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Large-scale free WiFi is still a dream worth pursuing

February 13, 2013 3:34 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Comments

Sometimes, it seems our nation no longer aspires to great things. These days our astronauts hitch rides to the International Space Station on Soviet spacecraft, and just recently, the U.S. Postal Service — once the envy of the world — announced its intention to eliminate Saturday mail service.

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Rise of the machines

February 13, 2013 11:39 am | by Meaghan Ziemba, Editor, WDD | Comments

Robots are becoming more powerful and useful by the minute. On a daily basis, design engineers struggle to make each new design more autonomous, fluid, independent, and lifelike. Some are designed for manufacturing purposes, while others are designed to help the disabled (the applications are many).

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Mechatronics security by design

February 6, 2013 12:06 pm | by Peter Thorne, Managing Director, Cambashi Ltd. | Comments

Engineers responsible for mechatronics development have always known that it’s not just PCs that can suffer from malware. A study in 20111 used experiment rather than theory to identify vulnerabilities of in-vehicle automotive systems. Not only was this a strong reminder of the seriousness of the issue...

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Automobile EDR data collection by the Government must include safeguards

February 6, 2013 10:34 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Comments

In December, The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a proposal that would require automakers to equip all light vehicles with event data recorders (EDRs) that capture information in the moments before and after a wreck similar to the way they are used to study airline crash.

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Telepresence robots: Always on call

February 6, 2013 9:26 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Comments

These words from a medical-alert pendant commercial became a humorous catchphrase in pop culture during the 1990s, but Mrs. Fletcher’s plea carries a lot of weight to those who are worried about the elderly or others in need of medical care but without a means of communicating to medical professionals or caregivers.

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Connected devices keep the heart of industrial automation beating

February 4, 2013 9:02 am | by Srik Gurrapu, Business Manager for Industrial Automation, Texas Instruments | Texas Instruments | Comments

During an era when the population is increasing and there always seems to be a race against time, efficient industrial production is becoming more vital than ever.  Manufacturers feel the pressure of producing an increased number  of  products while still maintaining a high level of quality.

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Did the Justice Department cause Aaron Swartz’s suicide?

January 31, 2013 9:00 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Comments

Aaron Swartz was a 26-year-old computer programmer and online activist who died of apparent suicide on January 11, ahead of a scheduled trial where he was charged with 13 felonies.  Swartz, founder of Demand Progress, an online group actively working against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)...

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The changing face of distribution: 3D isn’t just for the TV ... or the printer

January 29, 2013 4:49 pm | by Chris Sullivan, Technical Marketing, Newark element14 | Newark | Comments

Distributors distribute, right? Common sense dictates this to be, well obvious and true. But the past 5 years has seen a transformation of the high-service electronics distribution industry where business models and service levels have been redrawn to become more relevant, more competitive and more attractive.

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Sensor pad analyzes impacts in football helmets

January 29, 2013 4:27 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Texas Instruments | Comments

One of the highlights of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was a low-power wireless system that could revolutionize the game of pigskin. The Riddell InSite Impact Response System utilizes a five-point sensor pad lined in the player’s helmet to quantify an impact and, if it passes a predetermined threshold, notifies the sideline.

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Obsolete industries won’t drive economic growth

January 24, 2013 12:09 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

An article in the Associated Press, "Big Data and cloud computing empower smart machines to do human work, take human jobs," bemoans the loss of jobs to technology – a highly dubious assertion that crops up every generation like a broken record. And like the damaged piece of vinyl, this argument is immune to logic and reason.

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CES 2013 a meager showcase for consumer electronics

January 17, 2013 2:20 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Microsoft Corp. | Comments

CES has never been more irrelevant. I wrote those words last year when Microsoft pulled out of CES and the industry was in the thralls of its 3D hysteria, pushing a technological gimmick that no one wanted. Since then, the industry has found a new rallying cry – 4K (or Ultra-HD) – and largely abandoned hopes of shoving stereoscopy down our throats, but the pizzazz is still missing.

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The truth about relative vs. absolute motion control systems

January 16, 2013 12:39 pm | by Chad Lucien, Hillcrest Labs, www.hillcrestlabs.com | Hillcrest Labs | Comments

Smart TV features are beginning to transform the TV into an entertainment hub. Whether functionality is native to the TV or via a connected set-top box, many Smart TV systems utilize motion and pointing to control myriad features and functions. Motion control provides cursor, point-and-click, and tilt-based controls, mimicking the control system of a computer mouse or smartphone touchscreen.

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New Jersey’s power and fuel infrastructure was no match for Sandy

January 16, 2013 12:14 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Comments

The love-hate relationship we have with "the grid" was inescapable during Superstorm Sandy. We don’t think about it much when our homes are lit and appliances are humming – we have the freedom to do anything we want. But when there’s an interruption, there’s that nagging wish to be free from the grip of our local utility....

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Resolution rises to become banner spec for oscilloscopes

January 16, 2013 11:03 am | by David Maliniak, Technical Marketing Communications Specialist, Teledyne LeCroy | Comments

Since its invention in the 1980s, the digital oscilloscope represented a more modern approach to the visualization of waveforms compared with the analog instruments it replaced. Analog oscilloscopes displayed waveforms directly, but digital oscilloscopes use high-speed analog-to-digital converters....

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How to get more than 8 bits from your 8-bit scope

January 16, 2013 10:54 am | by Joel Woodward, Agilent Technologies | Agilent Technologies | Comments

Measurements are key to all scientific and engineering disciplines. For the electronics industry, oscilloscopes provide a number of critical measurements required by engineers to conduct real-world testing and gain needed insight. The majority of today’s oscilloscopes are designed with 8-bit ADCs (analog-to-digital converters).

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