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Latest In Depth Technology News

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 – G.fast – 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.

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.

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