Features

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      The connected car: security in embedded systems (25/09/2017)

      The world around us is increasingly connected. Just as we have become used to connectivity across all our media devices, including phones, tablets and TVs, another step change is about to occur: everything from smart fridges to washing machines and lights will become internet-connected.

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      Laser-based PCB assembly inspection (20/09/2017)

      Electronic products typically have stringent testing requirements, particularly as the PCBs that power them have become more complex, miniaturised and mass-produced. Accurately and repeatedly inspecting PCB assemblies improves product quality and ensures reliability in use, helping to reduce the negative impact of field failures and product recall events, ultimately improving brand reputation. But doing so has traditionally been both difficult and costly.

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      STEM Matters: from little acorns... (13/09/2017)

      Mighty oaks from little acorns grow. I’m often reminded of this proverb when I think about STEM education and inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists...

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      Q&A: the pros and cons of renting T&M equipment (13/09/2017)

      As technology evolves, even everyday devices are becoming ever more complex, with electronics, connectivity and intelligence being built into ‘smart’ versions of virtually everything we own or use. This increases demands on R&D and test functions, necessitating a wide range of specialist test equipment and making it vital that it is kept up to date and fit for purpose. This can be a challenge for companies investing in T&M kit – and renting can provide an alternative option.

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      What a time to be alive! (12/09/2017)

      Welcome to your October 2017 issue of EPDT. Since taking the reins as editor of EPDT, I’ve used some of my editorial comments (and regular STEM columns) to discuss the many challenges facing UK – and indeed, global – engineering.

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      GDPR and the ‘chain of trust’ in IoT security (11/09/2017)

      With General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into full enforceable effect in May 2018, two years after it was approved and adopted by the EU, regulators will have the power to fine companies up to €10m, or 2% of annual global revenue (whichever is greater), for failure to handle customers’ personal data in adherence with the regulations. This article explores why this legislation’s scope overshadows almost every aspect of IoT security. Whether it is health tracking,

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      Introduction to measurement microphones (31/08/2017)

      Like all technological devices, loudspeakers, headphones, MEMS microphones, sonar emitters and police sirens all need to be measured and tested, both during design and production. Furthermore, products that generate any noise at all (such as motors, airplanes, wind turbines, coffee makers or HVAC) are often measured for safety or environmental impact, or are continuously monitored, listening for signature acoustic signals that indicate correct performance – or failure.

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      productronica: the international meeting place for the PCB and EMS industry (31/08/2017)

      productronica, the world’s leading trade fair for electronics development and production, will take place at the Messe München exhibition centre in Munich, Germany from November 14–17, 2017. Almost 40,000 attendees from more than 80 countries will travel to the show, over half of them international visitors.

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      Why thermal management is key to ensuring the success of UVC LED disinfection (31/08/2017)

      LEDs are changing our understanding of how we can use light. In horticulture, LED lighting is transforming tower blocks and basements into urban farms, enabling farmers to produce food in the heart of our cities and towns.

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      Powering and protecting LED lighting (31/08/2017)

      From high bay and architectural lighting to outdoor street lighting, and even 75W incandescent bulb replacement, LEDs are fast becoming the lighting source of choice – despite costing more than incandescent lighting by a factor of 13! This article discusses why this is, and considers what LEDs need to power them – and also, how to protect them from the hazards they face within their respective implementations.

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      Driving brand recognition with enhanced MCU graphics capabilities (30/08/2017)

      Brand is everything when it comes to selling products for customers to buy – and more importantly – continue to buy. Anything with a screen is expected to have a polished look and feel and be easy to use. With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), more and more simple devices now feature interactive display screens, presenting design challenges for engineers.

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      Embedded vision: look and identify (25/08/2017)

      Embedded vision is proving more and more popular across a range of industry sectors, and is increasingly requiring FPGA-based hardware acceleration to alleviate processor workload. This article outlines the challenges and solutions involved, and explains how an ADAS demonstration unit works.

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      Experience solves legacy test problems (25/08/2017)

      The test function has always been among the most challenging processes in electronics manufacturing. How can test equipment keep ahead of the sub-assemblies it needs to validate? In theory, it should be easier when testing legacy products, but successfully developing futureproof solutions requires not only knowledge of the new, but also experience of the old.

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      Problematic pacemakers (25/08/2017)

      During the French Revolution, beheading was the preferred method of execution. The guillotine was used for thousands of executions, meaning there was no shortage of experimental material for biologist Marie Francois Bichat. Bichat tested the electrical stimulation of hearts, which was instrumental in the development of the modern day pacemaker. Nowadays, pacemakers are commonly used to maintain a regular heart rate. This article looks at how electrical interference can led to pacemaker issues.

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      Power quality in the medical sector (25/08/2017)

      You may have seen more people in your social news feed checking in to A&E or posting selfies from their hospital bed recently. It’s not that all your Facebook friends have suddenly been under the weather: hospital patients and visitors are now allowed to use mobile phones on site, without fear of interfering with medical equipment. However, hospitals still have a long way to go to mitigate power quality issues.

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      Are you in safe hands? (17/08/2017)

      If you had to nominate a safe pair of hands, healthcare and medical practitioners might rank at the top of your list. However, the medical technology (MedTech) they rely on is in a vulnerable state.

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      Nurturing the engineers of tomorrow, today (17/08/2017)

      The skills shortage that faces the UK engineering sector is widely recognised. The issue is not new, but it is one that is escalating and whose impact is potentially far-reaching.

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      With shifting demands and expectations, are today’s distributors fit for purpose? (17/08/2017)

      Distributors play a vital role in keeping the electronics industry moving, providing essential supplies and support. Over the past five  years, engineers and businesses that rely on distributors have seen customer needs change radically – prompting shifts in buying behaviour that have resulted in a knock-on effect all the way up the supply chain and back again.

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      The changing face of the distribution market (17/08/2017)

      The supply chain for electronics components faces many challenges. Consolidation continues to reduce choice for buyers. High demand from automotive puts inventories under pressure, limiting availability for industrial markets. This article from Anglia, the UK’s largest privately owned authorised distributor of electronic components, discusses  interesting times for our industry. 

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      Identifying RF interference sources with automatic IQ capture (17/08/2017)

      IQ (in-phase/quadrature) capture is a feature of modern spectrum analysers that helps engineers with in-depth analysis of RF signals. However, while it allows engineers to analyse the signal type being captured, it doesn’t always easily meet user requirements for triggering the capture in an automated way. This article explains how SCPI programming can be used to capture signals that exceed specified thresholds to help identify sources of interference.