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 µA/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.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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.