Latest In Depth Technology News

New Electronics brings you a selection of in depth Technology Articles, covering key issues and innovations within research & development, embedded design, power, communications design, test & measurement, programmable logic, system design and more.

Technology developers could ease the burden on the NHS

If you think telemedicine and telehealth are relatively new concepts, think again. Amazingly, the idea was first floated in the US in 1925 by Hugo Gernsback. His concept – the teledactyl – combined wireless communications, haptics and a form of viewscreen. It would, he contended, allow doctors to examine their patients and to use instruments remotely.

Solar generation is powering up, but faces a range of materials issues

In 2015 the global installed capacity for photovoltaics hit 180GW and the European Photovoltaic Industry Association reckons more than 0.5TWwill be generated from solar cells by the start of the next decade. Government incentives intended to stave off climate change and falling costs have helped push up production, but one of the ironies of a technology meant to change the way we harness energy is the amount that it takes to produce each square centimetre of photon-harnessing panel.

The surprising differences between ARM MCU cores that appear to be identical

There are many reasons why the ARM Cortex-M series of processor cores has come to dominate the market for 32bit microcontrollers. Across the many varieties of Cortex-M cores, design engineers can choose from an array of performance, power consumption and communications capabilities, allowing them to find an ARM based MCU which will be suitable for almost any application. And, by standardising on the Cortex-M family, OEMs not only benefit from a common instruction set, but also from an ecosystem of libraries, tools and firmware with which thousands of embedded engineers are already familiar.

Addressing the need for ultra-small ambient light sensors in wearable products

In today’s wearable health and fitness market, where consumer electronic backlight displays continue to get thinner, having an ambient light sensor (ALS) capable of being integrated into the thinnest backlight displays is becoming ever more important to designers of these devices. The proliferation of cell phones and the demand for a better user experience has driven a higher adoption rate of ALS in touchscreen smartphones. In these display management applications, automatically controlling the backlight intensity with an ALS ensures the best possible user experience while extending battery life.

Linear Technology's Bruce Hemp and James Wong bring ease of use to microwave radio design

Bandwidth is rapidly expanding in the next generation wireless access to cope with the ever-increasing Internet traffic. At the same time, the current available spectrum in use simply cannot support the needed bandwidth. So higher frequency spectrums are being evaluated for suitability. Multiple options are considered, ranging from unlicensed 5.8GHz terrestrial stations, to fleets of low-orbit satellites that blanket the earth. The path to higher bandwidth lies with new higher frequencies to deliver on that promise. New mixers with improved performance will be needed. A new mixer, the LTC5549 from Linear Technology, is launched to support this effort.

Addressing key challenges in automotive infotainment test with the NI PXI Platform

Automobiles have experienced rapid growth in the amount of in-vehicle electronics in recent years and a key area where these electronics are playing a vital role is in the infotainment system of the vehicle. In fact, the infotainment systems have become somewhat of a hub for a number of functions of the vehicle, and represent where both large amounts of information and driver entertainment are converging. Not only do they continue to blur the line between the driver’s mobile phone and the car for entertainment purposes, but there is also an overlap with important components of advanced driver assistant systems (ADAS).

While smart textiles for wearables remains in its infancy, its potential is huge

E-textiles or smart garments, smart clothing, electronic textiles, smart textiles, or smart fabrics; whatever the definition, they all have a digital component or electronics embedded within them. While it may still be in its infancy, it is a fast growing market with new capabilities being developed that will enable users to interact with their surroundings and to communicate data via embedded sensors or conductive yarn through the clothes they wear.

MRAM is finding ways around the memory chasm

When Freescale started work on magnetic random access memory (MRAM) two decades ago, it looked as though it could provide a fast, low power memory that does not need a constant flow of current to store data. With a bit cell that looked to be competitive with DRAM, but with better storage behaviour than flash, MRAM offered the potential to be the ultimate memory.

Could a 1mm thick solid state battery drive the development of the IoT?

Researchers have been searching for alternatives to the ubiquitous lithium-ion battery for some time. A number of reasons support the research, including the need for greater energy density, lower self discharge and longer life. A further driver for this work is safety; lithium-ion batteries can be dangerous if they get too hot or are not charged correctly.

Has the moment finally arrived for AR and VR?

When it is reported that Apple has set about assembling a large team of specialists in virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) to look at building prototypes of headsets to rival the Oculus Rift or the Microsoft’s Hololens, it would seem to suggest that the world of augmented reality (AR) is beginning to witness a moving of the tectonic plates, as a growing number of companies adjust their focus from trials and test projects to real commercial deployments.

Tracking WiFi signals to passively see through walls using NI USRP and LabVIEW

With dedication and a creative approach, University College London (UCL) research is helping to address the world's most urgent problems. Whether designing healthier cities or grappling with issues such as global health and climate change, the challenges of daily life inspire UCL students and academics. Based at UCL, our team of electrical engineering researchers is investigating passive radar technologies that can see through walls using WiFi radio waves.

What is viable and what is not with 3D printed enclosures

Unless you've been under a rock for the last 10 years, you will have heard about 3D printing. But many engineers are still wondering how they can use it for anything other than prototyping. However, 3D printing can provide a cost effective way to construct custom enclosures and this article will explain how, when and why you should consider using 3D printing for your product.

Do You Have a Plan B?

Being a Sci-Fi geek, I am a fan of the late 1950’s Hollywood “cheesy” low budget Ed Wood movies typical of this genre. One of my favorites is: “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” in which aliens come to Earth to stop humanity from building a doomsday weapon that could destroy the entire universe. However, things did not go quite as planned and the aliens were annihilated. Clearly, the aliens did not have a plan B, just in case plan 9 did not work!

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