensor providing false actives in the system and as well as the sensor failing when it is supposed to be active. Until recently, individual sensor also had to be accompanied by discrete components comprised of resistors and capacitors in order to adjust the sensitivity of each particular sensor.

Capacitive sensing-based light control user interfaces

June 14, 2012 9:37 am | by Pushek Madaan, Cypress | Articles | Comments

Smart lighting control technology is being used in more and more consumer applications to allow control of light intensity, hue, and saturation. With the number of competing light control systems on the market, the user interface is often the major differiator between systems and determines the success or failure of a consumer product.

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Innovations in MCU design enable higher performance and smaller code size

June 8, 2012 9:26 am | by Stevan Dobrasevic, Product Manager, Renesas Electronics America | Articles | Comments

Evolving user expectations are placing increasingly high cost and performance pressures on industrial manufacturers. Real-time performance has always been an important aspect of industrial designs, and increasingly, industrial designs are using sensors to monitor real-world signals such as temperature, pressure, flow, sound, and position.

RF design is easy – Just let someone else do it

June 4, 2012 6:36 pm | by Andy Ross, Director of wireless applications for B&B Electronics, www.bb-elec.com | Articles | Comments

If you’re not designing Wi-Fi (802.11) into your systems already, you’ll be doing so very soon. Wi-Fi is rapidly establishing itself as the standard wireless connection for industrial devices. It’s a big change, but it needn’t be intimidating. There are plenty of vendors out there who have all of the necessary expertise.

Where will your design live?

May 31, 2012 3:14 pm | by Ron Moore, Director, Field Technical Programs, Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas | Articles | Comments

Industrial applications cover a broad range of solution types. Depending on whom you ask, the industrial market segment can include military, scientific and commercial solutions. Though these segments run across a broad spectrum, there are some common themes that a design team must confront regardless of which area their particular application is focused on.

Dawn of neutral white LEDs in street lighting

April 20, 2012 10:29 am | by Andreas Pohl, Field Application Engineer Solid-State Lighting, Avago Technologies Germany | Articles | Comments

LED-based streetlights first appeared on streets about four years ago, mainly as design concepts or test lamps at universities. Yellow phosphor was one of the only available and stable phosphor at that time with the ability to create white light in conjunction with a blue chip.

Renewable energy and smart grids rely on optical electronics technology

April 18, 2012 10:02 am | by Chun Keong Tee, Avago | Articles | Comments

Renewable power generation technologies based on solar and wind are usually discussed in terms of photovoltaic arrays and very large land- and sea-based turbines. Behind these very visible physical structures that can encompass many acres sit the optoelectronic components that provide the galvanic isolation...

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Barrier films in e-readers: Their form and function

April 13, 2012 10:27 am | by Eric Barker, Application Development Engineer with FLEXcon’s Flexible Electronics Division | Articles | Comments

There is no question that among the most popular and more affordable hand-held electronic devices to hit the market in recent years are e-readers based on e-paper. They go by various names and several brands (Nook, Kindle, Sony, etc) but they all function in the same manner.

Robust hardware security devices made possible by laser direct structuring

April 12, 2012 9:57 am | by James Liddle, SelectConnect Technologies, Palatine, Illinois | Articles | Comments

A wide range of devices are designed to handle, convey and store sensitive information that require  varying degrees of security from protecting low level administrative to classified and top secret information. In addition, the information and data can reside in an equally wide range of locations and environments...

Does the battery fuel gauge lie?

April 5, 2012 5:53 am | by Isidor Buchmann, CEO & founder of Cadex Electronics Inc. www.BatteryUniversity.com; answers@cadex.com | Articles | Comments

Measuring stored energy in an electrochemical device, such as a battery, is complex and state-of-charge (SoC) readings on a fuel gauge provide only a rough estimate.Users often compare battery SoC with the fuel gauge of a vehicle.

RC analog-to-digital converters simplify design of temperature, humidity, & CO instrumentation

March 22, 2012 8:27 am | by Alec Melnick, Sr. Applications Engineer, Lapis Semiconductor | Articles | Comments

Temperature, humidity and other physical measurements in digital instrumentation typically utilize successive approximation (SA) analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) techniques to acquire data.

Getting the silent treatment from your TV? You don’t have to take it anymore

March 21, 2012 5:29 am | by Les Tyler, President, dbx-tv | Articles | Comments

Today's flat-panel TV sets have bright, detailed pictures. They look great even when not operating, as a result of thin profiles and disappearing bezels. And, they connect so easily to the Internet, Skype, and BluRay players...

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High-tech risk management: Sophisticated inspection procedures & equipment for counterfeit detection

March 14, 2012 5:34 am | by Robert W. Chesla, Senior Project Engineer, Rockwell Automation & Nora Gibbs, Account Executive, Smith & Associates | Articles | Comments

A successful and effective anti-counterfeiting strategy must be implemented when an end-product manufacturer purchases components from an independent distributor.

Fundamentals of ambient energy transducers in energy harvesting systems

March 13, 2012 9:22 am | by John Carpenter and Yogesh Ramadass, Texas Instruments | Articles | Comments

Sophisticated battery-operated electronic systems and self-powered devices recently have found diverse applications in existing autonomous and handheld objects. Significant advancements in CMOS process technologies and circuit techniques...

Simplifying appliance design with capacitive touch sensing using SoC architectures

March 6, 2012 5:21 am | by Robert Jania, Cypress Semiconductor Corp. | Articles | Comments

In small home appliances such as microwave ovens, coffer brewing systems, rice cookers and induction cookers, there has been a growing demand for capacitive sensing interfaces. These interfaces, typically buttons and sliders, can help differentiate a product...

Battery recycling as a business

February 21, 2012 7:03 am | by Isidor Buchmann, CEO & founder of Cadex Electronics www.BatteryUniversity.com; answers@cadex.com | Articles | Comments

Lithium-ion batteries are expensive to manufacture and this is mainly due tothe high raw material cost and complex preparation processes. The most costly metal of most Li-ion is cobalt, a hard lustrous gray material that’s also used to manufacture magnets and high-strength alloys.

Flow Processing Dominates Latest Embedded Communications Designs

February 2, 2012 5:17 am | by Jarrod Siket, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Marketing at Netronome | Articles | Comments

Designers of networking and communications equipment can feel the Earth moving beneath their feet. These dramatic changes have been caused by the increasing need to process traffic as stateful flows instead of individual packets.

Antenna Integration and Selection

February 1, 2012 12:00 pm | by Chris Anderson, Chief Solutions Technologist, Spectrum Design Solutions, a subsidiary of Digi International | Articles | Comments

The single most important factor in designing a radio-based product – be it GPS, cellular or an ISM-band device – is the antenna plan. Not just the antenna itself, but the whole plan. What kinds of antennas make sense for the product based on size...

Firewalls for Embedded Applications

January 31, 2012 4:45 am | by Alan Grau, President of Icon Labs | Articles | Comments

In the past few years embedded devices, including industrial controls and monitoring systems, have taken a huge leap forward in connectivity. Over half of the embedded devices released this year will be connected to the Internet, exposing them to a wide array of cyber-threats.

Remote wireless test with LXI

January 27, 2012 9:42 am | by Neil Forcier, Agilent Technologies, www.agilent.com | Articles | Comments

Imagine if all of your instruments had the ability to connect to a WiFi network or act as a WiFi router instead of a wired IO interface. Considering this, here are some ways it could make your testing life easier.

Application-Specific MOSFETs

January 18, 2012 11:16 am | by Sampat Shekhawat, Bob Brockway, and BongJoo Choi, Fairchild Semiconductor | Articles | Comments

Thyristor and Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJT) were the only power switches until the MOSFET was introduced in the late 1970s. The BJT is a current-controlled device; whereas the MOSFET is a voltage-controlled device. In the 1980s, the IGBT was introduced...

Simplify AISG Control Systems by Integrating the Hardware Discrete Transceiver

January 18, 2012 7:48 am | by Maurizio Gavardoni, Applications Manager, Maxim Integrated Products | Articles | Comments

The latest generations of wireless networks have been developed to provide the high-speed data services required by data-intensive smartphone applications. Yet, deployment of this infrastructure has been costly, and coverage has been notably inadequate in some areas.

Charging without Wires

January 18, 2012 6:31 am | by Isidor Buchmann, CEO & founder of Cadex Electronics Inc., www.BatteryUniversity.com; answers@cadex.com | Articles | Comments

Wireless charging may one day replace plugs and wires similar to how Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have modernized personal communication. Wireless charging with inductive coupling uses an electromagnetic field that transfers energy from the transmitter to the receiver.

Portable Power at the Heart of Defibrillators

January 16, 2012 9:15 am | by Joe Carcone, VP Sales & Marketing, Contour Energy Systems | Articles | Comments

Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) save thousands of lives annually for patients with weak or damaged hearts who are at heightened risk of sudden cardiac arrest. The ICD is battery-powered, and when the battery’s charge depletes, it must be replaced.

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