Electronics News

Archive : 10 November 2014 year

Raspberry Pi gets smaller and cheaper with the Model A+


A smaller, lower cost Raspberry Pi has been unveiled. Like the Model A, the A+ is powered by a 700MHz Broadcom BCM2835 CPU and has 256MB RAM, but it is significantly smaller (65mm in length, versus 86mm for the Model A), and consumes less power.

Yours for just £15.51, the A+ packs more GPIO (the GPIO header has grown to 40 pins), a push-push micro SD and a dedicated low noise power supply for better audio. 

"When we announced Raspberry Pi back in 2011, the idea of producing an ARM GNU/Linux box for $25 seemed ambitious, so it's pretty mind bending to be able to knock another $5 off the cost while continuing to build it here in the UK, at the same Sony factory in South Wales we use to manufacture the Model B+," said the Raspberry Pi Foundation in a statement. 

The A+ is available in both the US and UK now. It is hoped that cutting down on size and price will get the Foundation's work into more peoples' hands. 

Laura Hopperton

Source:  www.newelectronics.co.uk

What to expect at this year's electronica


This year's electronica takes place in Munich from 11 to 14 November and will see some 2,700 exhibitors presenting their products and services. More than 70,000 visitors are expected to attend.

Key themes for this year are automotive, embedded systems, medical electronics and lighting, as well as security and energy efficiency. 

"We are planning various events and activities, in which we will look forward to the next 50 years," said Anke Odouli, exhibition director. "Electronics is an essential part of our lives and, in November, electronica exhibitors will be showing what will drive our society forward." 

Here's a flavour of what visitors can expect to see at electronica. 

Committed to wellness 
Maxim Integrated says it will be demonstrating its commitment to the wearables market, previewing its Wellness Platform. This suite of hardware and software, including the WASP/MAX32600 microcontroller, allows designers to optimise device performance while meeting stringent time to market requirements. 
The MAX32600 is a Cortex-M3 based MCU with high precision analogue performance. An integrated Trust Protection Unit provides public key authentication, data encryption and tamper detection. An onboard analogue front end includes high current LED drivers and enables measurements such as heart rate or galvanic skin response. 
Stand A4-266 

Smallest, lightest cable 
Alpha Wire will be displaying the ProTekt range of cables and the EcoGen line of wire and cable, as well as launching EcoCable Mini. This 300V cable is the company's smallest and lightest offering; up to 32% smaller and 44% lighter than standard 300V PVC cable. 
EcoCable Mini features recyclable mPPE jacketing and insulation with superior dielectric properties, a temperature operating range of -40 to 80°C, five shielding options and more than 250 multiconductor and multipair constructions. Custom and composite configurations are also available. 
Stand B4-378 

Storage solutions 
Swissbit will show its new X-60 series, with firmware and hardware upgrades supporting data rates of up 490Mbyte/s. Looking to meet the requirements industrial, automotive and telecommunications applications, the X-60 series is available with capacities ranging from 15 to 480Gbyte and in a range of form factors. 
Also on show is the PS-100u series, aimed at highly integrated storage based security. 
Stand A6-319 

Latest developments 
ROHM Semiconductor will present recent developments from its R&D centres, as well as developments with partners. 
ROHM currently offers 1200V/120A and 1200V/180A SiC modules. New half bridge modules and a 1200V/300A type expand this portfolio. 
The AEC-Q100 qualified synchronous buck converter family will be seen, as well as a range of low power devices intended for use in wearable devices. 
Stand A6-330 

Touchscreen possibilities 
Zytronic will be demonstrating the possibilities of touchscreen technology. The leading developer of projected capacitive touch sensor technology for ultra large format displays, will also focus on curved screens. The centrepiece of the stand will be a proof of concept kiosk incorporating a concave 40in multitouch screen with a waist height 19in 'qwerty' touchscreen keyboard. 
Zytronic is also demonstrating the latest addition to its MPCT multitouch projected capacitive product portfolio. 
Stand A3-139 

Five themes on show 
Adopting the theme of 'Go Anywhere with Analog', Analog Devices will highlight five technologies: 
•    Energy-efficient systems and solutions 
•    Connectivity for communications infrastructure, industrial instrumentation, automotive and aerospace and defence applications 
•    Solutions for multiple safety, security and reliability standards 
•    integrated diagnostics and functional safety, and 
•    an always connected, data driven world 
Stand A4-159 

Relays for range of applications 
Pickering Electronics will be showing its range of reed relays for a range of applications. Included in the display will be the 117 Series of single in line devices, for ATE switching matrices or multiplexers, Series 113 SIL changeover reed relays; magnetically screened parts needing a board area of 4 x 13mm, and high voltage reed relays. 
Stand A1-530 

High power density solutions 
Visitors to Vicor's stand will be able to learn more about the company's solutions for applications requiring high power density, high efficiency, and improved design flexibility. New products set to be exhibited include front end power conversion components and point of load power conversion products in Converter housed in Package and System in Package form factors. Engineers will also learn more about PowerBench, Vicor's online design tool suite. 
Stand A5-237 

Innovation on display 
Murata's stand will take the theme of 'shaping the world through innovation', with demonstrations and new products based on concepts suitable for automotive, consumer, healthcare, industrial, security and energy applications. 
Demonstrations will include components for power conditioning, RFID for supply chain logistics, modules for IoT devices and MEMS sensors for automotive and medical applications. In addition, Murata will be showing new power and MEMS sensing products, metal alloy power inductors and short range radio components and RF modules. 
Stand B5-107 

A smarter world 
NXP will present high performance mixed signal solutions that enable 'Secure Connections for a Smarter World', as well as the technologies that will be needed to create new innovations within automotive, identification and mobile technologies. Key demonstrations include: Cabrio Car, an automotive showcase of future of the connected car, including use cases such as RFID number plates and e-driver licenses. Meanwhile, NFC reader solutions will show visitors what's next in secure mobile payments and how the approach can be used in consumer products for the smarter home. 
Stand A4-524 

'Groundbreaker' to be unveiled 
FTDI Chip says it will be introducing a 'groundbreaking' semiconductor product at electronica. Whereas many of the company's recent product releases have focused on its MCU and EVE offerings, this latest product will be within the USB connectivity arena. 
Stand A5-261 

Munich wide IoT network 
In a joint project with Semtech and Microchip, Future Electronics will deploy an ISM band IoT network using LoRa technology. This is set to provide wireless connectivity across most of the Munich area using only a few gateways. 
Up to 1000 free and fully functional wireless sensor nodes, each with its own unique code, will be available to engineers visiting the stand. These demonstration boards will allow designers to integrate them with a sensor circuit and connect automatically to the nearest available gateway in the temporary network. 
Stand A4.259 

Capacitors and more 
The Knowles stand will show products from DLI, Novacap, Syfer Technology and Voltronics. 
Syfer will show the PSL series of MLCCs, suitable for power supplies, DC/DC converters, LED lighting and other demanding applications. The first of several lower cost ranges to be released, features include capacitances from 220pF to 1µF, temperature ranges of up to 125°C, lead free solders and fully compliance with the RoHS and WEEE Directives. 
Meanwhile, visitors will also see DLI's recently released EW series of gain equalizers. Offering DC to 18GHz performance with varying slopes, the parts come in a 0302 case. 
Stand B6-336

Graham Pitcher

Source:  www.newelectronics.co.uk

Current generated by rotating magnetisation


An international research team, including the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the University of Cambridge, has demonstrated that it is possible to generate an electric current in a magnetic material by rotating its magnetisation.

This link between magnetism and electricity may have applications in electronics, says the team, including ways of transferring and manipulating data based on spintronics. 

"Much of the progress in spintronics has resulted from exploiting the coupling between the electron spin and its orbital motion," said Professor Arne Brataas from NTNU. "But our understanding of these interactions is still immature; we need to know more so that we can fully explore and exploit these forces." 

It has been known for some time that rotating the magnetisation in a magnetic material can generate pure spin currents in adjacent conductors. 

However, these cannot be detected conventionally using a voltmeter and a secondary spin-charge conversion element is needed, such as another ferromagnet. 

However, Prof Brataas and his collaborators have demonstrated that in a small class of ferromagnetic materials, spin-charge conversion occurs in the materials themselves. 

The spin currents created in these materials are converted directly to charge currents via spin-orbit interaction. In other words, the ferromagnets function as AC generators, driven by the rotating magnetization. 

"The phenomenon is a result of a direct link between electricity and magnetism. It allows for the possibility of new nano-scale detection techniques of magnetic information and for the generation of very high-frequency alternating currents," Prof Brataas concluded.

Graham Pitcher

Source:  www.newelectronics.co.uk

Imagination beefs up GPU performance in latest cores


Imagination Technologies has announced the PowerVR Series7, the latest generation of its Rogue GPU architecture. There are two versions: the 7XE range, aimed at cost sensitive applications; and the 7XT range, tuned for power/performance. Each has optional feature packs for optimisation.

Kristof Beets, director of PowerVR business development, noted: "While our core market remains focused on consumer devices, such as set top boxes and automotive, an emerging market is high end servers and laptops." 

The main element in Series7 is the cluster. In the 7XT range, this comprises four universal shading clusters (USC), each featuring 16 pipelines, plus a texture unit. Also featured are two FP32 ALU cores, four FP16 cores, a special function unit and an optional FP64 block. "The blocks around this cluster make it a GPU," Beets noted. The 7XE cluster differs in that it boasts a single USC, but no FP64. 

The 7XT range supports from 2 to 16 clusters (64 to 512 ALUs), with the high end configuration said to offer a level of performance equivalent to that of nVidia's GeForce GT730M. The 7XE can be used in single and half cluster configurations, with 32 and 16 ALUs respectively. 

Beets said a fundamental change in Series7 is the ability to run special functions in parallel. This has resulted in the 7XT range offering a performance boost of up to 60% over Series6 devices with the same clock and number of clusters. Users of 7XE cores will see a bigger improvement; up to twice the performance of the previous generation.

Graham Pitcher

Source:  www.newelectronics.co.uk

Broadcom looks to become IoT leader


With the addition of more than 40 new partners and channel distributors, Broadcom says it is positioning itself as the 'go to' vendor for developers and OEMs in the Internet of Things (IoT) space.

"As the IoT market continues to evolve, we're seeing increased demand from thousands of emerging developers wanting to get their hands on our low cost, highly integrated development platforms, modules and resource materials," said Vincent Brocato, Broadcom senior rirector. "By making our technology easy to use and easily available through our expanded global channel, companies both large and small now have immediate access to the technology and tools required to easily bring their innovative ideas to life." 

Broadcom says it is targeting the healthcare, fitness and home automation markets in particular. 

The new channel partners include module manufacturers, value added resellers, independent design houses, original device manufacturers and an e-commerce distribution channel. 

The global network is aimed at providing greater access to its WICED Smart and WICED Wi-Fi platforms and RoboSwitch, StrataConnect and NetXtreme Ethernet solutions.

Laura Hopperton

Source:  www.newelectronics.co.uk

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