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Robotcolypse: When the robots take over

December 6, 2012 2:08 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Well friends, it appears the end is almost upon us. I’m not even referring to the end of the world a la the Mayan Calendar but rather an entirely different kind of a not-so-hostile takeover: robots. We’ve touched on robots taking over before, but this time, it’s getting serious. This robot was designed to actually replace humans.

Saudi Arabia's new "tracking" system for women

December 6, 2012 12:33 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

When you work in the tech world, your days are usually full of creative people doing incredible things; on the darker days, you occasionally stumble on people (or governments) using technology in ways that make your skin crawl. Reports out of Saudi Arabia are saying when

Retailers employ crony capitalism in push for online sales tax

December 5, 2012 5:11 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) has written a letter to Congress urging them to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act by the end of the year. This "e-fairness legislation" would allegedly "close the decades-old loophole enjoyed by online-only retailers" and "restore free market principles."

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Why Android is beating Apple

November 29, 2012 3:26 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

It wasn’t so long ago the Apple was the phone to have. Yes, there were the holdouts who took a dislike to the brand’s smartphone monopoly, but for the most part, if you wanted a phone that worked, you took a trip to Steve Jobs land. It seems, however, that the tide is now changing....

7 things I am thankful for...

November 20, 2012 3:21 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

When I was little, at some point during the Thanksgiving season we would write down things we were thankful for. It was usually at school, written on a turkey that I’d made by outlining my hand, and it was usually things like candy, puppies, family, food, and probably whatever else was in my direct line of sight while I was writing.

What I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving

November 20, 2012 11:46 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

It's that special time of year when we all get bloated from eating too much turkey, get into fist fights at Best Buy over that last doorbuster sale, and enjoy Christmas music that started in June. But there is much to be thankful for, and it goes far beyond my propensity for Holiday-induced mayhem.

Top 5 free apps for the holiday season

November 20, 2012 9:22 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Back in the dog days of summer, we offered up a list of the 6 must-have apps for a stress-free summer. It was all about keeping kids distracted, watching your spending, and utilizing apps that got you to the relaxation phase faster.Now we’ve entered a season that can feel entirely the opposite of relaxing: holiday season

This watch could save your kid’s life

November 19, 2012 11:35 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

If you’ve ever felt that heart-in-throat, hyperventilating, out-of-body feeling of not being able to find your kid in a park or after school, only to have her reappear after a few seconds of mind-numbing panic, you can understand why someone would want to invent a Lojack for children.

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In defense of the Tesla Model S

November 19, 2012 9:10 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

When Motor Trend announced an electric car was their pick for Car of the Year, something tells me you could have heard a pin drop in the car world. An electric car? They must have rigged the vote.Well, my friends, I hate to break it to you, but Consumer Reports just agreed with Motor Trend,

Trending at electronica: More from less

November 16, 2012 11:51 am | by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director | Blogs | Comments

Okay, so it’s no surprise that the engineering community is continuing to be taxed by a need to shrink both the number of components housed on the board as well as the size of them. So it’s been great to see how a number of semiconductor, power supply, and connector companies are working to provide these solutions.

Greatest advertising technique of all time (Hint: Involves urinals)

November 15, 2012 4:18 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Here at ECN, we often talk about alternative energy options. Sometimes it’s solar power, other times wind power, and occasionally we dabble in the world of electric cars. But there is one energy option we’ve been sorely remiss in covering: pee-power.

Raspberry Pi, Android accessory access, a Smarter Zeus and 48-Volt Systems ... someday

November 15, 2012 1:47 pm | by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director | Blogs | Comments

My first trip to electronica has proven both awesome and challenging. Awesome in the number of new technologies that are on display; challenging in navigating a show that is so expansive. Awesome in how much I love Munich; challenging in that my body is not loving the amount of bier being consumed.

This “smart” traffic light could cut commutes by 60 percent

November 14, 2012 11:08 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Were you aware of the fact that you waste one week per year sitting in traffic? One week per year. That is 7 days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes, stuck in traffic.  Not only is it a huge waste of time, breathing in the exhaust fumes while you sit and mentally-fume can actually be dangerous to your health

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ECN’s Veteran’s Day tribute: Remembering those who’ve served

November 9, 2012 2:50 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

On the cusp of Veteran’s Day, I’m reminded that a disproportionate number of our friends and colleagues served in the military. And that makes me proud to work in this industry. ECN — and her parent company, Advantage Business Media — is no exception. You can’t swing a dead cat (or give a resounding Hoooah!) without hitting a veteran.

Do ultracapacitors make wind energy a sustainable option?

November 5, 2012 12:27 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

The idea of using wind to create energy isn’t exactly new. The first examples can be traced back to 200 B.C. in Persia – a creation of Heron of Alexandria. That particular device simply harnessed the wind to power a machine, so a case could be made that the first real windmills were built a little bit later, in the 7th century in Sistan, modern day Iran.

Why I don't trust cars that think for themselves

November 1, 2012 10:32 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Most drivers wouldn't feel comfortable just handing over control of their vehicle to, well, their vehicle, but a new system from Nissan may do just that. The Autonomous Emergency Steering System, as the name suggests, will take over steering in emergency situations in which a crash could be avoided when you remove human error from the equation.

Can video games teach angry kids emotional control?

October 30, 2012 4:00 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Though video games are often blamed for instilling violent instincts in children, the Boston Children's Hospital has developed a game that is designed to do just the opposite. In a recent study published in Adolescent Psychiatry, the children's hospital described a game that they believe will be able to teach children with severe anger issues how to maintain an acceptable level of calm...

Company develops device that fools red-light cameras

October 24, 2012 12:27 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Red-light cameras are a hot-button issue. One side calls them a necessary safety precaution, while the other questions their constitutionality. Not to mention, since the red-light camera are run by big business that occasionally gets paid by the ticket, it seems a little shady.

Is a pacemaker capable of mass murder?

October 24, 2012 9:05 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

When you are a patient in a hospital, you tend to expect that the electronics are either top of the line or at least functioning correctly. You expect that the devices doctors implant in your body are reliable and safe. These seem like safe assumptions. Unfortunately, you could be mistaken.

Declassified documents describe real-life flying saucer

October 23, 2012 11:32 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

X-Files fans, conspiracy theorists, and the tinfoil hat crowd were right all along! Sorta… In the 1950s, the US government really was building a flying saucer. But it didn’t involve little green men, human-alien hybrids, or David Duchovny; this isn’t what you’d call a "smoking gun."

The best solution for dealing with space junk

October 19, 2012 2:26 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

There is a lot of junk in space. There’s American junk, Russian junk, Chinese junk, and corporate junk. There are satellite pieces and discarded rocket parts and metal bits. Basically, all the junk is just floating around clonking into other junk and causing general mayhem when they get a bit too close to the stuff that’s not junk.

Could this "shocking" technology save 12 billion dollars a year?

October 19, 2012 9:20 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | News | Comments

One of the biggest challenges in immobile patients is bedsores. Because patients usually end up laying in a bed or sitting in a wheelchair, a lot of pressure is exerted on the skin and tissue over bony areas of the body like the heel, ankle, hips, or buttocks. That unrelenting pressure can often result in bedsores, a difficult- to- treat condition.

Could NASA help paraplegics walk?

October 18, 2012 9:37 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

NASA has been known to make pretty large contributions to society. But they might have outdone themselves on this one. The agency is currently in the research and development phase for a powered armor suit that could one day allow paraplegics to walk. The suit, called X1, is a robotic exoskeleton designed to be worn over the body to assist in leg movements.

F-35 to make Hollywood debut in Superman flick

October 16, 2012 5:32 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

According to Wired, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter — the oft-delayed, oft-maligned, “backbone of America’s tactical aviation fleet” — is set to make its big-screen debut in the Superman reboot, Man of Steel. To be sure, this won’t be the first time the JSF has appeared onscreen. A computer-generated F-35 battled The Hulk in this summer’s blockbuster hit, The Avengers.

The 10-letter keyboard that will make your head hurt

October 11, 2012 4:50 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

The ASETNIOP keyboard is one of those things that may be great for future generations but will have a tough time integrating itself into the current workforce. The keyboard works on the premise that the traditional setup for typing is structurally inefficient, and you really only need 10 buttons to type

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