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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”....

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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....

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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”...

Adults, don’t blame teenagers for your bad phone habits

March 14, 2014 9:01 am | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Teenagers these days. They can’t go one minute without their cell phone. But apparently, neither can adults. A new study shows that one in three parents are using their cell phones almost nonstop during meal time at restaurants, and it’s probably safe to say this kind of behavior goes on at home, too.

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SMT PC Board Jumpers designed to link Circuit Board traces/tracks

March 13, 2014 3:41 pm | Keystone Electronics Corp. | Product Releases | Comments

A new series of SMT PC Board Jumpers designed to link Circuit Board traces/tracks are the latest connectivity devices available from Keystone Electronics Corp. (Astoria, NY). These space-saving SMT jumpers are uniquely suited as alternative options where thru-hole jumper use is not feasible.

Ridiculous uses for ridiculous gadgets

March 13, 2014 8:54 am | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

I recently showed you some outlandish gadgets people are buying. Now I'm back to show you what people are using their ridiculous gadgets for: 1. Robot-penned papers 2. Laser-printed tacos 3. Air hockey robot 4. USB pet rock 5. HAPIfork 6. Internet tasting electrode 7. iBreathalyzer 8. QuantumVET 9. Isophone 10. iPad surgery.

This steering wheel accessory lets you surf the web (and kill pedestrians) while driving

March 12, 2014 12:44 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

We all like to text our friends, write memos, watch movies, and change diapers while behind the wheel, but how do we do so ergonomically? The AutoExec Wheelmate Work Tray allows you to be productive, keep your eyes off the road, and do so efficiently.

Real-time processing drives head-up display advances in cars

March 12, 2014 10:27 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

Today’s automobile driver receives an overwhelming amount of information pertaining to the safe operation of their car like no time before. Whether it’s a GPS system mapping out precise directions from point a to point b with countless detours along the way, rendering the old paper map to history...

This personal drone shocks intruders with 80,000 volts

March 12, 2014 8:56 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Who needs a gun when you have CUPID? And by Cupid, I don’t mean that fat cherub that comes out around February 14th to shoot people with arrows — though the shooting part isn’t that far off. This CUPID, which stands for Chaotic Unmanned Personal Intercept Drone, is actually a personal security safety UAV.

The 10 most outlandish gadgets

March 11, 2014 12:37 pm | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Most tech gadgets are nothing short of miraculous. But I think these are nothing short of ridiculous. 1. Wake'n Bacon, 2. Caffeine Machine, 3. Solar Hat, 4. Magic Wand Remote, 5. BeerPager, 6. iTypewriter, 7. WheelMate, 8. Spy Pen, 9. Text Message Chandelier, 10. iSmell.

Why it’s time for a useful Internet of Things

March 11, 2014 11:41 am | by Matthias Poppel, Chief Operation Officer, EnOcean | Blogs | Comments

It was one of the hot trends at CES show: Communicating devices and objects. There were a toothbrush, a fridge, or even a garbage can that send information to the smart phone. It shows two things: First, there are many technical possibilities today to realize the Internet of Things.

Let’s shelve legislation for smart phone tracking in stores – for now

March 10, 2014 5:00 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

There’s nothing new about being tracked online. Most Internet users have come to realize that’s the price they pay for free content and services online. But many people do not realize retailers like department stores and big box stores can track a customer’s movements via their cell phones.

Stamped spring pin achieves 14.3 gram actuation force per ball

March 10, 2014 3:01 pm | Ironwood Electronics, Inc. | Product Releases | Comments

Ironwood Electronics (Eagan, Mn) recently introduced a new BGA socket addressing high performance requirements for testing BGA devices - CBT-BGA-7501. The contactor is a stamped spring pin with 14.3 gram actuation force per ball and cycle life of 125,000 insertions.

Influential women in engineering

March 10, 2014 11:07 am | by Jenny Beswick, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Throughout history there has been female shining stars leading the way in engineering; from Hypatia who invented the Hydrometer in ancient Greece, to Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, who developed the first compiler for a computer programming language in the 1950s....

New competition for top mobile OEMs

March 10, 2014 10:46 am | by Joe Madden, Mobile Experts | Blogs | Comments

Over the past year, Mobile Experts has conducted deep investigations into Macro Base Stations, Active Antenna Systems , Small Cells, Cloud RAN, Carrier Wi-Fi, and DAS. Every time that we talk to an enthusiastic young company about one of these new technologies...

How to please everybody - ECN's new Editor-in-Chief

March 7, 2014 10:54 am | by David Mantey, Editor-in-Chief | Articles | Comments

You can’t ... thank you for reading. Before I begin shooting down the theory of every shiny, happy person in tireless pursuit of a society built upon shiny, happy people, let me formally introduce myself. I’m David Mantey, ECN’s new editor-in-chief, and, to exhaust the word in the second sentence, I couldn’t be happier to be here.

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