Electronics technology is helping farmers and gardeners make more effective use of water by determining when it's time to turn on irrigation equipment. The Acclima Digital TDT Soil Moisture Sensor reads the absolute volumetric water content along with soil temperature and soil conductivity. The instrument converts its many digital inputs to analog output using an increasingly common technology, incorporating the converters onto a microcontroller. Texas Instruments' MSP430F155 holds two DACs that are integral to the digitizing function. That integration helps keep current draw under 15 µA, letting the sensors run for two years on standard alkaline cells.
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.