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How do T&M companies validate the performance of their products?

Boundaries are there to be pushed. Designers, particularly in the communications sector, are pushing those boundaries aggressively by creating products that carry more data, run faster and use less power. Designing your product is one thing; testing it is another, so engineers turn to similarly leading edge products from test and measurement specialists. But how does a T&M company that has, for example, a 70GHz oscilloscope test that product? Who tests the tester?

Fairchild has its sights on the wearables market

Wearable electronics is a burgeoning market, with some analysts claiming sales could reach $8billion a year by 2018. While that's good news for those developing wearable products, it's also good news for those companies developing MEMS based devices, because many wearables will be enabled by them.

Process aims to take the thermal stresses off the electronics

'Big Data' is big and getting bigger. As the world moves from analogue to digital, all of that data passes through and is stored in data centres. And on top of the data stored there is also the move to do more computation in the cloud. The more data going in and around, the bigger the data centres get, the more power they use and the more heat is generated – although data centres that are devoted to storage do less processing and generate less heat than a centre whose main function is cloud computing.

Software tool finds bugs in real time

Getting bug free code can be time consuming. The loop created between a developer passing over code for testing, only to get it back for revision, can be a long one. It becomes longer when more developers are working on the same project – as the matrix which becomes the solution shifts with every new input from a member of the team.

FPGA family may be a companion for ASICs and ASSPs

Lattice Semiconductor has unveiled the ECP5 family of FPGAs, designed for use alongside ASICs and merchant chips. At first glance, the motivation for the family appears counterintuitive – why add a programmable IC if you are undertaking a custom ASIC design? Equally, an FPGA alone will do the job if the standards being used are still in flux.

Taking touchscreens into the third dimension

Incorporating a touchscreen has almost become a prerequisite in modern designs. While some end users will continue to prefer designs with buttons and knobs, touchscreens have become sufficiently robust and low cost to make them a viable alternative.

Camera pill technology set to ease cancer diagnosis

Colonoscopies can be an uncomfortable procedure for patients who may already be worried about what the results may find. The process involves probing the large intestine with a tiny fibre optic camera, known as an endoscope, embedded in a 4ft long, flexible tube.

Graphene's growing family: The successor to silicon turns up some interesting new materials

Since its discovery, graphene – the atom thick carbon material – has been hailed as the heir apparent to silicon. It has much to commend it; an unusual chemical structure means electrons move freely along the plane of the graphene sheet, encountering practically no resistance. But that's also where graphene's problems start. Unlike silicon, it is simply too good a conductor to operate effectively as a switch without some circuit design and materials processing gymnastics.

Virtual solution could spell the end for antennas

The fast pace of evolution of the wireless industry puts familiar time-to-market pressure on the engineering of every new mobile device. Being in the heart of every mobile product, the design of the RF front-end and, in particular, the antenna, becomes especially cumbersome - every product currently requires a fully customised antenna.

Embedding a single test solution

"There is this 'intersection' of software and hardware that needs to be controlled, essentially through a single interface. Not only an interface in terms of accessing the system, but also an interface for accessing things that a hardware engineer would want to know about, as well as access for software engineers as they do their development job." So says Larry Osborn, ASSET's product manager for Sourcepoint.

Getting your fix: Technology addiction

In today's world, technology is a vital fix for many kinds of problem. But, increasingly, it is becoming another kind of fix – and problem – for probably millions of people worldwide. Technology brings with it a powerful addiction.

Analogue designers continue to push the boundaries

Since 1954, the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) has been the forum for presenting leading edge circuit designs. Whilst the focus over the years has shifted to digital designs, the conference continues to have significant analogue content, with sessions dedicated to such areas as data conversion and analogue techniques.

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