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April 2014: Digital ICs

April 4, 2014 12:17 pm | Digital Editions | Comments

In the April issue, ECN is proud to announce the 2014 ECN IMPACT Award Finalists chosen to recognize the top products, tools, and services from 18 categories across the electronics design engineering field. The finalists were picked by our panel of esteemed judges selected for their expertise in one or more product category. We’ll announce the winners on May 6 at the EDS Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Energy breakthrough uses sun to create solar energy materials

April 3, 2014 4:06 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

In a recent advance in solar energy, researchers have discovered a way to tap the sun not only as a source of power, but also to directly produce the solar energy materials that make this possible. This breakthrough by chemical engineers at Oregon State University could soon reduce the cost of solar energy....

Engineering Update #52: Secret Pentagon spacecraft stays in orbit for 469 days

April 3, 2014 11:00 am | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

In December of 2012, the Pentagon launched the X-37B unmanned spacecraft into orbit, where it remained for more than 469 days, breaking its own longevity record. Since the X-37 has always been shrouded in secrecy, savvy observers posited all sorts of potential applications....

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DC/DC converter available in ultra-compact SIP-8 package

April 2, 2014 2:06 pm | XP Power | Product Releases | Comments

XP Power (Sunnyvale, CA) today announced the ITX series of 6 Watt DC/DC converters encapsulated in an industry standard SIP 8-pin package measuring just 0.86 x 0.44 x 0.36 inches (21.85 x 11.1 x 9.2 mm). Delivering a power density of up to 46 Watts per cubic inch...

Wind energy: On the grid, off the checkerboard

April 2, 2014 9:46 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

As wind farms grow in importance across the globe as sources of clean, renewable energy, one key consideration in their construction is their physical design -- spacing and orienting individual turbines to maximize their efficiency and minimize any "wake effects"....

Engineering Update Episode 51: Hypersonic weapons needed to defeat advanced anti-aircraft systems

March 27, 2014 12:29 pm | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

The Cold War officially ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, but old habits die hard, and since the fall of the iron curtain, Russian-American relations have been a tad ... frosty. This led a senior Pentagon staffer called for hypersonic weapons....

Top three reed switch no-no's

March 26, 2014 10:02 am | by Lawrence McClure, HSI Sensing | Blogs | Comments

The reed switch: A simple electro-mechanical device with a contact area and two to three leads that, when the correct magnetic or electrical force is applied, facilitates continuity through the switch. Although simple in nature and application, we engineers sometimes can get a little creative....

Robotic arm probes chemistry of 3-D objects by mass spectrometry

March 26, 2014 9:09 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

When life on Earth first started, simple molecules bonded together into precursors of modern genetic material. One theory is that the catalytic minerals on a meteorite's surface jump-started life's first chemical reactions. But scientists need a way to directly analyze these rough, irregularly shaped surfaces....

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Solar…toilet?! Zap waste into fuel

March 26, 2014 8:04 am | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Human excrement is probably one of the most embarrassing and least glamorous topics out there. But the Sol-Char Toilet is starting a conversation that’s hard to miss. That’s right, it’s a solar-powered toilet. This toilet turns poo into power, and the most astounding part is that it’s 100% sanitary.

Engineering Live: The Internet of Things (On Demand)

March 25, 2014 3:03 pm | by ECN Staff | Videos | Comments

Check out the On-Demand version of The Internet of Things Engineering Live. IoT thought leaders from leading organizations, including Libelium, IBM,Texas Instruments, and Sierra Wireless, team up with ECN Editor-in-Chief David Mantey to discuss the present and future....

Parallel programming may not be so daunting

March 24, 2014 4:22 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

'Lock-free' parallel algorithms may match performance of more complex 'wait-free' algorithms: Computer chips have stopped getting faster: The regular performance improvements we've come to expect are now the result of chipmakers' adding more cores or processing units....

Researchers improve performance of III-V nanowire solar cells on graphene

March 24, 2014 1:30 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Imagine a field of small wires—standing at attention like a tiny field of wheat—gathering the Sun’s rays as the first step in solar energy conversion. Researchers have achieved new levels of performance for seed-free and substrate-free arrays of nanowires from a class of materials....

Engineering Live: The Internet of Things - Mobile

March 24, 2014 10:17 am | by ECN Staff | Videos | Comments

On this episode of Engineering Live, we’ve assembled an expert panel with direct influence on the IoT to discuss the current state of the industry; where we’ll be in five years; and the key componentry that is making it all possible ...  

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Box-shaped pressure vessel for LNG developed by KAIST research team

March 21, 2014 3:07 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Korean researchers successfully showcased the installation and operation of a box-shaped, high-pressure tank for the storage of liquefied natural gas in Pohang, Republic of Korea. The development was the first of its kind in the world. Pressure vessels have many applications....

Oregon physicists use geometry to understand 'jamming' process

March 21, 2014 1:06 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Physicits using a supercomputer have captured fundamental insights about what happens when objects moving freely jam to a standstill. Their approach captures jamming -- objects come together too tightly to move -- by identifying geometric signatures....

E3-production – sustainable manufacturing

March 21, 2014 9:28 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Scarce and expensive raw materials, rising energy prices, climate protection, and demographic shifts leave industrial production with a lot to contend with in the coming years. In the “ E3-production” lighthouse project, researchers are laying the groundwork to achieve sustainable production....

Wind farms can provide society a surplus of reliable clean energy

March 21, 2014 9:00 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

The worldwide demand for solar and wind power skyrockets. Since 2009, global solar photovoltaic installations have increased 40 percent a year on average, and the installed capacity of wind turbines has doubled. The dramatic growth of the wind and solar industries has led utilities to begin testing large-scale technologies....

Engineering Update #50: Deploying maritime drones

March 20, 2014 10:24 am | by ECN Staff | Videos | Comments

Deploying maritime drones: Now you didn’t really think the flyboys would get to play with all the unmanned toys did you? The Navy has its own plans to deploy drones, including the Hydra underwater “truck”, and other surveillance technology that can function in a maritime environment.

Lockheed Martin and Rowan University partner on radar technology

March 19, 2014 4:01 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Lockheed Martin and Rowan University are kicking off an innovative, strategic partnership to develop new technologies for a broad range of radar system applications in support of national defense. As threats to the United States become increasingly more complex, this next generation of radar technology is critical to protecting national assets and requires the dedication of an educated workforce.

Computer simulations predict blast scenarios, also have crossover appeal in animation

March 19, 2014 3:41 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Simulation methods helped create animation for Disney’s Oscar-winning film, 'Frozen.' Simulation-based engineering science (SBES) allows researchers to predict the effects of building explosions and analyze the response of building materials to those threats.

Sorption energy storage and conversion for cooling and heating

March 19, 2014 1:53 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

New materials and technologies are making it possible to utilize thermal energy more efficiently. Visit Hall 13 at the Hannover Messe (April 7-11) to find out how researchers from the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance are applying this to heat and cool spaces and industrial processes.

Antimony nanocrystals for batteries

March 19, 2014 10:26 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Researchers from ETH Zurich and Empa have succeeded for the first time to produce uniform antimony nanocrystals. Tested as components of laboratory batteries, these are able to store a large number of both lithium and sodium ions. These nanomaterials operate with high rate and may eventually be used as alternative anode materials in future high-energy-density batteries.

Robodog: Man's newest best friend

March 19, 2014 7:01 am | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | News | Comments

 What kid doesn’t want a puppy? Come to think of it, what adult doesn’t want a puppy? Yet there’s always a list of reasons why that isn’t a good idea. A new robotic dog may be the answer. Zoomer, the latest in robotic dog technology, does everything a “real” dog would do— barking, running, tail-wagging —without any of the fur or

Stanford makes flexible carbon nanotube circuits more reliable and power efficient

March 17, 2014 4:15 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Engineers would love to create flexible electronic devices, such as e-readers that could be folded to fit into a pocket. One approach they are trying involves designing circuits based on electronic fibers, known as carbon nanotubes (CNTs), instead of rigid silicon chips.

Potentially safer, greener alternative to BPA could come from papermaking waste

March 17, 2014 12:30 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

A waste product from making paper could yield a safer, greener alternative to the potentially harmful chemical BPA, now banned from baby bottles but still used in many plastics. Scientists made the BPA alternative from lignin, the compound that gives wood its strength, and they say it could be ready for the market within five years.

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