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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics


Talking About Open Source Lynnette Reese
Some people are still confused about open source. Granted, the term is a bit over-used, but people are still referring to some educational products as open source. There’s a huge difference.

Open Source Hardware Sylvie Barak
According to the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA): "Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design.” Going deeper, OSHWA says that the hardware’s source, the design from which it is made, must be available in the preferred format for making modifications to it. “Ideally, open source hardware uses readily-available components and materials, standard processes, open infrastructure, unrestricted content, and open-source design tools to maximize the ability of individuals to make and use hardware. Open source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology while sharing knowledge and encouraging commerce through the open exchange of designs." What’s interesting in the above definition is that - much of the time - open source hardware is basically open source software; meaning that the piece of hardware is usually proprietary, but what you can do with that hardware is open.

From Bi-planes to Space Debris: Digging through NASA Archives Lynnette Reese
What engineer has not had to produce a report at some time in their life? I was researching open architecture systems and stumbled upon this: the archive of reports from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics housed in the NASA Technical Reports Server.

Smart Cooking with RF Energy Rudy Ramos
With the exception of changes to the exterior design, to match the flavor of the decade’s décor and the addition of digital readouts, the microwave oven has pretty much remained the same since its inception. That is, until now, with the advent of new high-power LDMOS RF transistor technology, that outdated kitchen appliance we’ve all come to depend on for heating up our lunches might just be getting a new lease on life.

Not Your Father’s Tear Down… Not Anymore Caroline Storm Westenhover
For my senior project I am supposed to program an Android app that uses Bluetooth to communicate to a timing board. This sounds reasonable; I am an electrical engineer, we program apps all the time, right? Wrong, prior to being assigned this last semester I had no Object Oriented Programing (OOP) experience. I spent the Christmas break frantically trying to learn Java and start in on Android programming. By the end of the break I realized that there was no way for me develop a reliable app, keep up with my other classes, and go to work.

Why Open Source Hardware Creators Win Mike Parks
For many makers finding a product idea that is feasible to manufacture, as well as desirable by would-be consumers, is a lesson in design by trial-and-error. That means a lot of blood, sweat, tears, time (and money) invested in a project that many hopes are poured into. So if you’re using open hardware/software and hoping to transform your side project into a commercial product, how do you protect your product from being ripped off by a competitor?

E-Waste Inventory Time! Kelly Casey
Archaeologists will tell you that if you really want to understand a culture, go look in their landfills. All of their secrets and priorities are evidenced by what is found and what is not found in the city dump. The FBI is known to mine the trash of criminal suspects to build their cases. The question on my mind is - what is in your e-waste stream?

The Expanding World of Shrinking Robots Justin Risedorf
The Microrobotics Lab at Harvard University is working on microbots that might be able to help, if not totally reshape, fields including agriculture, medicine and police work. These innovative microbots are being developed with the overall goal of making tasks more efficient and less expensive.

Human Settlements in Space; Mars Madness? Sylvie Barak
Advancements in technology and space travel mean human settlement on Mars is already possible using existing technologies. But while the mechanisms are ready, is human psychology? Programs like Mars One are already ramping up plans for Mars colonization, with the goal of sending the first human pioneers in crews of four, every two years, starting in 2026.

Amateur Space Exploration: CubeSats Mike Parks
When Sputnik launched in 1957, it contained four antennas that transmitted a very simple radio signal that allowed the satellite to be tracked. Fast forward through the years and space exploration has become increasingly sophisticated. We have since expanded to manned spaceflight, space stations, landing on the moon, sending rovers to distant planets, and satellites of all types. In the beginning, human space exploration has required the resources that only governments could afford. Today that is changing, thanks to companies such as SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation. Still, short of weather balloon experiments, space exploration by ordinary people seems a remote dream for most.

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