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This is what a backwards keyboard looks like

January 6, 2014 4:41 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

The TrewGrip backwards keyboard looks like a toy, but it’s a lot more expensive than your average LeapFrog. The Mobile QWERTY keyboard from TrewGrip will set you back anywhere from $250 to $350 when they hit the market later this year. This keyboard seems one of those advancements that’s just “technology for the sake of new technology” instead of something that will actually be useful and popular. At least it looks kind of cool.

Top 10 must-see posts of 2013

December 30, 2013 11:44 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Here’s the top 10 most popular, compelling, controversial, and highly-trafficked stories from 2013. These were the posts that led the most discussions, excited the most readers (for better or worse), and caught your collective eyeballs. So check out some old favorites, or catch up on a post you may have missed — and find out what all the fuss was about!

As kids plug in, parents should not tune out

December 27, 2013 4:40 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Nowadays Santa gets scorned when he leaves a cheap gift or, even worse, a book! Children have been getting gifts that are increasingly expensive and inappropriate, and experts in child-development are concerned. Tablets and smartphones were usually reserved for adults and older kids in the past, but some as young as three have been unwrapping electronics.

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Finding the pathway to a career in power technology

December 24, 2013 9:41 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

There’s a lot to be said about how being around great people can have a positive, nurturing influence on a career. When you talk to Bob White, who has been very instrumental in creating and advancing the PMBus standard and who continues to be a very prolific speaker at power-related events, he’s quick to praise the people he met along the way....

Your smartphone will now self-destruct

December 23, 2013 4:53 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

It may sound like a line out of a spy movie, but this is a real advancement in the quest for security in electronic devices. Thefts of smartphones have risen over the last few years, and politicians are scrambling to find a solution. A new measure might render the stolen devices useless.

From General to CEO: One man’s journey from the battlefield to the boardroom

December 23, 2013 12:47 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

I’m proud to work in an industry with such a disproportionately high number of military veterans. Many of our colleagues previously served the nation with honor and distinction, trading ACUs for business suits and M4s for fountain pens. Case in point: Steve Sargeant, CEO of Marvin Test Solutions, formerly a Major General with the United States Air Force.

Need something? Print it: 3D printing in engineering

December 23, 2013 10:46 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

It sometimes seems as if it’s impossible to even go one day without reading or hearing about a story involving 3D printing. It’s the byproduct of a technology that has current applications in most industries and potential applications in almost all of them. Some of the more controversial application areas, like 3D printed firearms, receive a lot of coverage....

Hacking through your computer’s noises

December 20, 2013 1:22 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Every development in the world of hacking prompts a collective sigh and a defeated “Aww, really?” as we proceed to create complex four-mile long passwords that we’ll never remember in order to protect ourselves. Well, there’s a new threat in town. Surprise! We’re all aware of the hums and whirrs our computers make, and they’re usually pretty annoying. But guess what — it’s music to a hacker’s ears.

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SALT advances African science and economy

December 18, 2013 3:47 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

We’re not talking about the seasoning, though I’d think more than just African economy would benefit if salt was still used as currency. SALT is an acronym for the South African Large Telescope — not the most creative name, but very simple and direct. Advancements in the field of astronomy are being seen in several different countries on the vast continent....

The pushback against the NSA we’ve been waiting for

December 16, 2013 3:57 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Politics often makes for strange bedfellows. So when you see the logos of Facebook, Google and Yahoo along with Microsoft and tech companies side-by-side and consider the vast amount of users they serve, there’s a good chance it pertains to a matter of importance to both Washington and just about everyone in our connected world.

You won’t find selfies on this Instagram account

December 13, 2013 3:26 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Drones are becoming almost as prevalent in the skies as they are in the news. From “Amazon Prime Air” to military drones in overseas conflict, it seems like these are devices that aren’t going away any time soon. For London-based artist and activist, James Bridle, this is a troubling fact. One of Bridle’s most well-known endeavors is Dronestagram: an Instagram account that posts pictures of drone strike locations...

"Our Drone Future" predicts frightening Big Brother dystopia

December 12, 2013 4:48 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

You didn’t think we’d just use domestic drones for delivering packages and monitoring suspected animal abuse, did you? Of course not — we wouldn’t be furiously debating the legality and ethics of "octocopters" air-mailing copies of Harry Potter. No, the dark undertone of domestic drone usage is their application as omniscient law-enforcement devices, Big Brother-style.

Is this the end of Moore’s law?

December 10, 2013 2:56 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Moore’s law is unsustainable. This statement is the elephant in the room of a lot of electronics discussions as we rapidly approach a few different landmarks in semiconductors.  Researchers are concerned that the unsustainability of Moore’s law might mean the end, or at least the abrupt slowing down, of electronic development at the height of the digital era.

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Why is this government agency still using floppy disks?

December 9, 2013 5:11 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Every so often we drag out a past relic of technology to gawk, reminisce and remember before shoving it back into the proverbial vault for a few more decades. We’ve featured introductions to new technology and how-tos on using a computer. 

Amazon’s drone-delivery service is a pipe dream (for now)

December 6, 2013 2:54 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Forget same-day delivery. Amazon wants to make 30-minute deliveries a reality with a quasi-futuristic fleet of miniature drones. But for a service built on speed, “Amazon Prime Air” may have a long shelf life. Don’t hold your breath (or place your orders) anytime soon.

This next-gen USB connector always lands on its feet

December 6, 2013 1:17 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Everyone has struggled to plug a device into a USB port at one time or another. There’s a 50/50 chance of choosing the correct orientation, and we usually manage to pick the wrong one every time. It’s the electronic version of the “toast always lands butter-side down” or “a cat always lands on its feet” phenomena, and we just want to charge our iPods.

The Nigerian prince isn’t the only online hoax

December 5, 2013 4:29 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Ben Franklin once said “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.” That’s doubly so for the World Wide Web, the breeding ground for Nigerian princes, get-rich-quick schemes, and all manner of hoaxes. No one likes to be scammed. Whether a hacker steals all of your personal information or you just wind up feeling a bit silly...

3D-printed heart uses urine to power robot (seriously)

December 5, 2013 10:24 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

In the buzzword story of the year, researchers at the University of the West of England created a 3D-printed heart robot heart that runs on urine. That’s right, a printed organ that pumps pee through a robot. This hot topic cornucopia was actually the result of a theory that urine was capable of making electricity.

Why replacing waiters with tablets is a good idea

December 4, 2013 2:51 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

This, friends, is a dining option for people who hate other people. Earlier this week, Applebee’s announced that they will replace waiters (to a degree) with tablets at the table. These tablets will be used to take orders and pay the bill, plus they’ll feature games that diners can play while they wait. The tablets, which are Intel-backed startup E la Carte Presto tablets, will total over 100,000 pieces of hardware.

Smart bras track your mood

December 4, 2013 12:48 pm | by Melissa Barnes, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Do you or a loved one have an emotional eating problem standing in the way of your weight loss and healthy living attempts? Well, now there’s a bra for that. Microsoft recently reported it has been working on a “smart bra,” equipped with a generic remote access sensing platform (GRASP).

Bridge devices translate into longer life for NTDS systems

November 27, 2013 10:20 am | by Chris Warner, ECN Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

“It’s like turning around an aircraft carrier.” This analogy is often used in the business world to indicate how hard it can take a large entity to change direction, usually amounting to months or even years. But for the United States Navy, which is charged with turning these massive vessels, turning around an aircraft carrier pales in comparison with keeping communications networks up to date.

Here’s what the ECN Editors are thankful for this year

November 26, 2013 3:18 pm | by the Editors | Blogs | Comments

Say what you will about Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa. For our money, the “most wonderful time of the year” is Thanksgiving, when the fall foliage sets the scene for family, football, turkey, more football, and dessert (in that order). And though “Black Friday” has crept into Thursday, there’s much to be thankful for this year. Here’s what the ECN staff had to say....

Turning the world’s biggest landfill into a NYC solar power plant

November 26, 2013 3:00 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

In a recent Engineering Update, we took a look at Japan’s largest solar power plant, which boasts the capability of powering 22,000 homes with its 313 acre facility. Now, we’re checking out New York’s newest solar project. This solar facility will be located at Freshkills Park on Staten Island and was, at one point, considered to be the largest landfill in the world.

Revolution on wheels

November 22, 2013 4:21 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Morph Wheels sounds more like a rejected children’s toy idea than a legitimate advancement in mobility technology, but it’s real, and it’s going to have a huge impact. It’s one of many new foldable, space-saving inventions coming into the market. People tend to crave convenience in whatever they purchase and anything that they can slip into their pocket will fit the bill.

Watch our new missile defense system destroy a fighter jet

November 22, 2013 3:08 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

While it may seem like most countries around the world are focused on the Patriot Missile Interceptors, the United States is already looking to its next missile defense system. In fact, the military has moved on from looking at systems to testing them.

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