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This is what firing an AK-47 underwater looks like

July 24, 2013 3:47 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

It's pretty incredible what some people can do with a Phantom Miro 320S high-speed camera and a fairly, extensive understanding of guns. This video is a follow-up to another video Smarter Every Day did where he fired a pistol underwater. In this video, he fires a modified AK-47 underwater to study how a blowback system works underwater versus air.

Sensors allow rescue teams to "speak" dog

July 24, 2013 2:58 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Have you ever had a burning desire to understand what your dog is saying? Personally, I feel it would be mostly, “Food? Walk? Toy? Food? But, seriously, food?” but that’s just me.For your average housedog, it’s not really imperative the owner understand everything the dog is trying to communicate. However, if the dog’s job is a little more intense, it could make a huge difference.

The must-have security device

July 23, 2013 3:54 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

I am, by nature, a very anxious person. Alright, I am a worrier—particularly when it comes to leaving the house. Did I leave the garage door open? The stove on? The hair straighter plugged in? Did I lock all the doors? Windows? And that’s just when I leave for work.

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The hotel that connects to your private jet

July 23, 2013 12:35 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

What do you get the obscenely-wealthy executive who has everything? If it’s an especially lazy exec who absolutely must sleep where he lands (his private jet), then the jetway hotel might be perfect. A private client (with the requisite bankroll and penchant for flamboyant acts of indulgent laziness) commissioned Margot Krasojevic to design this “short stay hotel hangar”....

New kind of optical storage could last a million years

July 22, 2013 9:34 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

A new kind of optical storage is being developed. With this new technology a DVD sized optical memory could hold 360 Terabytes and the memory would be good for about a million years. Longevity and capacity are the key factors to consider in terms of data storage, but existing options are limited.

Window ads on trains: Music to riders’ ears or simply off the rails?

July 18, 2013 11:22 am | by Chris Warner | Blogs | Comments

Streaming service Sky Go, along with the agency BBDO, are behind the talking window ads. Using bone conduction technology, transmitters mounted to the window of a train window emit high frequencies whose vibrations are suited to penetrate the cranial bones of a passenger who rests his head against the window to deliver the advertising message – a far cry from

We must support efforts to defund the NSA’s spying programs

July 17, 2013 2:05 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Congressional Republican Justin Amash has a not-so-novel idea for quashing the NSA’s surveillance programs — defund them. Rep. Amash has introduced an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill that would strangle federal spying programs by tying the purse strings. We must support Rep. Amash’s efforts.

The truth about test and measurement

July 16, 2013 2:41 pm | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Articles | Comments

Test and measurement starts with standards. You have to have standards for mass, distance, charge, and time (plus a few others) so all standards refer back to those fundamental unit standards. But you don't measure volts in units of amps, kilograms, meters, and seconds, that requires something more convenient (i.e. measuring volts in volts).

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Has solar power reached cost parity with other sources of electrical energy?

July 16, 2013 12:35 pm | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

The solar-cell pushers have been touting for quite some time the fact that the costs of solar cells have now nearly reached capital-cost parity with other sources of electrical energy. Parity is assumed to be a dollar a peak watt of capacity or thereabouts. But is that really true?

“Smart Diapers” perform high-tech urinalysis

July 15, 2013 6:15 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Parents will try anything to ensure their baby’s health – even if that means scanning their infant’s backside with their smartphone. At least that’s the idea behind Pixie Scientific’s “Smart Diaper” concept, which transmits health data via QR codes.

The government has been helping itself to our personal data all along

July 11, 2013 5:03 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

In the last few months I’ve been writing about various efforts of the government – both on the local and federal level – to leverage our consumer technologies to learn about our driving habits, cellular records, and, in the event of cyber attack, access to email records. Taken in totality, one could be highly suspicious that virtually anything and everything about our lives is accessible....

Karma’s a you-know-what: Feds disinvited to hacker conference

July 11, 2013 4:49 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The marriage of convenience (some might say a temporary truce) between Feds and hackers – organized at the annual DEF CON conference – simply couldn’t survive in our current geopolitical environment. And the hackers want a divorce – the Feds will not be at DEF CON this year.

Accurate clocking

July 11, 2013 2:55 pm | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

I'm interested in time and frequency. In order to generate accurate time ticks you need accurate clocks. Cell phones are a major user of accurate clocks. And vibrating quartz has been the standard for such clocks for a very long time. But there is a new kid on the block. Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) oscillators made by Silicon Labs.

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Self-healing circuits: A living immune system for ICs

July 10, 2013 4:08 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

One of the challenges of working with integrated circuits is as designers try to make ICs faster, the transistors become smaller and can’t handle as much voltage and the amount of variation grows. Plus, a single fault in the IC could mean a useless chip, bringing projects and products to sudden jarring halt.

Secret courts enable electronic surveillance

July 10, 2013 1:57 pm | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

We now know - due to some intrepid leakers - that Big Brother is watching just about everything that can be electronically monitored. It is commonly accepted that this watching is a result of the Patriot Act. But there is something that predates the Patriot Act that is the real enabler - Secret courts.

Princess or engineer: What will your daughter be?

July 10, 2013 11:41 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Though we might not agree on the reasons why there is such a discrepancy between the percentage of women in the population and the percent who become engineers, we can all agree it’s not a good thing. At the end of the day whether it’s an issue of nature, nurture or a combination of the two, that can’t be the end of the discussion. The conversation needs to evolve to a place focused on addressing the issue.

Does voice-activated technology betray our sense of safety while driving?

July 9, 2013 2:39 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

There’s no end in sight to the tug of war between proponents of the connected car and those who want to curtail use of electronic devices for fear of distracted driving. The latest salvo from the safety side came in from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which in June released a study....

No girls allowed: "Nerd” stereotype means fewer female engineers

July 8, 2013 9:29 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

The Big Bang Theory — a television show that features four male scientists and engineers and an attractive blond waitress — is one of the top shows on TV. But a recent study has raised an interesting question: Does this show’s — and others like it's — depiction of what scientists and engineers look like actively discourage women from pursuing STEM degrees? According to the study, it might.

Connectors designed for SSD, wireless cards, ultraportable devices

July 2, 2013 2:54 pm | Product Releases | Comments

TE Connectivity (TE) launched a line of M.2 next-generation form factor (NGFF) connectors, which are designed using the new interface standard for a smaller form factor in both size and volume. Engineered for a wide range of applications, including SSDs (solid state drives) and wireless cards of all types for use in notebooks, ultraportable devices, tablets, desktops and servers, TE’s M.2 (NGFF) products meet both current and future market needs for slim solutions

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.

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.

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