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.

Addressing the need for ultra-small ambient light sensors in wearable products

In today’s wearable health and fitness market, where consumer electronic backlight displays continue to get thinner, having an ambient light sensor (ALS) capable of being integrated into the thinnest backlight displays is becoming ever more important to designers of these devices. The proliferation of cell phones and the demand for a better user experience has driven a higher adoption rate of ALS in touchscreen smartphones. In these display management applications, automatically controlling the backlight intensity with an ALS ensures the best possible user experience while extending battery life.

Linear Technology's Bruce Hemp and James Wong bring ease of use to microwave radio design

Bandwidth is rapidly expanding in the next generation wireless access to cope with the ever-increasing Internet traffic. At the same time, the current available spectrum in use simply cannot support the needed bandwidth. So higher frequency spectrums are being evaluated for suitability. Multiple options are considered, ranging from unlicensed 5.8GHz terrestrial stations, to fleets of low-orbit satellites that blanket the earth. The path to higher bandwidth lies with new higher frequencies to deliver on that promise. New mixers with improved performance will be needed. A new mixer, the LTC5549 from Linear Technology, is launched to support this effort.

Addressing key challenges in automotive infotainment test with the NI PXI Platform

Automobiles have experienced rapid growth in the amount of in-vehicle electronics in recent years and a key area where these electronics are playing a vital role is in the infotainment system of the vehicle. In fact, the infotainment systems have become somewhat of a hub for a number of functions of the vehicle, and represent where both large amounts of information and driver entertainment are converging. Not only do they continue to blur the line between the driver’s mobile phone and the car for entertainment purposes, but there is also an overlap with important components of advanced driver assistant systems (ADAS).

While smart textiles for wearables remains in its infancy, its potential is huge

E-textiles or smart garments, smart clothing, electronic textiles, smart textiles, or smart fabrics; whatever the definition, they all have a digital component or electronics embedded within them. While it may still be in its infancy, it is a fast growing market with new capabilities being developed that will enable users to interact with their surroundings and to communicate data via embedded sensors or conductive yarn through the clothes they wear.

Tracking WiFi signals to passively see through walls using NI USRP and LabVIEW

With dedication and a creative approach, University College London (UCL) research is helping to address the world's most urgent problems. Whether designing healthier cities or grappling with issues such as global health and climate change, the challenges of daily life inspire UCL students and academics. Based at UCL, our team of electrical engineering researchers is investigating passive radar technologies that can see through walls using WiFi radio waves.

Can optical technology solve the high performance computing energy conundrum?

In summer 2015, US president Barack Obama signed an order intended to provide the country with an exascale supercomputer by 2025. The machine would be 30 times more powerful than today’s leading system: China’s Tianhe-2. Based on extrapolations of existing electronic technology, such a machine would draw close to 0.5GW – the entire output of a typical nuclear plant. It brings into question the sustainability of continuing down the same path for gains in computing.

M2.COM Internet of Things sensor platform unveiled

According to its creators – Advantech, ARM, Bosch, Texas Instruments and Sensirion – M2.COM is an evolutionary module technology designed specifically for IoT sensors and devices. With networking, computing and data collection features on one module, M2.COM is intended to help transform obsolete applications into IoT generation solutions. The partners note the modular design is said to make the concept flexible enough to support different applications and to meet the changing demands of the IoT world.

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.

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