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Watch five monster machines battle it out for Jenga champion

May 2, 2014 6:59 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

I love Cats. I just find them to be awesome in their majestic beauty. I am, of course, talking about Caterpillar machines. (I’ve been strictly a “dog” girl from day one.) My obsession with these beauties requires a little background. My dad is a builder, so it was just part of growing up to have big toys everywhere....

Check out the newest NASA space suit design

May 1, 2014 8:28 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Here at ECN, we’ve been waiting with bated breath to hear which space suit design the public chose for the future trips to Mars. About a month ago, NASA announced they would hold a content to select what the suits would look like.  Let’s take a moment to review the suit, itself. It’s called the Z-2 and is the successor to the Z-1 suit....

Russian official: The US should use trampolines to get to space

April 30, 2014 9:45 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Back when Russia first began “acquiring” Ukraine, NASA immediately cut all ties with the Slavic republic, except for efforts related to the International Space Station (the US relies on Russian spacecraft to get to the ISS). And now, after a fresh round of US sanctions, a Russian defense official has a helpful suggestion — the US should use trampolines to get into space....

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Think tank: Russian stealth fighter is superior to the F-35

April 23, 2014 1:00 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Air Power Australia is no fan of the F-35. Let’s get that out of the way. For years, they’ve been panning the Joint Strike Fighter, praising the F-22, and warning about emerging threats from Russia and China — threats that could best the F-35 in single combat....

The new Wild West

April 22, 2014 12:11 pm | by David Mantey, Editor-in-Chief | Articles | Comments

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a myth, legend, buzzword, Microsoft misfire (Intelligent Systems, anyone?), market disruptor, as well as an elusive term that many are trying to corral into some microcosm of sustainable profitability in an emerging market. Any new product that features something remotely relatable to wireless connectivity...

Confessions of a gadget hoarder

April 21, 2014 11:12 am | by David Mantey, Editor-in-Chief | Blogs | Comments

I must admit that when the gadget-hoarding topic crossed my desk, I was immediately intrigued. After all, it touches two ever-popular topics: life-simplifying gadgetry and mess-justifying hoarding. The revelation forced me to take a moment to reflect, since topics — particularly via email — no longer physically cross a desk....

Astronaut pee could help get us to Mars

April 21, 2014 8:16 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Urine, made up of more than 95% water, is one of the cleanest fluids in the human body. And on a protracted space mission lasting more than a year (one-way) — to Mars, for example — that fact becomes critically important....

Always connected: How the Internet of Things utilizes digital ICs

April 18, 2014 12:14 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

A tremendous convergence of technology is taking place at homes across the globe. The number of wireless sensing Internet of Things (IoT) devices is expected to reach 5 billion by 2019, according to ON World. For one, the Internet has moved beyond letting consumers access oceans of information from their living room....

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This is what shooting a drone with a machine gun looks like

April 18, 2014 9:59 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

On today’s edition of destroying things with machine guns, we find ourselves in Arizona during the semi-annual Big Sandy Shoot, which is the largest machine-gun shoot in the US. We also find ourselves learning a valuable lesson: It’s really hard to shoot down drones....

Excellence in electronics

April 18, 2014 8:32 am | by David Mantey, Editor-in-Chief | Articles | Comments

Last year, ECN opened up nominations for the 2014 ECN Impact Awards in an effort to recognize the top products and services spanning the design engineering landscape. At first, I was skeptical of this new endeavor coming out of a recent economic slump that seemed to halt....

Solar-powered plane can "fly forever"

April 16, 2014 8:25 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Aviation pioneers Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg — who previously had circumnavigated the globe in a balloon — plan to make history again with the Solar Impulse 2, which will undertake the first solar-powered flight around the world....

Watch a V-22 Osprey fold itself for storage

April 14, 2014 3:07 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

 It’s pretty crazy to think that a huge aircraft with an 85’ foot wingspan is possible of folding itself up to reduce the amount of space it occupies on a massive ship. Yet, the V-22 Osprey does just that. This video is a little dated—it was taken in 2010 at Nellis Airforce Base in Las Vegas....

Military plans to use drones as flying Wi-Fi hotspots

April 11, 2014 10:38 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

For civilians, a dearth of Wi-Fi is a minor inconvenience. First-world problems. But for our troops in the field, a lack of connectivity can kill you. No connection means no close-air support and no reinforcements. Hence the military’s push to turn drones into mobile Wi-Fi hotspots....

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Engineers can prevent the intellectual downfall of the nation

April 11, 2014 8:47 am | by David Mantey, Editor-in-Chief | Blogs | Comments

According to several outlets, a dearth of science and engineering students, coupled with the underqualified workforce unable to fill current need, is leading to the intellectual downfall of the nation.If you strike up a conversation with “that guy” in the office, he may even tell you a yarn about the once great superpower falling....

Five from EELive, part two

April 10, 2014 3:59 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Winsystems, Versalogic Corp., Rigol Usa, Texas Instruments, Cymbet Corporation | Blogs | Comments

Here are five more notable products, plus one soon to be released product, from EELive 2014. Be sure to check out Part 1 of this series for more. Embedded computers were well represented, with announcements by WinSystems and VersaLogic. For rugged applications, WinSystems’ The SBC35-CC405 Series multi-core Intel Atom E3800 embedded computers feature onboard USB, Gigabit Ethernet, serial ports, and

This technology could save your car from disaster

April 10, 2014 8:11 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

The automotive industry is making some pretty large improvements in terms of technology. In the past few years, there have been improvements in vehicle communications—including V2V and V2X systems—as well as in areas like vehicle safety and infotainment systems....

This program can make your phone more secure than ever

April 9, 2014 8:04 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

With the advent of smartphones came a great debate about the security of technology. With all of the sensitive information stored in the phones—bank account numbers, emails, credit card information—keeping the security tight is of the utmost importance....

Watch an engineer deal with moronic requests from marketing

April 8, 2014 10:34 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

This sketch provides a decent approximation of what meetings feel like for engineers — or anyone with a technical job, really — as they try to interpret the vague, confusing, and otherwise bizarre requests from non-technical people. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of this on occasion....

Five from EELive, part one

April 8, 2014 8:27 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | eConais, Inc., Microchip Technology Inc., Icon Labs | Blogs | Comments

The 2014 edition of EELive is in the rear-view mirror. Along with the damp weather, spirits were dampened, too. Perhaps the show is going through an identity crisis given the recent name changes or the success of Embedded World. In fact, when I spoke to exhibitors about their new product offerings that coincide with the show, some responses began with

Keep politics off of the space station

April 7, 2014 8:37 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

When the Ukraine v. Russia (winner gets Crimea) battle began, one of the first things I said was, “Man, I bet it’s super awkward in space right now.” While Russian and U.S. relations have never been great, there hasn’t been an international issue to this degree between the two countries in quite some time.

Samsung dupes Obama: Why “selfie advertising” needs to stop

April 4, 2014 2:05 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

What do President Obama, Brad Pitt, and Jennifer Lawrence have in common? They’ve all become unwitting props in a viral Samsung advertising campaign that relies on spontaneity, selfies, and tricking people — including the most powerful man in the world — into becoming brand ambassadors....

This floating turbine solves all the wind energy problems

April 3, 2014 4:06 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

I am one of those people who thinks wind turbines are pretty cool-looking. When there was talk of putting them on the Jersey Shore off the beach at Atlantic City, I thought that was a pretty good idea. Alas, the idea was never pursued because they were considered an eyesore.

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....

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.)

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....

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