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Connectivity keys embedded device utility

While OEMs are increasingly embedding electronic processing functions into their products, key to getting the most out of such capabilities may be how those devices end up being networked. Device networking was the topic of a recent visit to Design News by Bill Peisel, CTO of NetSilicon (Waltham, MA), a provider of integrated hardware and software for intelligent networked devices.

"Most companies are in the process of connecting products or thinking about it," says Peisel. This is what he calls the first, or basic, phase of device connectivity-a three-step evolutionary process that will go from a centralized computing model to distributed, interconnected, autonomous operation. This first phase is enabled by Ethernet and the Internet, and is familiar today with such products as networked office printers and security cameras.

Many OEMs may consider networking legacy products already deployed and shipping by using an add-on "Ethernet box," notes Peisel. He cautions, however, that such an approach needs to weigh the quick addition of device connectivity versus the lack of ability to add to increased functionality of the device itself with embedded processing.

Such functionality comes about in the second, or "product value added," phase. This stage sees design engineers taking advantage of embedded microprocessor intelligence to ease installation (self-configuration), and enable data collection and sharing between collaborating devices. In this phase, Peisel highlights the seemingly contradictory needs of allowing devices to accommodate changes, weighed against security issues arising from these devices now being on a network.

Five to ten years away will come the "full-enterprise member" stage, according to Peisel, where intelligent devices take full advantage of distributed processing. They will make local decisions based on information shared with other devices and send data to a central data-collection point for archiving and trend analysis. Net Silicon, www.netsilicon.com. Enter 602

Flow sensors

These self-contained flow sensors monitor flow rates and changes from 5 ml/min (0.001 GPM), making them suitable for low-flow-rate applications or pulsing- or periodic-flow-rate applications. The solid-state sensors operate without moving parts and connect without probing into the pipeline. TURCK Inc., www.turck.com. Enter 603

Router chipset

The Palladia asymmetric DSL (ADSL) two-chip secure router chipset combines network processor technology with the ADSL physical layer. Palladia 100 router chipset features an Ethernet port and Universal Serial Bus interface, designed for the residential market, according to the company. Palladia 200 router chipset, intended for applications such as wireless home networking, reportedly provides a powerful router engine. Centillium Communications Inc., www.centillium.com. Enter 604

Switches

Contura V Sealed Rocker switches are made with dual seal protection, designed to keep out water, dust, and debris, and an optional panel, as well as several lighting options. The dash panel design now includes laser etch images in black matte rocker, or nickel and pewter metallic finishes. Users can redesign the panel by removing and replacing actuators without tooling change. Carling Technologies, www.carlingtech.com. Enter 605

Photomultiplier tube

The R7400U-20 subminiature photomultiplier tube (PMT) measures 12 mm long and 16 mm in diameter. Its near infrared high sensitivity suits it for optical CT applications, as well as fluorescence detection and flow cytometry. The PMT has an 8-stage electron multiplier design with metal channel dynodes. Other features include a response time of 0.78 ns and a spectral response range of 300-900 nm. Hamamatsu Corp., http://usa.hamamatsu.com. Enter 606

Relay

The solid-state 3-phase industrial relay series G3PB features a response time of 1/2 of load power source cycle plus 1 ms maximum. The absence of mechanical moving parts reportedly reduces downtime, while the new heat sink design keeps heat away from the relay to increase life span. Used in continuous switching applications, it measures 80 mm wide (240V ac models) and 110 mm wide (480V ac models), with 10 mA maximum power consumption. Omron Electronics LLC, www.omron.com. Enter 607

Self-monitoring unit

Designed for applications in industrial and agricultural equipment, the AWAX 26XXL self-monitoring unit works in emergency stop systems and safety switches with two or more closing contacts. The unit features an electronic current-limiting circuit breaker, according to the company, and a reaction time of 2 mus. Included with the unit are plug-in terminals, four 8A/250V security lines, and a manual or automatic resetting DIP switch. BT International, www.bt-intl.com. Enter 608

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