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Stand by me

Five in to one does go, when it comes to micro support devices. By Philip Ling.

Embedded microprocessor cores may be in vogue at the moment, but the numbers show that discrete micros are still the most popular and established programmable solution in use today.

It's not hard to see why, they come in a range of shapes and sizes to suit every application and they are relatively easy to program to achieve quite complex control and data processing tasks. More are introduced almost weekly, following a road map towards higher integration and greater overall power.

It would be easy to imaging that a microcontroller is a standalone device but in reality, of course, there will always be ancillary devices (there is a statistic banded about that states for every £1 spent on digital devices at least another £1 is spent on analogue). Sweeping up those ancillary devices, both digital and analogue, is the domain of a relatively small number of devices known as micro companions.

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Graham Pitcher

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