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Incandescent ban evokes nanny state

September 18, 2012 8:50 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

I've never thought of incandescents as dangerous contraband, but beginning September 30th, the Edison light bulb will be analogous with moonshine liquor and mind-altering drugs. Absent legislative action (which caused this mess in first place), this quintessential lighting technology faces mandatory retirement.

Open innovation: From its beginning to today

September 14, 2012 12:18 pm | by Ed Bernstein, President, Industrial Research Institute | Blogs | Comments

In our constantly changing world, corporations find themselves continually adapting to new trends and technologies, and often reinventing themselves to remain relevant. In fact, with our changing global business environment, staying the course is not an option if today’s businesses want to remain viable and competitive.

Doing the math

September 14, 2012 9:49 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

For all you random number lovers there is some excellent documentation on the www about linear feed back shift registers. LFSRs are a way to produce quasi random numbers without too much effort. Why quasi random? Well one number is excluded (all ones or all zeroes) depending in whether you use the XNOR or XOR function for computing your random number.

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Can technology force you to relax?

September 14, 2012 9:10 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

In today’s world we’re all guilty of multi-tasking. We talk on the phone while we drive to work. We check email while eating breakfast. We read a book on the treadmill. There are just too many things to do and too few hours in the day. Sometimes you have to be reminded to stop

When smart cars get street smart

September 13, 2012 8:47 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

In recent years, there’s been a lot of buzz about automotive infotainment systems — features that are built into recent model cars that can offer anything from satellite navigation, DVD players, internet access and more. This has led to concern from regulators about driver inattention and its impact on safety.

Bike alone? You need this helmet sensor

September 11, 2012 4:12 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

As a naturally clumsy person, I’m all about using technology to improve safety, whether it’s in a car or on a motorcycle. If there was a device that would beep before my knee collided with a desk, cubicle wall, low table, or other immovable object, I would own 12.

Getting in your head

September 11, 2012 10:54 am | by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director | Articles | Comments

Professor Edward S. Boyden is probably one of the few individuals on the planet who is actually best described as a brainiac. Currently serving as the principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Synthetic Neurobiology Group, Boyden’s mission is to develop tools for controlling and observing the dynamic circuits of the brain.

Twitter politics: How social media impacts presidential elections

September 10, 2012 5:28 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

The news that President Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention was the "biggest political moment ever" on Twitter isn’t exactly surprising, but it’s worth taking a look at how social media influences political contests.

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Stack architecture

September 7, 2012 9:11 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

I have been interested in computers with stack architectures for a long time. I wrote a bit about one of the latest versions at ECN a while back: Testing The GA144 Eval Board. For those of you not familiar with the subject I thought it might be a good idea to present some resource material.

10 must-see posts from August

September 6, 2012 4:23 pm | by Editors | Blogs | Comments

Here’s a rundown of the most read, most popular, most awesome articles for August. They all come with a witty, engaging summary just in case you missed them the first time or want to check up on an old favorite. Keep checking out the Lead and follow us on twitter @ecnmagazine for our most up-to-date articles.

Hit them with a lightning bolt

September 5, 2012 3:22 pm | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

As some of you may remember, I was having some trouble with the Atmel programming tools. Their Studio 6 assembler and simulator are excellent. But their chip programmers leave one or two things to be desired. Well I'm going to do the usual hardware guy solution. I'm going to hit the pins used for programming with lightning bolts.

Another big benefit of in-cell touch on Apple’s iPhone 5: Larger battery capacity

September 5, 2012 3:12 pm | by Shawn Lee, DisplaySearch | Blogs | Comments

In the run-up to the iPhone 5 unveiling next month, there is a great deal of discussion about potential new features, including an A6 SoC with quad-core structure, higher clock speed CPU and GPU, larger display with in-cell touch, higher resolution camera, and advanced OS. While it is not clear which of these features will be realized, any that are will result in higher power consumption.

End your parking woes with this foldable car

September 5, 2012 3:12 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Anyone who has ever lived in a city knows what it feels like to drive around attempting to find street parking before giving up and dumping the car in an expensive garage. If you frequently suffer from No Parking Spaces Syndrome (or NPSS)...

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Tech uses thermal imaging to scan for drunks

September 5, 2012 1:27 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

One of an editor's favorite pastimes — apart from regaling our readers with the latest products and technology — is imbibing a good adult beverage. But that could become more difficult: A new technology from the University of Patras in Greece uses thermal imaging to detect drunkenness and could prevent inebriated individuals from causing a public disturbance...

Reliable power could have prevented Fukushima disaster

September 4, 2012 2:27 pm | by Michael A. Stout, vice president of engineering for Falcon Electric | Blogs | Comments

Recently we witnessed the disastrous earthquake and tsunami that has devastated the Japanese economy. The loss of life, property and infrastructure was on such a large scale, it was incomprehensible. Yet Japan was more prepared for a large earthquake than any other country. The blow that was dealt to its power generation and distribution system has the potential to delay the country’s economic recovery...

A blow to wind energy

September 4, 2012 10:13 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

My local paper says that the wind energy business is likely to slow down in 2013. They explain that it will be bad for a local manufacturer that makes parts for the turbines and who also makes machines to make the parts. When you make 10 ton hubs for the turbines it is best to make them as close to the installation site as possible. Otherwise the shipping costs can ruin your profits.

The Norton Report: Removal of conformal coating with small sandblasters

September 4, 2012 9:45 am | by Jim Norton, President, Custom Products & Services, Inc. | Blogs | Comments

The development of conformal coating technology was driven to a large degree by the military and aerospace industries. While conformal coatings are mostly used on populated, printed wiring boards (PWBs), they are also used to protect components such as transistors, diodes, rectifiers, resistors, integrated circuits (ICs) and hybrid circuits including multi-chip modules (MCMs) and chip on board (COB).

A guide to enjoying the (inevitable) robot takeover

August 30, 2012 11:02 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Let's face it: Robots are better than people.They’re more dependable than humans (i.e. no sick days), they’re usually cheaper, and they don’t complain. The downside is pretty obvious as well, at least with the primitive robots we have today:

Pieces from classic sci-fi dystopias are falling into place

August 29, 2012 12:52 pm | Articles | Comments

On June 5, the literary world lost a true legend with the passing of Ray Bradbury. His death – along with some recent events here in local news – got me thinking back to my teenage years where his masterpiece Fahrenheit 451 was required reading at my high school along with George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (and I’d be remiss if I didn’t italicize titles of literary works when thinking about my high school English-Lit teacher).

I ran across a few things

August 29, 2012 11:37 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

I have started a number of new projects. One of them is designing a simple Forth for the ARM processor. To do that I needed a simple guide to the ARM Assembly language. I like this one written by Peter Knaggs and Stephen Welsh. Peter is quite active in the Forth community, but that was just a coincidence (I'm a big Forth fan in case you didn't know).

The most overdesigned shower ever created

August 29, 2012 9:49 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

If you’ve been dying to run your business empire without ever leaving your shower, but hadn’t found a good way to do that, you should probably check out Fei Chung Billy Ho’s ‘Le Terme.’

Iran bars women from engineering courses

August 27, 2012 10:32 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Iran hasn’t exactly acquitted itself as a champion of human rights, but this news is almost too hard to believe: 77 BA and BS courses across 36 different universities will be “single gender” in the upcoming school year. ECN doesn’t normally cover news like this, but the "single gender" disciplines include computer science, nuclear physics, and a number of engineering fields...

Ensuring safety through automobile electronics

August 27, 2012 10:31 am | by Anthony Le, Winbond Electronics, www.winbond.com | Blogs | Comments

How many of us have seen cars swerving on the road because the driver is on the phone or texting? The reality is that more drivers are using mobile devices in cars and more electronics are being designed into new cars, such as smart phones, infotainment systems with large tablet-like displays, and various inputs/warning systems resulting in information overload. These gadgets dramatically

Why Nikola Tesla deserves a museum

August 27, 2012 9:52 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Nikola Tesla is arguably one of the most underappreciated scientists in history. He was a very cool, brilliant guy, but money wasn’t really his strong suit. He built a laboratory called the Wardenclyffe Tower in Shoreham, New York, which he lost due to his financial problems. The tower that Wardenclyffe was named for was destroyed in 1917, 15 years after it was built.

The light bulb you can't live without

August 24, 2012 10:13 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

I’m inundated with thoughts about light bulbs. That is to say, I think about light bulbs an inordinate amount of time.When you work with emerging technology, light bulbs are kind of a big deal. Whether it’s LEDs versus incandescent bulbs, how different bulbs affect the environment, how expensive versus how efficient, the perfect wattage for my new lamp or the environmentalists versus the homeowners...

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