by Cabe Atwell @ edn.com:
Love it or hate it, there’s no question that Apple’s iPhone line is popular, and while the numbers haven’t officially been announced yet, the company has already broken its record for pre-orders online (roughly 4 million in a 24-hour period compared to the iPhone 5’s 2 million). The new smartphone comes in two flavors — the 6 and the 6 Plus. In this teardown, we focus on Apple’s flagship, the larger “phablet” 6 Plus.
Teardown: Inside the iPhone 6 Plus – [Link]
by Amy Norcross @ edn.com:
A team of University Wisconsin-Madison researchers, with support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET) program, have developed “invisible” implantable medical sensor arrays that will not block views of brain activity. Their research was published in the Oct. 20 issue of Nature Communications.
According to a recent Phys.org article, “electrical monitoring and stimulation of neuronal signaling is a mainstay technique for studying brain function, while emerging optical techniques—which use photons instead of electrons—are opening new opportunities for visualizing neural network structure and exploring brain functions. Electrical and optical techniques offer distinct and complementary advantages that, if used together, could offer profound benefits for studying the brain at high resolution. Combining these technologies is challenging, however, because conventional metal electrode technologies are too thick (>500 nm) to be transparent to light, making them incompatible with many optical approaches.”
Implantable, transparent sensors give researchers a better view of brain activity – [Link]
LM3916 is a dedicated IC for VU LED meter. Unlike LM3915 which have 3dB step between voltage levels, the LM3916 have nonlinear steps: -20, -10, -7, -5, -3, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3db, just like old school analog VU meters. I saw in YouTube an interesting commercial LED VU meter, which imitates the needle movement in analog VU meters and I thought I can make a similar one. All I needed I found in the datasheet of LM3916.
LED VU Meter with LM3916 – [Link]
A new material may offer a new avenue to room temperature superconductivity according to researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog and EE Times.
Superconductivity Exhibited by New Material with Room Temp Hopes – [Link]
MCP19118/9 Provide Simple Analog PWM Control and Configurable MCU in Compact Circuit Solution; Industry’s First PMBus Compatible Controller With Up to 40V Operation.
Microchip Technology Inc. announced its latest Digitally Enhanced Power Analog (DEPA) controllers—the MCP19118 and MCP19119 (MCP19118/9). They provide simple yet effective analog PWM control for DC-DC synchronous buck converters up to 40V, with the configurability of a digital MCU. And they are the industry’s first devices to combine 40V operation and PMBus communication interfaces. These features enable quick power-conversion circuit development with an analog control loop that is programmable in the integrated 8-bit PIC MCU core’s firmware. This integration and flexibility is ideal for power-conversion applications, such as battery-charging, LED-driving, USB Power Delivery, point-of-load and automotive power supplies.
New Digitally Enhanced Power Analog Controllers From Microchip – [Link]
by Rabid Prototypes @ kickstarter.com:
The Pixelduino is a tiny Arduino-compatible microcontroller with a full color 1.5″ OLED display + MicroSD built-in!
The Pixelduino is an Arduino-compatible microcontroller that features a 1.5″ 128×128 pixel color OLED screen and a MicroSD slot!
There are all sorts of things you can do with a device like this. You can create wearables like a watch, bracelet, pendant, or buckle that displays color images, attach sensors and display data in text or visual form, display debug information, create a graphics user interface, or even make simple retro games.
Pixelduino – The Arduino with an awesome OLED display! – [Link]
An Arduino pulse sensor project from Bajdi:
I found a little heart rate sensor @ ICstation. It is a clone of the open hardware pulse sensor. The sensor is well documented, and it comes with Arduino and Processing example code.
To try it out I connected the sensor to an ATmega328 running at 3.3V and loaded the example Arduino code. I could now see my heart beat on the Arduino serial monitor
I then connected a 2.2″ TFT display to the Arduino and tried to figure out how to display the sensor output on it. Sounds simple but unfortunately it isn’t. Updating the full screen (320×240 pixels) is really slow. So I needed some smarter code to update only the pixels that needed to change. I happened to stumble on Matthew McMillans blog, he wrote some smart code to use a similar display as a speedometer. So I borrowed some of his code and mixed it with the example code of the pulse sensor. You can see the result in the above video.
Arduino heart rate sensor – [Link]
Jason over at Rip It Apart did a teardown of a Kentli PH5 1.5 V Li-Ion AA battery:
The PCB that holds the 1.5 volt regulator is inside the end cap, with the rest made up of the Li-ion cell itself. Curiously enough, the cell inside is labeled “PE13430 14F16 2.66wh” which is interesting in more than one way. First of all, the rated energy content of the cell is less than what’s on the outside label (2.66 watt-hours versus 2.8), and the cell inside is actually a Li-ion polymer (sometimes called a “Li-Po” cell) type; I was expecting a standard cylindrical cell inside. Unfortunately, my Google-fu was unable to pull up any data on the cell. I might attempt to do a chemistry identification cycle on the cell and see if TI’s battery database can bring something up.
Teardown of Kentli PH5 1.5 V Li-Ion AA battery – [Link]
by Martin Rowe @ edn.com:
With today’s circuit components in ever–shrinking packages, finding an overheating component or a component damaged from heat during assembly can be a challenge. To help isolate those components, Fluke has introduced the TiX series of high-definition thermal imaging cameras.
Consisting of the models, the TiX series cameras have resolutions of 1024×768 and 640×480 pixels that display across the imager’s 5.6-in. display. That’s 3.1 million pixels and 1.2 million pixels, respectively, when using SuperResolution mode. The TiX imagers have a temperature range of -40°C to 2000°C (-40°F to 3632°F).
See the details with an HD thermal imager – [Link]
by Stephen Evanczuk @ digikey.com:
For rapidly growing markets such as wearables or the Internet of Things (IoT), energy harvesting can significantly enhance battery life—or even enable battery-free designs. At the same time, however, engineers designing wearables and IoT devices face significant constraints in total design size and footprint. To meet growing demands for miniaturized systems, designers can turn to an array of highly integrated energy-harvesting ICs and wireless MCUs from silicon vendors including Atmel, CSR, Freescale Semiconductor, Linear Technology, Maxim Integrated, NXP Semiconductor, Silicon Laboratories, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments, among others.
Energy harvesting offers tremendous benefits for applications able to take advantage of ambient-energy sources. Designers have employed energy-harvesting techniques to power applications ranging from motor and engine monitors to railway trackside electronics. Typically, these applications are based on wireless-sensor designs built to transmit sampled data about the environment or events of interest to a controller, aggregator, or other host (Figure 1).
Specialized ICs Squeeze Large Capabilities into Tiny Energy-Harvesting Solutions – [Link]