On those rare occasions when I’ve entered a contest, I assumed the judges’ choice was self-evident. One high-powered entry would virtually leap out of the stack, easily distinguishing itself from the rest, I thought.
Not so. Winners usually have a razor thin edge over a half-dozen other strong candidates. And that was the case for this year’s finalists in Design News’ Golden Mousetrap Awards. Lots of strong entries, but just a single winner per category.
In the Components, Hardware, and Interconnects category, five entries narrowly emerged as finalists. Those included an AC current sensor from NK Technologies, a tiny wireless system-on-chip from Nordic Semiconductor, a MEMS-based oscillator from Silicon Labs, a touchscreen controller from Atmel, and an UltraHD dev kit from Altera.
The same held true in Embedded Computing. Five finalists distinguished themselves in this category, which seems to get better every year. Those included an open-source computer from BeagleBoard.org, a wireless LAN system-on-chip from Marvell Semiconductor, a Near Field Communications chip from Broadcom, an automotive infotainment system-on-chip from Renesas Electronics, and an electrical-field-based 3D gesture controller from Microchip Technology.
The winners? Unfortunately, there can be only two, and you’ll have to wait to find out who they are. Our live awards ceremony will take place on February 11 in Anaheim, Calif., at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show. For those who cannot attend, the results will be posted online following the show.
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.