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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.

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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Flexible Display Shipments to Increase in 2017

Posted December 31, 2016 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

A recent release reveals that as more smartphone manufacturers build designs using flexible display technology, shipments of flexible displays are expected to reach 139 million units in 2017, an increase of 135% compared to 2016


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Rugged Tablets Help Firefighters Respond from the Field

Posted December 01, 2016 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Fire departments in Pennsylvania and Texas have decided to replace their old bulky laptops with modern lightweight, rugged tablet PCs. The firefighters plan to carry these rugged devices into the field and perform real-time critical actions to improve response and safety.


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Earn PDH or CEU Certificates with Computer Simulation Technology Webinars

Posted November 30, 2016 10:16 AM by SavvyExacta

CST is offering a December webinar series on simulation for various electronics. See the schedule below.

Attendees of these webinars have the opportunity to earn PDHs or Continuing Education Certificates! To request your certificate you will need to get a code. Once you have registered and viewed the webinar send a request to techinsider@ieee.org for a webinar code. To request your certificate complete the form here: http://fs25.formsite.com/ieeevcep/form36/index.html


December 1 - Simulating Electromagnetic Shielding in Electronics and Transportation Applications 11:00 Eastern

This webinar will explore the electromagnetic simulation of shields at both the electronics and vehicular level, while demonstrating how special modeling techniques applied in the 3D TLM method can be used to improve the efficiency of capturing the important coupling mechanisms.


December 8 - Accurate simulations of Multistage Axial VIRCATORS operating in S-Band using CST PARTICLE STUDIO® 11:00 Eastern

Classical axial VIRCATORS have low power conversion efficiency, typically less than 1% depending on the different designs proposed in the literature. The goal of this webinar is to propose new VIRCATOR structures with reflectors embedded in the output circular waveguide in order to increase the output power. For instance, to design such structures for up to 2 reflectors, the dispersion diagram is plotted and analyzed to predict the potential operating modes. In order to predict a robust design for an experimental setup, the environment influence, such as the vacuum quality is discussed in terms of losses which can affect the operating frequencies and thus the output power. First steps for an optimized virtual prototype will be proposed in this context.


December 15 – Radome Simulation 11:00 Eastern

Radomes are structures that enclose antenna systems with the purpose of protecting it from the environment. The material selection, shape and type of a radome are vital parts of the design that should ensure maximum system protection with minimum impact on the overall performance. In this webinar we will show how radomes can be tackled through electromagnetic simulation. We will introduce the topic with a range of applications, discuss the figures-of-merit for robust designs and focus on examples that illustrate how the Complete Technology of CST STUDIO SUITE can be used to achieve an optimal radome design.


December 20 - Coreless Packaging Technology for Compact, High-Performance Mobile Devices 11:00 Eastern

During this webinar we analyze two test vehicles, one a standard thick core symmetric design and the other a coreless substrate and compare the impact on electrical performance in terms of signal and power integrity metrics in the time and frequency domains. We also demonstrate how design optimization through asymmetry in the substrate thickness direction along with mechanical/thermal treatment and low CTE material usage are capable of improving thermal warpage issues when compared to conventional thick core designs.

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