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Most everyone has attended a business conference, gone to a seminar or breakout session there, and discovered that the talk wasn’t what they thought it was about.  To avoid offending the speaker, it’s polite to sit through the presentation, avoid checking your phone, and try to get something useful out of information that you wouldn’t have intentionally signed up to hear.  If you get up and leave, you worry the presenter may take offense and feel like people are bored ...
Dear Managers and Future Managers, You know the personality stereotypes of an engineer.  We calculate, optimize, model real life as complex systems, and prize efficiency above almost all else.  Some may even say that our robotic ways cause us to rate the importance of  'feelings' somewhere between 'of note' and 'totally irrelevant.'  This can make it easy to manage engineers by expecting them to always follow these characteristics like a predictable cog in a machine.  ...
Graphene sheet, in blue, next to gold contacts (image courtesy of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)   To see how nanomaterials could be used to generate electricity from water flow, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor Nikhil Koratkar has discovered the surprising potential of graphene as a generator. Using a sheet of graphene measuring 0.15mm by 0.03mm, Koratkar and his team observed the generation of 85 nano-watts. As water passes over the 1 atom thick graphene layer, chloride ions ...
ReRam layers via Samsung   All flash memory has a finite number of guaranteed write/rewrite times. Some older and cheaper types are set at 100,000 and more advanced have 1,000,000. Using this type of memory as a solid state harddrive could push the memory to its breakdown phase fairly quickly with the constant disk access seen in most modern operating systems.   Researchers at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology are looking into creating non-volatile ReRam (resistive RAM) tha ...
It's hard to imagine that electrical engineering ever had a beginning. Hasn't it always been with us? Looking at the incredible number of students, professors, focuses, and disciplines that exist today, you would think so. But not that long ago two men from different backgrounds and different countries would work together to create the world's first electrical engineering college.     In the late 1800s an avalanche of electrical innovations emerged and shocked the world--the first tr ...
Professor Lei Zuo via Stony Brook University   Energy Harvesting Shock Absorbers were just a matter of time. Professor Lei Zuo of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook has designed, patented, and made a license available on that very concept, and won the prestigious R&D 100 Award from R&D Magazine in 2011 (Best Technology Development of Energy Harvesting). Countless other engineers and people kicking themselves for not being faster.   Both the Linear and Motio ...
The biggest obstacle to alternative energy is storage of the generated electricity. Often enough, the power generated is immediately used in the grid. A recent use of liquid air storage for electricity looks promising. Flywheel based storage is already at use in regulating the grid. Unfortunately, these options are limited to only a few places.   The second biggest issue is how intermittent the generation time lasts. Cloudy days dip solar production. Calm days leave turbines motionless. Re ...
Prototype soft memory via North Carolina State University   “We’ve created a memory device with the physical properties of Jell-O,” said assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering Dr. Michael Dickey, at North Carolina State University. “Our memory device is soft and pliable, and functions extremely well in wet environments – similar to the human brain."   The prototype is made using an alloy of gallium and indium set in a water-based gel ...
  Great minds think alike?   Oregon State University (OSU) made an injet printed solar panel. Now MIT has made a printed solar panel. OSU's panel is at 5% efficiency while MIT's is only at 1%. However, MIT's can be folded thousands of times and still work. MIT's panels can also be further printed on, laminated, or treated with extreme heat and will still function.   The demonstration panels were printed onto regular paper using a chemical vapor process inside a vacuum. Very simi ...
Charging demo. Large coil on the right is connected to wall AC power. It is transmitted to the receiving coil. The small coil to the left is connected to a heart pump submerged in water. Via University of Washington   Wireless power transfer is being pushed harder than ever. From magnetic harmonics to ultrasound, many different options are being explored. Once an efficient option surfaces, the world of electrical devices will change dramatically. For example, Toyota wants to setup wireless ...
  Magdalen College, part of the University of Oxford, has been innovating through science since its inception on 1458. 532 years later, Magdalen College along with Prudential and Oxford, built the Oxford Science Park. Here 100 brilliant minds from different backgrounds and nationalities keep the innovation going every day. Deep in the bowels of the park resides Sharp's research and development facility, working on their latest innovations.   Today they announced a breakthrough 3D prin ...
I'm fairly new to the security sector, so I've been brushing up on my security factoids.  In this post, I talk about some of the most interesting chip-level security systems that I've found.  I'd love to hear about any neat security measures that you've dealt with!   Image Courtesty of the US Army There’s no doubt that we are living in troubled times.  Every day, there seems to be another news report explaining the most recent security breach, newest terrorist threat ...
- A paralyzed woman can walk in a virtual world. She controls her avatar with her mind. - Two people with Lou Gehrig's disease discuss their favorite TV shows and tweets they read in Second Life, an online virtual world. Again, with only the mind. - Home automation with thought. - Virtual instruments in an orchestra are being controlled by thought alone. - Robots controlled with brain waves. - Someone sent a tweet with only a brain to computer interface. All this and more is happening right n ...
Chalcopyrite deposit via Oregon State University   Sometimes many people around the world have the same idea simultaneous. Then a resounding, "that was my idea," is heard as someone actually attempts to act on the thought.   Has this ever occurred to you? Printing a solar panel.   Oregon State University can make solar panels with inkjet printing techniques. Not only that, but the new panels reduce material waste by 90%. The low cost, thin film solar electronics have a power con ...
What could be done with a lens-free camera that is half a millimeter square and 100th of a millimeter thick with a 20 pixel diagonal resolution?   From the Cornell University lab of Alyosha Molnar comes the "Planar Fourier Capture Array" (PFCA) camera. Using the principles of Fourier transforms, information can be captured in many ways. Each pixel in the PFCA reports the Fourier transform of a unique blend of incident angles. In other words, a direct image is not taken. Instead a little bi ...
Dave Young

How Hot Is Too Hot?

Posted by Dave Young Jul 6, 2011
We have had a pretty hot week in New York City, so when I was sitting on a friend's couch I couldn't help but notice a consistent source of heat radiating from the entertainment center that was about a foot away.  Upon closer inspection, I noticed that his Motorola cable box was putting out a TON of heat – while it was OFF. After I thought about the amount of waste heat this device was dumping into a non-air conditioned room 24/7, I started to wonder about the parts and how long t ...
  "This is a cutting-edge technology that has developed over the last decade from research at a handful of universities," said lead Aloke Kumar about his latest "lab-on-a-chip" collaboration. "A very important aspect is that we have achieved an integration of technologies that enables manipulation across a very wide length scale spectrum. This enables us to manipulate not only big-sized objects like droplets but also tiny DNA molecules inside droplets by using one combined technique. This c ...
  At the Royal Society's Summer Science Exhibition, from July 5th to the 10th, in London will show case some of the latest cutting edge technology. One device in particular will let the vision impaired see in a whole new way. A pair of glasses packed with the power of a smartphone developed by Dr Stephen Hicks of the Department of Clinical Neurology, Oxford University, will "enhance vision in those who’ve lost it or who have little left or almost none."   Hicks and his team at O ...
Engineers as a group are smarter than other people when it comes to applied technical matters.  We are bemused by non-technical people using emotionalism and logical fallacies to make important decisions.  After years of working in organizations where decisions affecting engineering projects are made this way, some engineers become bitter.  Some engineers feel like the powers that be have foolishly rewarded the stupid and that the only way to assert their own power and dignity is ...
  The Transition Airplane/Car is out selling every single light aircraft available today, in pre-sales. What makes it so coveted? It is street legal, and it is available now.   The company Terrafugia, (pronounced 'ter-ra-FOO-gee-ah') and founded in 2006 by MIT aeronautical engineers and MBAs, brings their passion for private aircraft to a new frontier, the street. The "Transition Roadable Aircraft lets the owner drive their plane to an airport, take off, and land again without ever wo ...
  In 1897, French immigrant Adolphe Chaillet developed a coiled filament carbon lamp that burned brighter than existing bulbs of the day. In fact, this bulb has outperformed every single bulb since. As one made in 1901 is still on to this day.   First a little history. Chaillet met with John C. Fish in Shelby, Ohio. An instant partnership was born. Fish sought out investors and ended up with 50 people backing a new bulb effort and $100,000 dollars. The Richland Mazda Lamp Company was ...

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