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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.

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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.

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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.

$300 Million Earmarked from Stimulus Bill for Alternative Energies

August 27, 2009 7:38 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

On Wednesday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the appropriation of $300 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the Clean Cities program. The aim of the program is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and speed the development of alternative energies. A major priority is creating the infrastructure necessary to support nationwide fleets of advanced technology vehicles.

Global Warming or Global Cooling?

August 24, 2009 10:43 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Gentlemen, start your debating—according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the July average was the highest recorded ocean temperature in 128 years. July’s worldwide average of 62.6 will revive the global warming debates, inasmuch as some will cite this as evidence of climate change.

Selecting the Right Rapid Prototyping System

August 21, 2009 6:01 am | by Scot Thompson, Solid Concepts, www.solidconcepts.com | Articles | Comments

When I started in the rapid prototyping industry with 3D Systems in March of 1989 it was just months after the very first SLA system, the SLA-1, was introduced at the Autofact Show in Detroit in 1988. This first rapid prototyping system was invented by Chuck Hull, an engineer trained in photosensitive polymers.

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Simple Light Load Control Meets the New Energy Efficiency Standards

August 17, 2009 7:36 am | by Kevin Turchin, FAE Manager, ROHM Semiconductor USA | Blogs | Comments

Energy efficiency standards have typically concentrated on two ends of the spectrum – full load efficiency and standby power. As a result, popular PWM buck regulators available today demonstrate high efficiency at full load (>80%) levels and incorporate standby circuitry to comply with the <1W and lower initiatives. Improved efficiency at all operating points is an important concern in the design of next generation “green” products.

Crosstalk in Multi-Channel High-Speed ADCs

August 13, 2009 10:13 am | by Chuck Sanna, Product Marketing Engineer, Texas Instruments | Articles | Comments

In the push to increase bandwidth, range and sensitivity in wide bandwidth systems, multi-antenna and multi-sensor arrays are becoming increasingly popular. With each antenna or sensor requiring its own signal chain, many analog-to-digital converter (ADC) suppliers are integrating multiple high-speed ADCs into a single IC design.

Design Talk - Circuits

August 12, 2009 6:00 am | Articles | Comments

When designing at the board level, there are always new things to consider. Here are some essays on design to help you in your work.

A Bold Claim: Chevy Volt Gets 230 MPG

August 11, 2009 6:53 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice….well, you know the rest. When Raser Technologies claimed their re-jiggered Electric Hummer got 100 miles per gallon, I thought they fudged a few numbers. But for GM to claim 230 MPG for the Volt…well, that’s taking a trip to fantasyland, with magical goblins and unicorns.

July sees big jump in fuel efficiency of new cars

August 11, 2009 6:22 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | Blogs | Comments

Cars and light trucks sold in July got more miles per gallon than those sold in previous months, say researchers, who credit the Cash for Clunkers program. The average mileage for new vehicles rose from 21.4 miles per gallon in June to 22.1 mpg in July. That may not sound like much, but it's

Printable Solar Panels on the Cheap

August 6, 2009 12:40 pm | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

One of the hottest trends in power is “conductive ink”—that is, ink that conducts electricity. Thus, we’ve seen the emergence of ultra-thin power solutions such as Fraunhofer Research Institution's silk-screened batteries. One of the variants is printable solar cells, a technology still in its infancy. But the US Air Force, in conjunction with Plextronics, has developed what they purport to be a “significant step forward in printing inexpensive solar cells.”

Thermal Management Strategies for Extreme 3U cPCI Embedded System Applications

August 5, 2009 6:47 am | by Barbara Schmitz, MEN Mikro Elektronik | Articles | Comments

As the cooling challenges of 3U CompactPCI (cPCI) embedded system applications multiply due to increased processing power, reduced package sizes and more hostile environments, new thermal management options and industry standards continue to evolve. Chip and board manufacturers have already done a vast amount of work to mitigate thermal management concerns.

Modules Simplify RF Designs

August 4, 2009 10:01 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

Ready-to-use wireless modules provide a way to quickly get a design "on the air" when engineers find RF circuits and communication protocols fall outside their areas of expertise. Even when engineers have RF experience, a module still might make sense from the perspective of saved time and money.

Brainstorm: Alternative Fuels Part 2

August 3, 2009 12:59 pm | Articles | Comments

What’s the best way to advance alternative energy research? With government grants, free market solutions, or something else?

Brainstorm: Alternative Fuels

July 31, 2009 4:52 am | by Edited by Jason Lomberg | Articles | Comments

What’s the best way to advance alternative energy research? With government grants, free market solutions, or something else?

Industry groups sue over NYC e-waste recycling law

July 30, 2009 6:27 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) have filed a legal challenge against a New York City law mandating door-to-door collection of e-waste. Local Law No. 13, taking effect July 31st, forces all electronic manufacturers doing business in NYC to provide free door-to-door collection services for covered equipment.

Nissan Unveils New E-Car Prototype

July 28, 2009 9:19 am | Blogs | Comments

Nissan Motor today previewed its electric vehicle (EV) platform on a Tiida-based prototype. It also showcased a sophisticated EV-IT system developed to support electric driving 24/7. The dedicated EV platform is comprised of a highly rigid body, high-performance motor, compact lithium-ion battery with high power output and energy capacity.

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