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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. 

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.

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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....

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...

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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.

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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.

Should preemptive legislation be considered before a new technology takes off?

June 11, 2013 10:57 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

In just two years’ time, the skies around us may get a lot more crowded. Drones have received a lot of attention lately, thanks to military operations overseas and matters of congressional oversight. In September 2015, the federal government plans to issue its first drone permits for domestic use.

The everyday usefulness of the problem statement

June 10, 2013 1:32 pm | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Blogs | Comments

Last week, I wrote about how our continuous improvement and process improvement tools and methods can be used any time and discussed the Parameter Diagram or P-diagram as an example. Let’s continue that thread and look at the ubiquitous usefulness of the problem statement.

Is this the connected home’s wave of the future?

June 10, 2013 12:44 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Here’s some news that will make couch potatoes everywhere rejoice: Computer scientists at the University of Washington have come up with a sensorless and cameraless way to detect human movements, allowing for gesture control of their electronics and household appliances.

Yes, manufacturing is back in the U.S.

June 10, 2013 10:56 am | by Harry Moser, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

PD&D Executive Editor David Mantey recently published the article “Is It Possible to Bring Manufacturing Back to the U.S.?” The article offers some good insight on the reshoring debate, as well as some common misinterpretation of the subject. Mr. Mantey and his subject Mr. Young acknowledge that reshoring, or not offshoring, has become a viable alternative in the consciousness of the business world.

Right angle Category 5E cable assemblies provide additional EMI protection

June 7, 2013 1:57 pm | L-Com Global Connectivity | Product Releases | Comments

L-com, Inc. has continued releasing new right angle Ethernet cable assembly lines with its new shielded right angle Cat 5e cable assemblies with low-smoke, zero halogen (LSZH) jackets. The new cables are expected to provide additional electro-magnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference    

DIY hot-air iron

June 5, 2013 10:20 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

A while back, I wrote a column on fine-pitch soldering. Several commenters noted that a hot-air soldering iron was the hand tool of choice when it came to fine pitch soldering by hand. So I decided to look up the tools and found that they were out of my price range. I still wanted one.

Capturing lost revenue: 5 steps for semiconductor companies

June 5, 2013 9:17 am | by Greenberg, senior director of business development at Model N Inc. | Blogs | Comments

The global economy is on the upswing in 2013, which means semiconductor companies have a great opportunity to reap the benefits. According to analyst firm IHS, revenue is expected to grow 6.4 percent this year after two straight years of decline.

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