The MAX6851 is billed as the market's first I2C-compatible, vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) controller with embedded fonts, multiplex timing control, and filament timing. The device controls starburst numeric or alphanumeric VFDs with up to 96 characters and supports displays with either one or two characters per grid with a 16-step digital brightness control. The controller is said to be suitable for use with displays that have 7-, 14- or 16-segment alphanumeric characters. Other features include a 104-character font and 24 characters of user-defined fonts and an output map that performs like a crosspoint switch connecting any tube driver pin to any grid or anode. A cursor segment and up to four annunciators can be assigned per grid, each with two-phase blink control. Operating voltage and temperature ranges are 2.7V to 3.6V and -40°C to +125°C. Available in a 16-pin QSOP measuring 6 mm x 9.9 mm, prices start at $4.17 each/1,000. MAXIM INTEGRATED PRODUCTS, Sunnyvale, CA. (800) 998-8800.