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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

Crossing the Uncanny Valley Jon Gabay
As we technologically weave our society into a more machine-centric fabric, machines are going to take on more and more human attributes, and will look and interact with us more like humans do. A funny thing happens on the way to becoming human though. A repulsive emotion buried deep inside all of us flares up at a crossover point between clearly mechanical and clearly humanoid. This visually triggered effect has been called the “Uncanny Valley,” a term coined by professor Masahiro Mori in 1970 based on a concept from Sigmund Freud.

Beware of “Open Drains” Mike Parks
As you get more advanced with your circuits you will start seeing circuit design patterns that may at first glance seem a bit weird. One such design pattern that can be confusing is the “open drain,” also called the “open collector” (when TTL circuits are involved). For the purpose of this blog we will use the term open collector, though the general principles apply to both technologies: Field Effect Transistors (FET) and Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJT).

The 15-Minute Life of a Mouser Order Erik Smith
Life is a marvelous cycle. Starting from birth, a new order must travel through various rites and stages before it can reach its full potential. So many incredible innovations around the world, and in your own home, began as a humble Mouser order. Let’s now take a look at an order that is starting its life right now.

When to Knock Off the Knock-Offs... Kelly Casey
One of the duties that falls to us geek-of-the-family types is playing the role of the IT Help Desk for friends and relatives. In my case, I try to maintain my parents’ computer and connections even though they live 600 miles away. Without the ability to just show up when things go wrong, I need bullet-proof solutions.

The Open Microwave Design Initiative Gets a Kick in the Pants Barry Manz
Welcome to the world of microwave systems, or at least those destined for service in defense systems. Owing to the unique requirements of radar, electronic warfare, and other applications, as well as politics, and a “stovepipe” mentality, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is the owner of a broad array of systems designed for a single platform and incompatible with others. It’s a bit like building “one-off” washing machines for each customer.

Getting Wired on Throwback Thursday David Whittle
It’s always interesting to take a look back in history to learn a little about the companies responsible for helping us get where we are today. Even better, it’s good to see products that changed our world when they were developed by companies we still do business with today. That said, a colleague directed me to a website filled with a lot of gems from radio broadcast/ audio history and as I was looking through the website I found a surprising advertisement from a Belden, a manufacturer that Mouser Electronics supplies today, once known as Belden Manufacturing.

Battling the Bouncing Button Mike Parks
Mechanical buttons and switches can present unintended input trouble for embedded electronics projects. There’s an undesired effect known as “bounce.” What is bounce? When you press a button it sometimes does not cleanly change states. There is some electrical noise generated as the button rapidly oscillates between states immediately after a button is pressed but before it settles. Think of it like pulling a mass-spring system downward, letting go, and waiting for it to settle at equilibrium. Switches and buttons oscillate similarly, though the time to settle is measured in milliseconds.

Technology Expands Our View of the World and Ourselves Caroline Storm Westenhover
There is a Regina Spektor song called Blue Lips that has a line that goes “blue the color of the planet from far, far away”. Sometimes I think about that line as a representation of an entire category of lines. It is the representative, in my mind, because it was playing in the background while my mom and I were having a discussion about the how the internet as an equalizer affects our opinions on what the average person is like, particularly in terms of intelligence, and I pointed to it as an example.

Tools Bridge The Chasm Between Hardware and Software Arden Henderson
Suppose some hardware folks somewhere invent a machine made of hardware that does something when it carries out a series of instructions. The instructions will be in a language the machine understands. Instructions for the machine are written in the "machine language" of the hardware, sometimes called "machine code." The machine language is the final low-level language in the journey from high level language to low-level language, resulting in correct instructions that do something useful; it is the language the machine understands.

New Bud Light Super Bowl Commercial Brings Pac-Man to Life with Tech! Erik Smith
This Sunday when you're watching the big game, you may be reminded of another retro game. Bud Light has released a preview from their #UpForWhatever campaign that features the largest Pac-Man game ever built! But the classic maze and multicolored ghosts aren't the only thing that's familiar to us, some of the hardware utilized comes from our manufacturer partners!

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