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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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These vintage tech ads are insulting, awkward, and completely real

December 23, 2013 10:06 am | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Oh, old tech ads. You’re so embarrassing — so silly and mildly sexist. Yet, you’re proof that we still have a lot to learn when it comes to how we relate to technology. Take this goofy picture of a Biblical Adam holding an Apple computer over his privates. Our early attempts at making technology look “sexy” were laughable....

Outlook for 2014 in the electronic components industry

December 19, 2013 2:01 pm | by Anne Tine, EVP of Marketing at Components Direct, an Avnet company | Blogs | Comments

The electronics industry is one characterized by constant change as new business opportunities and end user needs are driving growth in new applications and new markets. As a result, the electronic components industry must adapt — even embrace — this change, as companies that don’t are in danger of being left behind.

Making the most of flat growth

December 17, 2013 1:27 pm | by Michael Knight, Senior Vice President, TTI Americas | Tti, Inc. | Blogs | Comments

I have fond memories of 2010 when our industry catapulted out of the recession. Distribution and component suppliers were in flat-out growth mode as all struggled to deal with rapidly rising demands that rapidly swamped capacity levels that had been hastily reduced the year before.

This flying dress could be the start of wearable transportation

December 11, 2013 12:44 pm | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Pop singer Lady Gaga has worn some pretty weird outfits on stage (meat, anyone?), but her latest is so crazy, we might just all be wearing some version of it in the future. A flying dress sounds pretty fun — at least once a week I’d like to hover down to the mailbox.

Smile: Your life’s history is one photo snap away

December 3, 2013 12:21 pm | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Military technology is now a resource available to local police departments. What’s used on the battlefield is entering our home turf. Facial recognition software sounds harmless enough until you think about what it could create: a whole database with information on each and every one of us.

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A critical lesson in UPS transfers

October 23, 2013 3:50 pm | by Chris McLean, PE, Director of Design for Markley Group | Blogs | Comments

Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) transfers are tricky, yet critical undertakings for many organizations’ infrastructures. No matter what form an electrical apparatus takes, it must provide conditioned power to a load. For many organizations, losing that power supply is not an option....

An uncertain future for lighting

October 22, 2013 1:14 pm | by Clifton Lemon, Marketing Communications Manager, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

All of us in the lighting industry today face daily decisions—allocating resources, making specifications, calculating ROI, planning product roadmaps, and a host of other things—that rely on our best judgment about an increasingly uncertain future. “Uncertain” means in ways both bad and good, for we all know some kind of shakeout is pending....

How will ZigBee open up the Sentroller markets for Smart Home device developers?

October 11, 2013 12:53 pm | by Elly Schietse, General Manager GreenPeak Belgium | Blogs | Comments

The smart home device is about to explode. According to a recent report from Nextmarket Insights, the current home automation systems and services market is about 3.6 billion and is forecast to grow to around 15 billion by 2017. This market growth will be driven by a newly emerging homes service market....

NSA just needs a better name, new service offerings

September 9, 2013 9:50 am | by Andy Marken, President, Marken Communications | Blogs | Comments

The National Security Agency (NSA) isn’t doing much more than any red-blooded, we’re-in-this for-the-money cloud service or social media organization is doing. They’re scrounging through all the information that just happens to pass their way to find something of interest, something useful.

Engineering American energy independence

August 20, 2013 9:37 am | by Bill Kerney, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Fracking is dramatically increasing the recoverable reserves of America carbon-based energy supplies. but yesterday I just paid $4.15 to fill up my car at the USA gas station in Cardiff, Calif. There is a huge disconnect between supply and the price at the pump. Bottom-up solutions need to scale to make an impact.

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Beach-goers: You're standing in a key ingredient for semiconductors

July 26, 2013 12:37 pm | by George Karalias, Rochester Electronics | Blogs | Comments

As temperatures in Newburyport, Mass., skyrocket to triple digits and the humidity has us gasping for air; it is hard not to find yourself adhering to the beach-seeker mentality. As members of the semiconductor industry, we look at the beach a little differently than most.

Has solar power reached cost parity with other sources of electrical energy?

July 16, 2013 12:35 pm | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

The solar-cell pushers have been touting for quite some time the fact that the costs of solar cells have now nearly reached capital-cost parity with other sources of electrical energy. Parity is assumed to be a dollar a peak watt of capacity or thereabouts. But is that really true?

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #5 – “LEDs color-shift with time”

July 2, 2013 8:31 am | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

In the early days of white-emitting LEDs, the available chip packaging materials were ones developed decades earlier for use with red- and green-emitting devices. Unfortunately, when using those materials for blue-based white LEDs (blue LED + phosphors), unexpected problems arose.

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #6 – “LEDs can't run hot”

July 1, 2013 12:03 pm | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

Standard incandescent lamps convert almost all the power they consume into radiation (basically, heat). Unfortunately, only about 5% of this emission is in the visible spectrum, making them very inefficient light sources. On the other hand, since almost all the power is radiated away, there is little need for thermal management.

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #7 – “LEDs have high glare”

June 28, 2013 9:04 am | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

I’m standing in the taxi queue at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, having to squint ahead to gauge my wait. The cause of my discomfort: a horrible, blue-LED array-based outdoor luminaire ahead of me and above, spilling light in all directions and casting a putrid smear of yellow-green color against a nearby wall of the terminal, and directly into my eyes.

The kill decision shouldn't belong to a robot

June 27, 2013 10:25 am | by Daniel Suarez, TED Talk | Videos | Comments

As a novelist, Daniel Suarez spins dystopian tales of the future. But on the TEDGlobal stage, he talks us through a real-life scenario we all need to know more about: the rise of autonomous robotic weapons of war. Advanced drones, automated weapons and AI-powered intelligence-gathering tools, he suggests, could take the decision to make war out of the hands of humans.

The most plausible Hollywood fictional gadgets

June 26, 2013 2:06 pm | by Darren Douglas, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

If we want our opinions to be easily influenced by something, watching movies is the solution. Movies are a form of art that is globally used for entertainment purposes. Science fiction films that exhibit unusual and odd actions and gadgets are the ones doing big businesses on the box office.

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #8 – “LEDs are best left to China”

June 26, 2013 8:49 am | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

I have been in the LED business for almost twenty years, and each year I hear a comment along the lines of “LEDs are a commodity product”. What’s the definition of a commodity product? It’s one that is very cheap, undifferentiated, anybody can make it, and margins are low.

Tesla & the ethics of publicity

June 24, 2013 12:47 pm | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Blogs | Comments

A few weeks ago I mentioned that an eminently qualified historian of technology has written a biography of Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), the inventor of the eponymous Tesla coil, the induction motor, and numerous other ingenious contraptions. While Tesla has been the subject of numerous popular biographies and even a film or two...

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #9 – “LEDs are expensive”

June 24, 2013 9:00 am | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

“Ten bucks for a light bulb?!”, exclaims my daughter in response to my estimate of the ‘tipping point’ price for LED-based lighting products for the residential consumer. She, like many consumers, has yet to internalize that the real cost of ‘inexpensive’ conventional light bulbs is energy consumption, and that LEDs pay back on this aspect right away.

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #10 – “LEDs are dangerous”

June 21, 2013 2:06 pm | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

Any time a new, disruptive technology enters the public sphere, concern is raised about almost every conceivable aspect. This is especially the case for lighting wherein each and every one of us has a base of experience and, likely, some opinions. While it is certainly prudent to scrutinize any new technology from a health and use perspective...

Google Glass meets “smart” health

June 18, 2013 9:24 am | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Google Glass is a huge step forward, but trendy eyewear isn’t everything. Sometimes, you gotta think about health. “Smart” eyewear has just collided with smart vision correction — and no, I’m not talking about the prescription-based versions of Google Glass that are in development.

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