We may live in a digital world, but the world itself is still analog

Despite the steady drumbeat of the digital revolution marching  through our lives, the world in which we live is still quite analog. Sensing light or sound or movement; detecting contaminants; controlling  movement—all are inherently analog.  Digital sampling of course can work, but there are pitfalls there—anyone been bit by aliasing lately?

Which means that the interfaces of almost electronics products to said real world still have an analog element.  Circuit wise this is often an analog- to-digital or a digital-to-analog convertor (ADC and DAC respectively)  surrounded by digital processing electronics, but this is not always the most cost effective nor the most manufacturable solution. And as mentioned above, artifacts of digitization like aliasing can haunt any such design

Even purely digital electronics have the nasty habit of requiring more scrutiny to their analog characteristics as frequencies increase.  Decoupling and signal integrity both require serious analog analysis for high performance systems.

Recently we have seen an uptick in demand for analog design, analog redesign, and analog analysis as part of cost reduction and manufacturing optimization.  We are wrapping up a battery charger POC design; we’re working on an audio amplifier and a laser driver. Plus we just did a PCB redesign to eliminate some nasty noise issues stemming from inadequate decoupling. In the recent past we’ve developed some novel sensors and worked with load cell measurements with temperature stabilization.

All of which require more than a passing acquaintance with the analog arts.  And art is the right word here, for despite all the equations and calculations, there is still some artistry that differentiates amateurs from pros, successes from retries or failures.

And yes, Murphy was quite likely an analog engineer.

Chuck

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