By implementing an 8-bit "Flash" microcontroller, Italian appliance manufacturer Elmarc S.r.l. has reduced time-to-market and given OEM end-users the ability to adapt the final product to specific market requirements. Used for motor control, Motorola's 68HC908GRB MCU extends embedded Flash memory to typically 100,000 write/erase cycles and 50-year data retention. As a result, most embedded systems that require non-volatile storage of temporary or changing data no longer need separate electrically erasable read only memory (EEPROM) chips. Improved write/erase cycling also permits use for full data storage as well as program storage. "One of the problems with traditional electronic timers that employ maskable microcontrollers," says Elmarc's Giorgio Testa, "is the large quantity of masks necessary to cover our needs. The flexibility of writing and rewriting the microcontroller's memory gives us an efficient way to create many kinds of electronic timers with only one electronic architecture." For further details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
NASA and Boeing developed a huge, carbon composite cryogenic fuel tank for deep space missions, and started testing it last month. The 18-ft cryotank will enable heavy-lift launch vehicles to send both humans and robots into deep space.
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