Communications Technology

Connectivity is a key feature of modern embedded products. There’s a wide range of communications modes that can be used, but which is the best for your design? Should you use a wireless technology such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and, if so, which one should that be? Or would wired communication, such as Ethernet, be the best way forward?

In this section, New Electronics reviews the latest communications technologies and brings visitors to the website information on how these technologies are being applied.

Boosting the health of UK manufacturing industry using photonics technology

One of the big themes being pursued by the recently elected Conservative Government is the revival of manufacturing as one way to reduce the country’s dependence on the financial and services sectors. While the UK’s manufacturing sector remains in the world’s top 10, it has been drifting down the league table since the 1970s and productivity has been of particular concern.

Do UK contract manufacturers understand the concept of Industry 4.0, let alone employ it?

Contract manufacturers have an increasingly important role to play in the UK’s manufacturing ecosystem, whether that is in supporting volume production or new and emerging businesses looking to take new products from concept to volume assembly. According to figures from the Electronic Components Supply Network (ECSN), the CEM sector in the UK and Ireland now, in terms of demand, accounts for more than 40% of all electronic components by value.

Wireless Sensor Networking for the Industrial Internet of Things

Much is being made of the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and the associated need for wireless connectivity for industrial sensors. But the networking needs of industrial devices and applications are distinct from the consumer world, with reliability and security high on the list. This article highlights some of the key network requirements specific to industrial wireless sensor networks.

Meeting the short term and long term requirements for IoT connectivity

As the concepts of the internet of things (IoT) starts to gather supporters within organisations, the numbers behind Gartner’s forecast that the IoT will comprise 50billion devices by 2020 starts to take shape. The challenge facing many organisations is so crucial to their future viability that no one can ignore it.

Making massive MIMOs for high speed short range comms

The communications issues related to the Internet of Things have been discussed over the last few years and a range of solutions is available, although some remain proprietary. But a new set of challenges is emerging as designers look to enable communications between devices taking advantage of nanotechnology.

Why security is critical to the success of IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) has exploded on to both the consumer and business markets in the last few years and is starting to have a major impact in almost every industry. From construction and manufacturing to retail and healthcare. Like it or not, IoT is here to stay.

Programmable matter could make evolutionary hardware a reality

First realised 20 years ago, evolutionary hardware design continues to fascinate a small group of researchers. The attraction is not difficult to understand; instead of trying to design behaviour or structure into a system manually, you let the system determine for itself how it should work. Just like biology – only you need it to happen in less than a few million years.

What to know when selecting a CMOS image sensor for a home automation device

Sensors are at the heart of the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution and most applications will deploy multiple sensors including an image sensor. The more compelling home automation products tend to deploy cameras which are commonly based around a CMOS image sensor and this, coupled with sophisticated computer vision algorithms, look set to become the ‘brains’ of the smart home.

Wi-Fi and unlicensed LTE groups are finding it hard to coexist as mobile phone technology develops

Although relatively young, the mobile communications sector seems to have an uncanny propensity to generate major controversies. The latest spat manages to pit one technology – Wi-Fi – against cellular; two networks that have avoided treading on each other’s toes for more than two decades. During this time, each camp has seen huge innovation and enormous growth, with many components and infrastructure suppliers relying on them for their own success.

1D to 3D HMI solutions

Just a few years ago Touch revolutionised input: mechanical buttons, keyboards and sliders were replaced by static plastic or metal surfaces. It meant that operator interfaces could be incorporated into a device, and unobtrusive and modern design became increasingly common on the factory floor. Capacitive touch is based on a capacitor whereby the human finger acts as the actuator for the capacitor. Ingenious designs also enable proximity switches to be implemented as well. In this case the control system is only active shortly before it is activated, reducing energy consumption. This is known as ‘1D’ input.

Minimising costs for wire-to-board connections

Wire-to-board connections incur high costs when handling large quantities in mass markets. However, using the right connection technology this expense can be prevented. It's often worth considering the use of tried-and-tested technologies that enable cables and circuit boards to be connected at little cost.

Designing precision guidance systems for agricultural applications

The use of satellite navigation systems has become a familiar part of our daily life. Whether it is in our vehicles to help us find our way to our destination, navigate us around traffic delays or to locate us within an unfamiliar city, GPS-based navigation saves us an immense amount of time and makes the experience a lot less stressful. In most cases the degree of accuracy reported by the GPS is adequate for our purposes. However, as the numbers of potential applications grow so does the need, in some cases, for a lot more accuracy and repeatability in the location information provided. One such example is for agricultural applications, specifically for use in sowing, fertilizing and harvesting crops.

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