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Isn’t the expansion of the PCB industry incredible? In the last 100 years, we’ve gone from using brass wire and pieces of wood to etched copper traces and fiberglass substrates. New industries like the Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in cars are accelerating that growth. There are millions of PCBs in existence today, and that number will only continue to grow. The funny thing is that we design PCBs to last for years and years, but the devices they power often only last a few. After two years Moore’s Law decrees that our once state of the art PCBs are now obsolete. Then consumers throw them out and buy the next new gadget. Since we design our PCBs to last, decomposition often becomes a problem and our electronic solutions can become environmental problems. Biodegradable PCBs can help solve the problem of electronic waste while giving PCB designers access to a wider range of material properties for our boards.
Think back to when you were a child, how did you think the future would look? We have many of the things I hoped we would, but somehow cars have lagged behind. I was expecting to see flying cars zooming through the sky and driverless cars whizzing through the streets. I don’t have a solution for flying cars, but there is something that’s making unmanned autonomous vehicles a reality. Multiple sensor fusion holds the answers for the strict safety requirements and fickle driving conditions of self-driving cars.
Before you select your IoT modules, it’s better to clarify what component requirements will suit your product specifications early in the design process. It will save you a lot of angst and blue smoke once you are designing and testing. Read on to learn what requirements you should identify to select the right IoT module.
IoT security is definitely an issue getting more attention with the proliferation of devices and services coming to market. As the number of IoT gadgets grows there are greater security risks. You’re not helpless to stop them, though. There are several methods that can mitigate physical security risks for your IoT PCB. These include shielding your board from EMI, designing for tamper resistance, and masking PCB components.
Do you remember the first time you saw Star Wars? I was 12 and it changed my world forever. I’d seen my future. Instead of a car, I would fly a spaceship. Instead of being an accountant like my father, I would be a lightsaber wielding Jedi. Sadly, I turned out to be neither a Jedi or an accountant, but a humble PCB designer. Lasers still have a place in my life, though not in the way I thought they would. Instead of using them to blast holes in the Death Star.
Getting back into the flow after a business trip is never easy, but my return this week has been particularly challenging. We have a time critical contract with our client, so everyone on the project is operating at >100%. I was staying on track until I opened my PCB design software and saw that someone had made changes to my layout. They removed two of the four tines from my smart fork. These were significant changes. Bad changes. I felt my brain crash and was left with the mental equivalent of the blue screen of death. Read on to find out how to solve this problem.