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The green death

April 30, 2013 3:45 pm | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Being "green" has gone from a technical effort to economically reduce energy use and avoid waste where such avoidance makes sense to actively reducing our effectiveness to show how committed we are to the Green Religion. And there is so much of this going on. In my opinion we would be much better off worshiping trees. Or cows.

Integrating sensors into mobile devices

April 30, 2013 3:34 pm | by Jim Steele, Ph.D., Vice President of Engineering, Sensor Platforms | Articles | Comments

Sensors have been an important addition to smartphones ever since accelerometers were first used to determine screen orientation. Now a wide variety of sensors, including magnetometers, barometers, and gyroscopes, are found in many other devices, such as watches, glasses, headsets, and shoes.

New construction materials and techniques enable LVDT linear position sensor operation in diverse environments

April 30, 2013 3:04 pm | by Lee Hudson, Applications Engineer, Macro Sensors, www.macrosensors.com | Macro Sensors | Articles | Comments

The LVDT Linear Position Sensor is a robust sensor adaptable to a variety of applications. A very reliable sensing device with no moving parts, LVDTs are often the best linear feedback technology when it comes to reliability and longevity. However, in the past, LVDTs were limited by its own sensitivity to the environment that caused errors in linear feedback.

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Pressure sensor construction addresses challenges in wet environments

April 30, 2013 2:09 pm | by Karmjit Sidhu, Vice President Business Development, American Sensor Technologies, www.astsensors.com | Articles | Comments

Accurate measurement of low pressure with respect to atmospheric reference (typically called vented or gauge reference) requires that pressure sensors breathe under dry, humid and wet conditions. In humid and wet environments, challenges are posed on how to operate the pressure sensor without allowing water into the back end of the sensors....

Taking the LEED in energy efficiency

April 29, 2013 11:14 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

There is a push on to make buildings more energy efficient. This is in part being accomplished by making them meet LEED Standards. What does LEED stand for? Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED promises to "Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions".

Engineering Update #9: The gossiping Pinoccio and the power line inspecting Skysweeper

April 26, 2013 9:09 am | Videos | Comments

This episode of ECN's Engineering Update is brought to you by Mouser Electronics. In this week's headlines: A new device named Pinoccio is a socially-adept networking tool designed with the Internet of Things in mind. The microcontroller allows engineers to connect their own handmade devices to the internet as well as other devices in the home.

NREL and Stanford team up on peel-and-stick solar cells

April 17, 2013 12:47 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

It may be possible soon to charge cell phones, change the tint on windows, or power small toys with peel-and-stick versions of solar cells, thanks to a partnership between Stanford University and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Engineering Update #8: Glasses-free 3D and a near replacement for Knight Rider

April 11, 2013 10:04 am | Videos | Comments

A new screen protector from Nanovue, called the EyeFly, gives mobile devices a glasses-free 3D display. Made out of a thin, transparent film, the nano-engineered EyeFly is essentially a piece of plastic film with thousands of finite lenses on the surface that use nano-imprinting technology.

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An engineer's wishlist for car infotainment systems

April 5, 2013 2:51 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

With Google's self-driving car hitting the road and all sorts of driver-assistance features hitting the showroom, it's a crazy time for drivers and designers alike. Cars are practically overflowing with (good and bad) attempts to integrate outside technology (smartphones, weather apps, virtual assistants) into vehicles interfaces.

Simplify switched-mode power-supply measurements using dedicated oscilloscope software

April 4, 2013 11:25 am | by Art Pini, Technical Marketing Engineer, Teledyne LeCroy | Articles | Comments

The analysis of a switched-mode power supply requires the ability to measure device, control loop, and line-related functions.  To this end, most oscilloscope manufacturers have created power analysis software, which combines all these elements into a simple-to-use toolbox.

One accelerometer interrupt pin for both wakeup and non-motion detection

April 2, 2013 4:48 pm | by Jay Esfandyari, Gang Xu, Fabio Pasolini, STMicroelectronics | Stmicroelectronics | Articles | Comments

MEMS accelerometers can output different kinds of interrupt signals such as data ready, freefall, portrait/landscape, single-click/double-click, and impact detection, etc. Some accelerometers have built-in wakeup and motionless detection features to automatically switch between lower output data rate (ODR) at low power mode and higher ODR at normal mode....

NTC thermistors versus voltage output IC temp sensors

April 2, 2013 10:05 am | by Brian Gosselin, Jr., Texas Instruments | Texas Instruments | Articles | Comments

Electronic engineers are finding that thermometry is becoming increasingly more popular in modern applications. Two types of commonly used temperature sensing solutions are negative temperature coefficient (NTC) thermistors and voltage output integrated circuit (IC) temp sensors.

Solar-powered plane set for flight across America with visits to Phoenix, Dallas, NYC

March 29, 2013 6:40 am | by TERENCE CHEA, Associated Press | News | Comments

A solar-powered plane that has wowed aviation fans in Europe is set to travel across the United States with stops in Phoenix, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and New York, organizers of the trip announced Thursday.

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Post-Sandy legislation: Backup generators would prevent long gas lines

March 28, 2013 4:12 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Five months have passed since Superstorm Sandy, and legislators are nipping around the edges of bolstering the fuel distribution system so more gas can get to the consumer in the case of a widespread power outage or other state of emergency.

Engineering Update #7: Self-healing, laser-resistant chips and NYC's new touchscreen subway maps

March 28, 2013 10:24 am | Videos | Comments

In this episode of Engineering Update, brought to you by Mouser Electronics www.mouser.com, we're talking about self-healing, laser resistant chips, New York City's new interactive, touchscreen subway maps, and BMW and Continental's new project into developing "co-pilot" driving technology.

Solar-powered everything!

March 25, 2013 3:14 pm | by Chris Rendall, Mechanical Engineer, PCDworks | Blogs | Comments

I’ve heard for years that “soon we’ll have solar panels on everything.” To be honest, I’ve never paid much attention to the hype because these magical solar panels that can fit on and inside everything never seemed to materialize commercially, or if they did they were always way too expensive for the everyday consumer, or maybe just for me.

Nuclear power: The future of human civilization

March 25, 2013 10:23 am | by Tom Ligon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

This is not an article about the environment. This is not an article about oil. This is an article about the long-term future of human civilization. Are you with me so far? Are you in favor of human civilization having a future, not just for another hundred years, but for thousands ... tens of thousands?

The best way to improve distributors, according to engineers

March 22, 2013 4:43 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

How do you deal with distributors? Distribution is a key aspect of the engineering process, and it's important to choose the right distributor. You need dependibility, reliability and transperency to make the relationship between distributor and manufacturer work. 

Smart grid technology of the future

March 22, 2013 2:53 pm | Articles | Comments

We asked our industry experts to weigh in on our Smart Grid question: What home energy technology do you expect to see as a breakthrough in the next 12 months?

What home energy technology will break through in the next 12 months?

March 22, 2013 2:41 pm | Articles | Comments

Our energy and Smart technology experts weigh in to answer our smart grid question for this month: What home energy technology do you expect to see as a breakthrough in the next 12 months?

Reader's Response: What energy management technology will generate the most buzz over the next 12 months?

March 22, 2013 12:31 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

We wanted the lowdown on Smart Grid and the future of the engineering, so we asked our readers to answer a question: What energy management technology will generate the most buzz over the next 12 months?

Five things you really want in a digital oscilloscope (but didn’t know you needed)

March 21, 2013 9:00 am | by Faride Akretch, Tektronix | Tektronix | Articles | Comments

For anyone designing, manufacturing, or repairing electronic equipment, a digital storage oscilloscope is a must-have tool. It lets you see high-speed repetitive or single-shot signals across multiple channels to capture elusive glitches or transient events. An oscilloscope is equally as useful a tool for qualifying elements of a new design....

Design for testability

March 19, 2013 9:41 am | by Holger Goepel, CEO, GOEPEL electronics | Goepel Electronics Llc | Articles | Comments

Since the very early days of electronic components, failures have continuously been appearing. In spite of enormous development and production improvements, this situation has not changed. The increasing circuit density and board complexity are critical factors for producing faults.

Obama wants research to wean vehicles off oil

March 15, 2013 1:21 pm | by Matthew Daly and Nedra Pickler, Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama is pushing the U.S. Congress to authorize $2 billion over 10 years for federally funded research into clean energy technologies that can wean automobiles off oil. Obama proposed the idea of an energy security trust last month in his State of the Union address....

Green energy pirates

March 15, 2013 9:26 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

I got an e-mail from a friend recently railing against what he called (loosely translated by me) "Green Energy Pirates". Let me quote one sentence from his e-mail. "There is a whole slew of companies that move from subsidy to subsidy globally and then abandon 'green projects' when the subsidies dry up."

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