Medical

Developments in medical systems are helping to diagnose and treat more conditions than ever before, with devices ranging from blood pressure meters and glucosometers to leading edge MRI machines. It’s no surprise that medical electronics is a demanding discipline, which means companies involved in the sector, as well as those looking to enter the medical electronics supply chain, need to keep up to date.

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

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.

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.

MRAM is finding ways around the memory chasm

When Freescale started work on magnetic random access memory (MRAM) two decades ago, it looked as though it could provide a fast, low power memory that does not need a constant flow of current to store data. With a bit cell that looked to be competitive with DRAM, but with better storage behaviour than flash, MRAM offered the potential to be the ultimate memory.

Could a 1mm thick solid state battery drive the development of the IoT?

Researchers have been searching for alternatives to the ubiquitous lithium-ion battery for some time. A number of reasons support the research, including the need for greater energy density, lower self discharge and longer life. A further driver for this work is safety; lithium-ion batteries can be dangerous if they get too hot or are not charged correctly.

Has the moment finally arrived for AR and VR?

When it is reported that Apple has set about assembling a large team of specialists in virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) to look at building prototypes of headsets to rival the Oculus Rift or the Microsoft’s Hololens, it would seem to suggest that the world of augmented reality (AR) is beginning to witness a moving of the tectonic plates, as a growing number of companies adjust their focus from trials and test projects to real commercial deployments.

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.

What is viable and what is not with 3D printed enclosures

Unless you've been under a rock for the last 10 years, you will have heard about 3D printing. But many engineers are still wondering how they can use it for anything other than prototyping. However, 3D printing can provide a cost effective way to construct custom enclosures and this article will explain how, when and why you should consider using 3D printing for your product.

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.

There's still growing demand for DSP, say experts

Eight years ago, a New Electronics article about digital signal processors started: ‘Jump back a decade or more and there was little difficulty identifying just what digital signal processing was. Neither was there any problem in identifying a DSP. But times change. Today, DSP as a technique is beginning to disappear from view, hidden within applications. Whilst DSPs are still being produced, they are beginning to evolve into different types of device’. You could argue that statement still has validity. So what is the ‘state of the DSP nation’?

Can 3D printing transform PCB prototyping?

The hardware and software powering today’s electronic devices have evolved at breakneck speed, but one crucial bottleneck remains – prototyping, in particular unforeseen and costly delays during PCB development. In response 3D printing is now being deployed in the production of professional PCBs delivering benefits in terms of time savings, costs and innovation.

How innovation in rechargeable lithium cells is helping designers overcome power limitations in miniature devices

Designers of portable electronics products are familiar with the related challenges of space and weight reduction. It seems there is no limit to consumers’ desire for their devices to be thinner, lighter and sleeker. And in a product such as an earbud (or in-ear speaker), the form factor is absolutely constrained – in this case, by the size of the human ear.

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.

Part art, part science

The development of backplanes for high performance designs is certainly challenging. The key appears to be ‘don’t do it yourself’, especially if you are looking at customised designs.

A layered approach to enhancing security for safety-critical software

Today’s safety-critical embedded environments are becoming more connected to the outside world. The ongoing growth of the Internet and IoT solutions will further drive connectivity requirements for safety-critical systems for the foreseeable future. Aerospace, defence, automotive, medical and industrial control are just some of the vertical markets that will expand as the ability to interconnect and remotely work with devices grows.

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