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Open The Pod Bay Doors, HASL

January 21, 2014 1:01 pm | by Screaming Circuits | Comments

Does anyone use HASL (Hot Air Surface Leveling) anymore? It's also known as HAL. Prior to the RoHS days, HASL was probably the most common surface finish. You can get it lead free, but most boards seem to use immersion...

iPotty rots your child’s brain while he potty trains

January 21, 2014 10:13 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

Or how to get your child to forever associate Apple with poop... No one likes using a toilet — especially not tykes. So why not add a little incentive? A reason to keep little Jane or Johnny firmly rooted on their keester. But a miniature version of something you’d find in a man cave? Not so much.

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Embedded Tech Trends update: Three things to know about SMARC

January 21, 2014 8:59 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Comments

I am attending the Embedded Tech Trends (ETT) conference this week in Phoenix, Arizona. It’s a chance for component, board and system level vendors to present the media with the latest technology, discuss industry trends, and to spend some one-on-one time with each member of the media.

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3D-printed chocolate as a midnight snack

January 17, 2014 4:08 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Comments

I’ve always wanted to turn my desk into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, and now I’m one step closer. A recent partnership between 3D systems and Hershey will make it easier to satisfy your strongest candy cravings. You don’t even need to leave the house. Hershey’s new chocolate 3D printer is a pretty sweet project (pun very much intended).

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3D printing: 2013’s biggest market disruptor

January 17, 2014 9:59 am | by Chris Fox, PD&D Managing Editor | Comments

Perhaps you’ve heard: 3D printing is this astounding, brand-new technology that is taking the world by storm. Soon every household will have a 3D printer, and nobody will have to buy any physical thing at a store! Forgive my zealotry. In case you couldn’t sense the sarcasm bleeding from the screen as you read that, I don’t think anything terribly unexpected or astronomical happened....

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3D printer can make a house in one day

January 16, 2014 4:09 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Comments

It sounds like an April Fool’s Day prank, but 3D printers have come a long way since the first models starting churning out little tchotchkes.  Nowadays we’re seeing 3D-printed (and functional) hearts, hands, and now houses. Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis at the University of Southern California wants to “scale up 3D-printing to building-scale” with the project “Contour Crafting.” We’re not talking about dollhouses, here.

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Domestic drones will put privacy to the test

January 16, 2014 9:59 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Comments

The latest indication that drones may be coming to a neighborhood near you in a few years’ time came via a December 30 announcement by the FAA that six groups have been named to host and test drones in nine states. Each entity will conduct tests for

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Half-baked products & junk clones

January 15, 2014 2:24 pm | by Chris Fox, Managing Editor | Comments

Much like CES 2013, there were a few high points, a few low points, and lots of people. Too many people. Aside from the mass scale, International CES 2014 had an inherent problem. Reporting from the show floor for an engineering publication, I’m inclined to look for the truly innovative, mold-breaking, and disruptive technologies.

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CES 2014: The weird, strange, and unique

January 15, 2014 2:19 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor, photography by Melissa Spivak | Comments

Every trade show has these — the oddball products, tech demos, and general weirdness that accompanies any large gathering of people vying for your attention. Sometimes, the exhibits exude innovation and leave a positive lasting impression on all who beheld its splendor. And ... sometimes they become the butt of jokes for years to come. The following is the weirdest, strangest, and otherwise unique products I saw at CES 2014.

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Domestic drones and you: Leveraging privacy vs. security

January 13, 2014 2:36 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

While MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers are mostly confined to overseas battlefields, a wide variety of unmanned systems will play an expanded role in law enforcement, commerce, and even mail delivery ... which leads to all sorts of privacy concerns. Get your thinking caps and opinions ready, because we’re looking to drill down to the core issues presented by the use of unmanned systems in Peoria, USA.

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WakaWaka isn’t just for Fozzie Bear anymore

January 8, 2014 4:19 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Comments

The phrase “WakaWaka” is being thrown around at this year’s CES and there isn’t a muppet in sight. WakaWaka is a business venture that aims to provide high-tech and low-cost solar technology to developing countries and areas affected by natural (or manmade, they won’t ask!) disaster. The company hopes to end the global problem of “energy-poverty” as well as provide a way for people to charge their electronics during power outages.

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Why I’m A-OK with Disney tracking me "NSA-style"

January 8, 2014 3:39 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

I recently spent a few days down in Disney World in Orlando—you might have noticed my two week writing hiatus—and like everyone else I was pretty curious about Disney's most recent billion dollar investment: Magic Bands. The wristbands, which utilize RFID and Bluetooth technology, were recently rolled out on a larger scale as part of the MyMagic+ program

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ODB++ plus, plus, plus

January 8, 2014 2:08 pm | by Screaming Circuits | Comments

I wote a bit about ODB++ back in October. Nothing has really changed much sice then. I'm just clarifying a few things. First, I want to put more emphasis on the use of ODB++. In addition to being benificial to...

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Wearable tech with an eye for fashion

January 7, 2014 3:57 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Comments

Wearable technology can be a tough sell. It seems like most of the technology is forever fated to be hideously ugly and bulky. Most smartwatches look like a calculator strapped to your arm as if wearers just popped out of an old sci-fi flick. In order to deal with all the features necessary for the consumer market, the technology has grown large and awkward. 

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Phones to TVs: The future of tech is flexibility

January 7, 2014 3:10 pm | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Comments

I would never dream of bending my laptop, camera, television, or any of the other electronic devices cluttering up my apartment. But LG’s G Flex Android smartphone, which the company is displaying at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this month in Las Vegas, is a curved device meant to be flattened....

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