Power sources in the future will be used and developed based upon economic, political, environmental and technological considerations. Changes will be dramatic but evolving over decades; the changes will be both in the sources of power and perhaps more so in the consequences of creating and using that power.
Computer numerical control (CNC) has become an indispensible part of the industrial landscape for the past few decades. Used for the production of everything from medical instruments to wind turbines, these devices are characterized by extreme accuracy, precision and very high repeatability. Not only have they reduced the human factor in machining and in turn the costs and errors that go along with it...
Charging stations for electric vehicles are still a few years, possibly decades, away from being in every household garage—priced at upwards of $20,000 per unit. Talk about keeping up with the Jones! Despite the challenges of price point, materials, and a general public skepticism, companies are making great strides in designing chargers that are more durable, efficient, functional, and versatile than their predecessors.
The greatest ROI in green technology is undoubtedly in the manufacturing sector. First, “green” technologies provide great branding and a competitive advantage. Taking advantage of advanced low-power electronics is one major way to do this. With the added intelligence of programmable devices, manufacturing becomes more efficient, faster, and more flexible at the same time.
Here’s an item that’s been sitting in my “interesting” folder for a while, but thankfully it will still be news for at least a couple more years. Did you know that changes are expected for kelvin? Physikalisch-Technischen Bundesanstalt (PTB) – the counterpart to NIST in the U.S. -- along with the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM), are determining a new value of the Boltzmann constant, the conversion factor between thermal and mechanical energy. Research groups must rely on a fundamental constant in order to redefine the thermodynamic temperature scale kelvin. According to the PTB, “only if several groups obtain the same result with at least two independent methods will a "water-free" definition of the kelvin become possible.” This news came to my attention via the folks at Mahr Federal, whose MarForm MFU 110 WP reference formtester is being used in the project.
For design engineers, every harsh environment presents its own set of challenges stemming from a host of factors, such as extreme temperatures, water, chemicals, dust, oil and other types of contaminants. Selecting the right electromechanical switch for use in such environments is a critical step.
Near-field communications, which arose from earlier RFID applications, have gained in popularity as manufacturers added NFC capabilities to smart-phone and tablet-computer and as merchants have installed NFC payment devices. So instead of carrying a wallet full of credit and debit cards, consumers can use their smart phones as a mobile-payment "account"...
Today’s telecommunications industry is trending towards the use of 3.3-V relays in their end applications. Traditionally, only discrete components were available to switch and drive low-voltage relays. Each relay requires one transistor, one resistor, and in some cases a diode. Data routing applications need to switch and drive four-to-seven relays, requiring eight to 21 discrete components. Additionally, these applications often need
You may have heard that Apple recently asked environmental watchdog EPEAT to remove 39 of its products from its registry and informed the organization it will no longer submit its computers for testing. It seems like an odd request, considering Apple helped create EPEAT in 2006 along with the government and several other big computer players.
One of the key challenges that design engineers currently face is minimizing the power consumed by the system they are designing. Employment of various low power modes can help to reduce consumption levels. The choice of low drop-out (LDO) linear voltage regulators used in a system design can impact greatly on the overall power consumption.
For all the cool and exciting features that our smart phones provide, it’s easy to forget that these pocket-sized computers/entertainment centers aren’t always as liberating as they seem – and I’m not just talking about the burdens that come with the data plans. Recently, Rep. Edward J. Markey, co-chairman of the Bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, requested the 2011 surveillance records from the nation’s cellular carriers.
Poor-quality electrical connections to the device under test (DUT) can compromise the measurement integrity of even the most powerful and sophisticated semiconductor test system. For high-speed pulse measurements, interconnect quality typically determines maximum bandwidth; for low current measurements, it often affects measurement speed and accuracy.
While many manufacturers are still feeling the negative effects of the Great Recession of 2008, it appears that there is a growing new trend. More and more production and fabrication work looks like it is coming back to developed economies. There are several factors behind this new phenomenon. One is rising wages in China.
Rising energy costs and increasing support for clean, renewable energy sources has made solar power a growth industry. Solar panels directly generate power by converting sunlight to electricity with no moving parts, zero emissions, and little to no maintenance.
A few months ago, I was buying a large photograph for my dad at a Christmas market in Bethlehem, PA. When it came time to pay, the vendor gave me the “cash or credit” option. Intrigued by the lack of a credit card machine and rarity of having the credit option at a craft show, I went for my card. The vendor whipped out his iPad, swiped the card through a Square card reader attachment...