Mechatronics Zone Blog

AI Inspection Catches Defects Before They Become Recalls

By Rob Spiegel | November 30, 2017

Instrumental, a company that produces optical detection systems for manufacturing, has added Monitor, a capability designed to automatically recognize and triage abnormal units as they are being built on an assembly line. Monitor was developed to detect differences and then learn whether those differences are actually defects.

7 Reasons Open Source Software Should Be Avoided

By Jacob Beningo | November 29, 2017

Throughout my travels I encounter quite a few development teams that seem to live by the adage, “The best software is free software.” The moment they hear the words “Open Source” the heavens open, the choirs begin singing, and all thought about doing due diligence on the open source code is gone. That’s the direction, no matter the integration costs, no matter how badly support is lacking, that’s it! Put the blinders on, kick back, put the safety belt on and enjoy the ride.

New Ethernet MCU Could Simplify Creation of Sensor Networks

By Charles Murray | November 29, 2017

A new family of microcontrollers (MCU) from Texas Instruments Inc. promises to simplify the process of creating wired and wireless sensor networks for factory automation, building control, and other IoT applications.

Don’t Miss These 6 ESC Silicon Valley Events

By Suzanne Deffree | November 29, 2017

After great events in Boston and Minneapolis, the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) makes its final 2017 stop in Silicon Valley next week, coming home to the heart of embedded engineering and innovation in San Jose.

The Holiday Gift Guide for Engineers

By Chris Wiltz | November 28, 2017
Are you hoping for an Amazon Echo this holiday season? Why hope when you can design Amazon’s Alexa technology into your devices.

Starting a Services Company: 5 More Tips for Ongoing Success

By Mitch Maiman | November 28, 2017

Starting your own business can be incredibly gratifying, but is also full of challenges.  Based on my experiences over the last 10 years, I’d like to share these additional five lessons learned on what works and what doesn’t work to help manage and grow a successful services business. (For the first 5 tips, see is  part 1 of this article.)


Alexa, How Do I Design With Your Voice Service?

By Suzanne Deffree | November 27, 2017

Intelligent voice is quickly becoming the artificial-intelligence user interface of choice for not only engineers but consumers, alike.

Smart companies like Amazon are making voice services, like the Amazon Alexa suite, accessible to the masses, enabling developers to bring Amazon Alexa voice-controlled experiences to customers.

Vibration-Mitigating Algorithm Increases Speed of 3D Printing

By Tracey Schelmetic | November 27, 2017

The average 3D printer is a hardworking machine. While the print head zips along the X, Y, and Z axis, it can’t zip too fast, or vibration will cause degradation in the print quality. This is particularly true of smaller, more lightweight printers used by consumers and small businesses. Motors have gotten faster in recent years, but there’s only so fast they can go before the machine begins to “skip counts,” which results in layer registration errors. This can result in wavy “ghosted” surfaces on the printed item at best and comically (and costly) misprinted mistakes at worst.

IoT Edge Gateways Emerging as Enterprise Connectivity Option

By Al Presher | November 24, 2017

Industrial IoT edge gateways represent an emerging product category and key technology for connecting both legacy controllers and edge devices to the Internet of Things (IoT). Along with integrating a variety of protocols for networking, they provide resources for managing data storage and analytics, along with enabling secure data flow between edge devices and cloud services.

New Option for IIoT Applications

DoE Finds New Way to Turn Waste Heat Into Energy for Portable Electronics, Wearables

By Elizabeth Montalbano | November 24, 2017

Researchers at the Department of Energy (DoE) have made a breakthrough in harvesting thermoelectric energy using carbon nanotube thin films that could be used to power portable electronics and sensors for the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable technology.