Optoelectronics play a critical role in the electronics industry. At one end, it provides the isolation needed in industrial systems. At the other, optoelectronics enables the transmission of data around the world using fibre optic cables.

In this section, New Electronics keeps visitors up to date with developments in the optoelectronics market, covering topics ranging from optocouplers to lasers to infrared emitters.

Communicating data in the IoT

The Internet of Things is evolving to provide greater intelligence at the node, converting raw data into smart information. With less data to communicate, it becomes more cost-effective to integrate low power RF transceivers into the node module. Certification to wireless protocol standards ensures interoperability and the emergence of open tools will make support for these standards less onerous to developers.

Enabling robust data communications within a high voltage BMS

The primary purpose of the battery management system (BMS) is achieving reliability, performance and longevity of battery packs. As part of this, the battery management electronics measures each cell voltage and transmits this information to a central processor. For high voltage battery strings – such as is typical for automotive drivetrains –a modular distributed pack is an attractive choice. Battery modules can serve as the basic building block for multiple pack designs. Modules also allow for optimal weight distribution and maximum use of available space. The biggest challenge is the datalink required to operate the pack as a single unit.

New technologies widen touchscreen opportunities

A quiet revolution is taking place in the projected capacitive touchscreen market. Rapid industry developments are delivering touchscreens which are thinner, higher performance, more reliable and lower cost. The impetus behind many of these developments is the fact that indium tin oxide (ITO), the long standing conductive material of choice for phone and tablet touchscreens, has limitations and consequently is being superseded by alternative materials. ITO has never been widely used in large format AV and kiosk applications, but some of the technologies that are being developed to replace it could.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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