When electronic vehicle systems fail, it’s often not the fault of microcontrollers, memories or integrated circuits. By watching for some of the following problems, designers can often boost reliability of end products, especially in automobiles.
Minimize connections. There’s a high correlation between reliability and the number of electrical connections made at an assembly plant. A dashboard with ten connections, for example, is likely to be more reliable than one with 50 connections.
Make sure wires don’t rub against sharp pieces of metal.
Ensure connections go together with an audible snap. If assemblers hear the snap, they know it’s connected.
Design in reliability at the beginning. Usually, if a car starts out reliable in its first model year, it stays that way.
A group of researchers at the Seoul National University have discovered a way to take material from cigarette butts and turn it into a carbon-based material that’s ideal for storing energy and creating a powerful supercapacitor.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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