Consumer

The consumer electronics market is not only one of the fastest moving of all markets, it’s one of the broadest. With mobile phones, tablets and similar devices updated on a rapid time scale, consumers are always on the lookout for the latest products. Those involved in the the sector, as well as those looking to enter the consumer electronics market, need to keep up to date.

New Electronics covers developments in the consumer electronics sector, bringing technology updates and opinion from the market.

Low cost sensors will help the IoT to be realised

The Internet of Things is developing from being a concept just a few years ago to something far more tangible. But the whole idea of the IoT is dependent upon collecting masses of data from billions of so called edge devices, analysing it and deciding on actions. That data needs to be collected by sensors of all description – and those sensors need to be low cost if the aims of those creating products for the IoT are to be realised.

Industrial digitalisation made real

Last month saw the publication of the Industrial Digitalisation Review which outlined a series of proposals to boost the UK’s economy through the deployment of advanced digital technologies including: robotics, 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

The Sonic Internet

Whether in the smart home or in in-car entertainment the audio market is changing rapidly. The audio industry is enjoying a sustained period of rapid growth, particularly in key audio markets like the US and UK, and audio is becoming more important as developers look to create more immersive experiences in the fields of gaming and virtual reality.

Birmingham University is pioneering VR, AR, simulation and telerobotics systems

Established in 2003 by Professor Bob Stone, Birmingham University’s Human Interface Technologies (HIT) Team, based within the university’s School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering (EESE) has been a pioneer in the development of interactive media and telerobotic technologies in the UK, building on Stone’s long experience in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality, simulation and telerobotics.

AI faces a power struggle if it is to be used more broadly

It is easy to see artificial intelligence (AI) as a naturally power-hungry technology; it demands racks of servers stuffed with a combination of multicore CPUs, GPUs and, increasingly, FPGAs that crunch through terabytes of data to form the connections between millions of virtual neurons.

The NPL is looking to prove that measurement matters

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) was established in 1900 with the aim of bringing ‘scientific knowledge to bear practically upon our everyday industrial and commercial life’ and, over the past 117 years, it has established itself as a world class centre of excellence in measurement science. Not only that it has maintained the nation’s primary standards of measurement while developing and contributing to a host of innovations and technologies, from radar to atomic clocks.

As security becomes an important part of the design process, what are the issues?

A report published earlier in 2017 by consumer body Which? reinforced the perception that companies designing products for the Internet of Things don’t take security seriously enough. In what it called a ‘snapshot’ investigation, it set up a network featuring such smart gadgets as wireless cameras, smart padlocks and children’s toys, then hired a team of ethical security researchers to hack it. While some of the devices proved harder to hack than others, eight of the 15 appliances on the network had at least one security flaw.

Research excellence

Set up in 1956 Roke Manor Research has over the past 60 years established itself as a world-class electronics engineering consultancy.

COM modules in the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud-based solutions and Big Data represent major challenges for future system designs. The Microsoft Azure cloud is providing a framework to encapsulate these paradigms in manageable chunks allowing them to be mastered in a straight-forward way. MSC Technologies, producer of embedded hardware, has now certified its most popular COM products for the Azure Cloud, and is offering the software suite ‘Easy IoT’ which is a ready-to-run application for Azure.

Developing all programmable logic using the SDSoC environment

The traditional development flow of an all programmable Zynq SoC segments the design between processor system and programmable logic. The Zynq is a complex heterogeneous system which combines advanced ARM dual core Cortex-A9 processing systems with programmable logic. This programmable logic provides not only the traditional Flip Flops and Look Up Tables but also block RAM and distributed RAM, DSP Slices, PCIe endpoints and multi-gigabit transceivers. Users need a development environment which enables them to exploit the capability provided by both the processor and the programmable logic.

Satellite data use is rapidly expanding

The UK is once more seen as a leading space science nation, with companies focused on making satellite technology more affordable through smaller, lighter-weight satellites that lower the cost of commercial launches. The Government’s continuing commitment to the industry was highlighted in the recent Queen’s Speech to Parliament, which included a space industry Bill outlining its ambition to grow the UK’s share of the global space market from 6.5% to 10% by 2030.

Analysing the energy storage challenge

Users of battery powered consumer electronic devices usually have one thing in mind; how long will it last before the battery needs to be recharged. Depending on the device and how it’s used, that could be less than a day.

A different approach to Big Data

In June 2013, Sir Mark Walport and Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, co chairs of the Council for Science and Technology, sent a letter to then Prime Minister David Cameron entitled ‘The Age of Algorithms’. The letter contained eight recommendations, the sixth of which was the establishment of a National Centre to promote advanced research and translational work in algorithms and the application of data science. “This could fittingly be named the ‘Alan Turing Centre’,” they noted.

Industry associations' take on the Industrial Strategy White Paper

Despite the UK economy’s reliance on the financial and services sectors over the recent past, there remains an understanding that the development of technology has – and will continue to have – an important role to play. And if that technology can be translated into the creation of thriving companies, then all the better.

Making the impossible possible and the common easy

The rapid pace of technological advancement should be celebrated and embraced. It fuels amazing new technologies and scientific achievements that make us more connected and safer. It also pushes the limits of what we previously thought possible. The impact of these achievements is no longer isolated to a narrow market vertical. It permeates every industry and exposes the established market incumbents to an unusual combination of disruption and growth potential.

Data infrastructure to make our cities 'smart'

Increasing urbanisation and growing populations mean that cities are growing at rate that many experts would say is ‘alarming’. Within a matter of just two or three years, 60% of the world’s population could be living in an urban environment, with all the challenges of energy and water supply, as well as delivering adequate transport and healthcare.

Getting a lock on small signals

Phase sensitive or lock-in amplifiers can extract low level signals in the presence of relatively high noise and, recently, there has been growing interest in their use in portable or embedded instrumentation and sensing applications.

Millimetre-wave technology key to future 5G applications

The availability of new mmWave frequency bands will be key to achieving the ambitious mobile data rate targets associated with 5G. But what are the likely operating bands or the technology and packaging options that will help to realise those essential mmWave components?

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