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Career advice from the ECN engineers

August 12, 2014 10:23 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

A few months ago, we asked our engineers (that’s you guys) a few questions about how you felt about retirement, engineering, and the future of the industry. (Check out the infographic or the Whiteboard in our August issue.) While we learned a lot from our experienced engineers (turns out most are happy with their careers), we also asked for some advice for engineers in the future.

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Self-assembling robot walks in minutes

August 11, 2014 9:49 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

There have been major advances in robotics in the past couple years as far as personification and an expansion of applications. Some robots are even being designed to carry gear in active warzones (and look creepy as hell doing it.) This tiny robot from Harvard microrobotics engineers Sam Felton and Robot Wood brings something else entirely to the table....

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Why Russia’s anti-blogger law should terrify you

August 11, 2014 7:26 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Comments

In case you missed it, Russia isn’t exactly copasetic with the whole “democracy” thing. Case in point: Vladimir Putin recently turned bloggers into vassals of the state. The law destroys online anonymity and makes bloggers responsible for third-party users on their sites....

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Israel's Iron Dome & the ethics of war

August 8, 2014 11:39 am | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Comments

By many reports, the damage done by the rockets fired from Gaza into Israel would be much worse if it were not for Israel's air-defense system called Iron Dome. According to the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), Iron Dome succeeds in intercepting about 80% of rockets that come within its zone of protection....

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Don’t let ‘selfies’ define your self-worth

August 8, 2014 9:49 am | by A.J. Watts, Editorial Intern | Comments

Don’t get me wrong:  I like taking an occasional selfie every once in a while. Everyone likes to use their front camera when there isn’t a nearby mirror, just to check themselves out a little bit from time to time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a selfie, but people are getting a little carried away with these DIY pictures....

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Is technology making our youth dumber?

August 8, 2014 8:09 am | by A.J. Watts, Editorial Intern | Comments

I have little 2-3 year-old cousins that have the ability to use and comfortably navigate their way around a smart phone or a tablet. It is incredible to see how technology that takes older adults a longtime to figure out comes so natural to them. Just witnessing how much things have changed since I was younger is mind-blowing....

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IDT lowers cost of test by adopting the NI Semiconductor Test System

August 7, 2014 10:41 am | by Glen E. Peer, Director of Test Engineering, Integrated Device Technology Inc. | Idt, National Instruments | Comments

As the performance of IDT’s devices increases, it becomes more difficult to maintain the pace in the production test environment. Traditional ATE systems capable of meeting our high-performance measurement requirements are expensive and often include extra capabilities....

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The Internet of EVERYthing will engage EVERYone

August 7, 2014 8:56 am | by Dan Miklovic, LNS Research | Comments

IoT, the Internet of Things, is dominating the media these days. Some say IoT itself is probably a misnomer. For instance, futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil says it really ought to be the Internet of Everything (IoE). Whenever we hear IoT, the first thing many start talking about is M2M....

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Developing smart tools for the Airbus factory of the future

August 7, 2014 8:40 am | by Sébastien Boria, Airbus | Comments

Today’s aerospace factory floor is nothing like the hectic, noisy production facility of the past. The latest techniques, designs, and equipment make modern manufacturing efficient, organized, and structured. And what about tomorrow? The future of the aircraft factory is a research and technology project....

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Is our own government turning privacy into a myth?

August 6, 2014 10:57 am | by A.J. Watts, Editorial Intern | Comments

Even though I am in my early 20’s, I can still remember a time where there was a distinct separation between private and public information. Sadly, privacy seems to be a thing of the past in today’s technologically innovative culture. CNN reports that, “even if you power off your cell phone, the U.S. government can turn it back on....

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What you need to know about particle physics

August 6, 2014 8:02 am | by Mike Collins | Comments

Just before World War II, Earnest Lawrence, a physicist at Cal-Tech, found out that German physicists had split an atom of uranium using a neutron to form two smaller nuclei and release the nuclear strong force. Lawrence then built a more advanced version of an accelerator....

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Will medical devices and all-laser manufacturing advancements enable the age of longevity?

August 6, 2014 7:57 am | by Stefan Zschiegner, Raydiance | Comments

Perhaps the only advances in medical technology which excite more than today’s minimally invasive devices and procedures are the ones that will come to market over the next several decades. Medical futurists speak with credibility about the prospect of human beings born today living 150 years....

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Listen to the world’s first 3D-printed saxophone

August 6, 2014 7:26 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

It’s official. We can now 3D-print anything. At this point, we’ve had 3D-printed skulls, some candy, and a few odds and ends, but Olaf Diegel has created the world’s first 3D-printed saxophone. Instruments are particularly difficult to print because so much of the sound requires the perfect usage of air....

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What engineers think about retirement

August 5, 2014 8:00 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor and Eileen Whitmore, Art Director | Comments

Retirement, that Golden Age of relaxation and hard-earned rest where you get to prop up your feet on the porch and yell at the neighborhood kids to get off your lawn. ECN wanted to know what our engineers had planned for their golden years, but as it turns out most of you are pretty happy to be working.

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When is Fly-Buck the right choice for your isolated power needs?

August 4, 2014 3:27 pm | by Vijay Choudhary, Texas Instruments, www.ti.com | Texas Instruments | Comments

The Fly-Buck™ converter (or isolated buck converter) is becoming very popular as a low power isolated bias solution because of its simplicity, ease-of-use, low component count, and the availability of wide-Vin integrated regulators like ...

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