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This helmet attachment could save lives

August 3, 2012 10:39 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

In 2007, 72.34 motorcycles per 100,000 registered ended up in a fatal crash, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). For the sake of comparison, for cars the number for cars is 13.10 for each 100,000. In 2010, there were 3,615 motorcycle fatalities in the United States. That’s down from a high of 5,312 in 2008.

Cells: A philosophical excursion (Part 1)

August 1, 2012 12:54 pm | by Ralf Bendlin, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

This is the first of a two-part excursion into the realm of philosophy as it relates to “cells.” Don’t worry, I’ll leave the important questions like “what is enlightenment?” to Emmanuel Kant and his successors. But since the evolution of LTE to LTE Advanced (LTE-A), it is worthwhile to ask: What is a cell?

New tech center has big plans for small devices

August 1, 2012 11:40 am | by Chris Warner | Blogs | Comments

This week I learned about an exciting new facility that promises to help microsystems vendors meet their manufacturing challenges head-on and get their devices to market faster. Lorain County Community College’s (LCCC) SMART Commercialization Center for Microsystems


Enough with the Twitter Olympics

July 31, 2012 3:38 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

It’s official, people: Twitter has taken over the Olympics. Yes, we all know about Ryan Loche and Michael Phelps. Even the Queen’s granddaughter (a silver medalist) is popping up in the Olympic news, but let’s focus on what’s important during this competition: Twitter. It seems for every story you read about the craziness of antiquated gymnastic rules and disappointing defeats, there is a story about Twitter.

Full steam ahead for the Navy’s controversial “Great Green Fleet”

July 30, 2012 4:43 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

The Navy has embarked on an ambitious green energy program, which could cost upwards of $2 billion per year. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus must convince a skeptical Congress, Senate, and public that investing in pricey alternative fuels — in the midst of the worst recession in decades — will reap dividends. 

Gumball machines delivering digital treats

July 27, 2012 10:25 am | by Clara Ennist, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Razorfish has done it: created a machine that combines the technology that most fascinates ECN editors—vending machines—with the type of technology that receives the most frustration from the ECN editorial staff—nostalgic and useless. Using Near Field Communication (NFC), Razorfish has created a Gumball machine with a twist. Rather than dispensing a piece of gum that loses its flavor and elasticity in seconds, this Gumball machine gives users a tiny piece of digital technology.

Why YouTube should remain anonymous

July 27, 2012 9:45 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Anyone who has ever spent any time on YouTube reading the comments is familiar with—as Slate calls it-- the “abandon all hope ye who enter here” atmosphere of the community. When you dare scroll down past the episode of Hogan’s Heroes you’ve been watching, you’ll find all manner of misogynistic, racist, homophobic, anti-liberal, anti-conservative, anti-religion...

A tiny bit of work

July 27, 2012 9:29 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

I'm working on a project that is using the Atmel ATTiny10 microprocessor. The processor is a cute little device with 4 I/O pins, 1,000 bytes of flash and 32 bytes of RAM not counting processor registers some of which could be used as RAM in a pinch. In order to do the development I bought an AVRISP mkII programmer which comes with version 4 of the software development tools.


Antenna selection and implementation

July 25, 2012 4:20 pm | by Chris Anderson – Chief Solutions Technologist, Spectrum Design Solutions, | Blogs | Comments

The antenna has the single largest impact on the performance of any Telit radio implementation, whether it‘s cellular, GPS or short range. It can be very difficult for developers without the proper tools and experience to select and implement an antenna properly. Antenna performance is influenced by conductive and absorptive system elements like

What’s the deal with Apple’s environmental policy?

July 16, 2012 8:44 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

You may have heard that Apple recently asked environmental watchdog EPEAT to remove 39 of its products from its registry and informed the organization it will no longer submit its computers for testing. It seems like an odd request, considering Apple helped create EPEAT in 2006 along with the government and several other big computer players.

Private subway cars: The personal luxury of today

July 13, 2012 10:05 am | by Clara Ennist, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Pininfarina, the Italian automaker, has come up with a solution to long commutes and rude passengers on the subway with its Personal Rapid Transit Vehicle.

Who is minding the Fourth Amendment gate?

July 13, 2012 9:33 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

For all the cool and exciting features that our smart phones provide, it’s easy to forget that these pocket-sized computers/entertainment centers aren’t always as liberating as they seem – and I’m not just talking about the burdens that come with the data plans. Recently, Rep. Edward J. Markey, co-chairman of the Bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, requested the 2011 surveillance records from the nation’s cellular carriers.

The future of mobile computers is rugged

July 12, 2012 9:12 am | by Jerker Hellström, CEO, Handheld Group | Blogs | Comments

We are going through a radical shift in the way people work and use computers. Increasing availability and affordability of wireless broadband is giving the global workforce true mobility, for the first time in history. Many of them will use smartly designed mobile rugged computers for their everyday computing and communication needs, instead of traditional laptops.


I put my finger on it

July 12, 2012 8:52 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

Way back in the Dark Ages (the late '70s) I was troubleshooting a military radio that had a phase locked loop (PLL) BFO. I couldn't get it to lock properly. The previous version of the loop worked fine, but the new layout was noisy. I was called in as a consultant because the regulars at the company had worked for six months on the problem and were unable to resolve it.

A plea from the trenches: Common sense in the supply chain

July 10, 2012 9:54 am | by George "Jr" Thompson, Strategic Supply Chain Manager | Blogs | Comments

I recently read a report that the Department of Defense received over 80,000 counterfeit components from a now-defunct Shenzhen-based broker named "Hong Dark Electronics." After reading this, I felt two things: amusement and terror. I felt amusement that the DoD has been authorizing purchases from a Shenzhen-based broker (and in turn receiving various types of counterfeit components)...

Multicore will, multicore will, ROCK YOU!

July 9, 2012 4:36 pm | by Juergen Mathes, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

We all know why we use multicore processors. And we all know there are a multitude of ideas out there on the best way to make use of multicore architectures. Some will succeed, while others might not. That's not hard to predict, right? So let's have a look into the crystal ball. Will we have multicore powered coffee machines? How about multicore powered vacuum cleaners?

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., | 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...

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...

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...

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