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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk

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


Home Automation Adventures Part I: When (Internet) Things Go Bump in the Night Arden Henderson
For Bob and Alice Smarts (not their real names) and their kids, such a world was not only hard to imagine, it was long-forgotten by Bob and Alice, and never known a'tall by their kids. The pre-internet, pre-web world -- if such a world ever existed -- would be a vast empty space. Boring. A wasteland. Such a world was no more real than the black-and-white, scratchy WWII news reels that Uncle Fred, flying in from St. Louis, tuned-in within thirty minutes of arriving if no football games were on at the moment. There is a room with a smart TV for that.

Turns Out Martians Need Math Caroline Storm Westenhover
During vacation I read The Martian by Andy Weir. If you have not read The Martian, if you are the kind of person who buys from Mouser, you should. One piece of advice: don’t read it while you’re on an airplane experiencing the worst turbulence of your life, it will just remind you that there is just some metal between you and death. Also, because you buy things on Mouser, there will be few things that you will be itching to know about, such as “where do you even find data on astronaut heartbeat rates during lift off?”

How Technology Companies Can Help Build a “Can Do” Generation Mike Parks
“Young people in Britain have become a lost generation who can no longer mend gadgets and appliances because they have grown up in a disposable world.” I recently came across this quote in an article from the U.K. publication ‘The Telegraph’ in a story that discussed the lack of ‘fix it’ ability in younger generations. This notion is attributed to Danielle George, a Professor of Radio Frequency Engineering at the University of Manchester. I certainly agree that, in concept, as electronic devices have gotten smaller, more robust, and cheaper, we as a society (not just 'young people') have collectively bought into the ‘replace-not-repair’ mindset. In addition, we live in an era where like clockwork a new iPhone is delivered every 12 months. We sometimes choose to replace an older broken device for a new one simply to gain access to new features only available in the newer models. Has this coalesced into a generation that can’t repair anything that breaks? Perhaps.

Unique Units and Brilliant Reductions Caroline Storm Westenhover
I love units of measurement: how you can multiply and divide unit Y by unit X and get unit J or W. If you know the units you want, you can look at the information you have and figure out how to get the answer you want just by cancelling units or introducing new ones. Clearly, this is limited to the realm where I am given enough information to solve a problem without experimentation.

Journal of a Newbie Maker Colin Carter
I’ll cut right to the chase here: I’m not an engineer. By education, I’m a technical writer. By pastime, I’m a musician, homebrewer, reader, cyclist, record collector, house cleaner, and animal lover. In the past couple of years, I’ve added the mantle of maker. Or tinkerer. Or DIYer. Whatever you want to call it, I built a circuit from a handful of components — and it works! You may remember your first successful build and your sense of accomplishment. Here’s my story.

Google Finally Lands Squarely in the IoT Domain Barry Manz
Not much has been heard about IoT from Google after it acquired Nest (and its thermostat, smoke detector and Dropcam connected security cameras) but that came to an end in May. At the Google I/O developer’s conference, the company announced the Android-based Brillo operating system and the protocol Weave that will let Brillo-enabled devices communicate with each other. A developer preview of Brillo is coming in the third quarter and Wave in the fourth quarter. In case you’re wondering, Google chose the name Brillo as it’s a “scrubbed” version of Android. As Google always thinks big, the idea is that your “smart home” will be controlled by Android devices that talk to each other and have access to servers in the cloud.

Build Your Own MSP432 BoosterPack Mike Parks
A little while ago, Texas Instruments (TI) launched their new MSP432 family of microcontrollers. Along with the new silicon, there is also a new LaunchPad development kit. Continuing the tradition from the MSP430, the new chips are very affordable while packing in professional grade features and very impressive energy sipping performance.

Home Automaddening Patrick Mannion
As an engineer and cautionary gadget freak it’s hard to not be excited by the recent activity around the Internet of Things (IoT) and home automation. It gives me hope that we’ll soon be able to connect the dots and make all these systems work together in concert so we can orchestrate a beautiful, harmonious symphony of technology. Then I wake up.

Older Forms of Communication are Alive and Well Arden Henderson
Communication workhorses in the industry have been around since the always-underestimated, industrious Neanderthals first used serial and parallel communications to wire up their caves for monitoring fire wood inventories and controlling cave fire pits while the Ice Age raged outside.

Iris Biometric Authentication and Your Car Justin Risedorf
Most drivers develop somewhat of a fondness for their vehicles. It’s not always a deep love affair, but definitely a fondness. Whether or not the particular model they are currently driving is their favorite (the proverbial car or truck of their dreams), they almost always end up having a genuine sense of attachment. That’s a very normal feeling, seeing as most vehicles take a considerable amount of investment of money and time. So, it stands to reason that when someone’s car is stolen, they tend to take it rather personally. It is usually talked about in terms of “feeling violated” and other similar comments.

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