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.

Time stands still for no tech

Cleaning out the garage leads to another set of technology observations. Read More...

Measure career advancement by blowing your mind

If you can possibly finagle this opportunity, do it right now! Read More...

What's next for wearables?

Wearables have the power to transform the world around us - to interact on our behalf with other 'smart' devices that are increasingly common. Read More...

Site enables detailed component comparisons

A new site is dedicated to conducting detailed comparisons of electronic components to assist engineers with the selection process. They’ve kicked things off by tackling 60 MEMS & other miniature microphones. Read More...

GPU's latest incarnation traces rays in real-time

The Imagination Technologies PowerVR Wizard brings real-time ray tracer design and scores the 2015 Design Team of the Year ACE Award. 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...

Chrome OS could find success in schools

Chrome OS-based systems are still too restrictive for general-purpose use, but they're darn close to perfect in specific vertical markets. Read More...

Farewell, Windows Media Center

The end of Windows Media Center is now a definitive "when" versus "if," and that's too bad. With sufficient investment, the software really could have been a cable box killer. Read More...

Getting to know the Moto 360

A watch that requires a daily overnight tether to a charger is a non-starter (at least for the masses). Read More...

Sensor-Based IoT Architecture

Before its recent rebranding as “IoT,” the Internet of Things concept began emerging with devices like the now famous Coke® machine at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), which since the 1980s has been self-monitoring its internal stock of soft drinks. It monitors how long each bottle has been cooling in the machine and stores this information on a server for access via faculty and students’ computer terminals before they make the long trek to their beloved fueling station. Read More...

New house brings Internet questions & wireless links

Not only was the Internet service a big unknown at our new rural house, we needed to wirelessly connect a second building. But how? 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...

Deciphering wiring

Ramping up to speed at a new residence can mean sorting through a confusing array of existing wiring, along with modifying it to suit your purposes. 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...

Portable OLED lantern is versatile, affordable, and downright sexy

My dreams of basking in the silky radiance of my own OLED light may indeed come true if ALKILU Enterprises’ successfully completes its Kickstarter campaign for its TripLitOLED lantern. With a $60 price tag and a 30-hour maximum run time, the TripLit appears to be a versatile unit, equally suitable as a camping light, a utility light, a book light, or for emergency applications. Read More...

Cost-effective surround sound

Some folks' ears are unduly influenced by their wallets, but a good surround sound setup doesn’t need to break the bank. Read More...

Teardown: Apple iPhone 6 Plus battery

A look at Apple's iPhone 6 battery helps nail down the one variable that determines manufacturing cost. Read More...

7 Apple upgrades from WWDC 2015

See what upgrades to operating systems, applications, SDKs, APIs, programming languages, and services Apple announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference. 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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MicroZed prototyping platform teams with Arduino

Prototypes developed with the Avnet MicroZed carrier card kit combine the MicroZed system-on-module with the large ecosystem of Arduino shields. Read More...

Innovative 8-bit PIC MCU family is tailored for demanding Smart Lighting applications

Microchip has introduced two new families of genuinely innovative 8-bit PIC MCUs, including one specifically designed for Smart Lighting and motor control applications. These minimalist machines are designed to meet the tight cost constraints of IoT applications with elegant architectures which can squeeze out the greatest possible functionality from the smallest possible number of transistors, miliwatts and pins. Read More...

Security controller simplifies design and product protection

The Optiga Trust E provides a turnkey approach to product security by simplifying authentication. Read More...

NXP secures USB Type-C connections

NXP Semiconductors has added authentication and power delivery capabilities to its USB Type-C connectors. Read More...

Smart, low-cost daylight harvesting enabled by multi-sensor controller

Deep Roof Lighting as come up with an inexpensive and highly-effective daylight harvesting system that's easy to install in a variety of configurations. Priced at under $200, it can control mixed groups of 30 or more LED, incandescent, and fluorescent fixtures – even if they require different control interfaces. Read More...

Surface-mount LED chip array offers lower solution costs, higher light quality

Aimed at reducing assembly and optic design costs of retrofit bulbs and lighting equipment, Osram Opto Semiconductors' Duris S 10 Chip Array SMD (CAS) boasts high efficiency, high light output and uniform color appearance. The LED’s compact 7.7mm light-emitting surface enables compact optics with beam angles as narrow as 120° and helps simplify the integration of lenses, reflectors and other standard accessories. Read More...

RFID tag boasts high sensitivity, long read range

Optimized for item-level tagging, the Monza R6 UHF RFID tag chip from Impinj provides a read sensitivity of up to -22.1 dBm. Read More...

$49 Arduino-compatible board features enhanced Cortex M7 MCU

STMicro's Arduino-compatible STM32F7 Discovery Kit is an exciting development for DIY-ers interested in IoT applications. Read More...

Wood-fired LED lantern converts waste heat into light & power

Don't let the Stove Lite LED lantern's appearance deceive you. Beneath those old-timey looks, lies a modern thermo-electric generator (TEG), which uses the Seebeck effect to convert the heat of your wood stove into enough energy to run its LED lamp. This rugged wood-powered wonder also doubles as a battery charger for your phone or other mobile device. Read More...

DIY thermo-electric modules make backwoods power from your wood stove

If you've ever wanted to mess with thermo-electric generators (TEGs), there's a great web site which offers all the parts to make your own wood-fired electron pump. TEGs are basically over-sized thermocouples which convert the heat of your stove or other heat source into electricity – and a great way to generate a bit of power when its dark out or lugging around a bunch of solar panels isn't practical. Read More...

Address E-band cost and reliability issues in MMIC packaging

High component cost and low production yield limit E-band usage in applications like 77-GHz collision-avoidance systems to luxury cars; a new approach can change that. Read More...

NFC controller packs firmware, NCI-based interface

Offering full NFC Forum V1.3 compliance, the PN7120 near-field communication controller from NXP Semiconductors includes embedded firmware providing all NFC protocols, a standardized NFC controller interface (NCI), and a small form-factor antenna for contactless communication at 13.56 MHz. Read More...

Portable OLED lantern is versatile, affordable, and downright sexy

My dreams of basking in the silky radiance of my own OLED light may indeed come true if ALKILU Enterprises’ successfully completes its Kickstarter campaign for its TripLitOLED lantern. With a $60 price tag and a 30-hour maximum run time, the TripLit appears to be a versatile unit, equally suitable as a camping light, a utility light, a book light, or for emergency applications. Read More...

Module permits TI DLP Full-HD 1080p chipset evaluation

Complemented by a robust ecosystem, Texas Instruments’ DLP LightCrafter Display 4710 evaluation module allows designers to quickly assess the DLP Pico 0.47-in. TRP Full-HD 1080p display chipset for use in a diverse range of applications, including digital signage, mobile projectors, screenless TVs, control panels, and wearables like head-mounted displays. Read More...

High-performance LEDs aim at halogen spotlight applications with 90 CRI, halide-like R9 values, 140Lm/W

One of the reasons I attended Lightfair last month was to get a firsthand look at Cree's new TrueWhite® LEDs which the company claims are able to rival the light quality of a traditional ceramic metal halide (CMH) bulb. The short answer was that I was tickled at the "near-halogen experience" TrueWhite appears to deliver. There's also a slightly longer answer which I'll get to after a quick review of what Cree says about its devices. Read More...

USB hub controller executes system-level functions

Outfitted with an integrated microcontroller, four downstream USB 3.0/2.0 ports, and a variety of serial communication interfaces, the USB5734 Smart Hub controller from Microchip enables host and device port swapping and I/O bridging. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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...

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...

>> SEE ALL

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...

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...

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Include a remote update boot loader: 5 reasons why

Your embedded system can benefit from remote update capability. Here's how. Read More...

Time stands still for no tech

Cleaning out the garage leads to another set of technology observations. Read More...

Measure career advancement by blowing your mind

If you can possibly finagle this opportunity, do it right now! Read More...

Good product, lousy crystal

The combination of established functions rather than a technology breakthrough can yield a useful product, but a small and easily avoidable deficiency can weaken its overall attractiveness. Read More...

Microlocation in IoT can save time, money, and lives

Devices now available can turn any object into an IoT device capable of delivering its identity and location to the network. Read More...

Power tools, powerful schools and high-fashion light tape

This week's Semi-Coherent Emissions visits a LED-lit school which produces more power than it consumes, questions whether Connected Lighting will ever find its "killer app" and turns you on to one of the sexiest non-LED light sources ever invented. Read More...

Meetup at Maker Faire!

My Smart Hat just reminded it's time to invite you to our 2nd annual Reader/Editor Meet-Up at the NY Maker Faire, held Sept. 26 & 27, at the New York Hall of Science. Please join me, and your fellow EDN readers for fun, fellowship and a chance to go backstage at some of the Faire's most interesting exhibitors. Read More...

The power of ZigBee 3.0 - What it means to Smart Lighting

As the IoT market accelerates and becomes more of a reality, the hype surrounding it becomes more intense and more confusing. It is time for a reality check to take inventory of where things really stand, and to make some assessment of where things are going. Some confusion has been cleared, some confusion has exacerbated – but let’s start with what has simplified. Read More...

What's next for wearables?

Wearables have the power to transform the world around us - to interact on our behalf with other 'smart' devices that are increasingly common. Read More...

Farewell, Windows Media Center

The end of Windows Media Center is now a definitive "when" versus "if," and that's too bad. With sufficient investment, the software really could have been a cable box killer. Read More...

Chrome OS could find success in schools

Chrome OS-based systems are still too restrictive for general-purpose use, but they're darn close to perfect in specific vertical markets. Read More...

Getting to know the Moto 360

A watch that requires a daily overnight tether to a charger is a non-starter (at least for the masses). Read More...

The top 10 things to see at ESC Silicon Valley

From IoT and Bluetooth development to robots and rockets, here are 10 things you don't want to miss at ESC Silicon Valley. Read More...

Gesture-controlled spiderbots understand and interpret motion

Not-so-itsy-bitsy spiders of the robotic kind helped Intel CEO Brian Krzanich demonstrate improvements in the company’s technology for wearables. Read More...

Top 10 gadgets funded on Kickstarter

The products in this list cast a wide net to solve a variety of challenges, from the need to track often lost items to creating a candlelit atmosphere with out fear of fire. Read More...

New house brings Internet questions & wireless links

Not only was the Internet service a big unknown at our new rural house, we needed to wirelessly connect a second building. But how? Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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