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Analog Angle Article

Clever product blends disparate technologies

When you are working primarily in one discipline, such as RF, DSP, or analog I/O, it's sometimes hard to see how these can be combined in clever new ways. Once in a while, though, you see a product that really illustrates this “synergy” situation (sorry, I know that's an overused, cheapened word, but it makes sense here).

Look at the Klipsch LightSpeaker, introduced in January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). It is designed to allow home users to very quickly set up loudspeakers anywhere they have a recessed AC-lamp socket fixture (those overhead lights we see in so many places). It incorporates a 10W LED-based floodlight (claimed equivalent to 65W incandescent); a 20W digital-audio amplifier with DSP equalization; a hand-held, RF-based remote control; and a wireless 2.4 GHz link. You set up a music “base station” within 50 feet of the light/speaker unit, establish the link, and you'll have 20W of sound from that speaker, with no audio or separate AC wiring needed. (A single base supports up to eight such units.)

Pretty clever, and likely to appeal to homeowners and small stores, due to its simplicity. Although it isn't something I'm running out to buy since first, I don't have this problem and second, it's a little pricey for me, franklyᾹbut that's not the point here

This is just one example of how a very application-specific embedded design is using multiple disciplines and technologies: RF, processor(s), audio, power, LED and LED drivers, and more, to create a completely different kind of product. (I won't even get into all the personal medical instrumentation that is coming out, some with RF.) And you'll see many more of these at ESC, I suspect. ♦

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