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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


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?

DAS and the Wild West Barry Manz
If you’ve been following the progress of Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) and small cells and find yourself with more questions than answers you’re not alone. Many very knowledgeable people I speak with on this topic find it difficult to define with any certainty precisely what is going on in this environment.

Wonder Twins Powers Activate! Lynnette Reese
Open source is part of some totally cool ideas. The NFC ring by Jon MecLear, funded by crowdsourcing, is one example of how technology migrates into every area of our lives. NFC stands for Near Field Communication. This ring looks like a wedding band. But think about how easy it would be to wear a ring that could replace the fob to unlock your car, automatically unlock your smart phone or tablet when you pick it up, and unlock your front door.

Doing the Low-Power Limbo John Donovan
Back when they still made vinyl records the Limbo was a popular dance craze. Imported from the Caribbean via Chubby Checker, you’d try to dance yourself under a horizontal bar without falling flat on your back. The lower the bar went the more people would clap—up until the point where you crashed out and everyone laughed. The challenge was, “How low can you go?”

Navigating Kids and Technology as a Dad Justin Risedorf
Technology connects me to work, news, and entertainment 24/7. That type of access has its benefits, but when left unchecked, it can dominate my time, distracting me from the things that matter most. New research on the patterns of technology used by parents has me wondering, what are my kids learning about life as they watch me check my phone for the nth time tonight?

Bowling, Baseball and Battles: What they have in Common with LEDs Paul Golata
I’m a guy. That means I’m extremely competitive. When I was dating my wife, Dianna, and if we played any games together, I would be relentless in my competitive approach and make sure I crushed her, demonstrating my total domination of all things. Then she asked me to bowl. That stupid ball never seems to roll where I aim! Dianna was a good bowler and took pride in silently racking up the pins, while I stewed in my anguish. In bowling the perfect score is 300. I can hardly get to half of that. In baseball the mark of an excellent hitter is to have a career batting average of .300 or better. As of 2013 there have been 205 players who have batted at least .300 (minimum of 3,000 plate appearances). This is a small number when you think about the number of players who have ever played the game.

5G: Coming Sooner than Later Barry Manz
Now that most of us have smartphones with LTE capability, life is good. Video streams nicely, downloads are quick, and if you happen to be standing next to a base station data rates can be truly impressive. It won’t be long before LTE Advanced shoves LTE aside with data rates 10 times faster, which means we will be able to download HD movies very quickly and do virtually anything else almost instantly. That however, is apparently not enough for the wireless industry, if developments in South Korea and the European Union are any indication.

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