Consumer

EDN Staff

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.

Alexa, can you hear me now? Low power voice interface technology evolves

Speech recognition is not as new as you think. There has been about 60 years of research done with both successes and failures, to go along with this new and upcoming technology. Read More...

Teardown: A better Chinese 12V adapter

I’ve investigated some execrable & dangerous adapters in the past. Is this one really any better? Read More...

Reflecting on Apple's latest products: Are you impressed?

The stock market seems to love Apple lately, based in no small part on recent product announcements. This engineer isn't nearly as enthusiastic about them. Who's right? Read More...

Maximizing BLE security & privacy features

Let's consider what it takes to achieve privacy over BLE. True anonymity is not trivial. Read More...

EDN cartoons from the 1980s: Part 1

EDN's artist created numerous cartoons over the years; this week (Dec. 26-29) we'll share a classic cartoon each day. Read More...

The pros and cons of mesh networking

Designers strive to balance simplicity and feature set robustness. After reading this blog series, how well (or not) do you think Google's done in tackling this balancing act? Read More...

Wi-Fi versus 5G? Nope, it’s both

The question comes up again and again: With 5G, what will you need Wi-Fi for? Everything you need Wi-Fi for now, actually. Read More...

LED history book chronicles light's past and future

Learn how LEDs have become where lighting is and will go, just make sure to read through the lack of editing. Read More...

Anechoic chambers: Design and demonstration

Boston-area engineers were treated to a presentation on chamber design and modeling, plus a look inside a working chamber. Read More...

Teardown: Wireless AC upgrader is a networking oddity

The TEW-820AP is a 5 GHz access point that supports the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard and connects to, and thereby spectrum-upgrades, an existing 2.4 GHz-only router or gateway. Read More...

Bluetooth 5: More speeds, more range, new RF tests

Bluetooth keeps evolving as new applications for the wireless technology arise. Bluetooth 5 adds features that will appeal to designers of IoT devices that need low power and longer range, but don't need high data rates. The new data rates mean new tests. Read More...

Solving smart clothing design challenges with printed flexible sensor technology

As printed, flexible sensor technology becomes more advanced and readily available, it is providing a path to solving many design challenges for smart clothing. Read More...

Find the right PMIC for your wearable systems

As smart watches become must-have devices, manufacturers are demanding smaller-size, lower-power circuitry with higher functionality. Read More...

Mesh networking: setting up Google OnHub-based Wi-Fi

Here’s one way to transform your mesh network aspirations into reality. Read More...

Distortion pedal circuit features low power and soft clipping

Low-power, tube-like pedal effects can now be yours with a simple JFET circuit. Read More...

What’s in store for optical biosensors? Part 2

This article looks at common noise and error sources affecting optical sensing, the current capabilities of wearable biosensors, and the future direction of optical biosensing applications. Read More...

Is it time to upgrade to mesh networking?

Mesh networking promises to bring real value to the upgrade process, thereby resulting in a price "crash" for alternative traditional convention networking gear. Read More...

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Bad-bulb finder fixes Christmas lights

This Design Idea is a modernized LED version of a simple gadget to find a bad bulb in a series-connected string of Christmas lights. 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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Alexa, can you hear me now? Low power voice interface technology evolves

Speech recognition is not as new as you think. There has been about 60 years of research done with both successes and failures, to go along with this new and upcoming technology. Read More...

Isolated gate driver delivers 5 A

Power Integrations expands its Scale-iDriver family with the SID1102K, a 1-channel, isolated IGBT and MOSFET gate driver in a wide-body eSOP. Read More...

MCUs bring extensive features to smart objects

STM32L4+ microcontrollers from STMicroelectronics deliver 150 DMIPS at 120 MHz, while executing from up to 2 Mbytes of internal flash memory. Read More...

Multicore audio processor chip has machine-learning aptitude

The IA8508 quad-core, context-aware audio processor from Knowles improves voice recognition, especially in far-field and noisy environments. Read More...

Wearable sensor is water-resistant

Aimed at smart wearable devices, STMicroelectronics’ LPS33HW 10 bar pressure sensor withstands being submerged up to 90 meters. Read More...

Audio analyzer module adds new Bluetooth codecs

The Bluetooth Duo module from Audio Precision adds new codecs for Bluetooth 4.2, plus it's now a sink/source module. Read More...

BLE SoC senses tire pressure

The SmartBond DA14585 BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) SoC from Dialog Semiconductor monitors the air pressure and temperature of automotive tires. Read More...

Wireless receiver suits mobile devices

A wireless power receiver, the MAX77950 from Maxim, operates as a transmitter in PeerPower mode to enable peer device power transfer. Read More...

PMICs for hearables are power-stingy

The MAX77650 and MAX77651 PMICs from Maxim boast a standby current of just 0.3µA and an operating current of only 5.6 µA. Read More...

Bridge chip simplifies audio data transfer

Silicon Labs’ CP2615 bridge chip transfers digital audio data between USB and I2S serial bus interfaces without any code development. Read More...

Bluetooth 5 SoC maximizes battery life

A multiprotocol, Bluetooth 5-certified radio Soc, On Semiconductor’s RSL10 requires just 62.5 nW in deep sleep mode and 7 mW in receive mode. Read More...

MOSFETs serve flyback topologies

Infineon’s 700-V CoolMOS P7 family of MOSFETs allows flyback-based chargers to achieve up to 3.9% higher efficiency. Read More...

eCall battery charger cuts leakage current

Intersil’s ISL78693 3.6-V single-cell battery charger increases the life of LiFePO4 backup batteries used in automotive eCall systems. Read More...

Rx/Tx converters span 800 MHz to 4000 MHz

The HMC8100 and HMC8200 Rx/Tx converters from Analog Devices replace multiple discrete parts in microwave backhaul applications. Read More...

Wireless charger fits sealed wearables

STMicroelectronics’ STWBC-WA/STWLC04 miniature chipset for wireless battery charging allows smaller, simpler, and sealed sports wearables. Read More...

Valencell and Jabra team up to create the most accurate wireless earbud device

Next generation earbuds are going truly wireless to provide accurate and convenient health insights during your workout. Read More...

Wireless transmitter is QI-certified

The bq501210 is a WPC V1.2-compliant wireless power transmitter from Texas Instruments that delivers up to 15 W. Read More...

Bluetooth module enhances IoT security

Laird’s BLE652 Bluetooth V4.2 and NFC certified radio module offers robust security and easy programming for enterprise IoT applications. Read More...

Stereo audio chips leverage Bluetooth V4.2

Microchip’s IS206X family of audio SoC devices and modules is qualified for Bluetooth V4.2 with EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) links. Read More...

Kit demos multimode wireless charger

EPC’s 9121 wireless power-charging demonstration system simplifies the evaluation process of using eGaN FETs and ICs for multimode charging. Read More...

IC manages battery power in wearables

Highly integrated, the STBC02 chip from STMicroelectronics embeds numerous features for energy management in wearable and portable devices. Read More...

Tiny motion sensor fits wearable devices

Bosch Sensortec’s BMX160 is a 9-axis motion sensor touted as the smallest in the industry for wearable and augmented/virtual-reality devices. Read More...

Another strong voice chimes in for remote control

Voice control is ever increasing in popularity and the technology is now moving further towards ubiquity with Texas Instrument’s voice remote control solution. Read More...

Portable e-car charger leverages SiC MOSFETs

Thirty-two SiC MOSFETs from STMicroelectronics perform efficient power conversion in the ZapCharger portable electric-car charging station. Read More...

SAG taps STMicro for IoT NFC tags

STMicroelectronics and Securitag Assembly Group (SAG) have announced a tiny NFC ferrite tag based on the ST25 NFC tag IC for IoT applications. Read More...

MEMS sensors empower smart phones

Low-power 6-axis inertial modules from STMicroelectronics, the LSM6DSL and LSM6DSM, pack a 3-D digital accelerometer and gyroscope. Read More...

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...

Image sensor performs capture and mapping

Capable of slow-motion video, the AR0430 1/3-in. CMOS digital image sensor from ON Semiconductor captures 120 fps at 4 Mpixels. Read More...

Alliance adds 512 Mb devices to SDRAM portfolio

Alliance Memory offers high-speed CMOS DDR3 and low-voltage DDR3L SDRAMs in 512 Mb x8 and x16 configurations. Read More...

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Teardown: Smart switch provides Bluetooth power control

GE's Avi-on product line does networked power control with a mesh Bluetooth twist. Read More...

Teardown: Taking the pulse of a fitness watch

The pulse measurement technique employed by this fitness-tailored watch ended up being less exotic than originally thought, but the overall implementation remained pretty interesting. Read More...

Hubsan FPV drone teardown

Quadcopter sitting in a tree, F-A-L-L-I-N-G. Read More...

Teardown: Wi-Fi device offers clever power design

EDIMAX shows us how to develop a low-cost design flexible enough to use largely intact across multiple geographies' and countries' mains standards. Read More...

Teardown: Fitness band hardware

This fitness band's feature set was elementary but adequate, and the hardware seemed sufficient, but the product stumbled when it came to the associated software. Read More...

Teardown: A Wi-Fi smart plug for home automation

Belkin's WeMo devices aren't the only smart switch options available; TP-Link's HS100 implements some interesting design choices ... once you finally succeed in getting inside, that is! Read More...

Teardown: Comparing laptop hardware

In this teardown, we’ll see if the Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 11's commonality with Chromebooks extends to its hardware. Read More...

Teardown: Drone streams live video

Past teardowns in this series have dissected a base drone, as well as a camera drone, and now the "high end” version, with wireless live-streamed video support, goes under the knife. Read More...

Teardown: Wireless keyboard and remote senses motion

The Mohu Channels wireless keyboard is also a remote control with motion-activated on-screen cursor capability; see how it works. Read More...

Teardown: Streaming device marred by glitches

Mohu Channels had an abundance of hardware potential as a streaming device that also offers over-the-air TV, but software glitches led to a premature product demise. Read More...

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Appliance autonomy promises to make life simpler

These are exciting times for autonomous devices, but how robustly will they eventually operate, and how quickly will they reach this point? Read More...

The next 60 years in consumer electronics

As we celebrate 60 years of EDN, we look forward to the overarching themes and specific technologies that will be the future of consumer electronics. Read More...

10 drones you’ll want to own

Drones are the hottest thing in consumer electronics at the moment, and they're increasingly inexpensive as more suppliers enter the market, so which one(s) should you get? Read More...

What level of smartphone should you buy?

To understand the differences between phones and ranges of phones, see how the Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy A9, and Huawei Mate 8 compare. Read More...

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...

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Reflecting on Apple's latest products: Are you impressed?

The stock market seems to love Apple lately, based in no small part on recent product announcements. This engineer isn't nearly as enthusiastic about them. Who's right? Read More...

The pros and cons of mesh networking

Designers strive to balance simplicity and feature set robustness. After reading this blog series, how well (or not) do you think Google's done in tackling this balancing act? Read More...

LED history book chronicles light's past and future

Learn how LEDs have become where lighting is and will go, just make sure to read through the lack of editing. Read More...

Bluetooth 5: More speeds, more range, new RF tests

Bluetooth keeps evolving as new applications for the wireless technology arise. Bluetooth 5 adds features that will appeal to designers of IoT devices that need low power and longer range, but don't need high data rates. The new data rates mean new tests. Read More...

Find the right PMIC for your wearable systems

As smart watches become must-have devices, manufacturers are demanding smaller-size, lower-power circuitry with higher functionality. Read More...

Mesh networking: setting up Google OnHub-based Wi-Fi

Here’s one way to transform your mesh network aspirations into reality. Read More...

Is it time to upgrade to mesh networking?

Mesh networking promises to bring real value to the upgrade process, thereby resulting in a price "crash" for alternative traditional convention networking gear. Read More...

Nixie clock: Tearup

Enjoy this photo essay of a Nixie clock build, and a look at the design. Read More...

HDDs vs SSDs: It's all about the random speeds

Interface transfer performance potential matters little if the storage media "behind" the interface is slow. And when it comes to system boot and application launch, sequential access speed isn't nearly as important as random access latency. Read More...

Infographic exposes autonomous car history

Infographics and autonomous cars, combined at last. Read More...

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