Agilent Salutes Milestones in Electronics

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HP’s first product: a precision audio oscillator

April is a noteworthy month in the history of electronics.  Some milestones (in chronological order):

  • On April 2, 1618, mathematician and physicist Francesco Grimaldi was born.  He was the first scientist to study the diffraction of light, inventing the word “diffraction.”  Later physicists used his 1665 work to prove that light is a waveform.
  • On April 30, 1897, physicist Sir Joseph John Thomson announced the discovery of the first subatomic particle, the electron.  He also invented the mass spectrometer.
  • On April 14, 1954, physicist Gordon Teal built the first silicon transistor.  (Previous transistors had been made of germanium.)  Teal also made break-through advancements in infrared technology and digital signal processing.
  • On April 23, 1941, electrical engineer Ray Tomlinson was born.  In 1971, he would implement the first email system on ARPAnet, inventing the “@sign” protocol that is still used today.
  • On April 3, 1973, engineer Martin Cooper made the first phone call using a hand-held mobile phone.  He is considered “the father of the cell phone.”

The year 2014 is also noteworthy for two reasons.

First, 2014 is the 75th anniversary of Hewlett-Packard, Agilent’s predecessor company.  In 1939, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard established HP in a Palo Alto garage with $538.  Their first financially successful product, a precision audio oscillator, was innovative for using an incandescent light bulb as a resistor to stabilize the output.

Second, in 2014 Agilent’s electronic measurement business is expected to launch as an independent company, Keysight Technologies.

“HP’s and Agilent’s long success in electronic measurement helped fund their computer, printer, life sciences and diagnostics businesses,” says Keysight President and CEO Ron Nersesian.  “Our decision to create a standalone electronic measurement company is, in many ways, like returning to the core focus that has made us strong.”


For more information go to:

Agilent Technologies Reveals Name of Electronic Measurement Spin-Off Company

Agilent Technologies to Separate into Two Industry-Leading Public Companies

Agilent Company History

Filed Under: All, Electronic Measurement
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From Da Vinci to Agilent: Celebrating Science and Innovation

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Happy birthday, Leonardo da Vinci!

April 15 marks the 562nd birthday of Leonardo da Vinci.  As a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer, da Vinci is considered one of history’s most diversely talented people and the epitome of a multi-faceted “Renaissance Man.”

Da Vinci’s many inventions and innovations include flying machines, helicopters, parachutes, motorized vehicles, armored cars, robots and scuba gear.  His ideas came from his meticulous observation and measurement of the world around him, which he chronicled in 13,000 pages of notebooks.

Continuous invention and innovation are central to Agilent’s culture and heritage.  “Innovation is the heart of this company,” says Agilent President and CEO Bill Sullivan. “It allows us to differentiate ourselves in the eyes of our customers. Without innovation, Agilent could not thrive and grow versus the competition.”

Part of what drives Agilent’s culture of innovation is its strong makeup of engineers and scientists.  At a recent industry symposium, Agilent’s Director of Technology Strategy Jim Hollenhorst discussed how his personal background as a career physicist has helped him to foster innovation.

“Physicists bring a unique set of skills to the corporate environment,” Jim said, “including a desire to understand the fundamentals, a solid foundation in physical principles, expertise in applied mathematics, and most importantly, an attitude: namely, that hard problems can be solved by breaking them into manageable pieces.

“In my experience, hiring managers in industry seldom explicitly search for physicists, but they want people with those skills.”

After his panel discussion, Jim was inundated by students eager to know more.  “There were so many students who wanted to hear about physics careers in industry,” he recounts. “One young woman told me that there is never a talk like mine on the college campus and students are starved for this kind of information.”


For more information go to:

Jim Hollenhorst: Perspectives on Industrial Innovation from Agilent, HP, and Bell Labs (abstract)

Agilent Labs History of Contribution

Filed Under: Agilent Labs, All, Corporate, Electronic Measurement
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Agilent Helps Make Electronic Payments More Secure

Agilent and FIME announce new test systems for mobile payments

Agilent and FIME announce new test systems for mobile payments

EMVTM is the international standard for chip-based credit and debit cards.  EMV standards are developed by EMVCo, an industry association formed by MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, UnionPay and JCB.  IC (integrated circuit) card systems based on EMV are being implemented around the world.

While chip and PIN contact cards are already used in most countries, contactless payment cards are becoming widespread in Europe and set to grow worldwide.  Contactless payment can reduce individual transaction times to a few seconds, as the payer only needs to wave the card within close proximity of a reader to finalize the transaction.  In addition, contactless devices can employ better security such as dynamically generated codes, high encryption standards and biometrics.

Agilent and FIME, a secure-chip consulting and testing provider, have announced the availability of test systems based on the EMV Contactless Level 1 Specification for mobile payments.  The test systems enable users to validate that a contactless payment card or mobile device performs as specified and achieves the required functionality.  This initial release is now available as an off-the-shelf product for in-house testing.

“This is a major step in the partnership recently announced by FIME and Agilent,” says FIME’s Pascal Le Ray.

“Our ongoing work with FIME enables us to bring our measurement technologies into the global mobile payment marketplace,” says Agilent’s Joe DePond.

EMV is a trademark owned by EMVCo LLC


For more information go to:

Agilent Technologies and FIME Announce Availability of Mobile Payment Test Systems Based on EMV Contactless Level 1 Specifications

Agilent T3111S NFC Conformance Test System

Near Field Communications/EMV Test

Agilent/FIME partnership 

Filed Under: All, Electronic Measurement
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