Texas Instruments calls its eZ430-F2013 the "world's smallest microcontroller development tool." Residing in a Universal Serial Bus (USB) stick, the device serves as an emulator that allows new users and experienced developers to evaluate the company's power-stingy MSP430 microcontroller architecture. The company's engineers stress, however, that it's more than a demo tool users can fully develop their applications with it. "You can go as far as prototyping your application with this one board," notes Juan Alvarez, MSP430 marketing manager. "There's a lot of capability in it." By providing that capability, TI engineers say they are enabling users to minimize current consumption in such applications as motion detectors, smoke detectors, digital cameras, televisions and various sensors. Because the unit's die is so small, current consumption is just 200 ΅A/MIPS. Standby current is an extraordinary 500 nA. The eZ430-F2013 can be obtained from TI for $20. Learn more at http://rbi.ims.ca/4919-516.
The promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that devices, gadgets, and appliances we use every day will be able to communicate with one another. This potential is not limited to household items or smartphones, but also things we find in our yard and garden, as evidenced by a recent challenge from the element14 design community.
If you didn't realize that PowerPoint presentations are inherently hilarious, you have to see Don McMillan take one apart. McMillan -- aka the Technically Funny Comic -- worked for 10 years as an engineer before he switched to stand-up comedy.
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