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Bionic plants

March 17, 2014 11:59 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Plants have many valuable functions: They provide food and fuel, release the oxygen that we breathe, and add beauty to our surroundings. Now, a team of MIT researchers wants to make plants even more useful by augmenting them with nanomaterials that could enhance their energy production and give them completely new functions, such as monitoring environmental pollutants.

A battery that 'breathes' could power next-gen electric vehicles

March 17, 2014 11:53 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) nearly doubled in 2013, but most won't take you farther than 100 miles on one charge. To boost their range toward a tantalizing 300 miles or more, researchers are reporting new progress on a "breathing" battery that has the potential to one day replace the lithium-ion technology of today's EVs.

Scripps Florida scientists devise new, lower cost method to create more usable fuels

March 14, 2014 2:16 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

As the United States continues to lead the world in the production of natural gas, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have devised a new and more efficient method with the potential to convert the major components found in natural gas into useable fuels and chemicals—opening the door to cheaper, more abundant energy and materials with much lower emissions.

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Introducing advanced security in low-power applications with FRAM MCUs

March 14, 2014 11:29 am | by Priya Thanigai, product marketing engineer, MSP430 microcontrollers, Texas Instruments | Articles | Comments

Security is becoming increasingly important in a wider range of applications. Numerous methods have been developed to force systems to expose confidential information or even application code, resulting in the development of countermeasures to ensure the security of Flash and EEPROM ICs.

Securing the Internet of Things

March 14, 2014 11:05 am | by Alan Lowne, CEO, Saelig Co. Inc., www.saelig.com | Articles | Comments

With around 2 billion people connected to the Internet and the advent of IoT, there may already be more connected ‘things’ than connected people. In 2013, by some estimates, there were over 10 billion connected devices, and this will climb as high as 50 billion by 2020....

Soft robotic fish moves like the real thing

March 14, 2014 10:52 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Soft robots— which don't just have soft exteriors but are also powered by fluid flowing through flexible channels —now have their own journal, Soft Robotics. MIT researchers report the first self-contained autonomous soft robot capable of rapid body motion: a "fish" that can execute an escape maneuver, convulsing its body to change direction in just a fraction of a second, or almost as quickly as a real fish can.

Scientists find new way to upgrade natural gas

March 14, 2014 10:36 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

America's current energy boom may take a new direction thanks to the discovery of a new way to turn raw natural gas into upgraded liquid alcohol fuel. In the March 14 issue of Science magazine, chemists from Brigham Young University and The Scripps Research Institute detail a process that could reduce dependence on petroleum.

March 2014: Counterfeiting

March 13, 2014 4:23 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Digital Editions | Comments

Counterfeit components cost the electronics industry billions of dollars each year. They also create dangerous situations and increase the risk of product failure. In this March issue of ECN, we identify the key battlegrounds in the fight against fake components.• Seeing through the lies explores the idea of using x-ray techniques as a way of identifying counterfeit components, walking readers through the most common indicators of a counterfeit. • Invisible bar codes offers up a solution to counterfeit components in the form of a covert micro-bar code that are virtually indestructible and invisible to the naked eye. • Counterfeit mitigation looks at a report by the Semiconductor Industry Association detailing the ideal defensive maneuvers against counterfeit components.

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Engineering Update Episode 49: The UK's newest UAV

March 13, 2014 9:34 am | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

Welcome to the Engineering Update. In this week's episode: The UKs newest UAV: UK Ministry of Defence recently announced a Release to Service for their own UAV, the WatchKeeper WK450. Robots playing ping pong: UHTTR-1 robotic arm plays one mean game of table tennis.

Ridiculous uses for ridiculous gadgets

March 13, 2014 8:54 am | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

I recently showed you some outlandish gadgets people are buying. Now I'm back to show you what people are using their ridiculous gadgets for: 1. Robot-penned papers 2. Laser-printed tacos 3. Air hockey robot 4. USB pet rock 5. HAPIfork 6. Internet tasting electrode 7. iBreathalyzer 8. QuantumVET 9. Isophone 10. iPad surgery.

NREL aims to improve building energy performance with new web-based tool

March 12, 2014 5:02 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed a web-based tool to help consumers better understand the energy performance of building-related products. The Technology Performance Exchange™ (TPEx™) is a portal that helps manufacturers and other organizations that measure and test products easily share performance data with product consumers.

The 10 most outlandish gadgets

March 11, 2014 12:37 pm | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Most tech gadgets are nothing short of miraculous. But I think these are nothing short of ridiculous. 1. Wake'n Bacon, 2. Caffeine Machine, 3. Solar Hat, 4. Magic Wand Remote, 5. BeerPager, 6. iTypewriter, 7. WheelMate, 8. Spy Pen, 9. Text Message Chandelier, 10. iSmell.

What will be the “must-have” in automotive infotainment in the next five years?

March 10, 2014 10:47 am | by ECN Staff | Articles | Comments

Automotive infotainment systems of the future will benefit from a low-cost, low-power, flexible system-on-chip (SoC) architecture in order to enable a vehicle platform that adapts to evolving content delivery providers and cloud-based services.

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Currently sensible

March 10, 2014 9:47 am | by Joshua Israelsohn, Director, JAS Technical Media | Articles | Comments

Sensing physical phenomena and preserving the fidelity of the resulting, often-tiny, sensor signals is a craft of its own within the broader discipline of analog circuit design. One of the most common and, counter intuitively perhaps, more challenging sensing tasks is that of measuring electric current.

Elsevier and Energy Institute work together to publish Journal of the Energy Institute

March 10, 2014 9:17 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical, and medical information products and services, is pleased to announce that they have entered into a publishing agreement with the Energy Institute (EI) to publish its official journal, Journal of the Energy Institute. Journal of the Energy Institute, a peer-reviewed quarterly publication first published in 1926, is...

UK and China agree £20 million low carbon innovation programm

March 10, 2014 8:51 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

A new £20 million three-year programme that will support research to develop new low carbon manufacturing processes and technologies, low carbon cities and offshore renewables in the UK and China was agreed yesterday, Wednesday 5th March 2014.

Promising news for solar fuels from Berkely lab researchers at JCAP

March 7, 2014 1:52 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

There’s promising news from the front on efforts to produce  fuels through artificial photosynthesis. A new study by Berkeley Lab researchers at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) shows that nearly 90-percent of the electrons generated by a hybrid material designed to store solar energy in hydrogen are being stored in the target hydrogen molecules.

Vertimass licenses ORNL biofuel-to-hydrocarbon conversion technology

March 7, 2014 11:06 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Vertimass LLC, a California-based start-up company, has licensed an Oak Ridge National Laboratory technology that directly converts ethanol into a hydrocarbon blend-stock for use in transportation fuels. The ORNL technology offers a new pathway to biomass-derived renewable fuels that can lower greenhouse gas emissions and decrease U.S. reliance on foreign sources of oil.   

Engineering Update Episode 48 bloopers

March 6, 2014 12:39 pm | Videos | Comments

Who says ECN's editors can't have a bit of fun? Enjoy these bumbles, stumbles, and hilarious outtakes from the latest edition of ECN's premier video series, Engineering Update. Thanks to Technical Editor Jason Lomberg, Managing Editor Kasey Panetta, and Editor-in-Chief David Mantey for being such great sports!

Why is ZigBee green?

March 6, 2014 11:44 am | by Cees Links, CEO and Founder of GreenPeak, ZigBee Alliance Member | Blogs | Comments

One of the biggest challenges that consumers and service providers will have in the future is maintaining a wide range of sensor and control devices located throughout the smart home. For ease of use and installation, it makes much more sense to have these powered by either batteries or by energy harvesting technologies.

Engineering Update Episode 48: Jet-powered UAV can roam up to 1,800 miles

March 6, 2014 10:59 am | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

The Predator C Avenger is a jet-powered UAV with the firepower, range, and capabilities to set a new gold standard for unmanned vehicles. Whereas the Predator and Reaper were powered by a relatively primitive turboprop engine, with a top speed of 300 mph, the Avenger uses a Pratt & Whitney turbofan engine ...

Europe rethinks renewable energy standards

March 5, 2014 12:14 pm | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Blogs | Comments

For the past decade or more, as Al Gore and the majority of climate-change scientists have insisted that the world is speeding headlong toward an environmental catastrophe of epic proportions, European countries have adhered to stringent emission controls....

Novel quantum dot laser paves the way for lower-cost photonics

March 5, 2014 11:00 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

With the explosive growth of bandwidth demand in telecommunications networks, experts are continually seeking new ways to transmit increasingly large amounts of data in the quickest and cheapest ways possible. Photonic devices—which convert light to electricity and vice versa—offer an energy-efficient alternative to traditional copper network links for information transmission.

Smart grid for electric vehicle fleet

March 5, 2014 9:42 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Being able to charge 30 electric cars at once requires ingenious energy management. Researchers are incorporating  renewables into the design of a smart grid for Germany’s largest charging station. The network of charging stations for EVs is becoming more tightly meshed.

Transparent, color solar cells fuse energy, beauty

March 5, 2014 9:08 am | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

Colorful, see-through solar cells invented at the University of Michigan could one day be used to make stained-glass windows, decorations and even shades that turn the sun's energy into electricity. The cells, believed to be the first semi-transparent, colored photovoltaics, have the potential to vastly broaden the use of the energy source.

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