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Battery harvesting versus energy harvesting

August 6, 2013 3:06 pm | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Articles | Comments

Should you use primary batteries or energy harvesting for your low power isolated from the grid application? Are primary batteries better or worse than energy harvesting? Can you use one or the other or do you need both? Neither? It is an interesting question depending on the application, the power required, and the costs involved.

Making aviation history: A solar-powered plane

August 6, 2013 2:01 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

While most of the country is still struggling with the concept of solar power on land, one team was busy using the panels to power something a little more ambitious: a plane. The program, called Solar Impulse, is devoted to designing a plane powered entirely by solar panels, in hopes of demonstrating the potential of alternative energy.

Now’s a good time to "reclaim your name" from data brokers

August 6, 2013 12:12 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

What’s in a name? Juliet Capulet didn’t see much value in a name in her famous, fictional dialog with Romeo Montague but in the age of “big data,” try telling that to today’s big data brokers. As our modern, personal conveniences put more of our information out there to be gathered and sold, a consumer’s confidence that information or misinformation isn’t going to harm them is usually limited....

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Ban open-source blueprints for guns, save the world

August 6, 2013 10:39 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

There is now a 3D-printed rifle that can fire multiple rounds WITHOUT breaking. We’ve moved beyond the one-and-done 3D guns of the past. Now, we’re talking FOURTEEN shots before the gun fell apart.Last time we visited this topic, many commenters reminded me that people have been making guns out of random bits of things forever.

3D-printed guns lead the open-source revolution

August 6, 2013 8:58 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

3D-printed guns are the precise exegesis of the open-source movement. Blueprints for 3D-printed guns are freely available on P2P networks and other sources. Short of a complete federal seizure of the World Wide Web, the flow of information cannot be stopped. Does this prove the ultimate futility of gun control? Does information truly want to be free?

10 must-read posts from July

August 5, 2013 11:41 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Here’s a rundown of the most read, most popular, most awesome articles on the web. Take a look at what you missed the first time around or check up on an old favorite to see the conversation in the comments. Keep checking out the Lead at www.ecnmag.com and follow us on Twitter @ecnonline for our most up-to-date articles.

Odds and ends

August 5, 2013 9:59 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Here are some things I recently found interesting and useful. You might like them too. NXP customer service. They are a little hard to reach but they do get back to you pretty quickly by e-mail and the service is outstanding. I needed some help getting LPC1114FDH28 samples.

Engineers killed Detroit

August 1, 2013 11:01 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Since Detroit pleaded bankruptcy, we have been hearing all kinds of things about what killed Detroit. For one thing, high labor rates in Detroit have been touted. Another theory is that the government of Detroit killed Detroit. But the theory I like best is that engineers killed Detroit.

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Cable designed to withstand temperature extremes from -65°C to 165°C

August 1, 2013 9:54 am | Cicoil Corp. | Product Releases | Comments

Cicoil is pleased to announce the introduction of its ultra-flexible FireWire Cable. Unlike typical FireWire cables, the Cicoil cable has been designed for high flexibility, mechanical stress, temperature extremes (-65°C to +165°C) and harsh environments. And the flat cable construction guarantees clear, high speed data transmission....

Solving wind energy storage problems

July 31, 2013 8:41 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

When it comes to alternative energy, I have been a big fan of storage. Alternative energy will not be viable for large-scale power delivery to the grid without storage. My friend Clyde knows of my obsession with storage. He suggested I look into GE's new wind turbines that come with storage attached.

Mono-pole connector designed for LED lighting applications

July 30, 2013 4:34 pm | Hirose Electric Usa | Product Releases | Comments

Hirose Electric has developed the DF59S Series, a mono-pole connector that is optimized for LED lighting applications. The board-to-board connectors feature a housing free receptacle that produces a slim fit and low profile when mated, making this an excellent connector for high density LED applications.

The ridiculous amount of stuff happening in 60 seconds on the internet

July 30, 2013 2:41 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Ever wonder what happens in just one minute on the internet? Qmee, an internet ad agency of sorts, created a great infographic so you can see exactly what everyone else is looking at on the internet and maybe check some out for yourself.

First drone landing on carrier forecasts the future of aerial warfare

July 30, 2013 10:47 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Forget fancy, 5th-generation manned stealth jets. The future of aerial warfare is unmanned, with fighter jockeys shelved in favor of cold, robotic precision. Look no further than the X-47B: Last month, the autonomous drone became the first unmanned jet to land aboard a moving aircraft carrier.

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Patch makes you "invisible" to mosquitoes

July 29, 2013 2:18 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Mosquitoes are a serious health problem (and genuine pain) around the world.  Not only can their bites result in painful, itchy marks, their presence can be the harbinger for outbreaks of diseases like malaria and West Nile. It’s a persistent and problematic challenge for health officials, both in the US and in third world countries.

Connectors simplify installation on high-performance coax cables

July 29, 2013 1:40 pm | Rf Industries | Product Releases | Comments

The RFN-1006-49I features a solderless captive pin and the RFN-1006-4I features a crimp pin. Both connectors are compatible for high performance cables such as Times Microwave LMR-400, CommScope CNT-400, Belden  9913, and RF Industries RFI-CU400.

Data collection disclosures have app developers thinking outside the box

July 29, 2013 11:30 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Last week, some of the players in the mobile app world announced an agreement to test a voluntary code of conduct requiring app developers who participate in the program to disclose what types of personal information the app collects about the user.

A guide to ZigBee device developers for the smart connected home

July 29, 2013 11:15 am | by Cees Link, CEO of GreenPeak Technologies, www.greenpeak.com | Articles | Comments

For decades, technology experts and home automation enthusiasts have been talking about and promising the emergence of the smart, connected home. They have foretold a home connected by multitude of sensors, monitoring applications such as HVAC, home security, and even the health of the inhabitants, and all controlled remotely over the web via a smartphone or a tablet.

Beach-goers: You're standing in a key ingredient for semiconductors

July 26, 2013 12:37 pm | by George Karalias, Rochester Electronics | Blogs | Comments

As temperatures in Newburyport, Mass., skyrocket to triple digits and the humidity has us gasping for air; it is hard not to find yourself adhering to the beach-seeker mentality. As members of the semiconductor industry, we look at the beach a little differently than most.

Oh, the humanity! Army to deploy military blimps

July 25, 2013 11:02 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The military is going decidedly low-tech with its latest experiment – blimps. The Army’s anti-missile blimp system, JLENS, will make its way to the East Coast next year. The high-tech/low-tech radar system can detect cruise missiles, light planes, drones, boats and vehicles on the ground....

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.

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

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