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Latest In Depth Technology News

Boxes of tricks: Choosing the right enclosure for your design

Metal or plastic? Choosing an enclosure is not as straightforward as some might think, so what are the options when you are looking to house your precious electronic designs? Robert Cox, sales and marketing director of OKW Enclosures, gave his opinions on the pros and cons of the major enclosure materials of construction.

Fibre optic networks can provide the platform for security and monitoring

'Linear assets' is a term that covers anything from roads and railway to pipes and perimeter fences. Typically, these assets will have signage, sensors and equipment controlled from a single point somewhere along that asset, and that control data is transmitted through fibre optic cables These cables can also be used to provide low cost and accurate monitoring.

NFC yet to secure its role in securing mobile payments

Novel approaches, such as Host Card Emulation (HCE) and potential threats such as the emergence of Bluetooth Low Energy – another technology standard for exchanging data wirelessly over very short distances – have brought into sharp focus the disappointing pace of development of mobile Near Field Communications (NFC), notably for financial transactions.

Engineering solutions to EV range anxiety

Electric vehicles on general sale today offer adequate ranges for tasks such as commuting, shopping and urban journeys. Nissan, for example, claims up to 124 miles per full charge for its all electric Leaf, while Tesla suggests up to 310 miles for its Model S when specified with the optional 85kWh battery. Even so, range anxiety – the fear of running out of charge before journey's end – is recognised as a potential barrier to widespread acceptance of electric vehicles.

DSL technology could allow data to be sent to the home at 1Gbit/s

Once the plain old telephone service, the role of the telephone wire continues to be refashioned. The latest digital subscriber line (DSL) standard being developed – – uses 106MHz of phone wire spectrum to deliver gigabit broadband, a far cry from its original purpose of carrying a 3kHz voice call. The developments (see fig 1) complement fibre getting ever closer to the home.

Solving the system architecture jigsaw

Is a system architecture created from the apocryphal clean sheet of paper any longer? No, according to design consultancy Plextek's chief technology officer Paul Martin. "Have I ever had a clean sheet of paper to design on?" he wondered. "If I did, what was I guided by and what were the design constraints?" Pushed, he admitted he'd probably done it once, with a telecoms system.

Wanted: Tomorrow’s engineers

The decline in the number of students enrolling on engineering courses has been charted for some years now. A range of reasons has been put forward, but the bottom line is that the UK hasn't been producing enough engineers.

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.

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