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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


Michael Parks, P.E. is the owner of Green Shoe Garage, a custom electronics design studio and technology consultancy located in Southern Maryland. He produces the S.T.E.A.M. Power podcast to help raise public awareness of technical and scientific matters. Michael is also a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Maryland and holds a Master’s degree in systems engineering from Johns Hopkins University.


Cybersecurity and the Internet of Industrial Things Mike Parks
The Internet was not built with security in mind. It was built predominantly by researchers looking to pass around scientific data. The assumption was that only good players would ever have access to the systems that eventually gave rise to the Internet we all know today. We have made significant progress with security in the decades since the Internet first became accessible to the public, but the cat and mouse game between the good guys and bad guys continues.

Desktop Factories: A ‘Moving’ Look at 3D Printing Mike Parks
There is no other product that singularly captures the essence of the maker movement more than the 3D printer. It is difficult to describe the feeling you get when you use a 3D printer for the first time. It truly is a euphoric rush once you realize you have the ability to take a mere concept in your mind’s eye and bring it to a tangible reality. There are many technologies driving the plethora of additive manufacturing products available today including stereolithography, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Electron Beam Melting (EBM) and the most universally recognized Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) method.

Rise of the “Maker Pro”: Selling Your First 100 Products Mike Parks
Never before in the history of invention has it been so easy to turn an idea into a reality. The Maker Movement has proven that there are still plenty of great products to be built and companies to grow. Many folks who are not classically trained in any technical field are becoming empowered to design, build, and create in ways that until recently were just simply not possible.

See It Before Your Build It: A Look at 3D Visualization Mike Parks
Before a single piece of steel is forged or a circuit board is sent to the fab, engineers rely heavily on 3D models to understand their designs in virtual reality before committing vast sums of money and time in actually building them. But now you don’t have to be a multi-million-dollar design firm to take advantage of this technology. The cost of virtual reality and augmented reality is plummeting as competition in the market heats up in 2016. This means that just about anyone, including fledgling startups and makers, can get take advantage of 3D visualization.

Tips for Building Environmental Monitoring Technology Mike Parks
Some of the most challenging yet immensely satisfying embedded projects to work on involve observing environmental conditions. From a personal perspective, environmental monitoring projects are a chance to do something good for mankind. Whether tracking the air quality in a building or measuring the contaminants in a far off lake, embedded systems built to monitor the environment can really benefit our world.

Electronics’ Wizardry: An Arduino Compatible Human-Machine Interface To Win Friends And Impress People Mike Parks
Makers and engineers now have a ridiculously easy way to add a high quality touchscreen display to the Arduino UNO without a lot of fuss. It’s called the CleO35 and seems ideal for projects that need a simple yet elegant Human-Machine Interface (HMI). That’s nerd speak for the barrier between the human user and the digital device. The CleO35 was first introduced on Indiegogo, a crowdfunding site, by FTDI Chip.

Starting out: Essential Electronics Tools, Part II: Oscilloscopes, Function Generators and Logic Analyzers Mike Parks
In the previous blog about essential tools for electronics, I mentioned some of the more basic items. As you do more advanced electronics, and sometimes to better understand the basics, you would do well to have the following tools. They are not really needed for building basic circuits and playing around with Arduino projects and the like, but as you start to expand into more complex technologies, you will find these tools extremely helpful...

Walking Ham Chapter 2: To Catch A Zombie Mike Parks
A few weeks ago I was able to talk with a guy in Mansfield, Texas, using Morse code. I nearly broke out in tears to be able to talk with another human being. He’s holed up in the Mouser warehouse, an ex-IT employee who has a little electronics experience but managed to hack together a Morse code set up. Turns out Boy Scouts really are prepared for everything. It took a while but over the course of a few days Tony was able to help me locate a shipment of electronics that had been shipped from Mouser to a home nearby, so I thought I would check it out.

Starting out: Essential Electronics Tools, Part I Mike Parks
The rise of Open Source Hardware (OSHW) has made it easier than ever to tinker with electronics. But even in a world where open source development (dev) platforms are making it appreciably easier to get started, tools are still a must for doing any serious circuit building and testing. Investing in good tools early in your maker career can make all the difference as to whether or not you stick with electronics as a hobby (or even profession), or give up in frustration when a circuit doesn’t quite work the way you intended.

Timing is Everything:  A Look at Oscillators, Clocks, Buffers and Redrivers Mike Parks
In the space it takes us to blink an eye (300 to 400 milliseconds is the average) a modern embedded core can perform millions of operations. It’s almost unfathomable for us to perceive such tiny fractions of time, especially since the evolution of timekeeping began with sundials and water clocks, with the first (fairly) accurate clock arriving in 1656. Modern digital technology operates very comfortably at these breakneck speeds because of decades of advancements in timing technologies such as crystal oscillators and clock generators.

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