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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...

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...

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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...

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...

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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.

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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.

Deadline for 3rd Edition of EN 60601-1 Looms

December 14, 2011 6:32 am | by Jeffrey VanZwol, Micro Power Electronics, jvanzwol@micro-power.com, www.micro-power.com | Articles | Comments

IEC 60601-1 applies to all electrical and electronic medical devices and its accessories. The 3rd edition is in the process of being adopted by global regulatory authorities. But on a national level, regulatory affectivity dates are not harmonized across global jurisdictions.

Power Efficiency Is Key Factor in Device Miniaturization

December 9, 2011 7:52 am | by Stephen J. Swift, Sr. Vice President/General Manager, Microsemi Corporation, Communications and Medical Products Group | Articles | Comments

Reducing the size of electronic products has become an increasingly important system design objective, especially in applications such as medical implantable devices that are used for a variety of new and emerging therapies and diagnostics.

UPS technologies enhance efficiency

December 6, 2011 5:28 am | by David Sonner, Senior Director Product Marketing, Liebert AC Power, Emerson Network Power | Articles | Comments

Today’s data centers are expected to deliver more computing capacity while operating more efficiently, eliminating downtime and adapting to constant change. Infrastructure technologies are rising to the challenge by evolving to support higher density equipment...

What type of LED driver or power supply do I need?

December 5, 2011 5:16 am | by Mel Berman, TDK-Lambda Americas | Articles | Comments

Conventional AC-DC power supplies and DC-DC converters provide an output that is regulated to provide a “constant-voltage.” However, LEDs work most efficiently and safest with a “constant-current” drive. As a result, many new devices have been developed to provide this type of LED drive.

Accelerating PCB Power Delivery Network Design and Analysis

December 1, 2011 8:54 am | by Dennis Nagle, Staff Product Engineer & Dingru Xiao, Staff Product Engineer, Cadence Design Systems | Articles | Comments

Current design trends have made the power delivery network (PDN) of a printed circuit board (PCB) as critical as multi-gigabit data channels. Continuous increases in clock frequencies have coupled with large increases in power, while voltage levels have trended lower and lower.

Resistors Answer Design Challenges for Harsh Environments

November 14, 2011 6:18 am | by Kory Schroeder, Stackpole Electronics Inc., www.seielect.com | Articles | Comments

Many engineers are surprised to learn that commodity thick film chips, the most commonly specified resistor today, perform well in high moisture environments, but have some long-term reliability concerns in high-sulfur environments. In addition, certain SMD and thru-hole metal film resistors are susceptible to corrosion due to moisture. Fortunately, there are answers to both of these design challenges.

Design Considerations for a Harsh Industrial Environment

November 11, 2011 5:43 am | by Robert Gee, Business Manager, Maxim Integrated Products & Shasta Thomas, Strategic Applications Engineer, Maxim Integrated Products | Articles | Comments

Semiconductor (IC) robustness—what is the operating temperature range? How is high electrical noise handled? What about ESD and fault protection? These issues are not necessarily the first things that a design engineer thinks about when selecting an IC.

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