In a previous blog we learned about the concept of disruption. We saw how the challenge of reading different types of signals on a factory floor drove ADI engineers who, working hand-in-hand with a leading manufacturer, designed a solution which saves time and money in both the design and implementation. In another blog was the story of another piece of tech (using lasers for measuring distances) being adapted for applications such as automobiles, healthcare, and factory floors - things its original inventors could not have imagined back in the early 1960's.

Today’s story begins a few years ago when Analog Devices first rolled out a new way to send and receive audio and control information in cars, called Automotive Audio Bus, or A2B®. For car manufacturers the biggest impact was a reduction of up to 75% in the weight of wiring required to send data through the car.

Bundle So, instead of big, heavy bundles of cable (like those on the left) car manufacturers only needed to install a much-lighter twisted pair of wires. Twisted Pair

Another advantage of A2B is that along with sending and receiving audio and control information through the twisted pair it also provides the power required for every speaker, microphone and sensor in the system. Suffice it to say that ADI’s A2B technology did a good job of disrupting the way manufacturers distribute audio and data in automobiles. (If you want to dive into the details you can always visit our web page on A2B for automobiles.)

We are about to get disruptive again.

It is happening again because someone here at ADI had a classic “A HA!” moment. They looked at the benefits A2B brings to the automotive industry (such as high audio quality, low power, small board space, easier and less expensive installation) and asked themselves “where else would these benefits be welcomed?” Right away conference calls came to mind. How great would it be to have a conference room where background noise is electronically removed so that calls are crisp, clean, and clear? (No more “are you there?” “did you say something?”) Or to have a conference room where you can walk around without the fear of tripping on bundles of cable stretched between microphones? Because there’s no need for a power supply (since that gets delivered along with the audio and data) such a system would be so much less expensive – both to buy and to install.

The ideas just started to flow with more ideas for places to employ noise cancellation, such as libraries, call centers, doctors’ offices, and various methods of transportation including trains, planes and boats. A2B was also envisioned as enabling hands-free communication for operators of construction and agricultural equipment. Back on the noisy factory floor A2B and its noise cancelling ability could be employed to monitor – and report - the health of individual machines. The list, which also includes military and residential applications continues to grow.

It’s exciting to see how a technology so successful in one place (the automobile) could also bring benefits to so many other places. Who knows what some engineer or designer will think of next? To help them, Analog Devices has a number of tools to help speed the design and implementation of A2B technology, including USB-enabled evaluation boards and software development tools. To dive into the details, we invite you to visit our A2B web page.