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Big Brother is watching you ... and your car

July 2, 2013 12:13 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Do red-light traffic cameras reduce accidents? Save lives? Are they a boon to resource-strapped law enforcement agencies? A boondoggle? An invasion of privacy? With government surveillance – and the citizenry’s awareness thereof – at a fever pitch, this issue will only become more relevant ... and divisive.

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #5 – “LEDs color-shift with time”

July 2, 2013 8:31 am | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

In the early days of white-emitting LEDs, the available chip packaging materials were ones developed decades earlier for use with red- and green-emitting devices. Unfortunately, when using those materials for blue-based white LEDs (blue LED + phosphors), unexpected problems arose.

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #6 – “LEDs can't run hot”

July 1, 2013 12:03 pm | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

Standard incandescent lamps convert almost all the power they consume into radiation (basically, heat). Unfortunately, only about 5% of this emission is in the visible spectrum, making them very inefficient light sources. On the other hand, since almost all the power is radiated away, there is little need for thermal management.

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Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #7 – “LEDs have high glare”

June 28, 2013 9:04 am | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

I’m standing in the taxi queue at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, having to squint ahead to gauge my wait. The cause of my discomfort: a horrible, blue-LED array-based outdoor luminaire ahead of me and above, spilling light in all directions and casting a putrid smear of yellow-green color against a nearby wall of the terminal, and directly into my eyes.

The technology (and driver) inside a winning Indy 500 car

June 27, 2013 4:28 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

When it comes to the racing world, electronics suppliers and distributors are often behind the scenes—or under the hood, as it were—rock stars. Sure, they’re the reason the engine runs or making sure the driver and crew are safe, but they’re very rarely front and center in the racing world. Unless, of course, you’re talking about Mouser’s sponsorship of Indy car driver Tony Kanaan ... then it’s all about being in front (literally.)

The kill decision shouldn't belong to a robot

June 27, 2013 10:25 am | by Daniel Suarez, TED Talk | Videos | Comments

As a novelist, Daniel Suarez spins dystopian tales of the future. But on the TEDGlobal stage, he talks us through a real-life scenario we all need to know more about: the rise of autonomous robotic weapons of war. Advanced drones, automated weapons and AI-powered intelligence-gathering tools, he suggests, could take the decision to make war out of the hands of humans.

Drones: The new Cold War

June 27, 2013 9:03 am | by Chris Fox, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

I am a fan of not sending soldiers into battle, but I understand that wars still need to be fought (sometimes). Drones are a solution to that conundrum, firepower without the high risk for lives (on our side at least). Putting any ethics aside about drones killing civilians and the lack of a weight of responsibility...

This smoke-detecting phone dock could save your life

June 26, 2013 4:17 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

House fires are a serious, deadly problem. Death from fires and burns are the third leading cause of fatal home injury, according to the CDC. Every 169 minutes, someone dies in a fire and every 30 minutes, someone is injured. 

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The most plausible Hollywood fictional gadgets

June 26, 2013 2:06 pm | by Darren Douglas, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

If we want our opinions to be easily influenced by something, watching movies is the solution. Movies are a form of art that is globally used for entertainment purposes. Science fiction films that exhibit unusual and odd actions and gadgets are the ones doing big businesses on the box office.

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #8 – “LEDs are best left to China”

June 26, 2013 8:49 am | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

I have been in the LED business for almost twenty years, and each year I hear a comment along the lines of “LEDs are a commodity product”. What’s the definition of a commodity product? It’s one that is very cheap, undifferentiated, anybody can make it, and margins are low.

Inserts prevent accidental disconnection of plugs

June 24, 2013 1:22 pm | Tripp Lite | Product Releases | Comments

Tripp Lite has introduced PDU Plug-lock Inserts, a simple-to-use solution for preventing accidental disconnection of C20 and C14 plugs. IEC plugs are frequently loose-fitting and can be accidentally disconnected by even the slightest nudge or vibration, a likely event during routine network maintenance.

Tesla & the ethics of publicity

June 24, 2013 12:47 pm | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Blogs | Comments

A few weeks ago I mentioned that an eminently qualified historian of technology has written a biography of Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), the inventor of the eponymous Tesla coil, the induction motor, and numerous other ingenious contraptions. While Tesla has been the subject of numerous popular biographies and even a film or two...

1-pole matrices include 2Amp current rating, up to 60W hot switch power

June 24, 2013 10:11 am | Pickering Interfaces | Product Releases | Comments

Pickering Interfaces has expanded its range of 2Amp 1-Pole matrices with releases that include the highest density solutions available in PXI large matrix (BRIC) format. The 40-596, 40-597, and 40-598 are all BRIC 1-pole matrices with 2Amp current rating, up to 60W hot switch power and 100VDC/70VAC voltage rating – depending on the configuration....

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Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #9 – “LEDs are expensive”

June 24, 2013 9:00 am | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

“Ten bucks for a light bulb?!”, exclaims my daughter in response to my estimate of the ‘tipping point’ price for LED-based lighting products for the residential consumer. She, like many consumers, has yet to internalize that the real cost of ‘inexpensive’ conventional light bulbs is energy consumption, and that LEDs pay back on this aspect right away.

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #10 – “LEDs are dangerous”

June 21, 2013 2:06 pm | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

Any time a new, disruptive technology enters the public sphere, concern is raised about almost every conceivable aspect. This is especially the case for lighting wherein each and every one of us has a base of experience and, likely, some opinions. While it is certainly prudent to scrutinize any new technology from a health and use perspective...

Would you help fund a space telescope?

June 21, 2013 1:08 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

For most people, thinking about space isn’t a daily activity. Sure, there are random bursts of excitement like the Mars Rover landing or Canadian superstar astronaut Chris Hadfield and of course there are people—both amateur and professional—who make space their life, but in general, it’s not something we think about too much.  

Wire, vertical jumpers aim to extend functionality of select terminal blocks

June 21, 2013 10:29 am | Wago Corporation | Product Releases | Comments

New jumpers provide horizontal and vertical potential commoning for WAGO Corporation's Double-Deck TOPJOB S 2000 Series and X-COM S MINI 2020 Series DIN-rail terminal blocks. Users can vertically common both levels of a double-deck terminal block or multiply potential over several adjacent DIN-rail

"Cybernetic immortality": How to live forever as a robot

June 20, 2013 3:47 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Could humanity achieve immortality this century? A Russian multimillionaire thinks so and is pouring a fortune into his ambitious plan “to eliminate aging and even death and to overcome the fundamental limits of the physical and mental capabilities currently set by the restrictions of the physical body.”

The Army’s version of Facebook

June 20, 2013 1:57 pm | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Facebook. We use it every day to stay connected with family and friends and, well, to snoop on people and thumb through their photos. Since we’re essentially chronicling our lives, few of us probably consider it a good way to stay safe in the digital age. The U.S. Army might disagree. It’s borrowing the concept of a Facebook "timeline"....

How I learned to stop worrying and love “killer robots”

June 20, 2013 1:19 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Unmanned weapons systems (aka, "killer robots") have the power to reduce collateral damage and save lives, and we should support and encourage their development, not preemptively ban them and set disproportionately high ethical standards as a function of their deployment.

This "watch" could change the world of at-home medicine

June 19, 2013 3:21 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

I have one family member in nursing school and one in medical school, which means I sometimes find myself on the cold end of a stethoscope while they check my radial pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and whatever else they need to practice. (I draw the line at anything involving needles.)

Google Glass meets “smart” health

June 18, 2013 9:24 am | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Google Glass is a huge step forward, but trendy eyewear isn’t everything. Sometimes, you gotta think about health. “Smart” eyewear has just collided with smart vision correction — and no, I’m not talking about the prescription-based versions of Google Glass that are in development.

Connectors equipped with solder bucket contacts for fast, efficient cable assembly

June 17, 2013 9:38 am | Harting, Inc. | Product Releases | Comments

HARTING is expanding its space-saving har-link metric product range by adding a version equipped with solder bucket contacts for fast, efficient cable assembly. This version is particularly effective in prototyping, development and small production runs. Based on 2.0 mm contact spacing, the har-link interface range offers compact, reliable, robust interface connectivity.

Smart Grid: The future of energy

June 12, 2013 11:23 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Articles | Comments

The Smart Grid is coming. It is needed in order to raise or lower prices for consumers depending on the time of day. It is needed to control consumer loads to better integrate intermittent alternative energy into the grid (industrial loads are already demand controlled by the grid operator depending on the type of service contract they have).

COB-based solid-state lamps present cooling tradeoffs

June 11, 2013 2:33 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

Solid-state lighting has taken its place in the mainstream of illumination, finding uses in a diverse range of industrial and consumer applications. Solid state lamps have shed the initial skepticisms about quality, and although the upfront costs are high, these costs are coming down.

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