Mechatronics Zone Blog

Where, Oh Where, Are My Test Points!

By Jacob Beningo | October 19, 2017

For the umpteenth time in my career, I am debugging a prototype board that has exactly zero test points. I didn’t design this board, but have inherited it from a frantic colleague who is behind schedule and is having trouble communicating with an onboard SPI device. The first step in this troubleshooting endeavor is to simply take an oscilloscope or logic analyzer and check the signal lines to see if they are wiggling at all. Of course, the microcontroller pins are soldered under the chip, with no accessible vias or test points.

Cathode Design Bolsters Storage Capacity of Magnesium-Based Batteries

By Elizabeth Montalbano | October 19, 2017

Researchers have discovered new ways to work with magnesium as well as overturned conventional wisdom about the material as used for energy storage to improve the storage capacity for magnesium-based batteries.

Nvidia Plans to Be a Force Behind Level 5 Autonomous Vehicles

By Chris Wiltz | October 18, 2017

Nvidia wants to be figuratively and literally under the hood of level 5 autonomous vehicles. The graphics chip maker has unveiled a series of new product developments – all targeted at or applicable to autonomous vehicles, and aimed at showcasing its move into the automotive space.

Addition of Asphalt Lets Lithium Batteries Charge In 5 Minutes

By Elizabeth Montalbano | October 18, 2017

Something we walk and drive on every day could be the key to making lithium-based batteries charge 20 times faster than they currently do.

That’s because researchers at Rice University have discovered that a small amount of asphalt may be the key to designing high-capacity lithium-metal batteries that charge 10 to 20 times faster than commercial lithium-ion batteries.

Researchers 3D-Print Super-Strong Aluminum to Solve Longstanding Welding Problem

By Elizabeth Montalbano | October 17, 2017

Researchers have made a significant breakthrough in metal additive manufacturing with a new technique for successfully 3D printing high-strength aluminum that makes previously unweldable metals weldable.

The technique—developed at Malibu, Calif.-based HRL Laboratories—solves a 100-year old problem that paves the way for using additive manufacturing to print a number high-strength engineering-grade alloys. These metals can be used in aircraft and automobile parts in unprecedented ways, according to the team in the lab’s Sensors and Materials Laboratory.

Announcing the Arm TechCon Innovation Award Finalists

By Naomi Price | October 17, 2017

The organizers of Arm TechCon are pleased to announce the nine finalists for the Arm TechCon 2017 Innovation Awards. All of these products demonstrate the Arm ecosystem’s contributions toward the advancement of computing that shape today’s connected world.

How Oculus and Facebook Are Attempting to Make VR Social

By Chris Wiltz | October 16, 2017

Anyone who follows the VR (virtual reality) space knew it was only a matter of time. Facebook-owned Oculus VR has officially gone untethered. At its recent Oculus Connect conference the maker of the popular Rift VR headset announced two new developments on its path to fully untethered virtual reality. But behind it all is a strategy to take social media off of your 2D screen and into the virtual world.

New Interconnect IP Supports Machine Learning in Autonomous Cars

By Charles Murray | October 16, 2017

A new chip interconnect technology offers promise for autonomous car manufacturers who want to employ machine learning in their vehicles.

The EV Trend Is Now Irreversible

By Charles Murray | October 13, 2017

A few years ago, US consumer acceptance was considered the key to the success of the electric car.

No more, though. A collection of other forces have stepped up, relegating US consumer acceptance to a lower rung on the market ladder. So now, even if sales of the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model 3 fall flat, even if American consumers let out a collective yawn with the debut of each new battery-powered vehicle, automakers will continue to make real plans to sell new electric cars.