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Latest In Depth Technology News

The latest trends in test and measurement

Buying an instrument used to be straightforward, in as much you specified what you wanted and then found equipment to meet that specification. Obviously, this defines the limitations of what that instrument can be used for, but T&M companies over more recent years have introduced ways to make their instruments both more affordable and more flexible.

Thermal modelling boosts LED performance

Energy efficiency and longevity have made LEDs the light source of choice in a multitude of applications. They are of course more expensive than traditional alternatives and the other drawback is that performance suffers as junction temperature increases – the junction being the active area where light is generated.

Back to the future: Can we use history to inspire the next generation of engineers?

The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) is blessed with the perfect setting; it is located at Bletchley Park, famously home of the World War II code breakers. In fact, the machine most closely associated with the code-breaking feat, Colossus, is actually not strictly a Bletchley Park exhibit; instead, it has pride of place within TNMOC, which is an independent charity.

Raspberry Pi and Arduino cater to the masses

Raspberry Pi has been a phenomenon. As it celebrates its second birthday this month, it was hoped that it would have sold 2million units. In fact it passed this milestone back in October 2013. While Arduino can't quite match the unit sales, it does have more hardware options and flexibility.

Can LEDs help to solve the looming spectrum congestion problem?

A host of research projects in the established field of visual light communications (VLC) is pushing towards the possibility of using the lighting infrastructure to transmit data at several Gbit/s, with perhaps the most promising approach – dubbed Li-Fi (for light fidelity), a subset of VLC – making waves in several ways.

Software development: Cost vs. value

Depending upon who you talk to and the scale of the design, software development can represent around 60% of the cost of of an embedded system project. With costs rising and budgets stretched, some companies may choose to look at less expensive tools. How can the industry help developers to measure the benefits of particular tools?

Software tools set to play a more critical role in system design

More projects with greater complexity mean embedded design teams need to be more efficient and this is influencing their choice of technology. Evidence is provided by mobile phones: 10 years ago, devices featured a wireless module and one processor, today, smartphones have various interfaces and a number of processors in order to execute a multitude of applications. Cars are even more complex, with as many as 100 processors per vehicle, and a similar trend is followed in industrial applications, where electronic systems and machines feature a wealth of control and monitoring systems.

Findlay Media announces the Embedded Design Show

The embedded sector continues to grow, pushed by economies of scale and pulled by the specialised expertise of engineers. A missing cog in the embedded engine has been a focused event for the sector. Tim Fryer reports on why this is no longer the case.

Accuracy enhanced in automatic test equipment systems

Many ATE systems are required to measure critical parameters with extreme accuracy, as they must be significantly more accurate than the devices they test. Modern ATE systems push the boundaries of signal processing and require parts per million (ppm) accuracy.

Acal looks to bring clean power to the rail industry

Every piece of equipment needs power and yet, claims Peter Creely, there are fewer analogue power engineers in the UK than professional footballers. However, Acal BFi has succeeded in retaining this power expertise, as Creely demonstrated to Tim Fryer when discussing details of a project for the rail sector.

Modulation approach set to solve spectrum congestion

As mobile communications become more pervasive, the amount of data flowing around the various networks and – importantly, the various parts of the spectrum – grows inexorably. The world, it is claimed, is moving ever closer to spectrum congestion.

WaRP speed ahead for wearable electronics

Wearable electronics has been a topic pursued for some years, but with little obvious progress beyond entry level devices. While initial offerings were invariably some form of clothing based device, the technology has advanced slowly and it appears its day may be arriving. In fact, analysts expect the wearables market to be worth $50billion by 2017.

How the Automata architecture could boost processing efficiency

Micron Technology appeared at the 2013 Supercomputing conference, where it claimed the development of a massively parallel architecture built around its memory technology could provide a huge speed boost for some of the applications that today need supercomputers. At the same time, the memory maker said it is setting up a research centre based at the University of Virginia to focus on what it calls the Automata architecture.

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