Latest In Depth Technology News

Are PCB design skills keeping up with increasing complexity?

It may seem something of an understatement, but Phil Mayo, director of sales for Altium UK, believes: “The PCB is important.” And perhaps that’s one reason why the workshop and conference sessions addressing PCB design at last year’s Electronics Design Show (EDS) attracted record numbers of engineers.

How can wearables designers navigate the compliance minefield?

With the global market for wearable devices growing rapidly, manufacturers are having to address the quality, performance and safety of their products without specific standards or regulations. According to market researcher Mintel, one Briton in seven now owns a wearable device, with some 3million wrist worn wearable devices sold in the UK in 2015 – a sales growth of 118%.

The choices involved in adding IP support to embedded systems

The tentacles of the internet are reaching further into the domain of deeply embedded systems that used, at most, to be attached to simple fieldbuses. Although the internet may stop short of ‘smart’ light bulbs that use Zigbee or Bluetooth to communicate, more organisations are looking at supporting the Internet Protocol (IP) directly in sensor nodes and smart actuators.

How to improve your product design efficiency

In an ideal world, when the hardware and software for a new product are mated and the power applied for the first time, everything works just as specified. But we don’t live in that ideal world; we live in a ‘buggy’ world where not everything goes as planned.

Managing devices securely over their lifecycle

Trust is inherently a fragile concept, based traditionally on knowledge and experience. And trust is something which is challenging to embody in a ‘new’ device. As such, the industry needs to develop new approaches to certify, validate and verify devices as they appear in the market. While regulation and guidance is a critical part of this, the problem is too large for a single government or industry regulator; instead, it must become part of the industry’s DNA of product creation, production and distribution.

Seeding a new future for farming with technology

Technology is changing the way farmers manage their operations; developments in the IoT, big data, machinery and software are giving them more control over how they both manage and operate their farms. In turn, the UK Government has identified agri-tech as one of the eight ‘great technologies’ it sees driving future economic growth in the UK.

Silicon carbide technology reaches tipping point

While silicon currently remains the material of choice of power devices, there is little headroom available to improve figures of merit such as on resistance and gate charge. However, there appears to be more room for manoeuvre with alternative materials and two such materials which are focusing the attention of device developers are silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN).

Interconnector and cabling system to address design challenges

The growth in connectivity, with billions of devices now connected around the globe, means the pressure is growing exponentially on the infrastructure that supports the collection and dissemination of data. Whatever the technical pressures, customers expect a seamless level of service.

New lease of life for the SAR data converter

There is a tension that lies at the heart of the circuitry needed to support the many sensors that underpin the IoT: battery-powered devices need to be as efficient as possible, which tends to imply the use of highly optimised, dedicated circuitry; but costs push design in the opposite direction – towards programmability. This tension is not just being felt in the processing platforms needed to execute software, but also in the analogue front ends that pass sensor data into the digital domain.

From motorsports to the analysis of medical data

The McLaren Group took its first step into the world of health and well-being 11 years ago. Although internationally renowned for its Formula 1 cars, the company has since diversified, applying technologies it has developed to other industries.

Upcoming exhibition to spark an interest in electricity

It is not unreasonable to say that we take electricity for granted. We plug appliances into sockets and turn them on, but give little or no thought to where that electricity has come from. And even less thought is given to the history of discoveries and inventions that explains how electricity can be used at a flick of a switch.

How small diameter electrolytic capacitors in power supplies can impact reliability and cost

Recently a member of TDK-Lambda’s technical marketing team experienced first-hand just how much influence small diameter electrolytic capacitors can have on long-term power supply reliability. Unfortunately he picked February to have his central heating system upgraded and Britain’s unpredictable weather system delivered snow. The seven year old boiler system in the loft had been turned off for two days while the radiators were replaced. When the installation was complete, the boiler was switched on, but failed to start

Measuring RF power in the field

The output power of an RF or microwave system is a key determinant of its performance. For this reason, signal power is measured at every stage – from design and prototyping to maintenance in the field.

High level synthesis to make hardware design more enjoyable

In the past few years, a common complaint of hardware designers, especially those designing embedded integrated circuits, is that they are too entrenched to boost hardware implementations, with little time left to do any real design work. They don’t have the time to analyse and find the best implementation for their specific goals because they are so focused on getting their product out of the door. In 2017, an increasing numbers of designers will be returning to do real hardware design work, figuring out the best way to get some functionality onto hardware. The result: better hardware and more satisfied designers.

Issues involving convoluted neural networks

Since their invention more than 50 years ago, neural networks have enjoyed periods of popularity in the research community, then languished nearly forgotten in between. A massive increase in computing power and novel approaches to artificial-neuron training brought neural networks in from the cold 10 years ago and they have now reached the point where the algorithms are not only being deployed in servers, but are also beginning to move into embedded systems. But that shift calls for a massive improvement in their efficiency.

Bright future for fibre optical networks

In the last 30 years or so, the rate at which data can be sent down core fibre has increased by an amazing 10million times. And the UK has a long and enviable track record in this remarkable progress, with research groups and companies continuing to influence and drive the industry.

Advanced analytics for a data enabled economy

In the digital era, successful economies and businesses will be creative, innovative and economically diverse, driven by the generation and use of ‘Big Data’ created by computers, sensors and other digital devices, networked systems and improved analytics.

UK universities getting better at commercialising research

The relationship between universities and new technology start-ups is crucial and the UK has been relatively poor at the commercialisation of ideas, let alone commercial success. Should it be about the jobs that are created or should the financial returns from technological innovation be the sole driver of whether university research is worthwhile?

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