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Electronic Product Design

The Electronic Product Design Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about EDA; DSP, SoC, programmable logic; power sources & conversion; interconnect & packaging; mechatronics; and thermal management. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Vintage Airstream Trailer Decked Out with Voice-controlled Home Automation

Posted May 01, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Home automation is moving beyond the confines of an actual house and into a custom vintage Airstream trailer. Control4 has added 4K TV, audio, LED lighting, and shade control to a custom trailer.


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1 comments; last comment on 05/12/2017
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J.D. Power 2017 Tablet Satisfaction Study

Posted April 27, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

A J.D. Power tablet satisfaction study showed that Microsoft tablets attract higher incidence of early adopters to the technology, since they have expanded the range of tablets. Learn more with this infographic. In the meantime, what's your take on Microsoft tablets?


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Using Inkjet Printing to Build Intelligent Flexible Hybrid Circuits

Posted April 10, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Researchers from the University of Barcelona have developed a bonding technique to build intelligent flexible hybrid circuits using an inkjet printer with silver nanoparticles ink. The process may create a new way to manufacture circuits that is fast, cheap, and environmentally safe.


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2 comments; last comment on 04/10/2017
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DIY Bio-bots Use 3D Printing

Posted March 02, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Researchers have developed a recipe that allows others to duplicate a class of walking robots with muscle cells and controlled with electrical and optical pulses. Researchers say these biological machines have the potential to dynamically sense, process, respond, and adapt to environmental signals in real time.


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The 'Right to Repair" Your Devices May Become Law

Posted February 01, 2017 11:14 AM by HUSH

Who owns your cell phone? Your computer? Your fitness tracker?

It’s seems like an obvious answer to a stupid question. If I bought something, I paid for it to be mine. Therefore, I can do whatever I want with it, right?

Yet pending legislation in five U.S. states—New York, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Kansas—will guarantee consumers the ‘Right to Repair’ whatever devices they own however they see fit. In recent years, the authorized repair service model has come under scrutiny, as companies like IBM and Apple won’t authorize third parties to perform warranty-compliant repairs on their products.

So consumers with a broken device are left with three choices.

  • DIY or hire someone to perform the repair and lose your product warranty. Vice notes that companies and individuals who perform unauthorized repairs sometimes have to resort to counterfeit parts, which ultimately can hurt device quality even more.
  • Ship it to the manufacturer who performs the repair, typically at a higher price, but maintain the warranty.
  • Buy a new device entirely, which is sometimes cheaper than the authorized repair.

Companies are typically able to enforce this by saying the devices have software and coding subject to DMCA, and therefore the hardware running it remains under their control as well.

Yet the proposed legislation would require manufacturers to sell genuine replacement parts, as well as offer diagnostic and service manuals. (As someone who recently paid $50 for an outboard motor service manual, this could be a blessing.)

If just one of the above states passes a right to repair bill, it could be enough to affect the entire electronics repair market. A similar event happened in Massachusetts in 2012, when it passed the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act. In response, the automotive industry agreed to adopt the standards set out by the law across the industry, rather than risk varying standards and legal fights across all 50 states.

Besides being consumer protection legislation, there is also hope the Right to Repair acts could also dwindle the mounting supplies of electronic waste that are crowding landfills and potentially polluting nearby lands and water. A recent news article pointed out that 20 billion Internet of Things devices are expected to be up and running by sometime this year, so the future impact could be quite significant.

Right to Repair bills have popped up in state legislatures before, but always somehow fall victim to the influence of lobbyists. But with five states prepped to debate the bill, there is hope for our devices’ futures yet.

20 comments; last comment on 02/06/2017
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