Electronic Design

December 01, 2008

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Introducing the MiniCoreâ„¢ series of pin compatible and interchangeable wired and wireless modules


Technologies of the Year


By Don Tuite, Analog/Power Editor
2008 Analog Prologue: Innovation In All Directions

When I report on new products, I usually avoid claims that chips are “so many percent” better in some way than their competitors. That’s because specsmanship is a constant game of leapfrog. Sometimes a focus on specs can lead to an awkward situation.

By Louis E. Frenzel, Communications/Test Editor
Wi-Fi Chips Stand Out In A Sea Of Wireless Products

With hundreds of new chips announced annually, it’s a challenge to identify those that push the speed, power, and size boundaries or have unique features. We look for innovation. You wouldn’t think, then, that the Wi-Fi radio chips I selected as the Best Communications/ Wireless products would be, well, the winners. Yet these new chips do offer something better.

By Mat Dirjish, Packaging/Optoelectronics Editor
Diverse Component Trio Represents This Year's Best

The components market always seems to be in a state of accommodation, creating products to support every other sector’s designs. Whether it’s a power source that fits an oddly shaped printed-circuit board (PCB) or a motor that can deliver massive torque levels in a space the width of a finger, component makers innovate for innovators.

By Richard Quinnell, Contributing Editor
Top FPGAs Excel While Best Chips Simplify Design

For design flexibility, FPGAs are unsurpassed. But they have typically suffered performance or power penalties to achieve that distinction. Now, those penalties exist no more.

By David Maliniak, EDA Editor
In EDA, A Year Of Mergers, Failed And Otherwise

For the EDA industry, 2008 was dominated not so much by technology breakthroughs but rather by corporate intrigue. Cadence Design Systems’ attempt to take over Mentor Graphics had the electronics industry at large holding its collective breath for a few months. In the wake of the effort’s failure, one need only look at the subsequent ouster of most of Cadence’s senior management, including CEO Mike Fister, to know how profound the failure was.

By Bill Wong, Embedded/Systems/Software Editor
USB Thinks Inside The Box

USB is the de facto peripheral interconnect outside the box. Inside, though, it’s been a different story. This year, USB has been internalized with a range of products and platforms becoming more popular. My two choices for “best” reflects this change, with Stackable- USB and the MicroBlade standards.

By Sam Davis, Contributing Editor
Low Stored Charge Separates Diode From The Pack

In an idealized diode, no reverse current flows from cathode to anode when the device is reverse-biased. However, with real-world diodes, large amounts of stored charge can flow from the cathode—back through the anode— before the diode enters its blocking state. That stored charge is QRR, and it causes the reverse recovery current (IRR) that flows as the diode transitions from forward to reverse bias.

By Louis E. Frenzel, Communications/Test Editor
Best Scope Merges Style, Substance

If looks were the only criterion for choosing the best test instrument of the year, the LeCroy WavePro 7 Zi oscilloscope line would win hands down. Its 15.3-in. WXGA LCD touchscreen can display all sorts of useful data simultaneously.

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Hall of Fame


By Doris Kilbane, Contributing Editor
Joseph Engelberger · Robotics Move From Industry To Space To Elder Care


By Doris Kilbane
Jay Forrester · RAM Innovator Took A New Career—And Education—By The Horns


By Doris Kilbane
George Frye · Family Need Leads To A Better Hearing Aid And A New Industry


By Doris Kilbane
James Gosling · From Sneaking Into Computer Labs To Sneaking Out Java


By Doris Kilbane
Alan Kay · Computers—A Revolutionary Medium For Boosting Human Thought


By Doris Kilbane
Marvin Minsky · In AI, Robotics, And Any Field, Stand Alone To Stand Apart


Designs of the Year


Automotive · By Roger Allan, Contributing Editor
Automotive Imaging ICs Keep An "Eye" On The Road


Computers · By Bill Wong, Embedded/Systems/Software Editor
Multicore Mania Sweeps Through Computer Design


Consumer · By Bill Wong
Networking Invigorates The Home Multimedia Blitz


Inudstrial · By Joe Desposito, Editor-in-Chief
Industrial's Best Devices Save Space In New Designs


Medical · By Roger Allan, Contributing Editor
Pressure-Sensor System Is A Mini Medical Marvel


Military · By Jack Browne, Contributing Editor
Military Systems Bolstered By Building-Block Breakthroughs


Best Features


Leapfrog · By Roger Allan, Contributing Editor
MEMS Inclinometer Spawns Wide Application Range


Ideas For Design · By Ansi Chen, Stanford Research Systems
New Way To Use Kirchhoff's Current Law Simplifies Circuit Analysis


Ideas For Design · Nick Allen-Rowlandson, Maxim Integrated Products
Two AA Cells Power Class D Amp To Produce Huge Audio Volume


Columns


Editorial · By Joe Desposito, Editor-in-Chief
As 2008 Comes To A Close, We Salute The Industry's Best


Pease Porridge · By Bob Pease
What's All This "Adjustable Slew Rate Stuff," Anyhow?

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