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.
Could our view of distant galaxies be obstructed by a lawnmower? That unlikely question is at the heart of a growing debate between the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and a robot manufacturer that seeks to build self-guided lawnmowers.
Design News readers spoke loudly and clearly after our recent news story about a resurgence in manufacturing -- and manufacturing jobs. Commenters doubted the manufacturers, describing them as H-1B visa promoters, corporate crybabies, and clowns. They argued that US manufacturers aren’t willing to train workers, preferring instead to import cheap labor from abroad.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
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