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(Left) Nanotube transistor image (Right) Nanotube transistor concept (via IBM)   Carbon Nanotubes (CN) is a material that will foster a technological shift in the coming years. More recently CNs have been used to create flexible circuit boards, advanced sensors, a 9 nanometer transistor, and they were even applied with a pencil.  When giants such as IBM look into fabrication of the material, it is time to listen.     As physical limitations are being reached as to how small ...
  Scientists have made a tremendous step towards creating one of the first functional tractor beams. Previous attempts have successfully pushed on particles using photons and were capable of moving particles around in two dimensions, but none have had the ability to pull particles toward the source of the beam. David Ruffner and David Grier from New York University have recently used two Bessel beams projected side by side to  move microscopic silica spheres a miniscule distance of ab ...
Philips Hue   Lighting equates to 25% of the total energy usage in the US. Light bulbs are of the most fundamental tools and have recently seen their most dramatic changes in CFLs and LEDs. Now, Philips is combining them with another fundamental aspect of modern living, wi-fi, to make them more earth-friendly and customizable. Phillips and Apple are looking to bank on this idea as the invention, Philips Hue, is already and exclusively available at Apple stores nationwide.     T ...
Acciona 250MW Oaxaca wind farm   It is no secret that a transition to alternative electrical energy generation must involve batteries unlike anything present in large scale energy storage or regulation. Rechargeable batteries must store the energy generated as well as complement those systems that depend on ever-changing inputs like wind or sun. These batteries must be tough enough to deal with the demands of us needy humans while having longevity and efficiencies that make it all worthwhi ...
Scanning electron microscope image of an array of optomechanical accelerometer devices. Green squares are proof masses suspended by nano-scale tethers. Near the green blocks are optical cavities, slightly pink, which senses motion of the proof masses. (via Martin Winger & Caltech)   Accelerometers allow our devices to move with us in a 3D world. They are embedded into most of our mobile tech and serve to be used as a motion input devices for a wide range of applications such as gaming, ...
Air Fuel Synthesis boiler room (via AFS)   Remember that crazy guy from your college day’s that was always spouting claims that some secret scientists have been producing gasoline from water - but couldn’t tell the public for fear of economic collapse? Turns out, he was somewhat right. A British firm known as ASF (Air Fuel Synthesis) has succeeded in creating gasoline from water and carbon dioxide that was extracted from air.   According to the company’s website they ...
The Technology First team at element14 is proud to bring you an excerpt from the latest issue XVII - coming soon to you. Here's an Op-ed by wireless technologies expert Steve Bell as part of our editorial retrospective.   Any new technology has to be assessed from a holistic perspective and its adoption is significantly faster when the business model has been fine-tuned to meet changing customer and consumer needs. Introduction RFID and NFC technologies, although related to each ot ...
  Skype, the popular call-making program, has been re-engineered by experts at Microsoft in order to reduce its energy usage ahead of the launch of Windows 8, the eagerly-awaited new operating system. The new application helps to ensure the computer's central processing unit (CPU) remains working when it is left to run in the background.   While the changes may seem relatively trivial, to those consumers who use Skype on their laptops quite often, it may make a significant difference t ...
The UK's burgeoning IT industry has been given a major boost with the news that Joanna Shields is to move from her position within the Facebook group to head London's new technology hub. It is expected that the appointment of Ms Shields will instigate a change to the government's priorities for the development of the sector, which is increasingly important to the economy.   The appointment of Ms Shields, 50, as Chief Executive of Tech City will be confirmed in January, which is her officia ...
Computer generated image of the current Earth orbit debris being tracked. It shows only 95% of oribiting garbage. (via NASA Orbital Debris Program Office)   More elaborate efforts are being made to clean up space in order to allow future space exploration and decrease the risk of catastrophic collisions. Most methods involve rockets to send up other devices with nets, harpoons and even lasers to undermine the orbits of space trash, but Boeing of Chicago is suggesting a relatively simpler a ...
HAL2 power suit concept (via Cyberdyne)   During Japan's Robot Week 2012, Cyberdyne corporation has revealed modifications that they have made to their Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) suit. The improvements will keep users safe from lethal radiation for workers in nuclear power plants or in times of unfortunate disasters such as Fukushima disaster of last year.     The original HAL power suit was designed to help users move and lift heavy projects. Marketed toward the elderly, phys ...
Stanford R. Ovshinsky 11/24/1922 - 10/17/2012   Inventors and scientists don’t necessarily need formal training to become noted in their profession. This was the case for Stanford Ovshinsky who holds over 400 patents garnered in over a fifty year period. Ovshinsky began down the road of invention when he was still in high school working as a tool maker and machinist for a myriad of local shops in his home town of Akron, Ohio and after WW2 eventually opened up his own machine company, ...
A component of the Hayabusa 2 prototype (via JAXA)   On October 1st, a memorandum was signed that will result in one of the most ambitious projects in space exploration. This agreement formalizes a collaboration of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to send a spacecraft and lander to Asteroid 1999 JU 3 in 2018 to try to learn about the origins of water and life on earth, mining asteroids for resources, and how we could fend off an earth-b ...
Last week attorney and EE Rick Abegglen talked to my local IEEE Section about trademarks.    Most of us have stories about components purchased from brokers appearing genuine but turning out to be fake.  A few years ago I worked with a company that purchased ICs that turned out to have no die inside.  The guys on The Amp Hour told of transistors that appeared to have the correct I-V curves but when they opened the package, counterfeiters had replaced the transistor with a s ...
The Technology First team at element14 is proud to bring you an excerpt from the latest issue XVII - coming soon to you. Here's an Op-ed by Vandana Lokeshwar, Joseph Alderson as part of our editorial retrospective Open-source software, hardware and applications are undoubtedly some of the biggest ideas changing the electronic engineering industry. This democratisation of design and technology is inspiring a new generation of engineers – element14 team takes a closer look   O ...
  William Hague, the Foreign Secretary of the UK government, has announced that up to 100 members of the so-called Xbox generation are to be offered the opportunity to work within the British secret service. According to Mr Hague, the government is determined to embrace the "the young innovators of this generation", who, he argued, could help to safeguard UK residents. It has been announced that the would-be secret service employees will be given training in advanced IT skills and, sub ...
The Big Picture (via Miraikan-Museum)   All exhibits whether directly or indirectly aim towards filling their visitors with new information, to influence them to act some way or change their perspective even if it is just for a moment. The Ars Electronica festival, in Linz, Austria, opened its doors to over 30,000 visitors for the 33rd time this last summer. Its goal was to directly focus on producing an experience that could make sense of the world’s fantastic and sickly states by w ...
House meters (via rutgers)   Here in the United States AMR’s (Automatic Meter Reading) are being retrofitted (or installed outright) to adapt to building meters for easier monitoring by electric, water and gas companies. There are several different kinds of AMR’s that include touch technology (meter readers use hand-held devices to collect info through a wand or probe), radio frequency network (data is collected through hand-held devices, mobile ‘drive-by’s’, o ...
Concept   Solar cells have yet again gone through some significant changes warranting a new milestone in efficiency. Researchers, led by Dr. Henry J. Snaith, from the University of Oxford, Toin University of Yokohama and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (both in Japan) have co-authored a paper detailing how the have achieved a record efficiency of 10.9% conversion rate by downgrading their material make-up. Perhaps it’s not exactly a downgrade per-s ...
San Jose State University, California student satellites (via NASA)   Some 50 plus years into our space exploration we continue to push the limits of devices, objectives, and human beings. We continue to analyze the past and lay groundwork for the future of humankind. Collaborations between mega-businesses and the federal government are leading to new ways to travel into space. At the same time, collaborations between Russian and the US and Germany and Japan are also making great stride to ...
(Left) Cell user in Kenya (via Konrad Glogowski & PBS) (Right) Malaria outbreaks in Kenya (via MARA ARMA)   The African continent has long endured a battle with Malaria. Groups like the World Health Organization have been able to reduce the number of deaths by 33% since 2000. In 2010, about 600,000 people were killed in Africa by the mosquito-borne infection, mostly children. Many measures and programs have been enacted to attempt to eradicate the disease, but until this point, the spr ...
Car manufacturing giant Nissan has announced that, over the next 12 months, it expects to start selling cars controlled by steer-by-wire technology. The Japanese firm is at the forefront of innovation in the automobile industry, explaining that the technology is reliant on electronic signals that are sent from the steering wheel to a computerised unit that controls the movement of the tyres.   Traditionally, cars have worked by virtue of mechanical links; now, though, Nissan hopes to make ...
Harpoon concept (via Astrium UK)   Humans are messy. The city streets are littered, and we have done an equally superb job of dirtying up outer space around the planet. Like on earth, we tend to look the other way until something happens affects us. After satellite collisions, like that between the Iridum 33 and Cosmos 2251 satellites in 2009 that created an enormous amount of debris, space agencies around the world are thinking perhaps it's time to start cleaning it up. The European Space ...
Disney's Capacitive Fingerprinting   When most of us think about Disney we think children’s movies and amusement parks but not necessarily ‘technology innovation.' Actually Disney Research’s motto states, ‘the science behind the magic,’ which is appropriate considering they have some new technology being developed that brings that motto to light with Capacitive Fingerprinting and Printed Optics. Today’s touch screens are capable of tracking multiple conta ...
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has just announced its latest prize challenge, and we believe it may be of particular interest to element14 community members.   Registration is now open for the DARPA Fast Adaptable Next-Generation Ground Vehicle (FANG) Challenges, a series of three design competitions that will use a collaborative process to design a new heavy, amphibious infantry-fighting vehicle. Competitors will utilize an online component model library, virtual ...
(via Mathias Eitz)   Computer programs have been written to dominate humans in games such as chess and Jeopardy. Now a program has been created which is on the path to give humans a challenge in Pictionary. Researchers from the Berlin Institute of Technology and Brown University in Providence have used a database of drawings to help a computer correctly identify and categorize human sketches. The program will be the first of its kind to allow computers to have a “semantic understandi ...
TansOS concept (via International Journal of Cloud Computing)     It is only an amount of time before cloud computing becomes the prominent method for storing and receiving data for your computers. Key advantages to cloud computing consist of automatic updates to software stored in the cloud, and access to all that is hosted in the cloud from any device with an internet connection. The next step in the cloud computing transition is to store the operating system that loads and runs all ...
George Osborne, the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer, has reaffirmed the coalition government's commitment to the engineering sector by announcing details of additional funding. The move will see the government triple its financial support to the Research Partnership Investment Fund, meaning it will now amount to £300 million. And it has been announced that the new funding will be used to enable further collaboration between universities, British industry and charity donors.   Mr Osbo ...
Mitt Romney "won" the first debate, gaining much attention for almost two week. He even caught up in the many political polls.     Mitt Romney, without a doubt, lost the second debate. He was insulting and aggressive with little justification. He looked like a carnival barker.     While people debate whether his campaign is in trouble or not, let's take a detailed look at how he plans to help engineers and the technology sector. I hope this will help you better understand ...
Concept setup (via 3Gear Systems)   3Gear Systems is a company based out of San Francisco currently only made up of three people. These  three people have all earned their Ph.D. from different schools, however their shared vision of enhancing computer graphics and HCI led them all in the same direction. Supported by K9 Ventures, Uj Ventures, and a research grant from the National Science Foundation, 3Gear has created a system using two Kinect cameras which can capture and analyze wris ...
Cabe Atwell

Dichotomy of hackers

Posted by Cabe Atwell Oct 16, 2012
Stockholm, Sweden, Pionen high-security computer storage facility, where WikiLeaks is hosted. As hackers target the servers, the Swedish government plans to retaliate (via AFP & Jonathan Nackstrand)   The term hacker, to most people, congers the thought of a person commanding esoteric computer nonsense running down the screen matrix-style. To those in the tech savvy world, the term stands for a type of master, who through cunning and precise code, can impose their will on all tech, eve ...
Several times this year, a year that marks the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing, I have come across cases of computers being able to masquerade as humans.  A few months ago I talked to a telemarketer for almost two minutes before I worked out it was a bot.    Around the same time an old friend sent me text from a chat session he had with AT&T.  In this chat session, my friend asked about internet service for his home.  AT&T didn’t serve t ...
Sayre Glove, from 1977. An early gesture sensor device (via Electronic Visualization Laboratory)   Standard PC user interfaces (as we know them today) such as the keyboard and mouse have been around since the 60’s and have served us well. Could advancements in gestural user interfaces could rival those standards and, over time, do away with them all together?   Gestural interfacing came about in the late 70’s with the introduction of the Sayre Glove by Electronic Visuali ...
Drawing with carbon nanotubes? (via MIT & Jan Schnorr)   Development surround Carbon Nanotubes continue to surprise and amaze. The electrically conductive material makes for an acute sensor. In particular, it can detect the presence of gases as a drastic change of their conductivity occurs when certain gasses stick to the nanotubes. Coating them with polymers of different substances can change which gases they interact with. Copper coatings, for example, are used to detect ethylene gas ...
(via Chris Harrison)     Innovative concepts are all right in front of our eyes, but few see them. Here is another "why didn't I think of that" concepts. Researchers from the HCI Institute at Carnegie Mellon have developed acoustic bar codes.     The method behind the acoustic bar code is straightforward. A specific etching of grooves onto some solid material will create a sequence of sounds when rubbed across by a hard material, like a fingernail, stylus or even your smart ...
David Wineland in lab (via Reuters)   "I admire to the highest degree the achievement of the younger generation of physicists which goes by the term quantum mechanics, and believe in the deep level of truth of that theory; but I believe that its limitation to 'statistical laws' will be a temporary one." -Albert Einstein, 1929     This quote, by Albert Einstein, predicted what has now become true, winning a French and an American scientist the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics. Serge H ...
"I sense some mild stress" - StressSense   An up and coming smartphone app called StressSense, expected to launch next month, claims to be able to determine your stress level by listening to the sound of your voice. A collection of researches from Cornell, EPFL, Dartmouth, University of Neuchatel, and Intel Labs have banded together to create the "first voice bases stress detection and model adaptation in diverse real-life conversational situations using smartphones." (on Android, to be s ...
Frank Deicke (via  Fraunhofer IPMS/Jurgen Losel)   Don’t look now, but the infrared technology found in fancy turn-of-the-century cell phones is planning a comeback. That is if Frank Deicke, researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) in Dresden, Germany, has his way. Those archaic devices used infrared to wirelessly transfer data over short distances. Later, this technology was made obsolete by much faster wi-fi and Bluetooth. But, Deicke has come up ...
TechEdSat from San Jose State University   There have been some recent sightings of strange cube-shaped objects in earth’s orbit, but there’s no need to worry they’re not Borg cubes on a mission to assimilate the earths inhabitants. Rather, these are small experimental satellites designed by engineering students from San Jose State University. The TechEdSats were recently launched from the Kibo Laboratory aboard the International Space Station last Friday (October 5th, 201 ...
Test run (via Darpa)   The day that drones can refuel themselves in mid-flight is soon to become a reality. Combat pilots rely on in-flight refueling to gain increased distance or more time on station depending on the mission. Without the use of these flying gas stations, operations would be serious limited in scope which is the case for UAV’s. Drone use by the military has steadily increased over the past decade or so and has been adapted to combat missions (equipped with hellfire mi ...
(via Adapteva)   Parallel computing, a form of super-computing, could be available to the general populous very soon if the folks over at Adapteva achieve their goal of manufacturing their open-sourced hardware platform with funding from Kickstarter. The Parallela computer platform (akin to Raspberry Pi and Arduino platforms) is based off of the company’s on-going development of their Epiphany multi-core chips (RISC core processors) which are connected with a single fast on-board memo ...
Dramatic shot of the researchers researching. Professor Miroslav Krstic at left, and Postdoctoral Scott Moura on the right are the leads in the project (via University of California)     Sometimes scientists and engineers oversee problems with conventional methods, leading to scrapped projects when these conventions are not questioned. An example of this is the cancellation of the Toyota eQ electric vehicle due to Toyota’s lack of confidence in how consumers view EVs, mostly in ...
(Left) Tele-presence robot traveling the halls (Right) Devon Carrow-Sperduti, user of the bot (via Barnorama)   It is a shame when children have or become afflicted with a serious disability. These afflictions usually take a devastating toll not only on the child but their families, as well. Occasionally these children look upon their afflictions as hurdle to overcome and gain a foot-hold on living a normal life such as 7-year old Devon Carrow-Sperduti of West Seneca, New York. Devon was di ...
FITSAT-1 micro-satellite to send morse code back to earth (via FIT)         .... .. / - .... .. ... / .. ... / -. .. .-- .- -.- .- / .--- .- .--. .- -. Hi this is Niwaka Japan.     If you head outside in the next month or so (weather permitting), you may get to see and hear a message from space in the form of old-school Morse code. The message will be sent by a 10 centimeter cube-shaped micro-satellite designed by scientists from the Fukuoka Institute of Technolo ...
New proposals have been put forward that could see UK-based firms offered shorter domain names in a bid to ramp-up security measures. The plans has been devised by Nominet, the UK-based domain name service. Under the terms of the scheme, businesses would be afforded the chance to register www.name.uk as their URL address. This, though, will run alongside the pre-existing address, which ends in .co.uk.   In order to apply for the scheme, businesses must do two things: that they have a prese ...
Charles Gervasi

First Robotics

Posted by Charles Gervasi Oct 8, 2012
Regular readers of this space know that in my opinion automation is upsetting labor markets more than globalization and that this makes STEM education critical.  Even in my supposedly intellectual town, I frequently hear anecdotes of parents and students at the public schools valuing athletics more than STEM education.  People are surprised that many young people struggle to find jobs that can support that an affluent lifestyle.  Some people say fatalistically that jobs disappear ...
Graphene Nano-wire on graphene concept (via Crayonano)   With all of the latest developments regarding graphene production and applications, could we finally be on the verge of running 3000GHz CPU’s on our systems and mobile devices? According to a team of scientists from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, that day might be closer than you think. Their development is a semiconductor nano-wire that has been grown on the metamaterial, which could be described as tiny, y ...
“What designs would you open if product sales were your primary source of income?”   The Open Hardware Summit was held last week, and I had the pleasure of attending.  The principles of open licensing are simple: share all design files into the public domain and place no ownership or restrictions on the technology, allowing the community to learn from and build on it without wasting time 'reinventing the wheel.'   The reason I was so excited to attend OHWS was the li ...
No speculation needed any more. Barack Obama has won. But take a look at Obama's plans and policies below:     Sculptures of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama by Madame Tussauds, Washington D.C.   Can a single president make a difference?   Abraham Lincoln started the National Academy of Science, fostered the First Transcontinental Railroad, embraced the telegraph, personally tested prototype military weapons, and is the only U.S. president to hold a patent. John F. Kennedy& ...
In the world of energy generation, waste is the number one enemy. Engineers and researchers have fought long and hard against inefficiencies even though thermodynamics tells us they will always be present. The only thing left to do is get creative, connecting systems that exploit the wasted energy of others. Researchers at IBM and Northwestern University are in the midst of exploring exciting options that will make inefficiencies useful.     Slowing the flow of heat at three scales. ...
(Via SensoGlove)   Whenever I played golf, I usually ended up frustrated and with blisters all over my fingers. Much later, after I stopped playing, I was told that the club should do all of the work, not my hands. The German company Sensolutions, has come up with a device intended to alleviate this common mistake, commonly referred to as the death grip. The device is intended to help every golfer, from beginner to advanced level players, find their optimum grip and their best swing.  ...
(via DoCoMo)   One of the most appealing features of new phones or updates is the improving of useability. Not having to press multiple buttons multiple times to get back to the home screen or the most used apps, for example. NTT DoCoMo, the Japanese mobile phone company, is well aware of how consumers are all about easier functionality. They were some of the first to try Near Field Communication (NFC) forms of payment. Now they are pioneering yet again with a phone that uses your grip pre ...
Part 3 of the poll that the Technology First team at element14 is inviting your comments and nominations for the most influential technologies and products for 2013. This is a list for all of us to build together, we have some ideas here for starters. Please join in to discuss the entries below or to submit yours.   You may also be interested in reading Part 1 – Game Changers of Tomorrow and Part 2 – Technologies enabling Electric vehicles on the road  from which these ent ...
(Left) will.i.am (Right) Simon Cowell - collaborating team of X-Factor for Tech (via Getty Images)   I’m sure you have heard of shows like American Idol or America’s Got Talent, where a panel of celebrities judges performers to try to find the biggest talent. I have never been able to watch shows like these for too long. But soon there may be a show that captures the interest of engineers and the science community alike, as Simon Cowell and Wiil.i.am, from the Black Eyed Peas, ...
Google autonomous car (via Google)   Google has already transformed so many aspects of our daily lives. Just by accessing information online, facilitating everything from making a recipe to mapping out a trip have changed the way many interface with the world. Now the revolutionary company has lobbied the California state government to move one step closer to realizing another previously unfathomable dream, allowing driver-less cars on its streets.     Bill SB1298 was signed on ...
  The UK economy is propped up by the skills of graduate engineers, according to the Royal Academy of Engineering, which has observed that many of these university leavers possess the skills to pursue roles in other sectors, too. In a new report, entitled Jobs and growth: the importance of engineering skills to the UK economy, the academy said that demand for engineers is not being matched by supply.   Assuming the troubled UK economy is to get back into sustainably positive territor ...
Falcon 9 ready for launch on October 7th (via SpaceX and NASA)   Space Exploration Technologies(SpaceX) has been working on developing the world's most advanced rockets since 2002. Founded by Elon Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla Motors, SpaceX began making history in 2010 with back-to-back successful launches of their rockets Falcon 1 and Falcon 9. Falcon 1 was the first one to lift off back in June of 2010 and became the first privately owned rocket to reach orbit. Falcon 9, the more p ...
System in operation. The red triangle shows the current location, which the blue is showing where it has been. (via MIT)   In something that looks straight out of a video game, MIT students have fused a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensor, barometric sensors, a MicroStrain inertial measurement unit (IMU) and a Microsoft Kinect camera to create a real-time mapping system. Worn, the user needs only walk around in the desired indoor area. Certain to innovate the search and rescue indus ...
Young makers, including Dillon, pictured above, demonstrated their projects at the 3rd Annual World Maker Faire in NYC This weekend.  The maker movement is changing the way the world will operate in the coming years.   As I’m sure many readers already know, this past weekend was the 3rd annual World Maker Faire in New York City, as well as the 3rd Open Hardware Summit just a few days earlier.  Though I’ve attended both before, this year really struck me as a harbinger ...
At an engineering professional society meeting a few years ago an engineer going to speak to high school students about engineering careers lamented that the students focus on how well jobs pay and engineering comes off badly in that area.  Setting aside the question of whether high pay is more important than job satisfaction, the claim that engineering has low pay is wrong.  Engineering is by far the highest paid profession requiring only a bachelor’s degree.  It is true th ...

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