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 email@example.com.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Microchip recently released the 3D TouchPad, the first USB PC Peripheral device that couples 2D multi-touch input with 3D air gesture technology. The company seeks the help of developers to further enhance the capabilities of the technology.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
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