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The Norton Report: Addressing ergonomics and repetitive motion injuries in manufacturing

July 5, 2012 11:39 am | by Jim Norton, President, Custom Products & Services, Inc., www.customproducts.com | Blogs | Comments

In today’s manufacturing environment, ergonomics and repetitive motion injuries are major issues that every business must address to insure production levels remain at expected levels and employee injuries remain as infrequent as possible.  Although many of the hand assembly processes have been replaced with automated equipment over the past 20 years, there is still a surprising number of

The first “Code of Conduct” for UAVs

July 3, 2012 11:50 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

A trade group has written the first "Code of Conduct" related to unmanned aerial vehicles. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), which boasts more than 7,000 members across 60 countries, released its treatise in response to growing privacy concerns toward domestic UAV usage.

Mobile payment apps: Good for the seller, good for the buyer

July 2, 2012 4:35 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

A few months ago, I was buying a large photograph for my dad at a Christmas market in Bethlehem, PA. When it came time to pay, the vendor gave me the “cash or credit” option.  Intrigued by the lack of a credit card machine and rarity of having the credit option at a craft show, I went for my card. The vendor whipped out his iPad, swiped the card through a Square card reader attachment...

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What happened to transflective displays?

June 29, 2012 9:40 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

The most notable feature of this year’s SID Display Week was what wasn’t there: transflective displays. Sure, they were somewhere, tucked away in a corner or hidden in plain sight. But no one was talking about them anymore. Their conspicuous absence was underscored by their ubiquitous presence at the last two Display Weeks. So why did transflective displays abruptly disappear?

Why Canon should kill its mixed reality glasses product

June 27, 2012 8:48 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Canon is debuting their Mixed Reality Glasses—just in case you suddenly have the desire to totally throw off your entire vestibular system and sense of reality. You know, like at a fun weekend party. The goggles fall somewhere between Google Glass and RED Classic ViewMaster 3D Viewer and Collector Reel. If you’re still not experiencing a vivid mental image, they look awful, heavy, and awkward...

How many moving companies do I need for my multicore performance?

June 26, 2012 8:41 am | by Atul Verma, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

Suppose you are moving out of your house and you call a moving company to help. The moving company then sends a truck and couple of strong guys to do the heavy lifting. Let’s say it takes eight hours for this set of movers to pack all of the contents of your house into boxes and load the truck. The question is – if you were to call eight moving companies (cores), would they together be able to complete the move in one hour?

Fitness monitors: Moving beyond glorified pedometers to maximize performance

June 25, 2012 4:28 pm | by Clara Ennist, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Most people overestimate the calories they burn during workouts and underestimate the calories they consume. Even as a longtime ballet dancer and avid devotee of Bikram yoga and Pilates, I too have been guilty of the occasional post-workout overindulgence. Online information, while helpful for a rough estimate of calories burned, is often incorrect or misleading.

6 must-have apps for a stress-free summer

June 22, 2012 8:51 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Between the heat, the busy weekends, and the school-free kids, summer can be more stressful than stress-free. Don’t worry, like every problem these days, there’s an app for that. For the sake of sanity, we’ve compiled a list of the best apps to keep your summer from feeling like a punishment. Nothing kills a day at the beach like an unexpected, hostile Facebook message from your mom...

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Why I won’t trade my iPad for a Windows tablet

June 21, 2012 9:13 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

When Microsoft announced their not-so-secret news that they were releasing a tablet on Monday, it didn’t really take anyone by surprise. It was only a matter of time before the big-name competitor delivered a platform for Windows 8. For the sake of full disclosure, I am an Apple fan(atic). I haven’t owned a non-mac computer in years—after watching every single Dell laptop crash in college...

It's a bird...it's a plane...it's a Volkswagen!

June 19, 2012 4:39 pm | by Sara Cohen, Editorial Intern, WDD Magazine | Articles | Comments

The ‘People’s Car Project’ debuted in China last year, as an experimental website aimed at soliciting ideas for future car models from Chinese inhabitants. The site received 119,000 concept-based ideas from its 33 million hits. The project aims to bring the Chinese public- VW’s largest market- to the forefront of its design team, and help the German automaker develop the “Volkswagen model of the future.”

Getting kitted up

June 19, 2012 10:48 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

If you are interested in going into the kit business, Jameco has a service for you. The process for getting your kit made is simple. You submit your kit idea to their forum and if it gets enough votes Jameco will go into production with your design. Kind of like Kickstarter. They are partial to parts in the Jameco catalog of course, but it is not a requirement.

Kickstarter: Helpful website or project killer?

June 18, 2012 10:46 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

It seems innovative technology often gets stuck in the dark chasm that exists between a great idea and a final product. Between skyrocketing production costs, the difficulties of marketing on a limited budget, and unexpected hiccups, some projects never get off the ground. Kickstarter, a crowd-sourced funding website where inventors raise enough to manufacture their product, seems like the perfect solution to technological limbo.

Rugbeer: Tackling technology in advertising

June 15, 2012 8:45 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Have you ever had a vending machine eat your dollar while you stand, helpless, as it destroys your dream of a tasty afternoon snack? Honestly, who hasn’t wanted to tackle a vending machine at least once? Here’s your chance. Following in the footsteps of Coca-Cola’s Hug Machine, Ogilvy+Mather public relations has taken creative advertising to an entirely different level.

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Does advertising kill technology?

June 13, 2012 8:48 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

It’s something we hear a lot: “The [xyz] technology sounds amazing; too bad the advertisers are going  to ruin it.” For example, Google Glass. A seemingly exciting and ambitious piece of technology -- until you realize it means having involuntary, interactive advertising experiences one inch from your eye all day.

Few uses for iPhone battery life extender Third Rail

June 12, 2012 1:06 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

iPhone road-warriors have several power options: They can moderate their usage (yeah, right), carry a charger, or tote a back-up battery system. Third Rail Mobility has an elegant product that, while limited in application, serves as a great back-up power source.

Hacking space

June 12, 2012 9:22 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

Brent at Talk-Polywell (a nuclear fusion board) left a link there to a list of Maker/Hacker spaces involved in developing equipment for use in space. Here is the list: Hackers In Space. Let me add that it is not just an American phenomenon. One of the spaces on the list is in China. They are focusing on food production in limited spaces.

Alternatives to fan-cooled power supplies

June 7, 2012 10:57 am | by David Norton, TDK-Lambda Americas | Blogs | Comments

The majority of power supplies in the mid to high power range require forced air-cooling when operated within a defined ambient air temperature range. Forced air-cooling is achieved either by fans that come as part of the power supply or by fans provided within the system or end-product.

The seven deadly counterfeit cable sins

June 7, 2012 10:32 am | by David Fallon & David Gallagher, L-com | Blogs | Comments

Counterfeit cables are bulk cables or cable assemblies sold under false pretenses to undercut legitimate manufacturers. Unscrupulous sellers have found many ways to cut costs, but at a price. If you get a low bid for your next cable buy, check these factors to make sure you are getting what you are paying for.

Finding a board supplier

June 7, 2012 8:31 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

I'm having a little difficulty with my board supplier. Lead times are lengthening which is putting my schedules for some projects in trouble. The market for the PCB service I'm using/looking for is kind of new and obviously things haven't settled out. And what is the service? Small volumes - 1 to 25 pieces.

Less time commuting, less time polluting

June 6, 2012 4:20 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

If you’ve ever commuted, at some point you’ve probably felt like you’re spending more time stuck in traffic than at your desk. A team of students in Germany is trying to shorten your commute, and limit the amount of emissions released into the atmosphere by your car while you’re stuck in traffic. The project, called Greenway, is a GPS with the ability to access a cloud containing real-time traffic information.

When life gives you lemons, make a touchpad

June 4, 2012 10:33 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

The MaKey MaKey, designed by  MIT Media Lab PhD students Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, is a circuit board that turns everyday objects into touchpads which can interact with your computer.  The idea was to create an easy-to-use inventor’s kit that would let from a creative child to savvy grandma be an inventor. First, pick two objects that you want to use as the touchpad.

Elimination of handset subsidies would represent tectonic shift

June 1, 2012 4:36 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

Mobile-phone subsidies may go the way of the rotary dial if an audacious plan by Telefonica and Vodafone bears fruit. The telecom giants are using Spain as the testing grounds for an experiment that could irrevocably change the relationship between consumers and mobile-service providers.

The Tinkers Toolbox – Clint Cole and Ken Connor

May 31, 2012 3:11 pm | Podcasts | Comments

In this Tinkers Toolbox we head to campus with Clint Cole, president and founder of Digilent, as well as instructor at Washington State University’s computer engineering department; and Ken Connor, professor of electrical, computer and systems engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

Is Google Glass too ambitious?

May 31, 2012 3:00 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Google recently announced a new product called “Project Glass” out of super-secret Google[x] Lab. The idea behind the project is creating light-weight augmented—reality glasses that allow the user to access apps, information, messages, texts and basically anything else available on a smart phone without the bulky interface.

Fat finger syndrome solution found with finite element analysis

May 31, 2012 12:13 pm | Blogs | Comments

Flat touch screens operated by pressure sensors may be taking over pad computers and smart phones, but keypads and keyboards are still widely used in many electronic devices. Desktop computers, laptops, some cell phones, remote controls and appliances, such as washing machines and dryers, all still rely on the touch of a finger on a spring-loaded key. Samsung engineers decided to delve deeper into the fat finger phenomenon by

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