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A further look at the Internet of Things

By Alix Paultre, Editor-in-Chief

The Internet of Things (IoT) is widely lambasted as an acronym by many in the industry for reasons varying from inappropriateness to inadequacy. The reality is that the term is both of those things, yet neither, because the real issue is that the IoT space is so huge that it requires a blanket description. We are already seeing the compartmentalization; the various spaces haven’t established true separate identities yet (medical and industrial have a big head start, however).

 

What does this mean to the designer? It simply means that one must take the general palette of IoT features and functionalities and properly tailor them to the application at hand. From critical aspects such as cloud connectivity and the required wireless design infrastructure to internal aspects like power management and interface ergonomics, a designer has to be knowledgeable on the state of the art and how to manifest it in their designs.

 

This month, we’ve taken some articles and items to help you get a better handle on all of the moving parts of the IoT.

 

Our own Steve Ohr talks about scaling the IoT from smart factories to smart homes in his article. He points out that although there are blueprints for city traffic management, pollution reduction, and electrical energy distribution, the industrial-grade operating system purveyors may be missing something. What we don’t have is a detailed plan for the smart home.

 

In the article “How Bluetooth connects — and enhances — wearables” Wei Tong, Product Marketing Manager of Dialog Semiconductors, explains how wearable technologies encompass far more than personal functionality; they connect to a larger network that allows them to communicate with other devices through various transmission methods, manifesting the larger Internet of Things.

 

In Nick Davis’ article, “IoT and wearables: What’s taking consumers so long to adopt them in mass quantities?”, he takes a slightly humorous look with a little history lesson and a look at where the IoT is going. It’s been 18 years since the phase “the Internet of Things” was born, and it’s been 35 years since the first IoT device was connected.

 

New products
Texas Instruments introduced a new inductor-inductor-capacitor (LLC) resonant controller with an integrated high-voltage gate driver, enabling the industry’s lowest standby power, as well as longer system lifetimes. The UCC256301 provides a cost-effective system solution that helps meet stringent energy-efficiency standards for a wide range of AC/DC applications, including digital televisions, gaming adapters, desktop computer and notebook adapters, and power-tool battery chargers.

CEVA, a leading licensor of signal processing IP, and Cyberon, a leading embedded speech solution provider, announced that they have partnered to offer an ultra-low-power, always-listening voice-activation solution for smartphones, consumer, and IoT devices. Cyberon has developed an optimized implementation of its CSpotter voice-recognition engine for the CEVA-TeakLite family of DSPs.

 

STMicroelectronics’ STSPIN32F0A programmable motor controller contains fully integrated gate drivers for three external MOSFET half-bridges, an STM32F0 microcontroller (MCU), and a 3.3-V DC/DC switching converter plus a 12-V LDO, giving designers flexible motor-control options in a lightweight and compact 7 x 7-mm outline. The 48-MHz microcontroller, with 32-Kbyte on-chip Flash, can run motor control algorithms such as six-step sensorless, field-oriented control or position-sensed control, as well as the user application. The STSPIN32F0A has an extended operating-voltage range from 6.7 V to 45 V and can run from batteries as small as a pair of LiPo cells in mobile robots, gimbals, or drones.

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