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.

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.

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.

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.

Could Industry 4.0 change forever the way in which manufacturers operate?

Industry 4.0 – or the Industrial Internet of Things – is on the verge of radically changing the way in which manufacturers operate. The approach is expected to pave the way towards a future in which smart factories, intelligent machines and networked processes are brought together to encourage greater manufacturing productivity, flexibility and profitability.

Redefining automotive HMIs using advanced optoelectronics

There are a vast number of multimedia, communication, air conditioning, telematics and navigation utilities now being built into in the average car. All of these, of course, need efficient control mechanisms. Automobile manufacturers have, in recent years, placed far greater importance on the implementation of highly intuitive human machine interfaces (HMIs) that can address the expanding scope of functionality that drivers need to deal with, while ensuring that they are still able to concentrate fully on the road ahead. As a result interest is growing in HMIs that are capable of supporting touch-less operation.

Product differentiation

The Mobile World Congress usually represents a forum for all of the major technology companies to display their latest offerings to the world of mobile communications. However, having visited the various stands at this year's congress – which took place in Barcelona during March 2015 –one was struck by the fact that the smartphones produced by each of the manufacturers seems increasingly to be converging towards the same design, form factor and features.

Simplifying design while increasing bandwidth

In modern communications systems, the more bandwidth that is available, the more information that can be transmitted. As bandwidth requirements increase, the need for faster and higher linearity A/D converters and amplifiers also increases.

High speed rail services pose wireless connectivity problems

Railway operators around the world are embracing wireless technology to help improve levels of security, raise levels of reliability, boost operating efficiency and enhance the consumer experience, whether that's by providing on board Wi-Fi access, better passenger information services or location based travel announcements.

Flexibility for the future

Operating a data centre requires a range of conflicting requirements to be balanced. At the top of the list is the ability to deliver extreme computational performance, but other factors include flexibility, the efficient use of power and keeping costs as low as possible.

Managing cell edge issues

Heterogeneous networks (HetNets) are now being deployed along with Self-Organising Networks (SON) to address the need for increased network capacity. A HetNet comprises a combination of macrocells or eNodeBs with small cells (microcells, picocells and femtocells) relay eNodeBs and remote radio heads (RRH).

Pushing towards the limits

It might seem like submarine communication is a relatively new fangled idea, but no; the first cable to link the UK and the US came into operation around 1860, carrying telegraphy.

How to make sure the IoT is as secure as it should be

Attacks on Sony and Target suggest current enterprise security, in many companies, is not fit for purpose. The Internet of Things means that almost anything can now be connected to the Internet, but that also means that anything connected to the Internet can be hacked. Most of the information isn't transmitted securely and many apps have vulnerabilities that can be easily exploited by anyone with the necessary skills.

Integrated photonic systems are expected to drive the development of new applications, including Ultra HD broadcast

Photonics is turning out to be big business – and the technology holds the prospect of being even more important in the future. A market that was valued at something like $350billion in 2005 has grown to be worth around $1trillion in 2015, driven by the increasing use of displays. Not bad for a technology that only saw the light of day in the early 1960s.

Terahertz technology is set to enter the mainstream, enabling better performance in a wide range of applications

Developing sources and detectors of electromagnetic radiation has been fundamental to scientific progress. But such devices have been lacking in one part of the spectrum – the so called 'terahertz gap'. This area, in which practical technologies for generating and detecting the radiation do not exist, lies between the microwave and infrared, covering frequencies from 0.1 to 10THz.

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