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VLV - Very Large Vias

December 5, 2013 2:13 pm | by Screaming Circuits | Comments

I recently received a question over on Twitter. Tomaž Šolc, AKA avian2 asked: "@pcbassembly What is your opinion on the "one big plated drill in QFN ground pad" pattern? pic.twitter.com/M9ZLftpuo0" I answered back: "Bad for machine assembly, okay for hand...

3D-printed heart uses urine to power robot (seriously)

December 5, 2013 10:24 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

In the buzzword story of the year, researchers at the University of the West of England created a 3D-printed heart robot heart that runs on urine. That’s right, a printed organ that pumps pee through a robot. This hot topic cornucopia was actually the result of a theory that urine was capable of making electricity.

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Why replacing waiters with tablets is a good idea

December 4, 2013 2:51 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

This, friends, is a dining option for people who hate other people. Earlier this week, Applebee’s announced that they will replace waiters (to a degree) with tablets at the table. These tablets will be used to take orders and pay the bill, plus they’ll feature games that diners can play while they wait. The tablets, which are Intel-backed startup E la Carte Presto tablets, will total over 100,000 pieces of hardware.

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Smart bras track your mood

December 4, 2013 12:48 pm | by Melissa Barnes, Associate Editor | Comments

Do you or a loved one have an emotional eating problem standing in the way of your weight loss and healthy living attempts? Well, now there’s a bra for that. Microsoft recently reported it has been working on a “smart bra,” equipped with a generic remote access sensing platform (GRASP).

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Legislation for online video seeks to ensure consumer choice (for real!)

December 4, 2013 10:00 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Comments

Perhaps the eulogy for Net Neutrality is being written a bit prematurely, because there’s a faint sign of life coming from, of all places, Congress. From the “too good to be true” department comes new legislation proposed by outgoing Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va). The Consumer Choice in Online Video Act (S. 1680) would be a boon to consumers who

Surface mount, but not really

December 3, 2013 1:18 pm | by Screaming Circuits | Comments

Sometimes parts labeled as surface mount aren't quite ready for prime time. I've written about this subject before (read here), and I'm going to write about it again — whether you like it or not. This time, however, I'm not talking about components that aren't up to thermal par.

Smile: Your life’s history is one photo snap away

December 3, 2013 12:21 pm | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Comments

Military technology is now a resource available to local police departments. What’s used on the battlefield is entering our home turf. Facial recognition software sounds harmless enough until you think about what it could create: a whole database with information on each and every one of us.

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How Do You Know?

November 28, 2013 2:30 pm | by Screaming Circuits | Comments

This isn't a Thanksgiving blog. It is Thanksgiving day, and if it were a Thanksgiving blog, I would have to be working today, but we're shut down for the holiday, so I'm not working. I just woke up pondering what...

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Here’s what the ECN Editors are thankful for this year

November 26, 2013 3:18 pm | by the Editors | Comments

Say what you will about Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa. For our money, the “most wonderful time of the year” is Thanksgiving, when the fall foliage sets the scene for family, football, turkey, more football, and dessert (in that order). And though “Black Friday” has crept into Thursday, there’s much to be thankful for this year. Here’s what the ECN staff had to say....

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Turning the world’s biggest landfill into a NYC solar power plant

November 26, 2013 3:00 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

In a recent Engineering Update, we took a look at Japan’s largest solar power plant, which boasts the capability of powering 22,000 homes with its 313 acre facility. Now, we’re checking out New York’s newest solar project. This solar facility will be located at Freshkills Park on Staten Island and was, at one point, considered to be the largest landfill in the world.

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Revolution on wheels

November 22, 2013 4:21 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Comments

Morph Wheels sounds more like a rejected children’s toy idea than a legitimate advancement in mobility technology, but it’s real, and it’s going to have a huge impact. It’s one of many new foldable, space-saving inventions coming into the market. People tend to crave convenience in whatever they purchase and anything that they can slip into their pocket will fit the bill.

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Watch our new missile defense system destroy a fighter jet

November 22, 2013 3:08 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

While it may seem like most countries around the world are focused on the Patriot Missile Interceptors, the United States is already looking to its next missile defense system. In fact, the military has moved on from looking at systems to testing them.

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Will pills become the new standard of online security?

November 22, 2013 1:03 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Comments

It’s no secret that the internet is a minefield. There are hackers and thieves at every turn waiting to steal your personal information and everything else you love. And now the NSA has front-row seats to watch it all happen. This is all pretty scary, so we tend to cling to anything that offers us a semblance of security and safety, even if it means swallowing another pill with our multivitamin every day.

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The first robot suicide

November 21, 2013 2:22 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

At least that’s what hysterical media reports would have you believe. The standard account goes something like this – tired of doing its master’s bidding (er, cleaning), an iRobot Roomba 760 made history by committing the first robot suicide. The poor guy chose an especially gruesome way to kick the bucket, committing self-immolation by driving itself onto a kitchen hotplate....

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PhoneBloks are Legos for adults

November 21, 2013 1:20 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Comments

Finally, adults don’t have to relinquish the joy of playing with blocks! Most of the fun in Legos lies with the customizable nature of the toy and the ability to stray from the image on the box to create something truly unique. Dutch designer Dave Hakkens channeled this childhood pastime into a new kind of functional and distinctive smartphone design called PhoneBloks

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