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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.

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. 

Bendable display technology takes the stage

March 22, 2013 12:06 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Corning, Samsung | Articles | Comments

It happens to everyone who owns a smart phone or tablet. One ill-fated toss into the car or accidental drop on the hardwood and suddenly the screen is too cracked to read. Not only does this render the phone useless until you can get to a store, it can mean spending hundreds of dollars on a new screen or an entirely new phone.  

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Technology forces your teen to stop texting and driving

March 19, 2013 12:19 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Everyone knows texting (or Redditing or Facebooking or Tweeting) while driving is a bad idea, but that doesn’t stop people from doing it. It’s pretty easy to justify if it’s “just a quick text to my mom” or “a quick peek at my email.” It’s just as easy to end up in an accident because you were distracted.

Lady brains: Dumbing down technology for women

March 15, 2013 3:53 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Manufacturers are constantly trying to find ways to appeal specifically to women. The justification is often that their product—be it pens, cars, or toys—sells with men, but they’re trying to attract more women. It’s a logical thought process: figure out what a demographic wants, market those specific traits, sell more product.

Using biometrics to avoid credit fraud

March 14, 2013 2:45 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Credit fraud is a growing problem, and new technology isn’t making it any better. With the advent of electronic wallets and fewer cash transactions, maintaining privacy and verifying identity are becoming an alarming issue.

The best use for Google Glass yet

March 13, 2013 9:05 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

There is something universally horrifying about that moment at a party when you meet someone briefly but you can’t recall his name when you bump into him a few minutes later or running into a coworker on the street during lunch and being unable to come up with anything besides "that lady who works two cubes down from me".

The Microsoft vision for 2018

March 7, 2013 3:08 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

A few weeks ago, we took a look at Walter Cronkite’s 1967 prediction of a media room in the year 2001 and, setting aside the 1960s aesthetics, he wasn’t too far off. Humans are always trying to figure out what the future of technology will be. It’s fun to imagine what would happen if Google Glass became the new iPhone or 3D printing allowed for on-site organ creation. These things could change the world as we know it.  

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Forget 3D, say hello to 4D

March 6, 2013 12:08 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Leave it to MIT to come out with 4D printing, just as 3D printing seems to be really hitting its stride. They can’t just leave well enough alone, can they? We’ve talked a little bit about the potential of 3D printing and the pretty amazing things they can do, so now we’re moving on to 4D.

Top 10 must-read posts from February

March 1, 2013 3:12 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate 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.

Why 3D-printable guns are a terrible idea

March 1, 2013 9:45 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Mention the words "3D printed guns" and you’ve got an instant, increasingly heated debate on your hands. When you consider there were 16 mass shootings—defined as a shooting with multiple, random victims—in 2012 with at least 88 people dead including children, it’s definitely a topic worth discussing. My take? No one needs a 3D printed gun or the ability to create one.

The greatest use of (bus stop) technology ever

February 21, 2013 3:13 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Companies often struggle with how to incorporate new technology in a useful way, but Qualcomm knocked it out of the park this week with their new bus stop surprise. Qualcomm, a company that specializes in wireless technology, decided that they could use the combination of smart phones and boredom at bus stops

Stores are tracking your every move

February 14, 2013 2:11 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

When you walk into a store, you basically expect that you’re going to be recorded on a security video and surreptitiously watched by sales associates lest you decide to steal anything. But did you ever stop to think what information the store is gleaning from your cell?

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What Walter Cronkite thought 2001 would look like

February 12, 2013 3:41 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Predictions about future technology are always interesting. Sometimes, the prediction is pretty mainstream, like a mobile phone. Other times they’re a little more ambitious. I’m still waiting for my flying car. But one thing is always guaranteed: Predictions about the future are always fun to watch decades later — particularly if they star Mr. Walter Cronkite.

This device punishes you for skipping a workout

February 11, 2013 2:50 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

We’ve all done it. You come home from a long day at the office. Sit down on the couch to watch a little Walking Dead. You feel a little guilty that you haven’t hit the gym or gone for a run, but you figure no one will know. But then your television set turns itself off, then your phone goes down, then your iPad, and then your reading lamp switches off and leaves you in the dark.

Preserving Holocaust stories through 3D technology

February 8, 2013 1:06 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

It seems that a few groups consistently struggle with how to incorporate and use new technology in a manner that is both appropriate and effective for their brand. They often fall short and take advantage of the “next big thing” only to find it doesn’t work or hasn’t been adopted by enough of the public to make a difference. 

Why your car is a better driver than you

February 7, 2013 2:06 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

It came to my attention while working on an article about intelligent systems in cars that people might be a tad touchy when it comes to talking about letting cars do the work when driving.  I’m not talking about infotainment systems or fancy doodads, I’m talking about systems that could greatly improve the safety of cars....

Top 10 posts for January

February 1, 2013 12:41 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

We had a record-breaking January here at ECN online with our most trafficked month in the history of the website. So, without further delay, 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.

Did the Justice Department cause Aaron Swartz’s suicide?

January 31, 2013 9:00 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Aaron Swartz was a 26-year-old computer programmer and online activist who died of apparent suicide on January 11, ahead of a scheduled trial where he was charged with 13 felonies.  Swartz, founder of Demand Progress, an online group actively working against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)...

These shoes will tell you when it’s time for a new pair

January 28, 2013 3:14 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Apple has a lot of great products: iPhones, iPads, computers, laptops, Apple TV and the potential for many more. (Note the lack of iPad mini on this list because it is a dumb product, but I digress.) It seems the company might be expanding into shoe wear with a sensor that will track your steps and tell you when it’s time for a new pair of kicks.

Will a high-velocity, DNA-tagging police pellet gun deter protesters?

January 24, 2013 3:43 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Gun control is a hot button issue, so it makes sense that police and security firms would look towards expanding effective methods of nonviolent interaction. This becomes particularly important during riot situations with a lot of people and confusion, where police are often outnumbered and overwhelmed.

Vibrating steering wheel might prevent car accidents

January 23, 2013 9:12 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

I’ve talked a lot about intelligent systems in cars that are steering the industry towards a safer overall product by allow computers to take over where human error would mean an accident.There has been talk of new seatbelts, new braking system, and sensors that communicate with traffic lights and other cars,

“Smart pills” could save firefighters from injury or death

January 22, 2013 11:27 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

While the idea of “Smart Medication”  didn’t go over very well with the ECN crowd, there is a group to which it could be the difference between life and death.Firefighters often battle in extreme environmental conditions that can be pretty tough on the body’s vitals.

Would you steal energy?

January 18, 2013 2:14 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

While stealing is generally frowned upon in most societies, there is a new type of thieving that might just change that.Dennis Siegel, a Digital Media student from the University of the Arts in Germany has designed a harvester that takes advantage of unused energy in electromagnetic fields.

Would these “smart” ice cubes change how you drink?

January 17, 2013 2:24 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Sometimes great technology comes out of bad life experiences. Like the time Dhairya Dand from MIT Media Lab was so intoxicated he blacked out, and came up with an idea for a technology that would prevent people from drinking too much.By placing a smart LED inside molds of waterproof, edible jelly...

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