Design Con 2015

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.

Well marked yet mysterious coin cell teaches a small lesson

Sometimes what you think will be an easy problem to solve, especially with the power of Internet search, turns out to lead to a dead end; the constant lesson and reminder is "don't assume anything." Read More...

The sense of touch: Will we lose it?

If consumer electronics manufacturers genuinely want us to go beyond consuming media via their device and truly interact with it then they need to address touch. Read More...

Teardown: Lightning strike explodes a switch's IC

In this case, there is no doubt as to the reason for a GbE switch's demise after a quick teardown. Read More...

Audio bus technology from ADI takes on MOST, Ethernet AVB

An audio signal distribution system for automotive use developed by Analog Devices could emerge as a strong competitor to established infotainment bus systems like MOST and Ethernet AVB. Read More...

Design strategies for the wearables market

This article looks at the user-experience-driven design methodologies being used to create some of the most successful wearable products on the market and considers the features and functions that drive a wearable product's energy budget and computational requirements. Read More...

Failure modes of wearable electronics

This article will provide insight into the environments and issues that can specifically impact wearable electronics and provide guidance on methodologies for assuring reliability. Read More...

Use a temperature detection bridge for fan control

This article illustrates the importance of temperature detection in circuit cooling, and the effectiveness of NTC thermistors in fan control for consumer end products. Read More...

Ride control comes to your smartphone

While driverless cars are being discussed to make the commuting experience safer, the connected capability of new performance products are also enhancing enthusiasts' automotive experience. Read More...

Top 5 things to know about wireless power design

Recent advances in components, chips, and system architectures allow engineers to readily implement wireless power into their devices. So, let’s examine the top five things to know about wireless power design. Read More...

Sounds good: The science behind audio compression

SBCs and perceptual coding are bringing high-definition audio to the masses, mitigating amplitude masking, and contributing to the rise in free lossless audio codecs. Read More...

iPhone 6 infographic: Most wanted features

On his Blog, Alex Hillsberg from Finances Online, shares with us an infographic about the features evolution of Apple's smartphones since the company’s first iPhone launch in 2007. Read More...

Next level of location awareness

Beacons allow smartphones to be precisely located indoors, which has possibilities for contextual advertising and more. Read More...

Freescale delivers greater flexibility in wireless charging ICs

Freescale unveiled wireless charging ICs that deliver unprecedented flexibility for automotive and consumer apps. Read More...

Ternary modulation for Class-D amps (Part 2)

An inherent problem with Class-D amplifiers is the noise generated by the harmonics of the signal. This paper discusses a software-centric noise reduction technique for a single tone which is required when a clean, single frequency is desired when driving an antenna. Read More...

ULP wireless: over-the-air software upgrades

Revising an ultra low power (ULP) wireless chip’s software in the field has been difficult. But new technology will make it routine - to developers’ and consumers’ benefit alike Read More...

Ternary modulation for Class-D amps

An inherent problem with Class-D amplifiers is the noise generated by the harmonics of the signal. This paper discusses a software-centric noise reduction technique for a single tone which is required when a clean, single frequency is desired when driving an antenna. 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...

Book Excerpt: Sevick’s Transmission Line Transformers, Chapter 9 Baluns

This chapter excerpted from Sevick’s Transmission Line Transformers describes the balun as a subset of transmission line transformers with an in-depth treatment of most used types. Read More...

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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...

Measure resistance and temperature with a sound card

Measure resistance and use free software to convert to temperature. 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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Apps help identify mobile code 'energy hotspots'

A software startup company based on a Purdue University innovation is helping to extend the life of smartphone batteries by helping application developers identify code that drains batteries quickly. Read More...

Chip power inductors suit power circuits of portables

ALPS Green Devices has developed the "GLCLK Series" and "GLCLM Series" Liqualloy Power Inductors, suitable for power supply circuits of displays for smartphones and other compact mobile devices, such as tablets and digital cameras. Read More...

Ultra-low-power touch button controller for battery-powered applications

The ATB352 expands Aito's touch technology into low-energy personal device and home automation markets. Read More...

Smart MEMS mic hears better in loud environments

STMicroelectronics' MP23AB02B MEMS microphone maintains ultra-low distortion at less than 10% up to very high external sound-pressure levels. Read More...

Dolby-certified SHARC DSPs target home theaters

Analog Devices's SHARC 214xx family of processors is the company’s first line of digital signal processors to be certified by Dolby Laboratories, Inc. for the decoding of Dolby Atmos content. Read More...

IR sensor array sees a wider field of view, with low-noise imaging

Low-cost infra-red (IR) arrays provide precise imaging data and detailed heat signatures for both static and dynamic objects can be derived, and find applications in security, automotive, building automation and consumer electronics. Read More...

Programmable wireless charging ICs & ref designs target consumer, automotive

Freescale claims that in contrast to some competing products that restrict customisation, its new offerings allow design innovation and enable the rapid development of differentiated wireless charging systems. Read More...

IoT dev kit enables rapid prototyping

Broadcom Corporation has introduced a development kit into its Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices (WICED) family to enable developers to rapidly prototype ideas and concepts for IoT devices and applications. Read More...

Multiband automotive tuner ICs deliver best-in-class radio performance

The Si4790x automotive receiver family scales from economical, single-tuner designs to premium, multi-tuner car radio systems. Read More...

Audio hub codec puts high-quality sound in mobile devices

Wolfson Microelectronics’ latest Audio Hub, the WM8998, offers hi-fi playback and recording to mobile phones and tablets across the product price tiers. Read More...

Sub-1V BLE RF transceiver IP targets wearable sensors, IoT

CSEM (Switzerland) has announced IcyTRX-65, a 2.4-GHz silicon RF IP optimised for low power Bluetooth Smart (Bluetooth Low Energy) circuits. Read More...

Startup launches miniature gas sensor for mobiles

Cambridge CMOS Sensors Ltd (Cambridge, England) has announced the CCS800 family of miniature gas sensors for use detecting alcohol (ethanol), hazardous gases such as carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds. Read More...

Color sensor tunes LED light color through smartphone interface

Through the use of its True Color sensor, MAZeT GmbH has demonstrated the accurate colour control of LEDs using a smartphone or tablet as a remote control. Read More...

Chip resistors, diodes are industry's smallest

With its RASMID Series Rohm claims to have the smallest electronic components in the industry; the ultra-compact lines have superior dimensional accuracy, for high density, high-performance mobile and wearable products. Read More...

2-W wireless power receiver targets wearables

Integrated Device Technology's IDTP9026 is what the company claims to be the world’s smallest 2-watt wireless power receiver and battery charger. Read More...

MEMS altitude pressure sensor detects 50-cm changes

A highly-accurate absolute pressure sensor from Omron Electronic Components Europe can detect height differences of as little as 50cm. Read More...

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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...

Teardown: See what's inside Xbox One

Xbox has no surprises in the box, with showings from Marvell, Freescale Kinetis, Nuvoton, SK Hynix SDRAM, among others. Read More...

Teardown: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 still the category leader

TechInsights breaks down the processors, memory, and design wins in this teardown of the Galaxy Note 3. Read More...

Welcoming the son of iPad–introducing the iPad Mini

UBM TechInsights peels back the layers on Apple's initial entry into the 7-inch tablet realm. Read More...

Teardown: Inside the Apple iPhone 5

A complete teardown and close-up look inside Apple's iPhone 5, including teardown images, estimated BOM, and A6 processor analysis. Read More...

Teardown: Inside the Kindle Fire HD

A photographic play-by-play of the UBM TechInsights teardown of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD. Read More...

Teardown: Inside the iPhone 6 Plus

See what makes the iPhone 6 Plus tick with a teardown from iFixit. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

The sense of touch: Will we lose it?

If consumer electronics manufacturers genuinely want us to go beyond consuming media via their device and truly interact with it then they need to address touch. Read More...

Design strategies for the wearables market

This article looks at the user-experience-driven design methodologies being used to create some of the most successful wearable products on the market and considers the features and functions that drive a wearable product's energy budget and computational requirements. Read More...

Failure modes of wearable electronics

This article will provide insight into the environments and issues that can specifically impact wearable electronics and provide guidance on methodologies for assuring reliability. Read More...

Use a temperature detection bridge for fan control

This article illustrates the importance of temperature detection in circuit cooling, and the effectiveness of NTC thermistors in fan control for consumer end products. Read More...

Sounds good: The science behind audio compression

SBCs and perceptual coding are bringing high-definition audio to the masses, mitigating amplitude masking, and contributing to the rise in free lossless audio codecs. Read More...

iPhone 6 infographic: Most wanted features

On his Blog, Alex Hillsberg from Finances Online, shares with us an infographic about the features evolution of Apple's smartphones since the company’s first iPhone launch in 2007. Read More...

Ternary modulation for Class-D amps

An inherent problem with Class-D amplifiers is the noise generated by the harmonics of the signal. This paper discusses a software-centric noise reduction technique for a single tone which is required when a clean, single frequency is desired when driving an antenna. Read More...

Wearable computing meets Bluetooth Smart

The increasing popularity of wearable computing devices such as smart watches demands a technology like Bluetooth Smart to power a multitude of applications without draining battery life. Read More...

Waterproof phones: What challenges lie ahead?

Mobile device manufacturers are struggling to differentiate their handsets, it's likely that waterproofing may hold the answer. Read More...

The G word: Demo project - A balanced volume controller

The final installment of Bruno Putzey's "The G Word: How to get your audio off the ground" presents a complete balanced volume controller demo project that is offered as "the cheapest and best-sounding preamplifier you've ever built." Read More...

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Build or buy: A PC case study

To build or to buy? One engineer considers the advantages of building a PC and decides to take on the project. Read More...

Audio bus technology from ADI takes on MOST, Ethernet AVB

An audio signal distribution system for automotive use developed by Analog Devices could emerge as a strong competitor to established infotainment bus systems like MOST and Ethernet AVB. Read More...

Lightning strike becomes EMP weapon

A lightning bolt hitting the ground becomes an EMP weapon delivered by Mother Nature that shuts down electronics. Read More...

Apple Watch: Smart but not smart enough

Apple's design may normally be smart, but it has to be even smarter as its Watch enters the hot and increasingly crowded wearables market. Read More...

HUDs hit the aftermarket for holiday 2014

While heads-up displays (HUDs) are appearing in 2015 cars, new display technology and the ability to embed "smart" technology into a smartphone app has allowed the automotive aftermarket to create cost-effective HUD projector systems for existing cars. Read More...

Ride control comes to your smartphone

While driverless cars are being discussed to make the commuting experience safer, the connected capability of new performance products are also enhancing enthusiasts' automotive experience. Read More...

Ant-sized radios for IoT are EM powered

Tiny battery-less radios-on-a-chip that cost pennies to make are designed to serve as controllers or sensors for the 'Internet of Things.' Read More...

Winged parcel delivery: Google's way

While there is still debate about if legislation would ever allow swarms of commercial drones to fly over our heads, Google recently unveiled some details of its own drone-based delivery project, named Project Wing. Read More...

First graphene-based flexible display is unveiled

For the first time graphene has been used in a transistor-based flexible device which promises to open opportunities to enabling fully wearable and flexible devices. Read More...

Memory of "memory effect" provides cautionary lesson

Old stories can live long after their reality had changed, and can waste time and energy in a project's design and debug phases. Read More...

Distortion correction using internal noise as a test signal

Read about another interesting approach to audio system distortion reduction. Read More...

Next level of location awareness

Beacons allow smartphones to be precisely located indoors, which has possibilities for contextual advertising and more. Read More...

The promise of the connected car

A recent forum at the Churchill Club in the San Jose area discussed the Connected Car and the practical realization of the phrase. Read More...

The connected car and congested traffic

A recent road trip from the SF Bay Area to San Diego demonstrated how new automotive technologies can be tripped up by a simple traffic hiccup. Read More...

Tattoo bio-batteries produce power from sweat

Researchers University of California San Diego have designed a sensor in the form of a temporary tattoo that can both monitor a person's progress during exercise and the tattoo biobatteries can also produce power from the perspiration. Read More...

ULP wireless: over-the-air software upgrades

Revising an ultra low power (ULP) wireless chip’s software in the field has been difficult. But new technology will make it routine - to developers’ and consumers’ benefit alike Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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