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Watch the world burn with this laser beam eyewear

April 3, 2014 10:46 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Okay, so you can’t actually purchase these glasses, but they just look really cool. Patrick Priebe, who created the glasses, makes it very clear that they are not for sale and you won’t get blue prints. Priebe, who has a history of creating weapons from movies (i.e. Ironman’s Laser Gauntlet), is a German laser weapons hobbyist....

Why can’t automakers seem to learn?

April 2, 2014 9:07 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net | Blogs | Comments

Years ago, the Toyota “unintended acceleration” story dominated the headlines for, at first, days, and then weeks. Through the end of 2009 and well into 2010, it was the biggest story in the manufacturing world by a long-shot, and to this day remains one of the biggest industrial blunders in recent history....

How Russia ended up with Ukraine’s dolphin army

April 2, 2014 7:22 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

There have been many interesting political and social ramifications to the Soviet Union’s — I mean, Russia’s — attempted annexation of Crimea, but let’s talk about what everyone is really concerned with: Who will get custody of the Ukraine’s dolphin army? (For the record, this is not an April Fool’s joke.)

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Wire-to-board connector system serves thin-screen LED televisions and monitors

April 1, 2014 2:53 pm | Molex Incorporated | Product Releases | Comments

Molex Incorporated (Lisle, IL) introduces its IllumiMate 1.00 and 1.25 mm pitch wire-to-board connector system, offering today’s flat-panel LED television and PC monitor manufacturers more mating styles, voltage ratings, circuit sizes and locking types than any similar connector system....

5 questions OEMs should ask a chip maker

April 1, 2014 10:15 am | by Eran Eshed, Co-Founder and VP Marketing and Business Development at Altair Semiconductor | Blogs | Comments

One of the components of your future device is a cellular chip. There are many chip providers from which to choose, all eager to help bring your product to market. The decision to partner with a chipset vendor is not an easy one, and requires a significant amount of research, time and resources....

TSA deploys drones to watch you from space

April 1, 2014 8:47 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Citing the ongoing domestic terrorist threat (aka, the “most dire threat to national security since Grandma Betty at the airport”), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has deployed a fleet of drones with the ability to destroy dangerous contraband like baby formula and remotely monitor “shady individuals” like 10-year-olds and grandparents....

The best internship I’ve ever had

March 31, 2014 1:37 pm | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer and editor, but before working here I was ready to shelve that dream. I came to ECN from several solid months of terrible luck on the job front. Before my interview, I remember painstakingly researching the magazine and feeling my knees shake....

Stop the madness! Facebook’s purchase of Oculus won’t trigger Armageddon

March 31, 2014 8:56 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The alternate title for this piece could’ve been “The Internet entitlement mentality” (part II), because that’s what Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus has triggered in millions of disgruntled techies and industry analysts. On Tuesday, March 25, Facebook acquired Oculus VR for approximately $2 billion....

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Photos of the Day: The half-drone, half-satellite StratoBus

March 31, 2014 8:22 am | by ECN Staff | News | Comments

A project known as StratoBus has emerged from Thales in France. StratoBus totes the potential of precise, autonomous observation and communications assistance, and the first prototype from Thales is expected in the next five years. The autonomous airship operating at an altitude of about 20 km....

Obama’s proposal to end NSA bulk phone data collection still presents a disconnect

March 28, 2014 1:14 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

If the President has his way, the NSA’s ability to reach out and touch your phone data will be curtailed a bit, or so it seems. It’s been nearly a year since the public was made aware of the government’s widespread collection of communications data, and President Obama is looking to strike a balance between

Chemicals not in your line of sight? RFID gives you a clear view

March 27, 2014 1:24 pm | by Angela Hoffman, Northern Apex Corporation | Blogs | Comments

There are known issues within laboratories that involve tracking, inventorying and accounting for compounds, chemicals and reagents. If this issue has ever presented itself in your laboratory, radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions will help you and your staff....

Help NASA pick the next space suit

March 27, 2014 8:44 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Last time America was allowed to vote on something online, we ended up with a cat as the new piece to Monopoly. (Thanks, America.) Absolutely no one was surprised because when you count on the internet to select things, you’re playing with fire....

Crimp-style, wire-to-board, sub-miniature size connector serves LED applications

March 26, 2014 12:17 pm | Product Releases | Comments

The new LEX Series wire-to-board, crimp style, disconnectable connectors recently introduced by JST Corporation (Waukegan, IL) offer subminiature size and reliable contact construction for high-density applications. These 2.5 mm (.098”) pitch, bottom entry, SMT connectors are polarized....

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Solar…toilet?! Zap waste into fuel

March 26, 2014 8:04 am | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Human excrement is probably one of the most embarrassing and least glamorous topics out there. But the Sol-Char Toilet is starting a conversation that’s hard to miss. That’s right, it’s a solar-powered toilet. This toilet turns poo into power, and the most astounding part is that it’s 100% sanitary.

This giant crab robot is straight out of your nightmares

March 25, 2014 10:04 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Picture the most horrifying crustaceans on planet Earth (or Science Fiction), toss in some H.G. Lovecraft, and you’ve got the Crabster CR200 autonomous underwater vehicle — the creepiest robot since that female droid from Metropolis (but without the sex appeal and with a healthy dose of *%^& your pants)....

Watch a snowman explode at 4500 frames per second

March 25, 2014 8:35 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Though the first day official day of spring has come and gone, those of us still looking at snow piles while waiting for another storm to hit this week aren’t celebrating just yet. In fact, about 99 percent of the conversations I have seem to be about people being “over” winter and “tired of snow”....

Volvo thinks magnets could guide development of autonomous cars

March 24, 2014 9:20 am | by Allegra Sparta, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Autonomous cars seem to be the future of individual transportation. Personally, I’ve never minded lengthy drives — just throw on some tunes and cruise along to your destination. But for commuters and other motorists, self-driving cars could be the answer to their problems....

Should we use technology to punish prisoners infinitely?

March 24, 2014 8:56 am | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Life extension and enhancement technology: Gift or curse? May be the latter, at least for prisoners. In the digital age, capital punishment becomes more complicated. If we make lifetimes infinite, what will happen to life sentences? New technologies seek to alter prisoners’ experiences of time....

Who will win the wireless power dogfight?

March 21, 2014 10:37 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

It’s like Betamax and VHS. The United States and the Soviet Union. Tom and Jerry. The furious tussle between direct induction and resonant magnetic induction played out at the 2014 Applied Power and Electronics Conference (APEC). This is a desperate fight that’ll determine the future of wireless power....

Latching connectors target high shock and vibration applications

March 21, 2014 9:56 am | Omnetics Connector Corporation | Product Releases | Comments

Omnetics Connector Corporation (Minneapolis, MN) announced its latching Micro-D connector can be mated or un-mated without the need for a screwdriver or hand tools. Built to meet or exceed the testing specified in MIL-DTL-83513 specifications, the small...

This app could prevent 1,600 deaths every day

March 19, 2014 3:58 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

The move towards mobile medicine is pretty incredible in a few different ways. For one, it offers an aging population —in the U.S. it’s the baby boomers—an option for treatment that doesn’t involve more doctor’s offices or hospitals than necessary. On the other hand, mobile medicine provides a great way....

Robodog: Man's newest best friend

March 19, 2014 7:01 am | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | News | Comments

 What kid doesn’t want a puppy? Come to think of it, what adult doesn’t want a puppy? Yet there’s always a list of reasons why that isn’t a good idea. A new robotic dog may be the answer. Zoomer, the latest in robotic dog technology, does everything a “real” dog would do— barking, running, tail-wagging —without any of the fur or

Finding the next Steve Jobs

March 17, 2014 11:52 am | by Chris Fox, PDD Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

3D printing isn’t new, especially to the engineering community, but it can’t be denied that additive manufacturing has been under the marketing spotlight in the last 18 months. That’s why Luis Lopez and Clay Tweel found themselves working on an indie-documentary featuring some of the biggest “little” companies in 3D printing.

Airships are making a comeback

March 17, 2014 9:25 am | by Allegra Sparta, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Hopefully this comeback is a little less explosive than the Hindenburg’s reputation. A UK design firm recently unveiled the Airlander, a football field-sized airship that they hope will become the new standard for transportation — not of passengers, but of supplies.

This technology could lower traffic fatalities by 40 percent

March 14, 2014 4:59 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

London, like any busy city, is full of people and cars and everyone is trying to use the same roads. In order to make the systems run more efficiently, London is investing in intelligent pedestrian crossing to the tune of several billion pounds. The system, which is actually called the Pedestrian Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique—catchy name—or “SCOOT”...

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