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Engineering Newswire 65: Efficient batteries go viral

November 21, 2013 9:03 am | Videos | Comments

Today on Engineering Newswire, we're launching drones from tiny boats, recycling shower water, using sensors to prevent serious brain injuries, and making batteries more efficient by going viral. Typically, distance per charge is the biggest complaint and fear of those driving electric vehicles. Now, MIT researchers have started using genetically modified viruses to help the situation.

Next-generation green cars in spotlight at Tokyo Motor Show

November 20, 2013 11:49 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Tokyo Motor Show opened to the press Wednesday, with leading automakers showcasing next-generation fuel-cell cars and electric vehicles as they look to the burgeoning green car market. At the 43rd motor show, which will open to the wider public from Saturday at Tokyo Big Sight, at least 76 vehicles will be showcased for their world premiere.

Toyota vows fuel cell model by 2015 in green push

November 20, 2013 11:47 am | by YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Toyota is promising a mass-produced fuel cell car by 2015 in the latest ambitious push to go green by an industry long skeptical about the super-clean technology that runs on hydrogen. Satoshi Ogiso, the Toyota Motor Corp. executive in charge of fuel cells, said Wednesday the vehicle is not just for leasing to officials and celebrities...

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Enabling flexible, cost-effective testing of tire-pressure monitoring systems and other automotive subsystems

November 19, 2013 11:43 am | by Hock Yew Yeap, Agilent Technologies, Inc. | Articles | Comments

Passenger safety is a major element of every automotive design. This focus is supported by ongoing efforts to enhance safety-related features, either as a competitive advantage in the marketplace or in response to government requirements. One such mandated feature is the tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS)....

Hyundai to sell hydrogen-powered SUV in 2014

November 19, 2013 11:32 am | by TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

For years, the joke in the auto industry was that a mass-produced car that runs on hydrogen was always a decade away. That will change next year when Hyundai starts selling a Tucson SUV powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. It will be the first mass-market vehicle of its type to be sold or leased in the U.S.  

Honda counts on lean production for hybrid Fit

November 19, 2013 11:30 am | by YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Honda is making a big push with its new Fit subcompact to get out of being the perennial also-ran of hybrid cars to Japanese rival Toyota, the maker of the Prius. It's a challenge hinged on making the technology affordable. Hybrids deliver fuel efficiency by switching between a gasoline engine and an electric motor, depending on driving conditions but cost more than gasoline cars.

US safety agency opens probe into Tesla fires

November 19, 2013 11:26 am | by TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. government's auto safety watchdog is investigating whether Tesla's Model S electric car is vulnerable to fires because roadway debris can pierce the car's underbody and battery. The National Highway Traffic Administration, which announced the probe early Tuesday, is looking into two incidents in which Model S drivers struck metal objects on highways.

Photos of the Day: Pressure cooking to improve electric car batteries

November 19, 2013 9:59 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Batteries that power electric cars have problems. They take a long time to charge. The charge doesn't hold long enough to drive long distances. They don't allow drivers to quickly accelerate. They are big and bulky. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering have redesigned the component materials of the battery in an environmentally friendly way....

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New approach advances wireless power transfer for vehicles

November 18, 2013 11:29 am | by North Carolina State University | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed new technology and techniques for transmitting power wirelessly from a stationary source to a mobile receiver – moving engineers closer to their goal of creating highway “stations” that can recharge electric vehicles wirelessly as the vehicles drive by.

Constant False Alarm Rate soft IP core designed for automotive driver-assist applications

November 18, 2013 9:01 am | Product Releases | Comments

EnSilica has launched a Constant False Alarm Rate (CFAR) soft IP core for use in situational awareness radar sensors for automotive driver-assist applications. The hardware accelerated CFAR IP is matched to EnSilica’s pipelined FFT IP core....

Government speeds research on car safety systems

November 15, 2013 10:38 am | by JOAN LOWY, Associated Press | News | Comments

The government is speeding up research on safety systems that automatically prevent drivers from operating their cars if they are drunk or aren't properly buckled in. Officials also said Thursday that they expect to decide by year's end how to encourage automakers to make some special safety systems already in certain high-end vehicles available in more cars.

This is a real-life Batmobile

November 13, 2013 12:20 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

The Batmobile is arguably one of the most recognizable fictional transportation devices. Its sleek design has been imagined and reimagined by every Batman movie and a few comics, but it always maintains that certain je ne sais quoi that makes it powerful, sexy, and impressive all in one.Every so often, a superfan will try to recreate the Batmobile...

Pressure sensors feature an extended temperature range of -40 to +150 degrees C

November 11, 2013 8:36 am | Merit Sensor | Product Releases | Comments

Merit Sensor Systems announced its TR Series temperature-compensated pressure sensor product line. The TR Series packaged pressure sensor features Merit Sensor’s “back-side entry” approach, where the sensing media cannot come in contact with the active, top side of the pressure sensing die.

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This rock-climbing robot will haunt your dreams

November 8, 2013 9:27 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

 Every so often, you see a robot on the internet that is so macabre-looking it belongs in a horror film. There is a quality about these robots that’s not quite robot, but not quite human. Generally, in the technology community, nine out of ten of these robots come out of the Department of Defense sponsored Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (a.k.a DARPA). (If you need proof, check out DARPA’s PETMAN)

Should the government regulate Google Glass?

October 31, 2013 4:22 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Every new technology or consumer widget must inevitably run headfirst into the regulatory powers of government — often in conjunction with automotive safety. So this was no surprise: San Diego police have pulled over a motorist and ticketed her for wearing Google Glass, touching off the latest battle between federal legislators and the private sector.

IGBT module features total Current - Voltage capability of 600 Ampere and 650 Volt

October 29, 2013 9:27 am | Ixys | Product Releases | Comments

IXYS Corporation announced today a new high-power phase-leg in the SimBus-F outline with a total Current - Voltage capability of 600 Ampere and 650 Volt. The excellent best-in-class performance of the discrete 650 Volt XPT Trench IGBT products is now also available in module outlines, up to 600 Amperes with the IXYS fast “Sonic” diodes.

Development kit provides designers with a step-by-step approach to develop 3D gesturing systems

October 28, 2013 3:18 pm | Microchip Technology Inc. | Product Releases | Comments

Microchip Technology announced the new MGC3130 Hillstar Development Kit for 3D gesturing systems. The kit provides designers with an easy, step-by-step approach to develop 3D gesturing systems with Microchip’s MGC3130 and electrodes that meet their specific space requirements.

Scientists to gain from view inside of fuel cells

October 28, 2013 2:30 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Powerful scanners that give scientists a direct line of sight into hydrogen fuel cells are the latest tools Simon Fraser University researchers will use to help Ballard Power Systems Inc create more durable, lower-cost fuel cells. Use of these fuel cells in vehicles can substantially reduce harmful emissions in the transportation sector.

Distribution keeps automotive moving

October 28, 2013 12:52 pm | by Rondekka Moore, Vice President, Demand Creation Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas | Articles | Comments

The automotive industry is undergoing two major paradigm shifts that each will demand more involvement from the distribution channel. The first of these is the race to more fuel efficiency for vehicles that will be coming down the pike in the future. By 2025, automotive fuel efficiency must reach an average of 54.5 miles per gallon.

Automotive DC-DC converter enables fast and reliable charging for portable devices

October 22, 2013 1:57 pm | Product Releases | Comments

Recognizing and then charging any portable device (PD) directly from a vehicle battery can now be done over USB with a single IC, the MAX16984 automotive DC-DC converter with USB charge emulator from Maxim Integrated Products. Previously, PDs like smartphones and tablets could not charge reliably from OEM stock USB ports in vehicles.

Wrangling flow to quiet cars and aircraft

October 18, 2013 12:05 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Plasmas are a soup of charged particles in an electric field, and are normally found in stars and lightning bolts. With the use of high voltage equipment, very small plasmas can be used to manipulate fluid flows. In recent years, the development of devices known as plasma actuators has advanced the promise of controlling flows in new ways...

Processor core designed for automotive safety-compliant applications

October 16, 2013 4:02 pm | Product Releases | Comments

Synopsys’ DesignWare ARC EM SEP (Safety Enhancement Package) Processor core for ISO 26262 automotive safety-compliant applications is a highly efficient 32-bit core that delivers performance up to 300 MHz and power consumption as low as 16 µW/MHz on typical 65LP silicon process....

Ford, University of Michigan open new battery lab

October 14, 2013 2:45 pm | by DEE-ANN DURBIN, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

Ford Motor Co. and the University of Michigan are opening a new battery research and manufacturing lab that they hope will speed the development of batteries for electric and hybrid cars. The center, on the university's campus in Ann Arbor, will bring together battery makers, car companies and researchers who will test new batteries for prototype vehicles.

Thick film chip resistor includes precision tolerances of 0.5% and 1.0%

October 11, 2013 2:23 pm | Koa Speer Electronics, Inc. | Product Releases | Comments

KOA Speer Electronics introduces the latest in precision thick film chip resistors, the anti-sulfur RK73H-RT. Made with a sulfur-proof electrode material, the RK73H-RT resistor features precision tolerances of 0.5% and 1.0% and a resistance range of 10Ω ~ 10MΩ.

MOSFET delivers increased power density while reducing overall system size and cost

October 11, 2013 9:44 am | International Rectifier | Product Releases | Comments

International Rectifier announced the introduction of the AUIRF8736M2 DirectFET 2 power MOSFET for heavy load automotive applications including electric power steering, braking systems and pumps that require superior power density in a compact footprint.

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