Speed, cost and power were the main themes in the electronics category of Design News’ 2011 Golden Mousetrap Awards.
The annual competition — which honors innovation in the development of new products in electronics, automation, materials and design tools – named five winners in the electronics category.
Three of this year’s electronics winners focused on battery power – specifically, the measurement, monitoring and even elimination of it. Analog Devices (ADI), for example, won in the power management sub-category for the development of a new chip that monitors the voltage and temperature of lithium-ion battery stacks in hybrid and electric vehicles. ADI engineers say it could also be employed for use with other applications, such as wind turbines and photovoltaic cells.
Agilent Technologies focused on battery-powered products, too, with its winning test system that helps engineers measure the amount of current that their products are using, whether that current is measured in microamps, milliamps, or amps.
In the wireless category, Powercast Corp. won with a new product that not only makes batteries last longer, but also eliminates them in some applications. The P2110 Powerharvester accomplishes that by converting radio waves to electrical current, which can be used to power devices such as sensor networks and e-book readers.
Power wasn’t the only focus of this year’s awards, however. Texas Instruments won the embedded computing sub-category with the introduction of the MSP430 Value Line, a family of 25-cent microcontrollers that’s enabling users of eight-bit devices to upgrade to 16 bits. And Inphi Corp. took the components, hardware and interconnects category with the development of a new transimpedance/variable gain amplifier that could enable construction of 100-Gigabit-per-second optical networks for use in the nation’s Internet backbone.