Mel's Picks

Sensors Research Consulting 1. Online Resources
Sensors Research Consulting maintains an excellent list of online resources for people interested in sensors. You'll find links to relevant journals, search engines, articles, and other materials categorized by topic. Some of the topics include sensors and instrumentation, physics, biomedical, materials, standards, research centers, and directories. For newcomers to the sensors field, this is a great page to bookmark.

Google search 2. Handy Google Tip
Did you know that you can limit your Google search to a specific site? Just use the site: operator in your search string. For example, should I want to search the Sensors Web site for everything flow-related, I'd type flow into Google's search box and hit return. This can come in handy if you're getting frustrated with a site's built-in search capability. Visit the Advanced Search page for more search tools. 3. Happy News Site
I can occasionally be somewhat cynical, so when Ed Ramsden told me about the Happy News site I thought it was something from The Onion, that bastion of satire and snide social commentary. is, in fact, just what it says it is—a site dedicated to happy, uplifting, or inspirational news. While it can't replace the more traditional news sources (because we do actually need to know about the sad, bad, scary, or infuriating happenings in the world), it's a pleasant antidote to the prevailing doom and gloom.

New to Bookshelves

Intelligent Sensor Design Using the Microchip dsPICIntelligent Sensor Design Using the Microchip dsPIC

Author: Creed Huddleston
Publisher: Newnes, an imprint of Elsevier
ISBN: 0-7506-7755-4
Page count: 283

This softcover book is part of the ongoing Embedded Technology series and is intended to act as a refresher for experienced embedded systems designers who want to bone up on Microchip Technology's dsPIC digital signal controller (DSC), as an information source for engineering students who are still figuring out how all the elements of an embedded system fit together, and for interested technically-minded people who want to know more about intelligent sensing.

There are nine chapters, three appendices, and a CD-ROM. The nine chapters are, in order: What Are Intelligent Sensors, and Why Should I Care about Them?; Intuitive Digital Signal Processing; Underneath the Hood of the dsPIC DSC; Learning to be a Good Communicator; A Basic Toolkit for the dsPIC DSC; Sensor Application—Temperature Sensors; Sensor Application—Pressure and Load Sensors; Sensor Application—Flow Sensors; and Where Are We Headed? Appendix A explains the software included on the CD-ROM. Appendix B covers initialization of the dsPIC DSC and system start-up code, and Appendix C discusses buffered, interrupt-driven serial I/O.

As you can tell from the chapter headings, the author writes with zing, zip, and clarity. The text is engaging without being overly chatty, and informative without being stodgy. The many figures and diagrams scattered throughout the book help illustrate the concepts being discussed. The books is a great place to start if you need to learn how to use dsPIC DSCs or want to delve into intelligent sensing.

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