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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....

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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.

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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....

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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