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The Lead

5 engineers with fatally terrible inventions

April 16, 2014 2:19 pm | by Aubrey Schaefer, Engineer Jobs | Blogs | Comments

If I stopped to count how many engineers have positively affected my life, I would have no time for anything else. Instead, let’s look at those other engineers – the ones with fatally terrible inventions.The staggering talent of thousands of engineers bears fruit with every processor cycle of the slick little laptop I’m typing this on....

The GM ignition switch recall: Too little too late?

April 15, 2014 1:18 pm | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Blogs | Comments

How much stuff do you carry on your keyring? Besides keys, I mean. Some minimalists like my wife...

Crowdfunding is killing the hardware revolution

April 9, 2014 11:48 am | by Melissa Fassbender, Associate Editor, @melfass | Blogs | Comments

Positioning itself to save the “hardware revolution” from “prototype purgatory,” Dragon...

This ‘electronic skin’ will revolutionize medicine

April 8, 2014 8:56 am | by Allegra Sparta, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

It’s as thin as a temporary tattoo, but you definitely won’t get one in a cereal box. The...

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Putting the 'long term’ in long-term evolution

April 4, 2014 8:22 am | by Francis Sideco, Senior Director Consumer, Mobile, and IT Electronics at IHS | Blogs | Comments

Unlike its predecessors, many of which by this same point in their adoption cycle were already being prepared to transition to the next generation of cellular air interface technology; LTE appears to be living up to its long-term promise.  LTE, while gaining momentum...

Why can’t automakers seem to learn?

April 2, 2014 9:07 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net | Blogs | Comments

Years ago, the Toyota “unintended acceleration” story dominated the headlines for, at first, days, and then weeks. Through the end of 2009 and well into 2010, it was the biggest story in the manufacturing world by a long-shot, and to this day remains one of the biggest industrial blunders in recent history....

5 questions OEMs should ask a chip maker

April 1, 2014 10:15 am | by Eran Eshed, Co-Founder and VP Marketing and Business Development at Altair Semiconductor | Blogs | Comments

One of the components of your future device is a cellular chip. There are many chip providers from which to choose, all eager to help bring your product to market. The decision to partner with a chipset vendor is not an easy one, and requires a significant amount of research, time and resources....

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Chemicals not in your line of sight? RFID gives you a clear view

March 27, 2014 1:24 pm | by Angela Hoffman, Northern Apex Corporation | Blogs | Comments

There are known issues within laboratories that involve tracking, inventorying and accounting for compounds, chemicals and reagents. If this issue has ever presented itself in your laboratory, radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions will help you and your staff....

Volvo thinks magnets could guide development of autonomous cars

March 24, 2014 9:20 am | by Allegra Sparta, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Autonomous cars seem to be the future of individual transportation. Personally, I’ve never minded lengthy drives — just throw on some tunes and cruise along to your destination. But for commuters and other motorists, self-driving cars could be the answer to their problems....

Adults, don’t blame teenagers for your bad phone habits

March 14, 2014 9:01 am | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Teenagers these days. They can’t go one minute without their cell phone. But apparently, neither can adults. A new study shows that one in three parents are using their cell phones almost nonstop during meal time at restaurants, and it’s probably safe to say this kind of behavior goes on at home, too.

Why it’s time for a useful Internet of Things

March 11, 2014 11:41 am | by Matthias Poppel, Chief Operation Officer, EnOcean | Blogs | Comments

It was one of the hot trends at CES show: Communicating devices and objects. There were a toothbrush, a fridge, or even a garbage can that send information to the smart phone. It shows two things: First, there are many technical possibilities today to realize the Internet of Things.

Influential women in engineering

March 10, 2014 11:07 am | by Jenny Beswick, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Throughout history there has been female shining stars leading the way in engineering; from Hypatia who invented the Hydrometer in ancient Greece, to Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, who developed the first compiler for a computer programming language in the 1950s....

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New competition for top mobile OEMs

March 10, 2014 10:46 am | by Joe Madden, Mobile Experts | Blogs | Comments

Over the past year, Mobile Experts has conducted deep investigations into Macro Base Stations, Active Antenna Systems , Small Cells, Cloud RAN, Carrier Wi-Fi, and DAS. Every time that we talk to an enthusiastic young company about one of these new technologies...

Blink your eyes or wag your tongue to operate this PC

March 7, 2014 8:39 am | by Allegra Sparta, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

It's small, subtle, and appears to be a lot less distracting than other wearable tech seen today. It can be controlled by the blink of an eye or a twitch of the nose. The “Earclip-type Wearable PC,” hopefully a tentative name, is being developed and tested by Japanese engineers....

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....

Airport lights are watching you

March 3, 2014 8:00 am | by Allegra Sparta, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Because I needed another reason to be skeptical of flying.... The newly installed LED lights in Terminal B of Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey don’t just provide clean, bright light for people waiting to catch their flights. They’re part of another installment in the “things that watch us without our knowledge” saga....

Electric drive vehicles don’t reduce emissions

February 28, 2014 9:26 am | by Chris Fox, PD&D Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

A study was recently released by North Carolina State University that provides evidence supporting the fact that electric drive vehicles (EDVs) have little impact on reducing emissions. As an engineering audience that knows efficiency when they see it, most PD&D readers will throw their hands in the air having known this for some time.

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Hotel smartphone "keys" are a horrible idea

February 27, 2014 8:53 am | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

One forward-thinking hotel chain wants to replace those easy-to-lose, plastic room keys with a smartphone app. It’s a horrible idea. OK, let’s back up. That chain is Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which is one of the savvier hotel options out there. Starwood is smart about making the most of new and popular technology.

Lazy kids play with lazy toys

February 26, 2014 6:37 am | by Chris Fox, PD&D Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Hasbro recently announced that it was revamping the Transformer product line. As the popular shape-shifters approach their 30-year anniversary, and will star in yet another movie, the company has enlisted a design and engineering team for an overhaul.

Answering the reshoring question

February 25, 2014 11:08 am | by Pramod Gupta, Aakash Gupta, Hector Gutierrez, and Patrick Van den Bossche, A.T. Kearney | Blogs | Comments

The U.S. has become a more attractive destination for manufacturing over the last few years. That’s a fact. And several U.S. companies are indeed bringing back their manufacturing operations. Several others are asking the question: “Should we reshore our activities as well?”

Mandated 'smart' tech could put cars in charge of their drivers

February 25, 2014 6:53 am | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

A new federal mandate could ensure that you’re not the only driver in control of the wheel. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication is a big deal. Basically, it enables cars to “talk” to each other and exchange data such as speed and location. That way, if someone were to pull a dangerous maneuver, the cars would “know” and could respond to avoid a collision....

Forget the "smart home": These homes are micro-sized

February 17, 2014 11:52 am | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Cubicles have a bad rap: They’re tiny, humiliating work spaces reserved for monkeys who push buttons all day long. I don’t have to sit in one, so maybe I’d speak differently if I were stuck in a bathroom-sized box all day, but I do live in a one-bedroom apartment with my significant other. And if there’s one good thing about having less room to stretch out in, it’s that you’re forced to use it more wisely.

How outsourcing went horribly wrong

February 5, 2014 11:56 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Blogs | Comments

If your own organization hasn’t jumped onto the bandwagon and outsourced most or all of its manufacturing to specialty houses or to lower-cost countries, then you have been reading a great many articles and posts about the trend. There is much debate over the effectiveness of the strategy....

How true love opened the smart bra

February 4, 2014 12:38 pm | by Melissa Barnes, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

When Microsoft reported plans for a smart bra equipped with sensors to help keep track of your health and mood, I scoffed at the idea. The concept of smart bras seemed a passing gimmick, and the comments from other critics on my previous blog on the topic seemed to agree.

Just how bad are America’s infrastructure problems?

January 31, 2014 12:55 pm | by Mike Collins | Blogs | Comments

Ever since the financial industry pushed the economy over the cliff and into the Great Recession, there has been a debate about investing in rebuilding our infrastructure to create new jobs. But just what is infrastructure and how much of it needs to be repaired or replaced?

The symbiotic relationship between editors and public relations

January 31, 2014 10:00 am | by Mark Shapiro, President, SRS Tech PR | Blogs | Comments

This kind of public relations is very different than the typical public relations strategies and campaigns used to promote restaurants, politicians, movies, appliances, or even high-tech consumer products like video games, phones, and apps. How do you promote the kinds of embedded electronic and industrial products and software that are never on sale at Frys or Home Depot?

3D printing: 2013’s biggest market disruptor

January 17, 2014 9:59 am | by Chris Fox, PD&D Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Perhaps you’ve heard: 3D printing is this astounding, brand-new technology that is taking the world by storm. Soon every household will have a 3D printer, and nobody will have to buy any physical thing at a store! Forgive my zealotry. In case you couldn’t sense the sarcasm bleeding from the screen as you read that, I don’t think anything terribly unexpected or astronomical happened....

Half-baked products & junk clones

January 15, 2014 2:24 pm | by Chris Fox, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Much like CES 2013, there were a few high points, a few low points, and lots of people. Too many people. Aside from the mass scale, International CES 2014 had an inherent problem. Reporting from the show floor for an engineering publication, I’m inclined to look for the truly innovative, mold-breaking, and disruptive technologies.

Phones to TVs: The future of tech is flexibility

January 7, 2014 3:10 pm | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

I would never dream of bending my laptop, camera, television, or any of the other electronic devices cluttering up my apartment. But LG’s G Flex Android smartphone, which the company is displaying at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this month in Las Vegas, is a curved device meant to be flattened....

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