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.

A bluffers guide to evaluating scientific results, Part 1: Systematic Bias

How to determine the accuracy of scientific results reported by journalists. Read More...

Apple keeps Android Wear compatibility to a minimum

The limited compatibility between Apple iOS devices and Google Android Wear smartwatches is no surprise; it's the latest example of Apple's longstanding "walled garden" strategy. Read More...

When more equals less in wireless

A new technology could mean IoT devices in your home, regardless of their locations, could be singlehandedly served by a 900 MHz beacon coming from your router. Read More...

SSDs for a PC: A cost-effective performance necessity

Choosing a SSD instead of a HDD optimizes the snappiness of a new PC. Read More...

Do grandmas make the best engineers?

Can big global problems be solved by grandmothers who are intent on solving small local problems? Read More...

Teardown: Amazon's Echo voice-activated virtual assistant

Take a look inside Amazon’s Echo to see the PCBs and components that make the virtual assistant work. Read More...

Hack-proof RFID chips claimed by MIT, TI

Have no fear when picking up your daily latte at Starbucks—these RFID chips could secure your credit card. Read More...

Replacing a dead iPhone battery

A fast-draining battery leads to an iPhone teardown and an Android transition. Read More...

Teardown: Misfit Shine 2 and the art of power management

At DesignCon 2016, the Misfit Shine 2 Fitness + Sleep monitor went under the knife, exposing the latest in low-power technology, processes, and power management techniques. Read More...

CES 2016: It’s all about smartphones

Smartphones were at the center of many innovations at CES 2016. Read More...

Keeping drones in check

The fundamental question with drones, as with plenty of past innovations, is how to keep technology from slipping out of control. Read More...

Teardown: LED touch controllers & PSU

Look inside some low-cost LED touch controllers. Read More...

4 reasons Fitbit is being sued for inaccurate heart-rate monitors

There are at least four reasons Fitbit was just hit with a class-action lawsuit over the inaccuracy of its Charge HR and Surge heart-rate monitors. Oddly, it has almost nothing to do with engineering, design, or software. Read More...

Low-power Misfit wearable exposed at DesignCon 2016

The Shine 2 fitness and sleep tracker from Misfit goes under the knife at DesignCon next week as we almost criminally sacrifice a work of art in the irrepressible pursuit of knowledge. Read More...

7 top trends from CES 2016

The top trends from this year's Consumer Electronics Show feature some of the usual suspects, but also some surprises. Read More...

Star Wars invades CES 2016

Star Wars themes popped up all over the CES 2016 show floor. Read More...

Bosch sensors make life easier for designers

Designers will benefit from Bosch’s BCDS Design Sensor and XDK Cross Domain Development Kit, both presented at CES 2016. Read More...

NASA’s Mars Orion program featured at CES 2016

See where NASA’s plans for a mission to Mars stand with a look at its CES 2016 booth, featuring rockets, 3D printers, and robonauts. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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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TVS device protects NFC and RF interfaces

The single-line RClamp1851ZA from Semtech has a working voltage of 18 V for use on NFC resonator and RF circuits without signal clipping. Read More...

Conexant takes sound and voice control to the next level

New audio solutions announced at CES 2016 will be important in the growing smart home industry. Read More...

NFC transponder teams with automotive SoCs

A dynamic NFC transponder from Texas Instruments, the RF430CL330H-Q1, is AEC-Q100-qualified for use in automotive infotainment systems. Read More...

Development ecosystem secures wearables

STMicroelectronics’ product-development ecosystem simplifies the design-in of stronger security for mobile transactions. Read More...

Mini Bluetooth Smart module advances IoT designs

Packing an SoC with an ARM 32-bit Cortex M0 CPU, Fujitsu’s MBH7BLZ07 Bluetooth Smart module is approximately 50% smaller than its predecessor. Read More...

NAND flash devices target embedded designs

Leveraging a Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI), Toshiba’s latest family of NAND flash memories consists of 12 devices at three densities. Read More...

XMetrics taps ST to create swim monitor

Tiny motion-sensing and data-processing chips from STMicroelectronics form the heart of XMetrics’ activity tracker for swimmers. Read More...

In-mold electronic inks enable control integration

DuPont Microcircuit Materials is launching a suite of in-mold electronic inks designed to help streamline electronic devices by reducing the need for rigid circuit boards. Read More...

Bluetooth 4.0 module minimizes IoT design time

Panasonic’s PAN1760 Bluetooth Smart place-and-play module includes an embedded 26-MHz oscillator and 2.4-GHz antenna. Read More...

eGaN power transistor is small and fast

The EPC2040 eGaN FET from Efficient Power Conversion is intended for applications requiring high-frequency, narrow pulse-width capabilities. Read More...

10-W wall-plug adapter is Level VI-compliant

PSM10A power adapters from Phihong offer a high-efficiency, low-cost charging solution for a wide range of consumer electronics. Read More...

WiFi power amp delivers +22-dBm output

Optimized for 802.11a/n/ac WiFi infrastructure, the Anadigics AWL5911 5-GHz power amplifier provides 33 dB of linear power gain. Read More...

Sensor board promotes 96Boards CE

STMicroelectronics’ B-F446E-96B01A board simplifies the development of context-aware smart mobile, embedded, and digital-home devices. Read More...

Adlink extends SMARC and Qseven offerings

Adlink offers the LEC-BW SMARC and Q7-BW Qseven COMs (computer-on-modules) powered by Intel Pentium and Celeron N3000 SOCs. Read More...

Wireless charger-receiver fits tiny hearing aids

Linear Technology’s LTC4123 combines a 30-mW wireless receiver with a constant-current/constant-voltage linear charger for NiMH batteries. Read More...

DC/DC converters boast ultra-small package

Aimed at portable devices, tablets, and optical devices, DC/DC converters in the XCL223/XCL224 series from Torex pack an integrated coil. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Teardown: Amazon's Echo voice-activated virtual assistant

Take a look inside Amazon’s Echo to see the PCBs and components that make the virtual assistant work. Read More...

Teardown: LED touch controllers & PSU

Look inside some low-cost LED touch controllers. Read More...

Teardown: A fitness tracker that drives chip demand

Smart fitness band? Smart watch? Microsoft's first-generation wearable includes an abundance of ICs and associated capabilities that make it a combination of both. Read More...

Teardown: WeMo Switch is highly integrated

As with many consumer electronics devices, Belkin's WeMo Switch home automation device is highly integrated and low cost from a bill-of-materials standpoint. Read More...

Teardown: Is the Mighty Charger a good investment?

Is a charger for alkaline batteries a good investment? And what internal circuitry helps it accomplish this objective? This review and teardown project attempts to answer both questions. Read More...

Teardown: Bluetooth audio dongle keeps it simple

Stereo Bluetooth audio streaming support can easily and inexpensively be added to many systems via an external adapter such as the one analyzed in this teardown. Read More...

Teardown: Zapped weather station

Wireless connectivity doesn't, this engineer guesses, do well in close proximity to cloud-sourced electricity. Read More...

Teardown: Router dissection reveals a Marvell foundation

When the newer of two Linksys E4200 dual-band 802.11n routers dies, a teardown reveals a chipset change. Read More...

Teardown: Wireless access point has two-PCB design

Tearing down a wireless access point reveals that segmenting the design into two PCBs enabled an abundance of functional flexibility. Read More...

Teardown: Inside a 3G MicroCell

A 3G MicroCell teardown reveals what makes the device work, and how it can detect tampering. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

CES 2016: It’s all about smartphones

Smartphones were at the center of many innovations at CES 2016. Read More...

NASA’s Mars Orion program featured at CES 2016

See where NASA’s plans for a mission to Mars stand with a look at its CES 2016 booth, featuring rockets, 3D printers, and robonauts. Read More...

Smartphone receiver to connect cars unveiled at CES 2016

Pioneer Electronics released AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) which brings the use of cloud and device sourced content from compatible iOS, Android, and MirrorLink-enabled devices to your car. Read More...

8 wearables beyond the Fitbit for health and fitness

Bluetooth, algorithms, accelerometers, gyroscopes, and more make these 8 wearables work for health and fitness. Read More...

CES Unveiled NY: What consumer electronics will 2016 bring?

See some of the up-and-coming consumer electronics that were on display at CES Unveiled, a preview event for CES 2016. Read More...

All you need to know about MIPI D’PHY RX

MIPI D’Phy, a physical serial communicating layer connecting the application processor to the display device or the camera, offers advantages as the physical layer. Learn about those and implementation here. Read More...

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...

Constant-voltage topology and intelligent dimming drives LEDs efficiently

LEDs as light sources in luminaires seem an ideal match due to their high efficiency, small size, and greatly improved color quality, but incompatibilities between long-established TRIAC dimmers and the LED drivers has been a problem. New ICs with innovative topologies overcome these issues. 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...

>> SEE ALL

A bluffers guide to evaluating scientific results, Part 1: Systematic Bias

How to determine the accuracy of scientific results reported by journalists. Read More...

When more equals less in wireless

A new technology could mean IoT devices in your home, regardless of their locations, could be singlehandedly served by a 900 MHz beacon coming from your router. Read More...

Apple keeps Android Wear compatibility to a minimum

The limited compatibility between Apple iOS devices and Google Android Wear smartwatches is no surprise; it's the latest example of Apple's longstanding "walled garden" strategy. Read More...

SSDs for a PC: A cost-effective performance necessity

Choosing a SSD instead of a HDD optimizes the snappiness of a new PC. Read More...

Hack-proof RFID chips claimed by MIT, TI

Have no fear when picking up your daily latte at Starbucks—these RFID chips could secure your credit card. Read More...

Do grandmas make the best engineers?

Can big global problems be solved by grandmothers who are intent on solving small local problems? Read More...

Don't ship merely functional systems

There is a disturbing trend in embedded development of shipping functional, but not production-ready, systems. Read More...

Replacing a dead iPhone battery

A fast-draining battery leads to an iPhone teardown and an Android transition. Read More...

Keeping drones in check

The fundamental question with drones, as with plenty of past innovations, is how to keep technology from slipping out of control. Read More...

4 reasons Fitbit is being sued for inaccurate heart-rate monitors

There are at least four reasons Fitbit was just hit with a class-action lawsuit over the inaccuracy of its Charge HR and Surge heart-rate monitors. Oddly, it has almost nothing to do with engineering, design, or software. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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