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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BEST Technologies Of The Year
Analog/Power· Don Tuite
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
Power Entities Sang From The Same Page In 2006
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.
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 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.
Design Automation· David Maliniak
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.
Measurement· Louis E. Frenzel
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
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.
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
Louis E. Frenzel
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
BEST Designs Of The Year
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.
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
Automotive· John Day
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Mic-On-A-Chip's Future Sounds Good To The Industry
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.
A Frequency Mixer With Op Amps
A High-Power Load With A Low-Power MCU