Author Archives: John Donovan

About John Donovan

Writer, editor, Dad

Hands On: Evaluation Kit Eases Lighting Design Starts

Normally you order an evaluation kit to check out whether a particular microcontroller seems appropriate for a design you have in mind; if everything seems OK, you then order a more costly development kit to prototype your design. Cypress’ CY3267 PowerPSoC … Continue reading

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Storing Volts

While electric vehicles have been around since the late 19th century, they only became practical with the development of energy storage systems that sport a lot better horsepower-to-weight ratio than bulky lead acid batteries. By the mid-90’s automakers had pretty … Continue reading

Posted in Automotive, Batteries, Clean energy | 1 Comment

Get on the Drivetrain

There are a lot of reasons for thinking of buying a hybrid electric car—ecological, economic, political, and just getting cheesed off at seeing all those hybrids with one passenger whiz by you in the Diamond/HOV lane. Besides, admit it—the technology … Continue reading

Posted in Automotive, Batteries, Clean energy | Leave a comment

SiliconBlue Rolls Out 40-nm Low-Power FPGAs

To date winning a cell phone socket has been a bridge too far for FPGA vendors. Xilinx’s CoolRunner CPLDs have been successful there by adding glue logic, but FPGAs have long been too bulky, expensive, and power hungry to get … Continue reading

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MEMS Sensors Still Center Stage

I recently wrote an article for EE Times titled Sensors: More Than MEMS reviewing the recent Sensors Expo in Chicago. That wasn’t meant to diss MEMS sensors, which are where the action still is as a number of sensor vendors … Continue reading

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More than MEMS

The fact that I spend too much time focusing on consumer electronics was brought home to me vividly last week by a visit to the Sensors Expo 2011 in Chicago. Far from the niche show that I expected, it was … Continue reading

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How Green Is Your MCU?

With energy efficient, ‘green’ designs devices being all the rage, embedded developers need to be asking semiconductor vendors, “How green is your MCU?” (OK, so it’s black. Work with me here.) Ever since Intel hit the Power Wall in 2004—when … Continue reading

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MEMS Motion Sensors: The Technology Behind the Technology

MEMS accelerometers and gyroscopes are all the rage in portable design, putting the ‘smarts’ in smart phones and a new level of fun in gaming consoles. But exactly what are they, how are they made and how do they work? … Continue reading

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Power Management in USB 3.0

USB has become the most successful PC peripheral interconnect ever defined, with over 10 billion USB 2.0 products installed today. Still, despite its convenience, USB has never been either the fastest or the lowest-power interconnect protocol out there. USB 3.0 … Continue reading

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Power management | Tagged | Leave a comment

How Will Consumers Benefit from the Smart Grid?

George Arnold from NIST gave a talk with that title over lunch today at the Smart Energy Summit in Austin. The benefits of the Smart Grid may be obvious at NIST but they’re a lot less so to consumers. In … Continue reading

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