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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


Lynnette Reese holds a B.S.E.E from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Lynnette has worked at Mouser Electronics, Texas Instruments, Freescale (now NXP), and Cypress Semiconductor. Lynnette has three kids and occasionally runs benign experiments on them. She is currently saving for the kids’ college and eventual therapy once they find out that cauliflower isn’t a rare albino broccoli (and other white lies.)


Autopilot vs. Autonomous Lynnette Reese
People have misperceptions about autonomy. Autopilots have been used in aircraft for decades. In newer planes and at properly equipped airports, the autopilot can also be used for landing, usually in dense fog with lots of radar equipment on the plane and on the ground, and the landing isn’t gentle. (Pilots occasionally perform a “greased in” landing, which is when touch down is so gentle you don’t even feel it. Be sure to congratulate your pilot if this ever happens.)

The Internet of Space: Intelligence for What You Least Expect, When You Least Expect It Lynnette Reese
Hundreds of femtosatellites, called Sprites, were shipped into space on the first KickSat, which started as a KickStarter project to launch what amounts to personal satellites. Andy’s vision of the femtosat includes an engine for his IoS vision driven by the Intel® Quark™ D2000 microcontroller with an ultra-low-power core running at 32 MHz (and currently undergoing space qualification.)

Open Source RTOS Comes to IoT Lynnette Reese
The complexity of IoT extends beyond simple projects. If you were to take all the useful data and manipulate it, you could find patterns that point to changes that can increase productivity, reduce wait times, or point to trends that help improve processes or locate potential failures.

Selfie with a Shark Lynnette Reese
For a good while now we’ve thought of our phones as fairly drop proof (how many times have you dropped yours?), relying on the solder joints to keep the semiconductor components tightly mounted to their circuit cards. Before flash memory became widely available and cheap, (enabling smartphones enough storage space for personal data, music videos and pictures) cell phone manufacturers like Nokia wrestled with the possibility of using micro-miniature disk drives. Too fragile for smartphones or portable media players, smartphone makers concluded, too many moving parts, a strong possibility for damage if the phone were dropped, and an almost universal assumption that, many times during its life time, the phone would be dropped.

Intel®'s Quark™ D2000 SBC & the Open Source nano-RTOS Lynnette Reese
Intel® is doing it again: they are almost giving away stuff and definitely giving away other stuff. A new member of the Quark family is out, and Intel’s Quark™ D2000 Microcontroller Developer Kit is offered at a very affordable price and has some exceptional tools thrown in for free.

The Internet of Useful Things, or “The World’s Most Expensive Egg Timer” Lynnette Reese
How did we get here? I could use several lifetimes up just in projects. The tools available to the masses seem to be fueled by IoT. We can all engineer a little IoT, apparently.

Children and the F-word Lynnette Reese
It’s times like that when I ask myself….”Now why did I have kids?” The word “cute” comes to mind, but when I realize I could be drinking mojitos in the Caribbean with the extra time and money. A cross country move or camping means whining and crabbiness, dogs and kids that need a restroom stop every 2 hours, and (purposely?) lost toothbrushes….being a parent comes with a sense of resignation at times. It does get balanced out by the good times, and it makes for some really funny memories. For those of you who don’t have kids, kudos to you, the world is getting crowded anyway. But in solidarity with those of us who do have kids, let’s talk about the good side of that venerable venture, because parenting is as old as man. (Neanderthals were parents, too.)

USB Type-C™ Explained Lynnette Reese
I was intrigued to hear that Benson Leung, a Google engineer working on the Chromebook Pixel, had gone on a one-man crusade to help early adopters of USB Type-C technology (used in the Pixel) to review Type-C cables online to weed out the ones that were not USB Type-C spec compliant. Turns out that this amazing connector that will de-clutter our lives by channeling up to 10 Gbps data and 100W power in one small cable has many not-quite-right cables flooding the market.

The Assimilation of Self-driving Cars, One Feature at a Time Lynnette Reese
How many Tesla owners were on highways the next day, trying out their new Auto Lane Change feature? Flick the turn signal and the car will change lanes autonomously. The lane change feature takes advantage of the fact that lanes have line markings. Cameras are used to track the lines, and if the lines are missing or faint, it can confuse any good self-driving car, so you can count on highway lines to be as important as potholes in the future. The model S and X can now parallel park, too.

Bi-curious? Which Direction to Take when Dealing with a TVS Lynnette Reese
Should my TVS be “unidirectional” or “bidirectional”? I had forgotten. Had someone asked me to guess, I would’ve thought it meant that you should apply bidirectional TVS whenever you know the voltage will go above and below ground. This is sort of right, and definitely applies to protecting circuits that experience AC voltage. But “sort of right” isn’t something I am willing to live with, so I checked it out.

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