ESC

Consumer

Rich Pell
Editor
A resources site and community for engineers involved in the design and development of consumer home or mobile electronics hardware and software.  Find design tips, new product information and discussion on consumer audio, video, multimedia, gaming, communications, computing, and home appliances.

Top 7 consumer-tailored IoT devices

IoT got its start in the industrial world, but the bulk of market growth going forward is forecasted to come from consumer-tailored applications. These seven consumer IoT devices provide insights into the current status and potential future of IoT. Read More...

My new home office: Update 4

Water damage, a new monitor, and a new personal laptop make big changes since Update 3 in 2012. Read More...

Teardown: Moto 360’s shape forces design compromises

Ongoing software enhancements are fairly effective in keeping the Moto 360's hardware current, but Motorola's circular form factor decision, while cosmetically preferable to many, also compelled some compromises in the design of the smart watch. Read More...

Laser-like audio with the PAL

A look at the state of audio beaming via ultrasonics. Read More...

Teardown: Chromecast streams must have gotten crossed

An expired Chromecast provides the chance to get a look inside Google's streaming device. Read More...

ams develops MEMS VOC gas sensor

Gas sensing techniques are continually being investigated to improve selectivity and sensitivity of identifying different types of gases. Read More...

Smart connectivity for the wearable revolution

This overview explores how connectivity solutions, including wireless power, antenna, contactless data, and other connectivity, will enable the customer to make wearables happen. Read More...

Apple Watch details begin to emerge

Post-Apple event spokesperson comments and developer leaks often provide useful fodder to fill in any gaps. Here's what we've recently learned about the Apple Watch. Read More...

USB 3.1 testing part 2: Type-C cable assemblies

The USB type-C connector will make life easier for consumers, but will require additional compliance testing for designers. Read More...

Apple's new MacBook: a closer look

In perusing the cyberspace backlash over some of the new Apple MacBook's characteristics, one engineer takes a detailed look and is reminded of the criticisms of the initial iterations of the MacBook Air. Read More...

Apple talks Watch, CarPlay, ResearchKit, and more at Spring Forward

Apple wants to be on your wrist and desk top, in your living room, even in your car and medical monitoring systems, as it announces updates to existing product lines and details on new products like the highly anticipated Apple Watch and its open-source move at its Spring Forward event. Read More...

Understand LTE-A Release 12 transmitter architecture: Part 1

A technical look at the market forces driving global adoption of the LTE standard and trends in 4G radio access technology. Topics include carrier aggregation (CA), spatial multiplexing, and active antenna systems (AAS). Read More...

7 wearables that stood out at MWC

From smart watches to fitness trackers, virtual reality headsets and more, here are 7 wearables that stood out at MWC, all for various reasons. Read More...

Time for multimedia SoCs to get their analog signals right

As more and more analog I/O gets integrated onto SoCs, make sure you properly understand A/V signal characteristics and processing methods. Read More...

What's at the core of Apple's "Spring Forward" event?

From the Watch wearable to design changes and more, Apple has multiple things cooking up in its kitchen. Here are 6 possibilities from Apple next week, with likely more than 1 coming to light. Read More...

ams, ST team for NFC reference design

An NFC (near-field communication) system reference design combines the AS39230 analog front-end IC with boostedNFC technology from ams and the ST21NFCC NFC controller and ST33G1M2 secure microcontroller from STMicroelectronics to enable secure, contactless transactions using mobile and wearable devices. Read More...

Farewell, Leonard Nimoy

EDN bids farewell to the actor who inspired many to become engineers and scientists. Read More...

¼-size Arduino board packs full-size punch + on-board LiPo charge/mgmt

Despite its compact 1in x 1.5in form factor, the Qduino Mini board packs all the punch of its full-sized counterparts and throws in a turnkey battery fuel gauge and charger just for grins. Read More...

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Bad-bulb finder fixes Christmas lights

15 years later, here’s a new take on one of our most popular Design Ideas ever! Read More...

Hybrid vacuum tube/solid-state audio power amplifier

An audio power amp design that combines vacuum tube input circuitry with solid-state output and feedback components. Read More...

Low-duty-cycle LED flasher keeps power draw at 4 mW

In situations where a low-duty-cycle blinking indicator provides an adequate indication of the power being turned on, this simple circuit should prove useful. Read More...

Signal-powered switch connects devices

Use a switch to selectively connect a terminal, personal computer, or any other originating device to one of four receivers. Read More...

Send MIDI signals over long distances

A single Category 5 cable links MIDI devices up to 100m away. Read More...

Passive-detector receiver keeps you informed, entertained during flights

Receive HF AM signals without battery power. Read More...

Circuit combines power supply and audio amplifier

This circuit can help if you must transfer DC power and audio over one pair of copper wires. Read More...

Video emitter uses battery power

This hows how to make a cable-free, direct-video system. You can use the small and simple system each time you need to capture image and sound on the run. Read More...

Circuit eliminates PC echoes

Long-distance-telephone services available via the Internet often require the PC user to wear headphones of a headset to prevent echo caused by the microphone's picking up the loudspeaker outputs. The circuit in Figure 1 eliminates the echo while using the existing PC microphone and speakers for a comfortable conversation. Read More...

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USB MCU simply sips power

Intended for energy-harvesting and battery applications, the Happy Gecko MCU provides USB at ultra-low energy. Read More...

EDN field-tests the ultimate LED party lights

BlissLights makes some seriously cool toys. When I gave a brief shout-out to them in a recent Semi-coherent Emissions blog I knew I had to get my hands on a couple of these grown-up party bulbs. Happily, BlissLights cheerfully loaned me a few of their photonic toys so I could subject them to a little real-world testing at my St. Patrick's Day party. Read More...

DLP chipset widens head-up display field of view

Combining the imaging qualities of DLP (digital light processing) technology with automotive-grade reliability, the DLP3000-Q1 chipset from Texas Instruments enables head-up displays with a field of view of up to 12 degrees—one of the widest in the industry. Read More...

RAIN RFID tag leverages cryptographic security

NXP Semiconductors’ UCODE DNA is one of the first UHF RAIN RFID tags to combine long-range read performance with cryptographic authentication, giving developers contactless performance and security in a single IC. Read More...

LED light guides deliver affordable OLED-like performance

Sleek, stylish and seductively luminous, OLED panels' silky, eerily-even glow has made them a favorite for fashion-forward lighting designers, even though they cost more, were shorter lived, and more easily damaged. This may change however, as Global Lighting Technologies' (GLT) introduces a growing number of products based on its edge-lit LED-based light guide technology. Read More...

LEDs battle ebola and climate change while boosting the economy

This week's Semi-Coherent Emissions top story: The LED lighting industry's performance provides compelling evidence that strong economic growth and high environmental quality aren't mutually-exclusive. Read More...

Processor and radio module makes BLE design a snap

This self-contained module already has all its qualifications and approvals, making BLE a drop-in feature. Read More...

Locking connectors gain wire-to-board headers

TE Connectivity has added wire-to-board headers to its Power Triple Lock connector line, expanding the family of connectors targeting appliances into a growing number of HVAC, automation and control, and automotive designs. Read More...

MCUs bring high-performance graphics to IoT devices

Leveraging STMicroelectronics’ Chrom-ART Accelerator and a MIPI Display Serial Interface (DSI), the STM32F469/479 series of microcontroller chips delivers smart phone-like graphics and intuitive user interfaces to wearable devices, smart appliances, and other Internet of Things applications. Read More...

ams develops MEMS VOC gas sensor

Gas sensing techniques are continually being investigated to improve selectivity and sensitivity of identifying different types of gases. Read More...

MCU blends low power and high performance

An upgrade path for MSP-430 users, the MSP-432 uses a Cortex-M4F processor to combine high performance with low power. Read More...

Chromebook promotes digital learning for the classroom

RGS, a business unit of Avnet, has launched the RGS Education Chromebook, a purpose-built, ruggedized laptop aimed at school districts looking to deploy digital learning in the classroom with a platform that leverages a Google Chrome OS and Google Apps. Read More...

15W TRIAC-dimmable, Energy Star-compliant LED drivers work smoothly with nearly any dimmer

Although Phihong USA's new series of 15W TRIAC-dimmable constant current LED drivers sacrifices some efficiency and power quality performance for the sake of compatibility and cost, the drivers are still worth considering for many applications. Read More...

Pint-sized printer delivers pro-quality 3D performance at entry-level price point

Priced at $1,350, Aleph Objects' LulzBot Mini offers a combination of versatility, precision and ease which puts it on the (very) short list of entry-level printers I'd recommend to both tech-savvy DIY-ers and the growing number of consumers who are considering buying their first 3D printer. Read More...

ams, ST team for NFC reference design

An NFC (near-field communication) system reference design combines the AS39230 analog front-end IC with boostedNFC technology from ams and the ST21NFCC NFC controller and ST33G1M2 secure microcontroller from STMicroelectronics to enable secure, contactless transactions using mobile and wearable devices. Read More...

¼-size Arduino board packs full-size punch + on-board LiPo charge/mgmt

Despite its compact 1in x 1.5in form factor, the Qduino Mini board packs all the punch of its full-sized counterparts and throws in a turnkey battery fuel gauge and charger just for grins. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Teardown: Moto 360’s shape forces design compromises

Ongoing software enhancements are fairly effective in keeping the Moto 360's hardware current, but Motorola's circular form factor decision, while cosmetically preferable to many, also compelled some compromises in the design of the smart watch. Read More...

Teardown: Chromecast streams must have gotten crossed

An expired Chromecast provides the chance to get a look inside Google's streaming device. Read More...

Teardown: Xbox wireless controller

See how a third-party wireless Xbox controller takes control. Read More...

Teardown: Wireless weather sensor transmitters

Out-of-box failure and a residence transition provided the analysis subjects for the last article in this series of weather station teardowns. Read More...

Teardown: Under-the-weather weather station's temperature sensor

Did a deep discharge of this solar-powered temperature sensor's embedded rechargeable batteries render them unable to store electrons any longer? Read More...

Teardown: Dissecting an under-the-weather weather station

Keeping a solar-powered temperature sensor in the dark puts it to sleep for good. What better way to find out why than to take it apart? Read More...

Teardown: Looking under the cover of a LCD computer monitor

When a dusty LCD monitor stops working it becomes a perfectly acceptable teardown-surgery patient. Read More...

Teardown: Exposing the ASUS EA-N66 potential-versus-reality gaps

The EA-N66 has no shortage of claimed feature set promise, but the implementation is flawed in several regards. Read More...

Teardown: Can pseudo-3D be accomplished cost-effectively?

See if the components inside the IOGEAR GHDSSW4 "3D Complete+" peripheral justify the price tag. Read More...

Teardown: Media adapter receives a limited suite of video streams

NETGEAR's PTV3000 is a streaming media adapter that features a firmware upgrade which enables it to support the WiDi-derived Miracast protocol. Read More...

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Sensors combinations make for more intelligent mobile devices

Smartphones can be remarkably dumb. Learn how sensor combinations can bring about more intelligent mobile devices. Read More...

Smart connectivity for the wearable revolution

This overview explores how connectivity solutions, including wireless power, antenna, contactless data, and other connectivity, will enable the customer to make wearables happen. Read More...

Designing a feedback ANC headset using AS3435

This article describes the development steps necessary to design a feedback ANC headset based on the AS3435 chipset. Read More...

The world is ours to make: The impact of the maker movement

The maker movement is bringing engineering into the mainstream. Innovations happen in home garages and collaborative workspaces with their peers, and are openly shared to inspire other makers. Is this the beginning of the next industrial revolution? Read More...

Voice as an interface in the smart home: Can you hear me now?

New voice processing technologies can enable excellent far-field speech recognition with only two microphones. Read More...

Secure commissioning for ZigBee home automation using NFC

As connected devices start to become ubiquitous within the home and industry, and wireless networking is used to link them with the Internet, the security and integrity of the networks is becoming of the highest importance. Read More...

IoT not ready for ‘iPhone moment’

CES has a lot of connected hardware but where is the 'oh, that's really easy' surprise? Read More...

CES sampler: selfie drones, mobile health, and more

There's no place like the International CES to discover a wonderland of devices, services, goodies, and toys fit for every tech lover. Read More...

IoT: Collaborate or else, says Samsung CEO

Samsung Electronics CEO Boo-Keun Yoon made a passionate pitch to “unlock the infinite possibilities of the Internet of Things,” in his CES 2015 keynote. Read More...

CES Unveiled: robots, wearables, and kid surveillance

See what products and trends were on display at CES Unveiled, a pre-show gadget bazaar staged to tease the news media about CES 2015. Read More...

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Top 7 consumer-tailored IoT devices

IoT got its start in the industrial world, but the bulk of market growth going forward is forecasted to come from consumer-tailored applications. These seven consumer IoT devices provide insights into the current status and potential future of IoT. Read More...

My new home office: Update 4

Water damage, a new monitor, and a new personal laptop make big changes since Update 3 in 2012. Read More...

New house brings electric woes

A move to a new old house means mastering new systems, and, FIXING THE ELECTRICS BEFORE WE ALL DIE! Read More...

Beware: Llama dung

A cautionary tale of trying to solve the wrong problem. Read More...

DesignCon 2016 opens call for papers

It’s time to sharpen your virtual pencils and submit your ideas for next year’s DesignCon. If your work concerns signal integrity, power integrity, or the interference between the two in high-speed designs, then DesignCon is the conference for you to show your work and get the feedback of your peers. Read More...

The Hat at Maker Faire - Day 1

The Hat's had a busy time at the first day of the Maker Faire. Between watching high-powered kiddie car races, performing for visitors, and helping build mini-Smart Hats, there was barely enough time to get out of the booth to see a few sights. And wondrous sights they were indeed! Read More...

7 lessons for embedded developers from ESC Boston 2015

Back from ESC Boston, Jacob reflects on seven key lessons gleaned from the conference. Read More...

Laser-like audio with the PAL

A look at the state of audio beaming via ultrasonics. Read More...

Dean Kamen says tech needs superstars

In a keynote address at MassMEDIC this week, the renowned inventor and founder of FIRST commented on the US educational system and highlighted some new and famous inventions. Read More...

Smart vs. Fart Lighting, wood-powered LEDs and levitating lightbulbs?

Lightfair is full of surprises, including a heat-powered LED lantern and a Smart Lighting System with a sense of smell. And has "Smart Lighting" become the lamest buzzword of the year? Read More...

ARM TechCon opens call for proposals

Proposals now being accepted for ARM TechCon 2015, which will take place November 10-12, 2015 Read More...

First three rules of IoT security

Security for an IoT design involves a myriad of decisions and actions, but these three form the foundation of a successful design effort. Read More...

Roomba’s potential outweighs implementation issues

Imperfect implementation aside, the iRobot Roomba 560's potential was still sufficient to seize the imagination of the engineer in me. Read More...

Promising hardware hampered by buggy software

WD's router is perhaps the most blatant yet example of a longstanding phenomenon; tremendous hardware potential hampered by buggy and otherwise underperforming software. Read More...

Apple Watch details begin to emerge

Post-Apple event spokesperson comments and developer leaks often provide useful fodder to fill in any gaps. Here's what we've recently learned about the Apple Watch. Read More...

FTC sets watch on the Internet of Things

A new division within the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Affairs has been established to keep an eye on the IoT. Read More...

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