Successful Endeavours - Electronics Designs That Work!

Innovation


SWER Lines

In rural distribution of electricity, Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) is used to reduce the cost of wiring by running a single wire for the active and using the Ground (Earth) as the return path. Because these lines run for long distances through sparsely populated regions it isn’t as likely that a fault will be detected or that obvious preventative maintenance issues will be easily seen.

Which is one reason event like the Black Saturday fires can get out of control. No-one knows a fault has occurred until the fire is well established.

And example of a failing insulator leading to a pole top fire.

SWER Line Monitoring

This is why the Victorian Government is keen to find new ways to prevent bush fire events and a new technology developed in Melbourne is leading the way in making this happen. We can share some of this with you because we were engaged to do the primary development work for the product and it is now publicly available information.

IND Technology are a start-up out of RMIT University commercialising a PhD project. It uses very high speed sampling of electrostatic signals on the power lines (250Msps) and using mathematics and atomic clock synchronisation, courtesy of the GPS satellite network, can then determine the location of a fault. Recent detection of the sort of event that could have lead to a bush fire has shown the potential of the product.

EVFD Mid Span Conductor Snap Detected

EVFD Mid Span Conductor Snap Detected

Above shows a single strand of an overhead SWER power line has snapped mid span. Because of the elevated voltages, the sharp end points generate corona discharges and the cable slowly deteriorates until it severs and falls to the ground where it can start a fire.

This is detected by the IND Technology EVFD devices which, in this instance, were solar powered and pole mounted approximately 5km apart.

EVFD Wood pole installation

EVFD Wood pole installation

The detection of a fault like this is a world first and an example of the potential of the technology which can also detect failing insulators, partial discharge and even tree branches rubbing against overhead wires on windy days.

#9News

A world-first trial of technology that detects electrical faults before they cause bushfires has had a breakthrough south of Ballarat.#9News | http://9News.com.au

Posted by 9 News Western Victoria on Wednesday, July 11, 2018

High Technology IoT

And this is a great example of a product that is a very high technology IoT device using the Internet as the communications medium for delivering the data back to the central web services that do the correlations. And it is Designed in Australia, and Made in Australia.

The development of this version of the product was awarded the IoT Innovation Award 2018 for Australia at the recent IoT Impact event at UTS in Sydney.

IoT Innovation Award 2018

IoT Innovation Award 2018

News Resources

potentially disastrous fire prevented by new power line technology

EVFD Pictures

IND Technology SWER Unit

IND Technology SWER Unit

SWER line fraying

SWER line fraying

 

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

IoT Impact

IoT Impact is the primary IoT (Internet of Things) event for 2018. It is supported by IoTAA (IoT Alliance Australia) and is being held in Sydney at UTS from 10 – 11 September. We will be exhibiting.

You can register with our discount code to get a discount on the conference part of the show. The exhibition is free but you need to register. You can register at IoT registration and use discount code IOTsuccessful-C1.

IoT Impact Awards

And some extra news, we are also finalists for the IoT Impact Awards in 2 categories: Enablement in IoT and Innovation in IoT.

IoT Impact Award Finalists

IoT Impact Award Finalists

The winners are announced at the IoT Impact cocktail reception which is held at the UTS Tech Lab which will also coincide with the opening.

For the exhibition we will be showing 2 custom IoT devices. The first is the arcHUB Smart Cities Sensor device and the second is a 15 year battery life NB-IoT water meter.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

What is wrong with Diodes?

At one level, nothing. The humble Diode conducts current in one direction only, can have very large voltage blocking capabilities and a Schottky Diode can have lower forward voltages so it dissipates less heat.

diode transfer function

diode transfer function

All very well and good while currents are modest. But very high currents lead to high power dissipation in the Diode. So I was very interested to read about a new method of blocking reverse current at a fraction of the forward voltage drop of conventional diodes.

Honeycomb Lattice Magnetic Diodes

Honeycomb

Honeycomb

A new Honeycomb Lattice built at nano scale operates on magnetic rather than electric fields to control current flow. The result is a significant reduction in forward voltage. And the technology may prove capable of creating magnetic transistors with similar advantages.

Honeycomb Lattice Magnetic Diode

Honeycomb Lattice Magnetic Diode

These are very early days with patents lodged and a lot of work required before it is ready at commercial scale but it is always encouraging to see new breakthroughs like this. And technology breakthroughs like this are key to future opportunities for Low Power Electronics.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

 

Self Driving Cars

Waymo, the Google spin out that is progressing their Self Driving Car technology, also know as the Autonomous Vehicle, has released a video showing how the current technology works and what being in a Self Driving Car looks like for a passenger.

Enjoy.


While this is still an emerging technology, it is also quite mature. And this is understandable given the consequences of failure. So far they have 5 million miles of self driving experience. So how is the safety progressing? To quote big think “Google’s self driving car is ridiculously safe” with the conversation moving in the direction where we might find manual driving outlawed. The feature some commentary from Brand Templeton which is well worth listening to.


So this is no longer an issue of if, but of when.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

 

 

Light L16 Wins CES Award

Yesterday I wrote an update on the Light L16 and how it was a good example of Disruptive Innovation in Photography

Light L16

Light L16

Today I learn that CES agrees and awarded it the CES 2018 Best of Innovation: Digital Imaging.

CES 2018 Best of Innovation

CES 2018 Best of Innovation

There are now several industry articles recognising the significance of the multi-camera technology. For additional details see:

The last link is a Wired review from mid 2017 and is a good reflection on both the promise and challenge of new technology as well as how much time it can take to overcome those challenges.

So congratulations again to the team at Light.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Disruptive Innovation

Clayton Christensen in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma showed us that the business drivers of our current customers blinds us to emerging but currently unsuitable technology that eventually takes over our market. This has led to a focus on Innovation that looks to be disruptive as its primary goal. And I have come to the conclusion that this has hampered our attempts at Innovation. We have set the bar too high. And this isn’t what Innovation was about. Just a way of looking at a specific type of Innovation.

OK, I wrote the above as part of my review of of Frank Connolly of Think Quick and his approach to Practical Innovation. So Google knows I’m plagiarising myself. But here is where the relevance kicks in.

Light - a new camera concept

Light – a new camera concept

In my article on Light Cameras I covered a new concept in camera’s developed by Dr Rajiv Laroia who co-founded Light. The Light L16 is a new camera concept using multiple lenses and cameras to fuse a composite image given focal ranges and exposure ranges not possible in conventional cameras. An excellent example of disrupting innovation. and also an excellent example of The Innovator’s Dilemma.

Announced in 2016 and expected to be ready that year it was not shipping until mid 2017. Why? Because it is hard to do and the ASIC development was late and the core idea of doing the fusion inside the camera in real time is proving harder than expected and data transfers are too slow (they are transferring 16 cameras worth of data for 1 picture) and focus isn’t good enough and low light performance also isn’t good enough and did I mention it is hard!

I’m still impressed with the idea. But like all true disruptions it isn’t good enough when it first launches. Look at the modern DSLR. It shows you the picture you will take, it is seconds from taking the picture to being able to look at it. Focus is multi zone and you can decide how sharp or soft you want it and where. Auto exposure can handle high backlight shots and a wide range of light conditions. Fantastic. And decade in the making. The Light L16 isn’t surpassing it yet but you can see the trajectory and the camera of the future shows its potential now in what they are doing.

I’m also impressed with the open approach they are taking with customers. In a recent article Dr Rajiv Laroia explained why the Light L16 was delayed, how they were supporting their customers and what the plan for addressing the issues is. An excellent example of Collaboration with their customers rather than bunkering down defensively.

This still looks like it will be a success. It will just take longer than any of us expected.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

IEEE

IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, is the largest professional engineering body in the world and has a world wide focus. I am a Senior Member and have always found it worthwhile. In the days before the Internet was as useful as it is now, they were the best source of regular and up to date news about technology advances and what was happening in the world of technology.

IEEE - Advancing Technology for Humanity

IEEE – Advancing Technology for Humanity

IEEE Collabratec

IEEE Collabratec

IEEE Collabratec

A great example of this is the IEEE Collabratec platform. This fosters Collaboration over a very wide range of topics including ethics. I’m a regular contributor and was very pleased to see the figures for the its use in 2017. Check out the graphic below. Click on it to get a larger version that will be easier to read.

IEEE Collabratec 2017

IEEE Collabratec 2017

So a very good year for Collaboration.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

CES 2018

The annual Consumer Electronics Show has wrapped up in Las Vegas and a lot of exciting announcements were made. IEEE Spectrum CES2018 has put together a summary. Here are some that I found particularly interesting.

IEEE Spectrum

IEEE Spectrum

5G

5G is expected to launch ahead of schedule with phone manufacturers supporting it toward the end of 2018 and carriers in 2019. It will need a lot more base stations so one of the challenges is how much equipment will be needed for field deployments, and where the workforce to do it will come from.

As an interim measure, Gigabit LTE is already coming online.

Read more at 5G News and Nuggets.

Safe Water from Air

This class of product has been speculated about for a while. So it was great to see a viable example on show. It includes a solar panel to create the energy needed to extract the water. I found it a little odd that the target market for this is the US. The greatest need is in the developing world.

Zero Mass - Clean Water From Air

Zero Mass – Clean Water From Air

The breakthrough idea is using materials that absorb water then heating them to get the water released. Electronic approaches up to now have used cooling which require a lot more energy.

The business model idea is to decentralise water. Like all new technologies, there are a lot of ecosystem issues to be worked through. The great thing is this can be an emergency response option when disasters create a clean water crisis.

Read more at Zero Mass Clean Water From Air.

Gadgets

CES is definitely gadget central. Some are obviously great ideas. And some look a bit crazy at first, until you think about it a bit:

  • HushMe stops your phone conversation being overheard by others
  • Somnox is a robot that helps you sleep better
  • Gemini PDA – should work commercially but it does
  • Fordward CX-1 luggage that follows you around (Discworld anyone)
  • Hip’Air air bags for you hips which inflate if you are falling
  • FoldiMate folds clothes for you
  • DroneHunter is a drone that hunts drones. Being pestered? Get a DroneHunter.
  • Percept and Me.mum work out when a woman is fertile
  • M1 Fetus Camera lets you take your own ultrasounds once you are pregnant
  • Puffco and Oblend target the emerging legal cannabis market
  • Prosthesis is a full sized exoskeleton

The complete rundown is at CES2018 Best and Craziest Gadgets.

Cars

You would think self-driving cars would get the biggest wrap, but it was the first remote controlled car on public roads that got the attention. Phantom demoed driving from 500km away. The biggest issue here is still latency so this one probably con’t go mainstream until 5G rolls out.

Phantom Remote Controlled Car

Phantom Remote Controlled Car

This and lots more news about transportation options including new electric vehicles can be found at CES2018 Remote Controlled Car.

Robots

Were everywhere. Including serving hotel guests and doing deliveries. Delivery Robots are Full Time.

Blockchain

I’m including this one because there is a lot of hype and the computing power to use it make it unusable for many applications. But like AI, the increasing power of hand held computing devices like mobile phones means that we are approaching the point where this can be done in devices, or done in the cloud. For the latter, we need high speed data and low latency. Then the phone can offload the most difficult or memory hungry operations to a cloud service and get the results back. This will open up a lot of new opportunities.

That’s it for now. You can check it out in detail at IEEE Spectrum CES2018.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Satellite Internet

There are many areas of the world where Internet services are not readily accessible. One of the ideas for providing poorly services areas with Internet was g

Google’s Project Loon which used high altitude balloons.

But there are also Satellite Internet contenders. Theses were nicely covered by recent blogs at CIS 471 and I’ve picked out some essential bits of information.

Boeing

Boeing Satellite Internet Plan

Boeing Satellite Internet Plan

The image above shows Boeing‘s plans to cover the earth with 2956 satellites. You can read more at Boeing’s satellite Internet project.

SpaceX

The next company is SpaceX who are also involved in rocket and satellite design. They are looking at 4425 satellites in low earth orbit.

SpaceX Satellite Back Haul

SpaceX Satellite Back Haul

SpaceX believe that they can speed up Internet Back Haul by reducing the number of router hops required. The example above shows 5 space hops (including up and down) replacing 14 conventional hops. You can read more at SpaceX satellite Internet project status update.

OneWeb

And OneWeb are looking to provide Global Internet access, especially to the developing world.

OneWeb Transceiver Footprint

OneWeb Transceiver Footprint

They plan to use beam steerable techniques to allow frequency reuse and clean hand off as the satellites move overhead. And at seriously fast data rates. You can read more at OneWeb satellite Internet project status update.

What I found very encouraging is the degree to which BoeingSpaceX and OneWeb are collaborating and cooperating in order to make sure that they can coexist and all provide effective services. This included adjusting planned orbital heights and frequency usage.

So great to see another example of just how much Collaboration can enable opportunities, even when the collaborators look like competitors.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2017 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Doug Engelbart

There are lots of people who have done enormous service to the world through their inventiveness and willingness to share with other. A good example is Dennis Richie who I gave a tribute to in 2011 and who gave us the C Programming Language, one of the most used computing languages even today.

Doug Engelbart holding an early computer mouse

Doug Engelbart holding an early computer mouse

I recently came across Doug Engelbart who passed away 4 years ago and is responsible for inventing many of the ideas behind modern computing including:

  • Father of the mouse
  • Videoconferencing
  • Hyperlinks
  • WYSIWYG word processor
  • Multi-window user interface
  • Shared documents
  • Shared database
  • Documents with images & text embedded
  • Keyword search
  • Instant Messaging
  • Synchronous Collaboration
  • Asynchronous Collaboration
  • and much more

The Mother of all Demos

The Mother of all Demos was a 90 minute presentation he put together in 1968 to demonstrate, for the first time, some of the above inventions. Below is a video with selected highlights.

This was the beginning of Interactive Computing and a critical breakthrough on the way to the Graphical User Interface and eventually the WIMP (Windows, Icons, Mouse, Pointer) Operating System concepts.

You can read more about his contributions at:

The First Mouse

And now for a look at the First Mouse. This one predated the 3 button version used in the Mother of all Demos.

Again I am very grateful for those who have gone before us and shared and collaborated so freely that we might all benefit together.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2017 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

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