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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


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.

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?

The Open Yocto Project Makes Embedded Linux Simple Daniel Hankewycz
With the decrease in cost of microprocessors and ARM cores, embedded Linux systems have become more accessible to the general public. Sure, it’s easy to just slap an Arduino on your project and call it done, but what if you want to go one step further and actually make your own Linux solution? The development team behind the open source Yocto Project have made compiling a custom Linux image simpler than ever.

The Open Microwave Design Initiative Gets a Kick in the Pants Barry Manz
Welcome to the world of microwave systems, or at least those destined for service in defense systems. Owing to the unique requirements of radar, electronic warfare, and other applications, as well as politics, and a “stovepipe” mentality, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is the owner of a broad array of systems designed for a single platform and incompatible with others. It’s a bit like building “one-off” washing machines for each customer.

You’ve Got Mail: Branching Out Beyond The Arduino, Part 2 Mike Parks
We’re going to jump right in with this blog post. If you haven’t done so already I highly encourage you to read this article about an automated mailbox delivery project I recently completed. Also check out the first blog post in this series that discussed some key lessons learned, including the importance of reading the manual and some thoughts on open source software

You’ve Got Mail: Branching Out Beyond The Arduino, Part I Mike Parks
In a recent article published last month titled Solar Energy Harvesting Project to Power a Remote MSP430 with 2.4GHz Notification, we tried to inspire designers and makers that have limited experience outside of the Arduino microcontroller platform to explore different platforms typically used by more seasoned design engineers.

Analog Inputs In a Digital Only World Mike Parks
I am going to share a trade secret with you today. Did you know you could read an analog signal even if you only have digital inputs on your microcontroller or single board computer? It used to be a common practice, but maybe not so much anymore, judging by the questions I have been asked recently. But you can, and all you need is a simple resistor and capacitor.

Give Your Next OSHW Project Some Android Love Mike Parks
Android, iOS tablets, and smartphones revolutionized the idea of the User Interface (UI). These devices are intuitive, powerful, and omnipresent in our daily lives. So instead of reinventing the wheel for a slick UI to control your next OSHW project, why not simply build the interface as an app? Typically the answer is that creating apps isn't quite as simple as using apps.

Make Your Own Job with Open Source Hardware: What Students Don’t Know Lynnette Reese
When jobs are scarce, open source hardware is opening doors for young engineers to gain experience, offering an alternative to simply waiting in between job searches. In slow economic times, engineers (and non-engineers alike) can go straight toward working for themselves, designing custom electronics systems for low volume applications such as vending machines, environmental data logging, drones for police, or designing custom solutions as consultants.

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