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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

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


Home Automation Adventures Part II: The Home Automation Attack Surface: Miles Wide and Wafer Thin Arden Henderson
Bob and Alice Smarts are very excited about their new home automation system. It is the very latest in the latest Information Technology consumer space, incorporating all of the Smarts' smart devices, tying everything together. They can adjust their thermostat from far away. They can view the security system's cams to check on the pets. The baby monitor comes in handy to check on Baby Smart, the newest of the Smart kids. The refrigerator keeps track of inventory and sends reminders. Their smoke detectors and home security system now work together, ready to notify at a moment's notice. All via smart phone. And on and on.

Home Automation Adventures Part I: When (Internet) Things Go Bump in the Night Arden Henderson
For Bob and Alice Smarts (not their real names) and their kids, such a world was not only hard to imagine, it was long-forgotten by Bob and Alice, and never known a'tall by their kids. The pre-internet, pre-web world -- if such a world ever existed -- would be a vast empty space. Boring. A wasteland. Such a world was no more real than the black-and-white, scratchy WWII news reels that Uncle Fred, flying in from St. Louis, tuned-in within thirty minutes of arriving if no football games were on at the moment. There is a room with a smart TV for that.

Home Automaddening Patrick Mannion
As an engineer and cautionary gadget freak it’s hard to not be excited by the recent activity around the Internet of Things (IoT) and home automation. It gives me hope that we’ll soon be able to connect the dots and make all these systems work together in concert so we can orchestrate a beautiful, harmonious symphony of technology. Then I wake up.

Domotic Wars Arden Henderson
Houses are getting smarter. Intelligent houses are called "domotics," a name created in 1984 by journalist Bruno Latour. Lots of smart interconnected things are now rapidly appearing in houses, and interconnected on the internet, the so-called Internet of Things. IPv6 will finally become routine as IPv4 runs out of IP addresses. (What? Your ISP doesn't provide IPv6 yet? Check out Hurricane Electric's IPv6 tunnelbroker site; reference below.)

It's The Little Things: Searching for the Home Automation “Killer App” Mike Parks
Our pursuit of modern home automation can be readily observed if one looks at the archives from the various World Fairs dating as far back as the 1930s. While tantalizing possibilities have captured our imaginations, in practice the mass adoption of home automation technologies has yet to really take-off. Costs and lack of a common, interconnected protocol are often attributed as the root cause for the failure of home automation to launch. Perhaps though, home automation just hasn’t found it’s “killer app” yet. What might be needed is one must-have product that, while it stands alone in its first iteration, will drive people to adopt then demand more devices that interact with each other.

A Tale of Two Automation Strategies Mike Parks
Much has been written about the trials and tribulations associated with the adoption of home automation technologies. The lack of mass consumer appeal is often attributed to high costs and lack of a simple, universal protocol. For the technically savvy, the idea of giving in to “vendor lock” by adopting a single company's product line has been too much to bear. However, for more affluent consumers this idea is not a problem as most of the time they rely on 3rd party installers to install and maintain their systems. This has left the DIY crowd to resort to more “hackable,” although way more complicated solutions, such as X10 products. In the end we have grown an ecosystem unsuitable for mass adoption. The niche market of affluent consumers is just lucrative enough for companies to continue to peddle proprietary solutions. The equally niche Maker- and DIY-market has been strong enough to attract those with the skills to homebrew a custom solution. Neither are good enough for the mass market.

Watch the Feedback: An Introduction to Operational Amplifiers Mike Parks
Operational amplifiers (op amps for short) are one of the workhorse components of circuit design. They can be used in wonderfully simple but also incredibly complex ways, including audio pre-amplifiers, small signal sensor amplification, filters, and digital-to-analog converters (DAC) to name a few. Notice that these are all analog signal examples, not digital signals (i.e., not a stream of 0s and 1s.) analog signals are real-world, continuous signals that have, theoretically an infinite resolution.

Tesla PowerWall: A Backdoor for the Mass Adoption of Home Automation? Mike Parks
On April 30, 2015, Elon Musk announced to the world the Tesla PowerWall. In its first week alone, Tesla brought in $800 million dollars for their new PowerWall. Powerwall is a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery pack that will store energy for when you need it, or to use as a backup power supply during an outage. Unlike a generator, it doesn’t require fuel and creates no noise. What’s interesting is that the backlog of customer orders is already winding itself well into the second half of 2016. This is a sign that demonstrates there is a market demand for rethinking how we power our homes both from the perspective of lead-shifting and backup power. With a little speculation, it is also a product that just might serve as a backdoor to the mass adoption of smarter, more automated homes.

Home Automation – In the Beginning and Beyond! Rudy Ramos
Home automation has come a long way since The Clapper was first introduced back in 1986. Today you can find a plethora of home automation products to augment all of the creature comforts already found in most American homes.

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