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DOE's Solar Decathlon to Highlight Innovation, Future Green Jobs

September 25, 2009 4:47 am | Blogs | Comments

The U.S. Department of Energy today announced this year’s participants and dates for DOE’s 2009 Solar Decathlon, a competition that challenges students to design and develop houses that can provide their own energy from the sunlight – a clean, renewable source of energy.  The twenty collegiate teams from the United States, Canada, Spain and Germany will each build a completely self-sufficient solar powered house

Microsoft Launches embeddedSPARK 2010 Challenge

September 24, 2009 6:15 am | News | Comments

During an industry address yesterday at the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) Boston, Microsoft Corp. launched the , a new competition designed to foster creativity and innovation among the embedded hobbyist and academic communities globally. Based on the successful Sparks will Fly competition, the embeddedSPARK 2010 Challenge encourages contestants to demonstrate innovative thinking within the theme of “Fun and Games.”

Practical Considerations for Wireless Sensor Networks and Mesh Networking

September 22, 2009 7:25 am | by Robert Jackson, Wireless and Energy Product Manager, National Instruments | Articles | Comments

In Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey A. Moore introduced the Technology Adoption Lifecycle.  This curve highlights a chasm that exists between visionaries who are early adopters of technology and pragmatists who wait for proven technologies and products.  For technologies to “cross the chasm” one key component are products with defined product specifications and system deployment guidelines.

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Fusion: the power source of the future

September 21, 2009 10:36 am | by by M. Simon, retired Aerospace electronics consultant | Blogs | Comments

Fusion is the power source of the future, goes the old saw. And for fifty years, it has always been "fifty years in the future." That may be changing with a number of new small fusion projects in the works or doing actual experiments. Let me mention first the ITER experiment (a tokamak design) which is the fusion project every one knows about.

Cree Repeats as Lighting for Tomorrow Grand Prize Winner

September 21, 2009 9:56 am | Product Releases | Comments

The Cree LR6-DR1000 recessed downlight was awarded the Grand Prize at the 2009 Lighting for Tomorrow - Solid State Lighting Competition. A repeat winner, Cree shared the prize with Philip's Color Kinetics for its eW Cove Powercore. The Cree LRP-38, a PAR38 bulb, and the LR6-HE (high-efficiency) were also recognized with Special Focus Awards for technical innovation and high efficiency, respectively.

Edison-socket LED Bulbs last up to 19 years

September 17, 2009 1:10 pm | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Panasonic has released an LED bulb that purportedly lasts 19 years. The drawback? It’s only available in Japan (for now, anyway). Could the EverLed line jumpstart solid state lighting? According to Panasonic, the screw-in LED bulb lasts 40 times longer than equivalent incandescents. Obviously, independent testing is needed, but this is an impressive figure.

Data Acquisition Rules of the Road: Selecting High-Speed Differential ADC Drivers Part 2

September 17, 2009 7:38 am | by John Ardizzoni and Jonathan Pearson, Analog Devices | Articles | Comments

The input signal is v1; the first five harmonic-distortion products are v2 through v6; and the ADC electronic noise is vn. The reciprocal of THD + Noise, the signal-to-noise-and-distortion ratio, or SINAD, is usually expressed in dB. If SINAD is substituted for the signal-to-quantizing-noise ratio, we can define an effective number of bits that a converter would have if its signal-to-quantizing-noise ratio were the same as its SINAD.

Quirky Vehicle to receive federal sponsorship

September 16, 2009 9:18 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The startup Aptera was recently denied a DOE loan for its Aptera 2e electric vehicle. Their three-wheeled, *ahem*, “curiosity,” didn’t match the loan criteria, but the incident raises an important question—should the government be sponsoring products in the private sector?

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Power, Control and Management of Lighting Applications

September 15, 2009 6:28 am | by by Richard Zarr, National Semiconductor | Blogs | Comments

When lighting applications started using solid-state sources, engineers began to understand the issues in the migration away from incandescent bulbs. It is fairly well known that LED sources lack the IR spectrum of their filament based counterparts requiring thermal management via conduction rather than emission. Driving and managing these solid-state light sources can be challenging

Data Acquisition Rules of the Road: Selecting High-Speed Differential ADC Drivers

September 15, 2009 6:14 am | by John Ardizzoni and Jonathan Pearson, Analog Devices | Articles | Comments

As applications engineers, we are constantly bombarded with a variety of questions about driving high-speed analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) with differential inputs. Indeed, selecting the right ADC driver and configuration can be challenging. To make the design of robust ADC circuits somewhat easier, we’ve compiled a set of common “road hazards” and solutions.

Light Bulbs and the Madness of Energy Efficiency Regulations

September 11, 2009 12:16 pm | by Dr. Peter Thornes, Dublin Ireland | Blogs | Comments

Europeans (like Americans) choose to buy ordinary light bulbs around 9 times out of 10 (European Commission and light industry data 2007-8). Banning what people want gives the supposed savings that are "good for them"—no point in banning what people don’t want! If new LED lights—or improved CFLs etc—are good, people will buy them—no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (little point).

Unravelling external Power-supply regulations

September 11, 2009 7:14 am | by Gary Bocock, Technical Director, XP Power | Blogs | Comments

With the aims of reducing energy wastage and improving distribution-network stability, regulatory authorities within the EU and US have been steadily introducing a series of measures that power-supply and equipment designers must consider. In the first instance, these measures specifically target no-load consumption and conversion efficiency for external power supplies of up to 250 W

The Wireless Power Consortium Releases the 0.95 Specification

September 11, 2009 6:05 am | by Camille Tang, Co-Chair, Wireless Power Consortium | Articles | Comments

Wireless power interoperability marked an important milestone with the 31 July 2009 release of 0.95 specifications of Qi, the Wireless Power Consortium’s “WPC” international standard in wireless power. This interoperability means that all Qi power receivers can be powered and charged with all Qi transmitters.

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Brushless DC Motors Roll On

September 10, 2009 12:36 pm | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

You can find brushless-DC motors in appliances, medical instruments, and industrial equipment because they offer advantages over their brushed-DC-motor siblings. But before you can use a brushless-DC (BLDC) motor you need to understand how it works.

Design Talk - Industrial and Harsh Environments

September 10, 2009 10:30 am | Articles | Comments

Editor's note No matter how good the tech, if it addresses an industrial or other demanding environment application, it better be able to deal with its surroundings without operational compromise.

Serial Flash Memory: The Solution to a Shrinking Problem

September 10, 2009 10:04 am | by Jeffrey Bader, Director, Embedded Business Group, Numonyx | Articles | Comments

As consumers clamor for smaller, sleeker and cheaper products, the pressure for embedded designers to find space and cost effective flash memory is higher than ever. Thankfully, serial flash memory devices provide the solution. Serial flash is a small, low-power NOR flash memory that uses SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) bus, sometimes called “four wire” serial bus, for sequential data access.

Incandescent ban highlights issue of forced obsolescence

September 9, 2009 7:41 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The mad scramble to obtain incandescent bulbs ahead of the EU ban highlights a controversial practice—the forced obsolescence of old technologies. R&D, combined with market forces, often collude to bury legacy tech. But should government speed up this process? How important is consumer choice?

White Light Key to High-efficiency LED TV Applications

September 8, 2009 10:23 am | by by William Carrera, Senior Technical LCD Manager, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. | Blogs | Comments

Backlight technology continues to markedly improve, day after day, making it possible to design LCD panels as thin as a picture frame. Many thought that the use of OLED technology would be the only way to provide ultra-slim TV sets, but this year Samsung’s introduction of a new type of LED (light emitting diode) technology completely changed that thinking.  Now, there are LED LCD TVs with depths as thin as 1.2 inches.

Battery and Charge Management: Choices and Tradeoffs

September 8, 2009 6:30 am | by Masoud Beheshti, Director, Product Line Manager, Texas Instruments | Articles | Comments

Designers of portable electronic devices have a variety of choices on types of chemistries, charger topologies and charge management solutions. Selecting the most suitable solution should be a simple task, but in most cases, it is a more complicated process. The designer needs to reach an optimal balance between performance, cost, form factor and other key requirements.

Supercapacitors Replace Batteries with Help of 3mm × 3mm Charger

September 8, 2009 5:51 am | by Jim Drew, Sr. Applications Engineer, Linear Technology | Articles | Comments

Supercapacitors are finding their way into an increasing number of applications for short-term energy storage. One such application is a power ride-through circuit, in which a backup energy source cuts in and powers the load when main power supply fails for a short time. This type of application has been dominated by batteries in the past

Choosing the right IGBT Trade-Offs to maximize Motor Drive performance

September 8, 2009 5:29 am | by Vijay Bolloju, Jun Yang , & Elk Kabaker, IGBT Applications Engineering group, International Rectifier | Articles | Comments

Recent advances in IGBT technology have given motor drive designers more options to consider for system development.  Different specification conventions of various vendors complicate the design process further.  Conventionally, system efficiency has been equated directly with VCEON.  This metric is important for calculating the conduction losses of an IGBT but leaves out switching losses completely.

iCub the robot helps scientists understand humans

September 8, 2009 5:10 am | by Reuters | News | Comments

Robots that can make their own decisions have so far been confined to science fiction movies, but a child-sized figure with big eyes and a white face is trying hard to turn fiction into reality. Its name is iCub and scientists are hoping it will learn how to adapt its behavior to changing circumstances, offering new insights into the development of human consciousness.

Constant Current Regulation delivers HB-LED advances

September 4, 2009 8:23 am | by Tim Kaske & Paul Decloedt, On Semiconductor | Articles | Comments

In recent years significant advances in high-brightness LEDs (HB-LEDs) have given designers the opportunity to replace conventional incandescent, fluorescent and halogen technologies with more reliable and energy-efficient LED-based alternatives. As a result, solid-state lighting has seen considerable uptake in automotive, digital signage, and architectural applications, as well as the illumination of our city streets.

SuperSpeed USB: A USB 3.0 Update

September 2, 2009 7:35 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

SuperSpeed USB connections — coming in 2010 — will zip data between devices at a theoretical rate of 5 Gbps, or more than 10-fold faster than a high-speed USB 2.0 connection. The faster transfers could help embedded-system developers who design video kiosks, TV recorders/players, and test-and-measurement equipment that use large quantities of information.

'Digi-novel' combines book, movie and website

September 2, 2009 6:14 am | by Reuters | News | Comments

Is it a book? Is it a movie? Is it a website? Actually it's all three. Anthony Zuiker, creator of the "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" U.S. television series, is releasing what he calls a "digi-novel" combining all three media -- and giving a jolt to traditional book publishing.

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