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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


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.

The “Hotspotization” of America Barry Manz
About a year ago when I was helping my son set up his new life in Nashville, one of the things I chose to do was set up his cable/Internet/phone account. I found it curious that the cable company was offering its most sophisticated set-top box with integrated wireless access point and DVR for $1 less per month than its cheapest version.

Engineers of Many Packages Lynnette Reese
I was reading about the women of the #iLookLikeAnEngineer movement going through the blogosphere. The perceptions of “what an engineer looks like” might be changing. If a Hollywood writer is asked to “describe what an engineer looks like,” they would say he’s got short hair, wears a short sleeve shirt tucked into his trousers, and looks like engineers from the Apollo 13 movie. I disagree, and so do many others, apparently. I am an engineer and I look more like a housewife. (I get mistaken for everything but an engineer, actually.)

One of the Things is Sort of Like the Other Caroline Storm Westenhover
This semester I took Cooperative Control of Multi-Agent Systems (CC). Basically, the idea behind it is to make groups of robots behave like schools of fish. Each robot responds to its neighbor and environment to make the whole group act as one body. There are several advantages to this. One is that here is no “queen bee” to take out that would make all the other robots useless. The loss of any robot, whether through malicious attacks or just link failures, does not result in the loss of any other robots. Also, system expansion is easier.

Domotic Wars Arden Henderson
Houses are getting smarter. Intelligent houses are called "domotics," a name created in 1984 by journalist Bruno Latour. Lots of smart interconnected things are now rapidly appearing in houses, and interconnected on the internet, the so-called Internet of Things. IPv6 will finally become routine as IPv4 runs out of IP addresses. (What? Your ISP doesn't provide IPv6 yet? Check out Hurricane Electric's IPv6 tunnelbroker site; reference below.)

High School Robotics and the FIRST Program Grant Imahara
Recently, I had the opportunity to accompany Mouser Electronics to the FIRST World Championships in St. Louis, MO. FIRST (which stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”) is an international robotics competition for high school students. They spend six weeks designing and building a robot that will perform some task; like scooping up soccer balls and putting them into a goal. The game changes every year, so you always have to start from scratch.

Still Great Reasons to Become a Microwave Designer Barry Manz
When I first started writing about RF and microwave technology back in the 1980s, one of the first things I heard was that the industry suffered from a shortage of RF and microwave engineers and that the situation was becoming increasingly dire. As the story went, engineering students avoided the discipline because it was perceived as more difficult than others, that universities were not encouraging students to pursue it (and few even offered it), and that the “real money-making engineering opportunities” lay elsewhere. I still hear this story today from company presidents and engineering managers, so a quarter-century later I would assume that the situation would have risen from dire to catastrophic.

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