Winners of the 2020 LEAP Awards (Leadership in Engineering Achievement Program) were announced yesterday in a digital ceremony, with products across 12 categories. More than 100 entrants were received for the annual competition which celebrates the most innovative and forward-thinking products serving the design engineering space. This year’s winners were chosen by an independent judging panel of 14 engineering and academic professionals.
In the Connectivity category, Silicon Labs took Gold for its new Secure Vault: World’s Most Advanced Security for IoT Devices, which is a new suite of state-of-the-art security features designed to help connected device manufacturers address escalating Internet of Things (IoT) security threats and regulatory pressures. Silicon Labs’ Wireless Gecko Series 2 platform takes advantage of Secure Vault by combining best-in-class security software features with physically unclonable function (PUF) hardware technology to greatly reduce the risk of IoT security breaches and compromised intellectual property.
Secure Vault advances IoT security through a unique combination of hardware and software features that make it easier for product manufacturers to protect their brand, design and consumer data. Integrating a security system with a wireless SoC helps designers simplify development and makes it possible to securely update connected devices over-the-air (OTA) throughout the product lifecycle. The delivery of genuine, trusted software or firmware to connected products serves to mitigate unforeseen exploits, threats and regulatory measures.
The judges commented: “A new contemporary solution to an ever-evolving problem.”
The Silver goes to ON Semiconductor for its Connected Lighting Platform for high-power industrial LED lighting solutions. While efficiency (and therefore cost management) is the primary driver for most connected lighting control, there are a number of other aspects that come into play when developing lighting applications within residential and industrial markets. Modularity is important, allowing lighting systems to be extended and segmented while the ability to control lighting with mobile devices allows for more enhanced levels of control. By combining wireless, power, and options for control, the Connected Lighting Platform provides the flexibility needed to develop wired or wireless energy efficient LED lighting solutions. The Bluetooth Low Energy Connectivity Module allows for easy, low-power connectivity to mobile devices so users can control LED lighting, send wireless firmware upgrades, and even monitor environmental sensors.
The Bronze goes to TE Connectivity for its Thermal Bridge Technology, a fan-less thermal solution for ever-growing heat dissipation challenges in applications that have designed-in fixed heat sinks, such as cold plates, liquid cooling or remote radio units (RRUs) where the heat sink or cold plate is at a fixed location and requires a direct contact to the input/output (I/O) port or plug. It provides up to 2x better thermal resistance over traditional thermal technologies such as gap pads or thermal pads. This solution was developed to dissipate more heat associated with increasing system power requirements, specifically in applications with restricted airflow, liquid cooling or cold plate applications.
Finally, an Honorable Mention goes to C&K for its Interposer board-to-board connector series, a solderless interconnect solution. Interposer offers a high-reliability, customizable way of connecting two PCBs, specifically designed for the aerospace industry.
Interposer features spring-load contacts, which enable easy, solderless installation and removal. This provides a direct connection, thus eliminating the need for a wired solution, and allows for effortless mating and unmating, making design and integration straightforward.