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UX Design: The Age of Voice Is Here
Guest Blogs 
4/24/2015  Post a comment
The age of touch could soon come to an end. From smartphones and smartwatches, to home devices, to in-car infotainment systems, touch is no longer the primary user interface. Technology market leaders are driving a migration from touch to voice as a user interface.
Soft Starters Spare Wear & Tear on Motors, Help Control Peak Energy Usage
Guest Blogs 
4/24/2015  Post a comment
Soft starter technology has become a way to mitigate startup stressors by moderating a motor’s voltage supply during the machine start-up phase, slowly ramping it up and effectively adjusting the machine’s load behavior to protect mechanical components.
What Does It Take to Evolve from 2D to 3D CAD Modeling?
Guest Blogs 
4/23/2015  1 comment
Despite the astronomical benefits offered by 3D modeling, it is quite surprising that nearly 75% of the manufacturing industries still perform design operations using 2D CAD systems. What is the reason that keeps companies hesitant from adopting 3D technology?
Using Energy Harvesting to Power MCUs and FPGAs
Guest Blogs 
4/22/2015  Post a comment
Energy harvesting in particular seems to be moving at an accelerating pace. We now seem to be at a point where it is possible to run low-power systems primarily from energy harvesting sources. This is a big shift from even just a couple of years ago. Three key trends seem to have accelerated this dramatic shift.
IoT Will Improve Design Engineering Relationships with Vendor Managers
Guest Blogs 
4/21/2015  Post a comment
ABI Research, a firm based in the UK that specializes in analyzing global connectivity and other emerging technologies, estimates there will be 40.9 billion active wirelessly interconnected “things” by 2020. The driving force is the usual suspect: the Internet of Things.
Embedded Vision Is Guiding the Path of Smart Industrial Machinery
Guest Blogs 
4/14/2015  2 comments
The Internet of Things (IoT) is frequently defined by consumer or healthcare applications. It’s important to remember, however, that IoT offers at least as much potential to industry. One of the most promising subsets of industrial IoT is embedded vision -- or machinery that can see, interpret data, and act accordingly.
Can You Optimize this Example MCU-Based Design for Low Power Operation?
Guest Blogs 
4/14/2015  3 comments
Going back to older application notes or archived CEC courses remind us of some of the most useful tricks and techniques we can use to reduce the power dissipation in an MCU-based design.
Wiring the Factory of the Future: Passive or Active?
Guest Blogs 
4/10/2015  1 comment
The Internet of Things is bringing smarter production processes to the factory floor and simultaneously driving data volume and diversity up -- quickly.
Hydraulic Solution for Flash-Butt Welding
Guest Blogs 
4/7/2015  Post a comment
New flash welding innovation uses hydraulic motion control, and enables patented welding process for as much as 50% less cost.
Automotive Circuit Protection Using High-Reliability TVS Diodes
Guest Blogs 
4/1/2015  Post a comment
Transient-voltage-suppression diode technology eliminates surges and enhances vehicle safety.
Improved Machine Design Can Help Raise Compliance with Lockout/Tagout Safety Rules
Guest Blogs 
3/31/2015  1 comment
Industrial workplaces are governed by OSHA rules, but this isn’t to say that rules are always followed. While injuries happen on production floors for a variety of reasons, of the top 10 OSHA rules that are most often ignored in industrial settings, two directly involve machine design: lockout/tagout procedures (LO/TO) and machine guarding.
Don’t Let Load Dump Damage Your Automotive Electronics Circuits
Guest Blogs 
3/27/2015  1 comment
Load dump occurs when a discharged battery is disconnected while the alternator is generating current and other loads remain on the alternator circuit. If left alone, the electrical spikes and transients will be transmitted along the power line, leading to malfunctions in individual electronics/sensors or permanent damage to the vehicle’s electronic system. Bottom line: An uncontrolled load dump threatens the overall safety and reliability of the vehicle.
The 3 Parts of Supplier Risk Management Explained for Design Engineers
Guest Blogs 
3/26/2015  2 comments
While risk management sounds like one activity, in order to be conducted effectively, it must be broken down into three sub-components: risk assessment, risk monitoring, and response planning.
Wireless Connectivity Offers Distinct Advantages for Industrial Applications
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3/26/2015  Post a comment
While many larger companies are still reluctant to rely on wireless networks to transmit important information in industrial settings, there is an increasing acceptance rate of the newer, more robust wireless options that are now available.
It’s Time to Get Your Feet Wet in Additive Manufacturing — and Production
Guest Blogs 
3/25/2015  Post a comment
To those who have not stepped into additive manufacturing, get involved as soon as possible. This is for the benefit of your company. When the new innovations come out, you want to be ready to take advantage of them immediately, and that takes knowledge.
A Hands-On Look at Cypress’ BLE Find Me Application
Guest Blogs 
3/25/2015  Post a comment
Design engineers will feel like kids in a candy store with the Cypress Semiconductor BLE Pioneer Kit. The development kit for low-power sensor-based systems is full of wireless wonder and exploration.
Polymer Additive Technologies at NPE2015 Push Packaging Limits
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3/24/2015  Post a comment
At the NPE2015 plastics expo this week in Orlando, Fla., Milliken & Co., a company that specializes in property-enhancing additives for polymers, is showing two products that are expected to have a major impact on their respective markets.
At NPE2015, Transparent and Plastic Klear Can Looks to Eat Away at Metal
Guest Blogs 
3/23/2015  8 comments
Of the products and technologies on display at the NPE2015 plastics expo in Orlando, Fla., this week, one in particular could dramatically change segments of food packaging – Klear Can. It's a transparent plastic can with a metal top and pull tab for fruits, vegetables, and meats that competes with metal cans.
How Low Can You Go? Getting the most out of Low Power MCUs
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3/23/2015  Post a comment
Some power-aware features are just showing up in tools, but it can still be a difficult task to determine where your design is the most power efficient and where it needs some help. Making sure your design is power efficient should become easier as tools catch up.
DoE Energy Rule Will Lead to Bigger, Expensive Motors
Guest Blogs 
3/20/2015  11 comments
In early March, the US Department of Energy put new energy efficiency rules into effect for small, general-purpose electric motors. The agency says these revised regulations will save approximately 2.6 quads of energy and result in approximately $35 billion in energy savings from motors shipped between 2015 and 2044.
The Gigantic Impact of UX/UI Design on Internet of Things Applications
Guest Blogs 
3/18/2015  1 comment
Elegantly conceived UX/UI design is critical to the success of Internet of Things technology -- for ease of use, analysis and review, and both machines and humans to “see” and use data in purposeful ways. The best UX/UI designers are doing just that: designing the entire experience for fluidity, clarity, and meaning. Otherwise, IoT will be just a perfect storm of too much useless information.
Place and Route Algorithms for FPGAs: How Do They Do That?
Guest Blogs 
3/17/2015  Post a comment
The next time you run an FPGA compile chain from a high level language through synthesis and the back-end FPGA manufacturer tools, give a nod to the Place and Route algorithm doing all the heavy lifting. Now if we could just find a way to use negotiated congestion to solve our evening highway commute problems, life would be even better.
A Peek Into Cypress’ BLE Pioneer Kit for IoT
Guest Blogs 
3/17/2015  4 comments
With the Internet of Things (IoT) being one of today’s most important tech trends, development and prototyping work with low-power wireless sensor-based systems in electronics and home appliances, as well as automotive and industrial control products, will only grow in our increasingly connected world. Cypress Semiconductor created the BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) Pioneer Kit to enable system designers to start that work.
MEMS & Sensors Can Bring a New mHealth World
Guest Blogs 
3/11/2015  Post a comment
We now have the technology now to enable doctors to diagnose disease from across the globe, delivering the results to your smartphone. That technology is MEMS and sensors, and we are just glimpsing what it can uncover through the increase in quantified-self data from wearables and health monitoring devices.
5 Tips to Meet Control Panel Space Requirements
Guest Blogs 
3/10/2015  Post a comment
When designing a control panel, you have enough worries and responsibilities and should not be concerned with additional design challenges. The following tips can help achieve design flexibility and regulatory compliance while bringing you peace of mind.
How to Engineer a Good Job Move
Guest Blogs 
3/6/2015  1 comment
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
Thermal, Electromagnetic, Capacitive Sensor Simulation Software Makes Switching Easy
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3/4/2015  Post a comment
There are drivers everywhere who turn on their headlights or windshield wipers with no awareness of the development effort behind a switch. Yet from freezing winter to sweltering summer, on dull rainy days and in bright sunshine, switches are expected to function consistently for the lifetime of a car.
Alliance in the Skies
Guest Blogs 
3/3/2015  Post a comment
Jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney sees additive manufacturing as a production approach that's complementary to -- not a replacement for -- traditional manufacturing processes.
Ecolab-Tested Cable Jacket for Washdown Applications
Guest Blogs 
3/2/2015  Post a comment
The standards electrical machines and components are required to meet in the food processing industry are far more stringent than those in traditional plant construction. For specialized production environments such as these, components must not only resist thermal and physical stresses, but they must also be resistant to the chemicals used to sterilize equipment.
When Will the Smart Home Really Be Smart?
Guest Blogs 
2/27/2015  7 comments
The word “smart” is becoming the dumbest word around. It has been applied to almost every device and system in our homes. In addition to smartphones and smart meters, we now hear about smart clothing and smart shoes, smart lights, smart homes, smart buildings, and every trendy city today has its smart city project. Just because it has a computer inside and is connected to the Web, does not mean it is smart.
Personal Power Management & Minimizing the Stress of Decision Fatigue
Guest Blogs 
2/25/2015  1 comment
Was Steve Job’s signature outfit of a black turtleneck, jeans, and sneakers the secret behind his success? Maybe, or maybe not, but it was likely an indication of a decision-making philosophy that enabled him to become one of the most successful innovators of all time.
Controlled Landing and Ascent
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2/24/2015  Post a comment
Electromechanical actuators and propulsion system enable the first controlled landing and ascent from a solar system body other than the moon.
Powering a Wireless Device For 40 Years
Guest Blogs 
2/20/2015  2 comments
Combining energy-saving product design and advanced lithium batteries enables wireless devices to operate maintenance-free for up to four decades.
Reducing Verification Time with Future-Proofed HIL Testing
Guest Blogs 
2/19/2015  Post a comment
Hardware-in-the-loop test platforms enable manufacturers to deal with increasing software complexity.
Low Power Optimization Is Just Too Complicated
Guest Blogs 
2/13/2015  Post a comment
Remember when design decisions for optimizing low-power MCU applications were simple? All you needed to do was select when to put the MCU into the low-power mode and when to wake it up. Once it was awake, you just ran the required code as quickly as possible. Simple, right? Well, these days designing for power efficiency isn’t so simple. Why is that the case?
What Do You Want to Know About Motor Control?
Guest Blogs 
2/9/2015  2 comments
Now is your chance to tell us what you would like to learn during the March 9-13 Continuing Education Center Class, "Implementing Motor Control Designs with MCUs and FPGAs: An Introduction and Update."
What Do You Want to Know About Low Power MCUs?
Guest Blogs 
2/2/2015  4 comments
Continuing Education Center lecturer Warren Miller wants to know what you want to learn about in his upcoming course. Read his suggestions and add your own.
The Importance of Serial Interfaces in FPGA Designs
Guest Blogs 
1/27/2015  1 comment
FPGAs are the glue logic in today's systems, but what they glue together are a variety of diverse sub-systems with different interface requirements.
The Conundrum of Published Specs Versus Real-World Performance
Guest Blogs 
1/23/2015  5 comments
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Decoding Procurement: How It Can Work as Design Engineering’s Ally
Guest Blogs 
1/22/2015  Post a comment
Procurement actually means well. There is no question that procurement can do a better job of phrasing their questions or making connections between engineering’s goals and the processes underway. And if you are using the right deciphering code, the result can live up to -- or surpass -- your expectations.
The Case for CFD: Uncovering the Science Behind Internal Combustion Engine Phenomenon
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1/20/2015  Post a comment
Internal combustion engines are ruling power generation applications even today, and improvising them to churn out every slice of power is still an area of research for the engineering community.
How Do You Get Started Designing with FPGAs? Here’s How
Guest Blogs 
1/16/2015  2 comments
If you are interested in adding FPGA technology to you engineering toolkit, grab some free tools and an evaluation kit and get started on your own FPGA project. It never hurts to expand your engineering toolbox, and FPGAs are only going to become more popular over the next few years.
Design Decisions: Use Epoxies to Protect Against Metal Corrosion
Guest Blogs 
1/9/2015  Post a comment
With the growing demand for new-age applications, corrosion has become an inherent problem. Not only do epoxies confer excellent corrosion resistance, they are also easy to handle and process. However, one must be mindful of selecting the right epoxy system along with the appropriate application techniques for best results.
Here's Your Chance to Learn About the Secrets of FPGAs
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1/8/2015  Post a comment
The secrets that programmable logic vendors use to create these amazing devices are typically not discussed in much detail by the manufacturers. But if you understand them you can typically figure out why your devices are performing the way they do.
Beyond Bits and Bytes: Learning About FPGAs and MCUs Via Online Classes
Guest Blogs 
12/23/2014  3 comments
Perhaps you didn't know that there are a variety of classes, both live and archived, offered via the Design News Continuing Education Center (CEC) sponsored by Digi-Key? The best part – they are free!
Cold Flow Analysis for Diesel Engine Optimization
Guest Blogs 
12/23/2014  4 comments
The complexity of diesel engines means optimizing their performance requires a large amount of experimentation. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a very useful and intuitive tool in this, and cold flow analysis using CFD is an ideal approach to study the flow characteristics without going into the details of chemical reactions occurring during the combustion.
Beyond Bits and Bytes: MCUs Embrace On-Chip FPGAs
Guest Blogs 
12/18/2014  7 comments
We Have FPGAs with On-chip MCUs, but How About MCUs with On-chip FPGAs?
What’s Next in Programmable Devices?
Guest Blogs 
12/11/2014  4 comments
Programmable logic has come a long way from the simple devices we started out with. Remember Programmable Array Logic, or PALs? But where will we be in the next five to 10 years?
Industry Momentum Moving Toward Low Current Consumption
Guest Blogs 
12/5/2014  1 comment
As industrial applications increasingly use process control systems utilizing sensor feedbacks to monitor various operating parameters, energy sources and consumption are becoming major factors of a system.
Turning Up the Heat: Considerations for High-Temperature Applications
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12/4/2014  Post a comment
By asking more in-depth questions and providing customers with richer design data, distribution salespeople can quickly build credibility and help customers to avoid potential problems when they specify high-performance plastics.
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The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
The age of touch could soon come to an end. From smartphones and smartwatches, to home devices, to in-car infotainment systems, touch is no longer the primary user interface. Technology market leaders are driving a migration from touch to voice as a user interface.
Soft starter technology has become a way to mitigate startup stressors by moderating a motor’s voltage supply during the machine start-up phase, slowly ramping it up and effectively adjusting the machine’s load behavior to protect mechanical components.
A new report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) makes a start on developing control schemes, process measurements, and modeling and simulation methods for powder bed fusion additive manufacturing.
If you’re developing a product with lots of sensors and no access to the power grid, then you’ll want to take note of a Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Designing Low Power Systems Using Battery and Energy Harvesting Energy Sources."
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