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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics


Computers on Wheels John Donovan
In 1984 John Gage at Sun Microsystems promoted the idea that “the network is the computer.” Gage was a bit ahead of his time; the Internet was just getting off ground—TCP/IP had only been standardized two years earlier—and the Netscape Navigator browser didn’t debut for another 10 years. Today virtually every computer in the world is part of the Internet.

There’s Failure And Then There Is Constructive Failure Caroline Storm Westenhover
The awesome thing about the human mind is it never fully shuts off. The terrible thing is, this does not always mean it is being clever. Case and point. Some time ago I went to Body Worlds, a traveling exhibition of preserved human bodies and body parts that are prepared to reveal inner anatomical structures. By the by, never take friends to Body Worlds without first feeding them. Hunger plus Body Worlds can make for an unpleasant experience.

Bike Night Light Brite Paul Golata
Do you recall growing up as a kid and playing with Lite-Brights? I can remember it almost like it was yesterday. It came with that ubiquitous patterned picture to make a clown face and a sail boat. The fun came from completing the build out the pattern and then flipping the off the light switch and seeing everything glow, lighting up the darkness.

Licking Salt Creek Lynnette Reese
I had an environmental monitoring project at Salt Creek in Aspermont, Texas, a few years back. If you have never been to Aspermont, you can get the total experience with a video of a slow tumbleweed. Salt Creek in Aspermont has off-the charts salinity. There’s a huge salt dome that contaminates the spring source for the creek, and this super-salty water eventually meets up with the Brazos River. The group that owned the property wanted to know the flow, volume, and salinity of the creek. We were to set-up monitoring at the base of a small valley, near a concrete bridge.

ePedal Power David Fambrough
Positioned as an alternative, more eco friendly answer to gasoline powered automobiles, there’s been lots of development and coverage on electric/hybrid vehicles. It wasn’t that long ago that the press proclaimed that the Tesla Model S was automotive perfection. (Or, as I would like to say in tribute to Ben Franklin… the tightest kite string in a bad storm with lightning.) All of that led me to wonder, what’s happening in the world of electric bikes or eBikes? After all, May is officially National Bike Month. Anyway, probably the most brilliant scientific and engineering mind ever, Albert Einstein, loved riding bikes. It even laid the groundwork to one of his greatest discoveries.

Lend Me Your Ears... David Whittle
Hello all, and welcome as I take my first steps into the blogosphere. I’ll be writing on all things about or related to audio, and I hope to provide some interesting thoughts and ideas about new products, technologies and trends in audio design. Much of my earlier work life was in pro audio sales support, marketing and technical roles. Feel free to comment, because your insight might be…well, insightful.

FIRST: More Than Meets The Eye Erik Smith
The first robots I recall ever interacting with when I was young were Transformers. I suppose, if you were being REALLY generous, you could refer to them as semi-educational toys since each was a mini-puzzle that only kids younger than 13 could figure out. In fact, if I were this clever at 8-years-old, I might have convinced my parents to want to buy me more. But then, all I would have to show for it would be a box full of forgotten plastic robots that transformed into cars I could now sell on eBay. But there was a different group of transforming robots that I wish I had discovered in my high school days. Instead of buying them, you built them with a group of your peers. Instead of transforming into cars, they would transform your life.

You Can't Be Creative With What You Don't Know Caroline Storm Westenhover
Awhile back I was walking past the door to the lab where I work and noticed that there was a meeting going on to which I had not been invited. I guess they assumed the sophomore-level undergrad did not have much to contribute. It’s not that they would be wrong, but still it’s nice to be invited. As I walked into the room I noticed that I did not recognize one of the people, and he had a distinct accent. I went on to learn that he was Spanish, but is a professor at Aalborg University in Denmark, both of which might account for his accent. He was giving a presentation on Smart Grids, and since I am helping out with my professor’s Smart Grid research I figured I would stay.

AS6496 Out for Ballot Chuck Amsden
AS6496, the SAE standard for Authorized Distribution, has gone out for ballot. This new standard will enhance authorized distribution and give customers a clearer picture on Authorized Distributors.

Building Blocks Mike Parks
When designing large, complex products the value of the principles and practices systems engineering is quite apparent. But what about when designing custom homebrewed electronics, are systems engineering practices valuable or overkill?

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