December 1, 2006

Dec. 1, 2006
BEST Electronic Design
  Greetings, and welcome to the December 1, 2006 Electronic Design TOC Newsletter. I am happy to present to you our annual BEST Electronic Design. In this issue, our editors pick the best technologies of the year in their respective beats, as well as the top designs in the industry's most important vertical markets.

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Enjoy The Issue!
Mark David
[email protected]
Electronic Design

BEST Technologies Of The Year  

Analog/Power· Don Tuite
Analog Progresses On And Off The Beaten Path
The analog world saw a host of significant but incremental developments in 2006. Take data converters. Back in January, the delta-sigma architecture was enjoying a renaissance as it was applied at remarkably high input signal frequencies, thanks to new developments in clock stabilization.

Diverse Power Entities Sang From The Same Page In 2006
Design challenges and economic opportunity both opened up for the power community in 2006, as industry, government and the energy utilities got in sync on efficiency issues.


Digital· Dan Harris
Security Tech Saves Lives And Money
Unless you're old-fashioned and hide your money in a cookie jar, you've probably noticed that more and more personal information is being spread across several technologies, including PDAs, phones, credit cards, laptops, and databases on remote servers you've likely never seen.  

Sensors· Roger Allan
Image Sensors Sharpen Focus
Sensors continue to penetrate existing and new markets thanks to technological improvements. In imaging, end users are reaping the benefits of smaller image chips with higher levels of resolution?not to mention lower costs. And CMOS process technology has been a key driver.  

Electronic Design Automation· David Maliniak
EDA Sees The Very Good, The Good, And The Ugly
EDA retains its status as the mother of all enabling technologies for the global electronics industry. But like Rodney Dangerfield, it continues to get no respect.  

Test & Measurement· Louis E. Frenzel
Wireless Applications Take Over T&M
Test and measurement is an essential part of any engineering discipline. But as the wireless and communications arenas explode, old technologies are finding new applications.  

Embedded· William Wong
$1 Arms And $20 Development Kits
2006 saw a trend of high-value development tools combined with low-cost microcontrollers. It began as a trickle, but now it's a flood of new technologies. And in between all of the announcements, two products really defined the trend?Luminary Micro's Stellaris and Texas Instruments' eZ430-F2013.  

Power· Sam Davis
Roadster Gets 250 Miles Per Charge
Rising fuel prices and the nation's dependency on foreign oil? as well as increasing air pollution?are spurring a quest for alternative power sources. Tesla Motors is offering one solution with its Roadster electric car. Powered by rechargeable lithium-ion ( Li-ion) batteries, this sports car has a range up to 250 miles on one battery charge, depending on driving conditions.  

Wireless· Louis E. Frenzel
Location Tech Gives Us The World
It began as a military project, but location technology has changed the way we travel. There's no longer any need to rely on outdated maps or your own sense of direction, since location systems are declining in price and improving in precision.

BEST Designs Of The Year  

Computers· William Wong
Pickin' Powerful Parts For The Top PC
If you found one of these PCs on your desk, your eyes would light up. The quest for more computing power never ends, but 2006 saw some significant steps forward. QUAD CORE MOTHERBOARD Intel's Core Duo 2 Extreme QX6700 processor packs four cores into a 775-landing multichip package.

·Best Computer Of 2006 Goes Quad
What's the best PC of 2006 look like? Check it out as Embedded Technololgy Editor Bill Wong builds a quad core system from the ground up with cool memory and a hefty power supply.


Automotive· John Day
Let Your Car Park Itself
How often have you wondered, "Can my car fit into that parking space?" The answer usually depends upon your ability to estimate the size of the prospective space in relation to the length of the vehicle?as well as your skill at parallel parking. But now, Lexus owners have another option. They can push a button on the navigation screen and let the car park itself.  

Communications· Louis E. Frenzel
Get 16 Radios In One Wi-Fi Access Point
Wi-Fi access points are ubiquitous nowadays. Yet the XS-3900 Wireless LAN Array from Xirrus is unique?and the best in its field. It solves all of the major problems that current access points share, making you wonder if you really need the forthcoming 802.11n MIMO-based (multiple input, multiple output) access points.  

Consumer· Christine Hintze
With Wii Remote, Gaming Is Child's Play
When Brian Crecente got the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 last month, the first thing he did (after taking both of the next-generation gaming consoles for a ride, of course) was put the controllers in his toddler's hands.

·Grandparents The Future Of Gaming?
On Sept. 9. 2006, Barbara St. Hilaire was named "coolest grandparent of the year." But it wasn't one of the 70-year-old Mantua, Ohio resident's 13 grandchildren who bestowed the honor on Hilaire. Hilaire was the first senior citizen to be crowned "Nintendo's coolest grandparent of the year."


Industrial· Roger Allan
Wireless Sensors Get Kinetic
The factory floor is changing radically. Usually powered by batteries, wireless sensors have been available for transmitting data for quite some time. The greater use of wireless communications standards like ZigBee has accelerated these applications. But sensor batteries have limited lifetimes and require frequent replacement, limiting their use.  

Military· John Edwards
Battle Droids Roll Into Harm's Way
Last June, the Army approved Talon SWORDS (Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Direct-action System), defense contractor Foster Miller's gunslinging mobile robot.  

Medical· Roger Allan
Smart Pill Goes On A Fantastic Voyage
In science fiction, doctors often shrink themselves to enter the human body and investigate mysterious illnesses. But SmartPill Corp. has a much easier solution in mind for the 3 million Americans who have gastrointestinal (GI) problems severe enough to require hospitalization?34% of which have no known causes.  

Leapfrog· Roger Allan
The Mic-On-A-Chip's Future Sounds Good To The Industry
The votes are in. Electronic Design's readers selected Akustica's AKU2000 microelectro-mechnical-system (MEMS) microphone on a chip as the most significant Leapfrog technology of the year. This CMOS device breaks new ground in size, cost, and performance parameters. Akustica hasn't rested on this achievement, though.  

Design Briefs
·Make A Frequency Mixer With Op Amps
·Control A High-Power Load With A Low-Power MCU



Editorial · Mark David
Technology Tackles The Issues In 2006

What?s All This BEST Stuff, Anyhow?

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