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Charge your phone in 20 seconds

May 20, 2013 4:19 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

What’s the key to charging your phone (and other small electronics) in the blink of an eye? Invent a better supercapacitor, according to Eesha Khare, an 18-year-old, from California who was just awarded Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award and $50,000 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for her project...

This is what a 1950s robot looks like

May 20, 2013 10:11 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

It’s pretty crazy when you think about how far technology has come in the past five years, let alone the past 50 years. Recently, we talked about different humanoid robots, including DARPA’s PETMAN and the Alphadog Proto, a humanoid robot used to test protective clothing and a 4-legged battlefield companion, respectively.

What are the biggest LED challenges, according to engineers

May 17, 2013 10:06 am | by Editor | Blogs | Comments

With Lightfair in the rearview mirror and being dominated by LEDs, lighting has become an intense debate in the industry. What we want to know is what you think about the future of LEDs. We know our readers have varied opinions and valuable experiences – now here’s a great opportunity to showcase them. Send us an answer to the question below and if we think yours is great...

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The future of Google Glass

May 16, 2013 3:49 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

 There has been a lot of talk about Google Glass lately, mostly due to the prototype debut, but one interesting aspect of that public viewing is that developers –outside of GoogleLand—can take a crack at coming up with interesting uses for the technology. By allowing new voices into the conversation, the world is seeing even more possibilities for Google Glass. 

To break down the digital divide, target relevance and affordability

May 6, 2013 1:23 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

It’s hard to believe some 20 years after Internet became available to most Americans that many of our neighbors are still not only offline but computer illiterate as well. I was reminded of that fact in March when the Governor of New Jersey proposed that the unemployed in the state, as a condition to receive their benefits, use the state’s jobs listing web site each week.

The most technologically-advanced toilet in the world

May 3, 2013 9:02 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Though people often refer to the toilet as “the throne,” the euphemism has never been taken quite this literally before. Kohler, the family-owned bath and kitchen company and inventor of all around fancy bathroom fixtures, has really gone all out with their newest creation, Numi.

10 MUST READ posts from April

May 1, 2013 2:44 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Here’s a rundown of the most read, most popular, most awesome articles on the web. Take a look at what you missed the first time around or check up on an old favorite to see the conversation in the comments. Keep checking out the Lead at www.ecnmag.com and follow us on Twitter @ecnonline for our most up-to-date articles.

A look back at Lightfair 2013

April 26, 2013 4:54 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

Cold weather has been hanging on well into April here in the northeast. But if you were in Philadelphia this week, you would be forgiven for walking around wearing sunglasses – especially indoors at the Pennsylvania Convention Center – a sure sign that Lightfair is in town.

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Computers are sorcery! Kill them with fire!

April 25, 2013 4:13 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

It's hard to believe we were ever this dumb. And it's hard to believe the '90s ever happened. This wacky decade — when we were all still finding our digital bearings — spawned gems like "Komputer Tutor", a VHS series from "America's Digital Goddess", Kim Komando, that takes simple computer concepts and dumbs them down even further ... and further and further. It's comedy gold.

The newest storybook: Scannable pjs

April 25, 2013 1:49 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

It was really only a matter of time before QR codes invaded bedtime, but at least they made it interesting. Smart PJs (patent-pending) are a new kind of clothing complete with QR code-like scannable patches that could make bedtime a little more fun.

iBeetle: Everything you never wanted in an infotainment system

April 22, 2013 2:59 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

We’ve talked A LOT about safety and innovation when it comes to infotainment systems in cars. We've talking more regulation, less regulation, new systems and crazy ideas. The discussion revolves primarily around how to integrate electronics 

This is the most ridiculous phone ever

April 19, 2013 3:48 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

The words “mega” and “phone” should never be combined when it comes to cellphones, but that didn’t stop Samsung from making the most ridiculous phone yet. The company has blown away the competition when it comes to screen size with their new 6.3 inch (diagonally) and 5.8 inch Galaxy Mega phones. For the sake of comparison, the Apple iPhone 5 is 4 inches.

Schools should take a pass on essay grading software

April 16, 2013 4:16 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

One of the joys of high school and college was receiving my blue essay book back from my teacher or professor. I couldn’t wait to read their comments in the columns of the book, especially when one of my essays was laden with jokes or sarcasm. But that was often a two-way street, as when my thesis statement would indicate my essay was going to go in a direction my instructor found dubious.

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DoD cancels “participation trophy” for drone pilots

April 16, 2013 4:03 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The DoD has finally backed down. And I applaud their decision. Following months of negative feedback, the DoD has officially scuttled the Distinguished Warfare Medal. The DWM — intended for drone operators — would’ve ranked ahead of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart (two combat decorations) in the order of precedence.

Why the government should ban cellphones while driving

April 16, 2013 10:28 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

This term “nanny state” is an interesting one. It’s a term people throw out when they feel the government is infringing on their right to do something stupid. Frankly, if people could be trusted to police themselves, we wouldn’t have any laws at all.

Iran invents “time machine,” beats Doc Brown to the punch

April 12, 2013 10:23 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

From the same folks who brought you the flying clown car comes this: An Iranian scientist claims to have invented a time machine. No, really. I cannot make this stuff up. Ali Razeghi registered "The Aryayek Time Traveling Machine" with the state-run Center for Strategic Inventions. He claims it can "predict five to eight years of the future life of any individual, with 98 percent accuracy"....

The nanny state should loosen its grip on cell phones

April 11, 2013 3:24 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

We’ve written a lot on ECN about automotive safety and its intersection with cutting-edge technology. Texting, Facebooking, and web surfing pose an existential concern for distracted drivers (not to mention pilots, train conductors, and boat captains), but the nanny state has really overreached on this one: A California court recently found a motorist guilty of distracted driving for checking a map on his iPhone.

Star Wars on the high seas: Navy plans to deploy shipboard laser by 2014

April 9, 2013 3:35 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Some bad news for Sci-Fi fans: The Navy’s new shipboard laser system, Laser Weapon System (LaWS), won't shoot spiffy beams of light of the sort used to kill stormtroopers, Cylons, and Klingons. But it will fire a focused infrared laser that can down drones, disable small boats, and — in the future — engage missiles and enemy jets.

The creepiest robot yet

April 9, 2013 2:28 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

There is an interesting inverse phenomenon involved in creating humanoid robots: The more lifelike they are, the creepier they become. It’s not something that makes complete sense if you think about it. Theoretically, as robots become more human-like, they should begin to blend more into society and become less weird. 

The Facebook "phone" that no one wants

April 8, 2013 2:56 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

Well, well, well. It looks like Facebook has finally decided to join the big boys and create their own phone. It’s the phone that absolutely no one was waiting for. To quote the parody video below, “Stop. Don’t do that. Nobody wants it.”

Should a computer grade your essay?

April 8, 2013 10:09 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

One should never swap quality for instant gratification. Yet that’s exactly what EdX, a nonprofit educational organization founded by Harvard and MIT, is doing with their automated grading software that promises “instant feedback” on students’ essays. Creativity need not apply.

My wish list for the next iPhone

April 4, 2013 10:32 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

A new iPhone is imminent! Man the ramparts! Sound the trumpets! A new coronation is upon us! OK, that’s a tad hyperbolic, but the prospect of a new iPhone has me a little giddy — especially since the iPhone 5 was a huge disappointment and reinforced my decision to snag an early 4S (and not hold out for the inevitable sequel).

Television's next big thing: Smell-O-Vision (again)

April 3, 2013 3:44 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Now that 3D television has failed to take off the way designers were hoping, companies have moved on to a newer, better, greater, bound-for-failure idea: Smell-O-Vision. Haruka Matsukura and a team from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology have designed an olfactory display system that can work in conjunction with a 2D display.

Top 10 must-read posts from March

April 3, 2013 10:47 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Here’s a rundown of the most read, most popular, most awesome articles on the web. Take a look at what you missed the first time around or check up on an old favorite to see the conversation in the comments. Keep checking out the Lead at www.ecnmag.com and follow us on Twitter @ecnonline for our most up-to-date articles.

A legitimate case for drones

March 29, 2013 3:32 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

There’s been a lot of chatter in the news (and here on ECN) about drones. These arguments usually come down to questions about ethics, military power and tangentially the military industrial complex, and the relationship of the US with various other countries. It’s rare to see drones talked about in any context outside of military.

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