Final week the world’s largest electronics honest befell in Munich, so I needed to attend. The electronics is so massive that it occurs solely as soon as each two years and fills 14 plane hangars. Because the quite generic identify suggests, it covers the whole lot to do with electronics. From the producers of your favourite MLCC capacitors to the businesses that ship them to your door, from the suppliers of ASIC take a look at tools to the little store that may customise the toroids for you, that is a reasonably extensive scope. Strolling round, I noticed tomorrow’s know-how from massive gamers immediately, however I additionally picked up some concepts that may be helpful for the house gamer.
Once I first walked in, for instance, I got here throughout the Elantas sales space. It’s a firm that manufactures versatile insulation and particular industrial coatings. However what caught my eye was a sheet of thermoformed plastic with traces of circuitry. To make them, they reduce a sheet of copper, glue it to a flat plastic sheet with a glue that has a little bit of a give, after which put it collectively in a vacuum machine. The result’s a 3D circuit and an organically shaped substrate in a single shot. Very cool, and not one of the know-how to do this is out of attain for the decided hacker.
the cool stuff
Each stall, massive or small, tries to lure you in with some trick. The large photographs, the businesses with deep pockets, put up enormous billboards and open bars, and have loads of suit-wearing distributors. The minnows, alternatively, need to resort to exhibiting you the cool stuff they do, and most frequently it is the applying engineers who’re sitting there, prepared to speak tech. You’ll be able to guess which one I discovered extra attention-grabbing.
For instance, once I approached a popcorn popper that was clearly additionally displaying 5000 FPS pictures of kernels in the midst of the pop, I needed to ask. The corporate in query was a small UK firm that made customized programmable energy provides and digital acquisition tools that interfaced with it. You’ll be able to join your field to some temperature probes, set off the high-speed video digicam, and management the heating and cooling profile with out writing any code. Very candy.
The engineer who designed the demo was additionally operating it, and we had a protracted dialogue about how temperature is measured anyway. He had a thermocouple on the transformed warmth gun, one on the popcorn kernels, and one on the opposite aspect. He was capturing the digicam out of the kernels, however there was this unusual temperature anomaly within the post-kernel temperature data, as a result of popcorn offers off steam and is an efficient insulator on the identical time. I really like this type of loopy consideration to element, and I roast my very own espresso in a really related setup, so I sympathize.
Your IC goes right here
Popcorn at 5000 FPS
I had some actually attention-grabbing conversations with an engineer who designed customized chip take a look at rigs. Whereas they have been principally designing for decrease voltages and currents, he recounted tales of extremely small take a look at pins that may nonetheless deal with tens of amps.
An organization that makes energy electronics and take a look at tools sponsored the RWTH Aachen photo voltaic electrical car workforce, they usually had their car there to see it together with a college scholar who labored on the venture. I will need to have spent half an hour speaking to him about all of the little particulars that went into the design of his contending automobile within the World Photo voltaic Problem. Almost the whole lot on the car is hand made, from the ultralight carbon fiber body to the single-board pc that data all the info and transmits it to the chase truck, in addition to serving as a communication channel for the motive force. The secret in photo voltaic vehicles is aerodynamics, and the automobile has wheel-fit fenders with roughly 5mm clearance, a wing-shaped photo voltaic panel, and three wheels to completely decrease the quantity of displaced air. . It had sharkskin tape on the perimeters, and once I requested him in regards to the drag coefficient, he stated it was a secret nevertheless it began with a zero after the decimal level, even after rounding. Yowza.
The precise panels are too brittle.
The pc is within the 3DP black field
One firm was making haptic actuator modules to be used in automotive purposes, for instance. Mainly, you connect a capacitive sensor strip to the again of a plastic trim along with your product, a small magnetic system much like a speaker, and it vibrates whenever you press it. The impact is similar to the haptic vibration when urgent the cellular phone display screen. However the concept of utilizing a small speaker coil to do what you’ll usually do with a spinning weight was attention-grabbing.
Lastly, I am going to admit that I’ve spent an excessive amount of time within the testing and automation sections, with out sufficient hacker-friendly views to justify it. But it surely’s nice to see actual time BGA X-ray inspection machines, excessive pace decide and place robots or PCB take a look at robots doing their factor.
MicroLED screens are the brand new attraction. Of the shows, essentially the most spectacular by far was a 114 DPI show on the Tianma sales space. I do not know something about pricing or availability, and if it’s a must to ask, you most likely cannot afford it. I am additionally not precisely positive what the purpose is. That they had them arrange as a HUD for automotive purposes, nevertheless it loses the advantage of a devoted HUD that focuses you nearly to infinity. However with regards to know-how, they seemed very, excellent. I bumped into [Mike Harrison] of Mike’s Electrical Stuff fame, and puzzled if he might get them concerned in an artwork venture.
114 DPI LEDs
Natural photo voltaic cells have been fully new to me, however I got here throughout them twice at Electronica. To begin with, I got here throughout Dracula Applied sciences. (Good identify!) They make inkjet printable natural photo voltaic cells and due to this fact can customise the form of the cell. Sadly, for now they’re supposed for customized manufacturing runs. Once more, if it’s a must to ask…
Later, I ended by the Epishine sales space, which was displaying related natural photo voltaic cells, however in a roll-to-roll course of that turns them into conventional squares. The usual squares aren’t as horny because the customized shapes, however the bonus is you could purchase them proper now. We could wait till the value drops a bit as they ramp up manufacturing, however I used to be given an analysis package and it is nice, charging a 0.4F supercap in about 4 hours in my well-lit workplace at midday.
Each natural photo voltaic applied sciences are housed on very skinny, versatile plastic substrates, and each are tuned to optimally acquire the quantities of sunshine generally discovered indoors. This explanatory video is fairly good. For the reason that objective is ambient indoor lighting, these cells produce microwatts quite than megawatts, however should you’re seeking to implement a small sensor system indoors with a low responsibility cycle, one thing like this is likely to be simply what you want.
Or it might drive an extremely low energy show. On my approach out, I ran previous ynvisible, an organization that makes shows with electrochromic polymer inks, coincidentally in the identical manufacturing facility as Epishine. The result’s one thing like slow-refreshing, low-contrast e-ink, however on a a lot thinner substrate and utilizing nanowatts. As a result of the screens are display screen printed, the setup prices for customized screens are additionally supposedly reasonably priced. Speaking to one of many engineers, he talked about that the know-how ought to be DIYable. Does anybody know extra about electrochromic polymers? I really like the best way they fade out and in.
Bizarre Issues: Capacitors on the Seaside
Put your self in numerous footwear for a minute. He runs a manufacturing facility that makes resistors, weaves wiring harnesses, or winds toroidal transformers. What are you going to do to be a watch sweet on the massive commerce present? How are you going to rearrange these crimp connectors to draw foot visitors? I’m all the time amused by the ingenious and absurd shows made by the creators of the least horny electronics. So here is a tribute to what I name “Capacitors on the Seaside”, each from 2022 and 2018.
That is the place we develop the trimpots.
Nicely whats up!
What if we spell our identify?
connectors within the desert
Timelessness and time bases
Chariots within the Wastes
That is not a bus bar, THIS is a bus bar
3.5 MJ water-cooled resistors. For nuclear submarines.
Nicely, it is BECK.
The corporate makes ASICS, however everybody loves robotic arms
LEDs on a pedestal
Actually 1m tall spade connectors
Edgar makes harnesses
Do not you want an evidence?
Set sail within the seas of resistance
Come for the wine, keep for the PCBs
Taiyo Yuden was handing out unmarked plastic sushi and MLCC SMT caps. I had the sushi.
and David Hasselhoff. Picture Markus Broenner, Messe München
I did my greatest, and there have been nonetheless corners of the present I by no means visited and other people I did not see as a result of I used to be solely there for 2 days. It is an incredible present, and it turned my mind to mush and gave me blisters on my ft. But it surely was price it. When you’re able to making one, you completely ought to.
Featured picture of the group and miniature of David Hasselhoff by Markus Brönner, copyright Messe München
– A Hacker Walks Into A Trade Show: Electronica 2022