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State legislature group wants right to bar municipal broadband networks

 By Rick Nelson, on July 24, 2014

A group representing state legislatures wants to make sure private Internet service providers don't face competition from taxpayer-funded city-run broadband networks. The group, called the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL), is threatening a legal challenge to the Federal Communications Commission should the FCC attempt to preempt...

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L-com says D-Sub connector not ready to retire

 By Rick Nelson, on July 22, 2014

The D-Sub connector is still going strong, because "it gets the job done"—much like an aging professional athlete who is no longer fast and sleek but can still play the game. That's according to an article called "D-Sub Connection Technology Today," posted on L-com's website. The article cites advantages and disadvantages of the...

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Spacecraft launched in 1978 could get new life

 By Rick Nelson, on July 22, 2014

The International Sun-Earth Explorer 3, or ISEE-3, could get a new lease on life in August, when a team of volunteers and aerospace engineers—constituting the ISEE-3 Reboot Project—attempt to rescue it. Launched in 1978, the craft studied how solar activity affects us on Earth and encountered a comet. Those missions completed, NASA...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Military / Aero Test ::



Political strategists increasingly go digital

 By Rick Nelson, on July 21, 2014

Who do you plan to vote for in the next election, and might a well-produced ad or timely knock on the door change your opinion? Political analytics firms like i360 think they have the answers to such questions and can deploy their technology to affect election outcomes. Andrew Rice, writing in

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Remembering a small step and giant leap

 By Rick Nelson, on July 20, 2014

Today, Sunday July 20, marks the 45th anniversary of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon. SpaceRef has a series of videos relating to the Apollo 11 mission, with film of Walter Cronkite on CBS covering the events. But what did Armstrong say on setting foot on the moon? As I understand the CBS video, Armstrong said, "That's one small step...

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IBM to promote Apple iOS for business

 By Rick Nelson, on July 16, 2014

Do you use a mobile device on the job? According to our salary survey published last August, more than half of you did, and the iPhone was the most common platform, followed by an Android phone. To give you a sneak preview of our 2014 survey, to be published next month, the iPhone and Android have switched places. However, IBM and Apple are now...

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Novartis, Google team up on smart lenses

 By Rick Nelson, on July 16, 2014

Novartis and Google are cooperating on smart-lens technology. Novartis yesterday announced that its Alcon eye-care division will work to develop and commercialize the technology from the search giant's Google[x] division. Novartis described the smart lens technology as involving noninvasive sensors, microchips, and other miniaturized...

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Qualcomm exec talks IoT, says ATE won't be free

 By Rick Nelson, on July 14, 2014

San Francisco, CA. Speaking at Test Vision 2020 held in conjunction with SEMICON West, Michael Campbell, senior vice president at Qualcomm Technologies Inc., noted that the IoT promises vast opportunities and challenges. Nevertheless, he said of "The Internet of things," "I hate that phrase." It's not just an Internet of things, he suggested,...

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Leti highlights M&NEMS platform at SEMICON West

 By Rick Nelson, on July 13, 2014

San Francisco, CA. A generic MEMS platform was one focus of CEA-Leti at SEMICON West. Philippe Robert, MEMS department director, said the organization is working seven days per week and 24 hours per day on sensors, actuators, RF components, packaging (including interposers), and characterization and reliability. More than 200 people work on MEMS...

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EAG touts capabilities at SEMICON West

 By Rick Nelson, on July 12, 2014

San Francisco, CA. Representatives of the Evans Analytical Group were on hand at SEMICON West to highlight their company's capabilities. Aram Sarkissian noted that EAG has three divisions with about 700 employees serving more than 5,500 customers in the industrial, aerospace, LED, solar, biomed, pharma, chemical, consumer, and technology end...

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Advantest adds T2000, V93000 modules

 By Rick Nelson, on July 11, 2014

San Francisco, CA. Advantest at SEMICON West demonstrated that it is supporting both its T2000 and V93000 test platforms. For the latter, the company introduced the PVI8 floating power source, and for the T2000, it introduced a 1.6-Gb/s digital module and an enhanced device power supply. Anthony Lum, business development manager, said the new...

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KLA-Tencor addresses IC manufacturing challenges at SEMICON West

 By Rick Nelson, on July 11, 2014

San Francisco, CA. KLA-Tencor chose SEMICON West to announce four new systems—the 2920 Series, the Puma 9850, the Surfscan SP5, and the eDR-7110. The systems are designed to address IC manufacturing challenges at the 1X-nm design node, according to Brian Trafas, Ph.D., chief marketing officer at the company. Those challenges, he said, relate...

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SEMICON West keynoter emphasizes partnerships

 By Rick Nelson, on July 11, 2014

San Francisco, CA. Partnerships are the key to furthering the success of the semiconductor industry, according to Mark Adams, president of Micron. Delivering a keynote address at SEMICON West, he said successful partnerships don't involve one partner trying to squeeze every last dime out of the other. Technology is being increasingly adopted...

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Van den hove calls for collaboration at ITF

 By Rick Nelson, on July 10, 2014

San Francisco, CA. Precompetitive collaboration will be the key to innovation in the semiconductor industry as fewer companies cooperate to share costs and risks to their mutual benefit. That's according to Luc Van den hove, president and CEO of imec, who gave a presentation titled "Creative Business Models for Challenging Ecosystems" at the...

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SEMI looks to future challenges, welcomes STEM initiative

 By Rick Nelson, on July 8, 2014

San Francisco, CA. SEMICON West kicked off yesterday with a press conference at which show sponsor SEMI made several key announcements relating to workforce development, industry outlook, and SEMI governance. In addition, SEMI presented a panel discussion with Dr. An Steegen of imec, Robert Cappel of KLA-Tencore, and William Chen of ASE Group...

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IMS attendance exceeds 7,500

 By Rick Nelson, on July 6, 2014

More than 7,500 attendees filled the sold-out show floor at the IEEE MTT-S 2014 International Microwave Symposium (IMS) at the Tampa Convention Center June 1-6, marking the fourth consecutive year in which the percentage of first-time attendees topped 30%, according to show organizers, in data released last week. The event comprised a three-day...

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Professor says Facebook psychological research is business as usual

 By Rick Nelson, on July 3, 2014

If you're a Facebook user, you may have caught some bad feelings, brought to you by a mechanism that researchers call "emotional contagion." We learned last weekend that researchers found that some Facebook users subjected to predominantly good news feeds tended to post good news themselves, while others subjected to bad news tended to post...

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Teledyne LeCroy debuts WaveSurfer 3000 scopes

 By Rick Nelson, on July 1, 2014

July 1, 2014. Teledyne LeCroy today introduced the 200-MHz to 500-MHz WaveSurfer 3000 series of oscilloscopes, featuring the company's MAUI advanced user interface. This interface, previously available only on higher end oscilloscopes, seamlessly integrates a deep measurement toolset and multi-instrument capabilities into a cutting edge user...

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June shows bracket significant product and technology news

 By Rick Nelson, on June 30, 2014

The month of June, bracketed by two trade shows—the International Microwave Symposium and last week's Sensors Expo, saw some significant product and technology news related to topics ranging from RF/microwave communications to sensor fusion. Apart from the two shows, companies were busy introducing a variety of products, ranging from...

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Authors, not devices, represent the future of books

 By Rick Nelson, on June 29, 2014

Online sales of print and electronic books have long been putting pressure on bricks-and-mortar bookstores, and The Bookseller reports that in 2013 net revenues from online sales of print and electronic books exceeded revenues from bricks-and-mortar stores. Print remains a force, with paperbacks remaining in the top-seller spot for the...

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Aereo suspends operations after adverse ruling, rivals step up

 By Rick Nelson, on June 28, 2014

Aereo today suspended operations after an adverse ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier in the week. Chet Kanojia, Aereo's founder and chief executive, wrote to subscribers to say that as a result of the Court's decision, "our case has been returned to the lower Court. We have decided to pause our operations temporarily as we consult...

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Crime investigators too often rely on bogus cell-signal analysis

 By Rick Nelson, on June 28, 2014

Law-enforcement officials frequently use cellphone information to determine whether a suspect was near the scene of a crime. The FBI fields 32 agents dedicated to analyzing cell-site date, and the bureau has trained more than 5,000 state and local investigators in the methodology, according to Tom Jackson, writing in the

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Three-wheeled Elio goes ICE, HOG goes electric

 By Rick Nelson, on June 27, 2014

Want to help the environment but can't afford $70,000 and up for a new electric Tesla S? One alternative, to be available sometime next year, might be the $6,800 Elio, which uses a decidedly un-high-tech approach—a three-cylinder 0.9-l, 55-hp internal-combustion engine (ICE)—to deliver 84 mpg and a range of 672 miles on a single...

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Google looks to cars and wearables

 By Rick Nelson, on June 27, 2014

Google want to become an ever bigger part of your life, according to reports from the Google I/O software developers' conference held in San Francisco this week. The company's latest initiatives center around Android with applications in wearable computers and automobiles. “This is one of the most comprehensive releases we have...

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Supreme Court rules against Aereo

 By Rick Nelson, on June 25, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against Aereo, the service that claimed to offer a cloud-like individual TV antenna to each of its subscribers, allowing them to stream over-the-air television broadcasts to their computers or mobile devices. Aereo claimed it should be exempt from retransmission fees that cable companies pay to carry over-the-air...

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Lepore challenges 'The Innovator's Dilemma,' Christensen responds

 By Rick Nelson, on June 22, 2014

Is "The Innovator's Dilemma" not a dilemma after all? The theory, described in Clayton M. Christensen's 1997 book of the same name, contends that when large and previously successful companies fail, it's not because managers began doing the wrong things, but that they continued to do the right things—those things that had led to...

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U.S. Supreme Court rules against software patent troll

 By Rick Nelson, on June 19, 2014

The Supreme Court of the United States has issued a ruling in a case on whether a concept that can be implemented in software on a general-purpose computer can be protected by patent. The case—Alice vs. CLS Bank—dealt with claims of patent-assertion entity Alice Corp. against CLS Bank, which has implemented an escrow system on which...

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Smart glasses could help visually impaired

 By Rick Nelson, on June 19, 2014

Researchers at Oxford University's Department of Clinical Neuroscience, with the assistance of NI LabVIEW, have developed prototype LED glasses to help the visually impaired. The prototype can work for people with some residual vision. "We acquire video feeds from head-mounted cameras, and process the image data to detect nearby objects of...

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Andreessen proposes reinventing Detroit as Drone Valley

 By Rick Nelson, on June 17, 2014

Marc Andreessen, co-author of the first widely used web browser, wants to turn Detroit into "Drone Valley." He's not exactly calling for the city's factories to be turned over to the production of unmanned aerial vehicles, but rather that the city be designated a region free of regulatory hurdles that limit UAV innovation elsewhere....

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NI looks to upend bench with software-based all-in-one instrument

 By Rick Nelson, on June 16, 2014

National Instruments today proposed a radical reinvention the electrical engineer's laboratory bench top with the introduction of a display-free, knob-free multifunction instrument that relies on software to provide a PC or iPad user interface. Called VirtualBench, the compact all-in-one instrument integrates a mixed-signal oscilloscope,...

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Web platforms match companies, freelances

 By Rick Nelson, on June 15, 2014

Web-based freelancing platforms can bridge the gap between companies with tens of thousands of open positions and people looking for work, according to Fabio Rosati, chief executive of Elance-oDesk, as reported by Sarah Halzack in the Washington Post. Elance offers five categories of workers:...

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Tesla frees electric-vehicle patents

 By Rick Nelson, on June 13, 2014

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced yesterday that the company has removed the display of patents from the wall of its headquarters in Palo Alto, "…in the spirit of the open-source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology. "When I started out with my first company, Zip2, I thought patents were a good thing and worked hard to...

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Tesla's Musk considers flying cars amid skepticism

 By Rick Nelson, on June 10, 2014

"Maybe we'll make a flying car, just for fun," said Elon Musk as reported by Jamie Merrill in the Independent. Writes Merrill, "From any other businessman, such a statement would be a joke. But the billionaire, 42, who has poured the millions he made from the sale of his online payments firm PayPal into companies producing...

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Doppler information could confirm MH370's southern arc

 By Rick Nelson, on June 9, 2014

Recently released Inmarsat satellite information about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 would seem to confirm that the airliner traveled in a southern arc before disappearing. Data previously made public suggested the airliner had traveled along either a northern or southern arc, although search efforts have focused on the southern path. Jeff Wise...

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Report details engineering's role in GM Cobalt switch defect

 By Rick Nelson, on June 8, 2014

GM received a report on Thursday critical of its handling of ignition-switch problems in Chevy Cobalt and related vehicles. With a slight nudge, the ignition switch could move from the run to accessory position, inhibiting power steering and braking and disabling airbag deployment. Thus far, GM has linked 13 deaths and 54 crashes to rolling stalls...

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MIT's fusion reactor has new lease on life

 By Rick Nelson, on June 8, 2014

MIT’s a 20-year-old 40-foot-tall cylindrical Alcator C-Mod nuclear fusion reactor had been scheduled for closure. The Obama administration had determined that funds for fusion research would be better invested in two U.S. facilities—the DIII-D research program at General Atomics' Fusion Energy Research Lab in San Diego and the

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Freescale simplifies RF power application development

 By Rick Nelson, on June 5, 2014

Tampa, FL. Freescale Semiconductor chose the International Microwave Symposium to emphasize its RF product offerings. Paul Hart, senior vice president and general manager, cited RF as representing one of five core product groups at the company (the others being microcontrollers, digital networking, automotive MCUs, and analog devices and sensors)....

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NI highlights PA design and test at IMS

 By Rick Nelson, on June 5, 2014

Tampa, FL. National Instruments chose the International Microwave Symposium to present several demonstrations, with a particular emphasis on power-amplifier design and test. From a design aspect, the company described the design of an MMIC power amplifier in the design environment of NI's AWR subsidiary. The demo showed what's involved...

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Anritsu at IMS debuts ShockLine VNAs

 By Rick Nelson, on June 4, 2014

Tampa, FL. Anritsu chose the International Microwave Symposium to introduce its new ShockLine RF vector network analyzer specifically designed to meet the price/performance considerations associated with testing passive multiport and differential devices. Ajaiey Sharma, director of marketing and business development, said VNAs have become highly...

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Battery cycle harvests waste heat

 By Rick Nelson, on June 4, 2014

Researchers at MIT and Stanford University have found a way to convert waste heat into electricity at temperature differences of less than 100°C. Their approach, based on the thermogalvanic effect, is described in a paper published in the journal Nature Communications. The paper's authors include postdoc student Yuan Yang and...

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Agilent teams with Cascade on wafer measurement

 By Rick Nelson, on June 3, 2014

Tampa, FL. Agilent and Cascade Microtech today at the International Microwave Symposium announced a strategic alliance to provide fully configured and validated wafer-measurement capabilities. The alliance aims to streamline wafer-level semiconductor measurements while delivering guaranteed configuration, installation, and support. Debbora...

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Intel VP calls for personalization at IMS

 By Rick Nelson, on June 3, 2014

Tampa, FL. Personalization is fueling the demand for innovation, according to Dr. Vida Ilderem, Intel Labs vice president and director of Integrated Computing Research (ICR). Delivering the keynote address at the International Microwave Symposium, she likened data to the new oil as driver of innovation. A key aspect is that more sensors are...

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NI and partners to present SERS at SmartAmerica

 By Rick Nelson, on May 31, 2014

A team composed of National Instruments and eight other organizations from academia and industry is designing a Smart Emergency Response System (SERS) to empower first responders and other emergency personnel with information needed to locate and assist victims in disaster situations. The team was formed in response to the SmartAmerica Challenge,...

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Intel debuts In-Vehicle Solutions platform

 By Rick Nelson, on May 30, 2014

Intel is helping pave the road for autonomous vehicles and connected cars with a family of hardware and software products called Intel In-Vehicle Solutions. The company also said its Intel's Internet of Things Group achieved revenue of $482 million in the first quarter, up 32% year-over-year, driven by demand for in-vehicle infotainment (IVI)...

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Perovskite, organic solar cells vie with crystalline silicon PV

 By Rick Nelson, on May 30, 2014

Crystalline silicon remains the predominant bulk material for the fabrication of photovoltaic cells, but progress is proceeding with other materials, which may offer certain benefits. Organic solar cells offer the possibility for price reduction, and they can be mechanically flexible. And solar cells made of organometal halide perovskites offer...

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CWIEME exhibitor to address electric motor efficiency

 By Rick Nelson, on May 29, 2014

Electric motors consume a great deal of the world's electricity—with estimates centering on 45%, or more than twice as much as lighting, according to some estimates. Not surprisingly, governments and users of motors would like to boost efficiency to minimize electricity use and control cost. (See related articles

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V2G electric buses could balance power load, save money

 By Rick Nelson, on May 29, 2014

A new study from University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) shows that electric school buses that feed power to the grid—employing technology called vehicle-to-grid (V2G) pioneered by the university—could save school districts millions of dollars. Electric school buses would be practical, because...

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Cultural issues, hiring bias may impede women in engineering

 By Rick Nelson, on May 28, 2014

It's no secret that women are underrepresented in engineering. One quick data point—although the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society was founded and held its first symposium in 1952, and although the International Microwave Symposium has been an annual event since

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MGH to design implantable deep-brain-stimulation device

 By Rick Nelson, on May 27, 2014

Investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) today announced a research initiative designed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other neurological and psychiatric disorders. The goal of the project, made possible by a $30 million grant from DARPA, is to design and build an implantable...

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ICFO announces nanochip for early cancer detection

 By Rick Nelson, on May 26, 2014

ICFO has announced that an international team of researchers, led by ICREA professor and ICFO group leader Romain Quidant, has reported on the successful development of a "lab-on-a-chip" platform capable of detecting protein cancer markers in the blood using the latest advances in plasmonics, nanofabrication, microfluids, and surface chemistry....

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Smart bandages, pills target patient care, sports performance

 By Rick Nelson, on May 25, 2014

Devices ranging from smart bandages to smart pills can address health-care aspects including wound management, medication compliance, and sports performance, based on separate research initiatives at the University of South Australia and startups in Redwood City, CA, and Cambridge, MA. Some of the research raises ethical and legal...

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Researchers in Japan pursue solid-state lithium-ion battery

 By Rick Nelson, on May 22, 2014

A team of researchers at Tohoku University in Japan has created a new type of lithium ion conductor for future batteries that could be the basis for a new generation of solid-state batteries. These batteries could avoid the flame risks that liquid chemistries involving lithium salts dissolved in organic solvents present. As reported in

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Hopes for patent reform fade

 By Rick Nelson, on May 22, 2014

Hopes for patent reform appear all but dead. On Wednesday, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, took the patent-reform bill off the committee's agenda—citing the inability of organizations on both sides of the issue to come to an agreement. "We have been working for almost a year with countless...

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Bridge overhaul teaches engineers riveting lesson

 By Rick Nelson, on May 21, 2014

"It turns out that they just don't make bridges the way they used to," writes Martine Powers in the Boston Globe today. That fact has become apparent to contractors who are involved in the extensive reconstruction of the historic Longfellow Bridge, which traverses the Charles River to connect Boston and Cambridge. Powers

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EE seeks input on power-electronics module and device test

 By Rick Nelson, on May 20, 2014

As applications like hybrid and electric vehicles, industrial motor control, rail transportation, and renewable energy proliferate, power electronics devices and modules are emerging to serve in applications ranging from electric-vehicle drivetrains to solar inverters. Engineers need effective ways to test these high-voltage, high-current modules...

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GM pays record fine, tried to limit engineers' vocabulary

 By Rick Nelson, on May 18, 2014

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Friday announced that GM has agreed to pay a record $35 million civil penalty and to take part in unprecedented oversight requirements as a result of findings from NHTSA’s investigation regarding the Chevrolet Cobalt and the...

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NI teams up with Nokia on 5G

 By Rick Nelson, on May 15, 2014

NI is embarking on a collaborative effort with Nokia on advanced research related to 5G wireless technologies. The companies have built a proof-of-concept (PoC) system using NI LabVIEW software and NI PXI hardware. This milestone follows announcements about NI's work with institutions conducting 5G research such as

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FCC vote advances rules on net neutrality

 By Rick Nelson, on May 15, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission today voted in favor of proposed rules that would weaken Internet neutrality and could make it difficult for Internet startups to gain traction. Under the proposed rules, content companies can pay Internet service...

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Google looks at commercializing self-driving cars

 By Rick Nelson, on May 14, 2014

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is talking with automakers about bringing its self-driving technology to market. One issue to be decided is whether Google would design its own vehicle or make its technology available to automakers. The Wall Street Journal's

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Senator questions Samsung on fingerprint security

 By Rick Nelson, on May 14, 2014

U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has sent a letter to Samsung asking questions about privacy measures on the Galaxy S5 smartphone's fingerprint scanner. As Franken pointed out, "Fingerprints are the opposite of secret. You leave them on countless objects that you touch throughout the day: your car door, a glass of water, even the screen of your...

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Researchers try to teach robots to be good

 By Rick Nelson, on May 13, 2014

Can you teach a robot to be good? Researchers from Tufts University, Brown University, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are teaming with the U.S. Navy in a project to explore technology that would pave the way for developing robots capable of making moral decisions. If successful, the program might allay concerns

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Intel Labs director to address personalization at IMS

 By Rick Nelson, on May 13, 2014

In the age of myriad Internet-connected devices generating massive amounts of data, personalization may hold the key to effective use of this data. Dr. Vida Ilderem, Intel Labs vice president and director of Integrated Computing Research (ICR), will address personalization and related topics as the plenary session keynote speaker on Monday, June...

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3-D blood-vessel demo complements tissue-printing work

 By Rick Nelson, on May 12, 2014

Jordan Miller—a professor at Rice University who is using of 3-D printing to create blood vessels—brought a printer to Capitol Hill last week to demonstrate the potential of the technology. He was hosted by Rep. Mark Takano (D, CA) and the consumer-advocacy group Public Knowledge, according...

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Telemedicine advances with issues still to be resolved

 By Rick Nelson, on May 9, 2014

Telemedicine offers a way to control costs by shifting care away from $10,000 per day intensive-care units to homes equipped with $1 per day mobile devices and apps—a point made by Bill Betten, vice president of business solutions at Logic PD at the recent BIOMEDevice conference in Boston. Perhaps the simplest mobile-device approach to...

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Net neutrality becomes hard to define

 By Rick Nelson, on May 8, 2014

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's proposed rules on Internet neutrality are receiving considerable pushback, even as the evolving nature of the Internet muddies the picture of what net neutrality might actually look like. Wheeler's fellow Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has called for a May 15 FCC commissioner vote on the proposed...

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Grocery store to launch high-end smartphone

 By Rick Nelson, on May 6, 2014

You might think smartphones are becoming commodities, since British grocery and general-merchandise retailer Tesco plans to launch a high-end Android smartphone by the end of the year. The new device will complement Tesco's Hudl tablet, released last year. The low-cost Hudl, however, was aimed at people who might not otherwise buy a tablet....

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The pluses, minuses, and pluses of A123's battery business

 By Rick Nelson, on May 6, 2014

Battery maker A123, founded in 2001, once had high hopes of profiting from the use of its lithium ion batteries in hybrid and all-electric vehicles such as the Chevy Volt, as this account from EE-Evaluation Engineering's then editorial director Paul Milo back in July 2008

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Stephen Hawking and coauthors warn of AI danger

 By Rick Nelson, on May 4, 2014

Significant augmentation of human intelligence through artificial intelligence (AI) could be the biggest event in human history. "Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks," according to Stephen Hawking, Stuart Russell, Max Tegmark, and Frank Wilczek. Writing Thursday in the

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Google autonomous horse wins Kentucky Derby

 By Rick Nelson, on May 3, 2014

California Chrome, the entry of Google and named after the California-based Internet search giant's fast, sleek browser, decisively won the Kentucky Derby today, completing one and a quarter miles in 2:03.66. Technical details were not available at post time, but it is assumed that in lieu of a jockey, the

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Apple gets win of sorts in patent dispute with Samsung

 By Rick Nelson, on May 3, 2014

A federal court jury on Friday awarded $119,625,000 to Apple in a patent litigation victory over Samsung. The same jury awarded Samsung $158,400. Despite the lopsided nature of the awards, the decision is less than a crushing blow against Apple's Android competitors.

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White House tackles big data, analog as well as digital

 By Rick Nelson, on May 2, 2014

The White House Thursday released a report addressing issues at the intersection of big data and privacy. The report, titled "Big Data and Privacy: a Technological Perspective," was prepared by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), which includes scientists and engineers appointed by the President....

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Nanoparticle 'death genes' could target brain tumors

 By Rick Nelson, on May 1, 2014

Johns Hopkins biomedical engineers and neurosurgeons report that they have created biodegradable nanoparticles able to carry DNA to brain-cancer cells in mice. Such particles loaded with "death genes" might one day be given to brain cancer patients during neurosurgery to selectively kill off any remaining tumor cells, the Johns Hopkins team...

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Panasonic adds automotive focus, Sony to become real-estate broker

 By Rick Nelson, on April 30, 2014

Japanese tech giants Panasonic and Sony are following different paths to profitability, with mixed results. Both companies are moving away from some consumer products like televisions and flat-panel displays. But whereas Panasonic will emphasize other tech-related endeavors such as lithium ion batteries and automotive-related businesses (selling...

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Tech companies join patent war in DC

 By Rick Nelson, on April 28, 2014

Groups with names like the Coalition for Patent Fairness, the Main Street Patent Coalition, the Partnership for American Innovation, and the Innovation Alliance are descending on Washington, promoting innovation, supporting small inventors, and driving job growth. These groups—supported by deep-pocketed high-tech companies including Apple,...

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NI VP touts platform approach to 5G prototyping

 By Rick Nelson, on April 27, 2014

A universal platform of hardware and software will be instrumental in developing prototypes of next-generation 5G technology, according to Eric Starkloff, senior vice president of marking for National Instruments, speaking April 25 at the Brooklyn 5G Summit. The summit was held April 24-25 at the MetroTech Center at NYU Poly and presented by the...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Communications Test :: Instrumentation ::



FCC chair responds to Internet rulemaking criticism

 By Rick Nelson, on April 26, 2014

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has responded to criticism of the commission's proposed rules on Internet neutrality. The new rules would let Internet service providers sell special access to consumers to media companies willing and able to pay, and potentially providing second or third class status to startups unable to pay. (See my earlier post

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Should government tell you where you can shop for a Tesla?

 By Rick Nelson, on April 26, 2014

Tesla's direct-to-consumer sales model is not popular among automobile dealers, but the electric car maker seems to have friends at the Federal Trade Commission. "For decades, local laws in many states have required consumers to purchase their cars solely from local, independent auto dealers," write Andy Gavil, Debbie Feinstein, and Marty...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Automotive/Vehicle Test ::



FCC gives up on net neutrality?

 By Rick Nelson, on April 23, 2014

Net neutrality could be out the window, based on new so-called "open Internet" rules the FCC will propose Thursday. Under the proposed rules, content companies can pay Internet service providers for special access to consumers, according to The Wall Street Journal. Service providers could not block or discriminate against specific websites...

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Raman spectroscopy illuminates Renoir's intentions

 By Rick Nelson, on April 22, 2014

Museum conservators and scientists have teamed up to determine the intentions of 19th century Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir in his 1883 portrait Madame Léon Clapisson. The portrait shows Madame Clapisson in an evening dress set against an abstract background. That background became an issue when the painting was taken...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Inspection ::



Google's Bock advises B in computer science beats A+ in English

 By Rick Nelson, on April 21, 2014

Thomas Friedman in his Sunday New York Times column recounts an interview with Laszlo Bock, who is in charge of hiring at Google, in which Friedman asked Bock to share advice for people seeking jobs at Google, or anywhere else. In an earlier

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SCOTUS TV-via-Internet case could affect the cloud

 By Rick Nelson, on April 21, 2014

The Supreme Court of the United States will hear a case Tuesday that could have ramifications for cloud service providers and consumers who store legally acquired copyrighted material in the cloud. The case involves a suit by major TV networks against Aereo, which lets consumers watch over-the-air broadcasts on Internet-connected computers,...

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Microprocessors, sensors get bombing victim back on the dance floor

 By Rick Nelson, on April 19, 2014

As the Boston Marathon is set to get underway Monday, the Boston Globe has an article on how MIT scientists were able to get Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a victim of last year's finish-line bombing, back on the dance floor. Haslet-Davis, a professional ballroom dancer whose left leg was partially amputated after the bombing...

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NI assists in restoration of Holocaust testimonials

 By Rick Nelson, on April 17, 2014

Boston, MA. National Instruments chose The Vision Show held here this week to highlight a smart camera inspecting candles, an FPGA-based system counting match heads at high frame rates, and an NI Compact Vision System offering tight I/O synchronization in an industrial environment. One application, however, wasn't highlighted in the exhibit...

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Picture ADLINK in the camera business

 By Rick Nelson, on April 16, 2014

Boston, MA. ADLINK chose AIA's The Vision Show held here this week to provide a sneak peak at its new Neon-1040 smart camera. The company, with extensive offerings in the fields of test and measurement (with particular emphasis on PXI), applied computing, and automation, will soon and for the first time enter the camera business with its...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Inspection ::



Micro/sys enters vision arena with single-board computers

 By Rick Nelson, on April 16, 2014

Boston, MA. Micro/sys Inc. made its debut as an exhibitor at AIA's The Vision show this week, where it is highlighting three camera/vision-ready industrial computer boards. The foray into the vision arena leverages the company's 40 years of experience in the embedded single-board-computer market. President Susan Wooley said she expects...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Inspection :: Instrumentation ::



The Vision Show comes to Boston

 By Rick Nelson, on April 13, 2014

The Vision Show convenes in Boston this week with the goal of helping attendees employ vision technology to improve processes, reduce waste, find results faster, improve decision making, reduce errors, improve quality, increase safety, and stay compliant with regulations. Several exhibitors and participants have provided previews of what they...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Inspection :: Software ::



Model plane takes flight with fuel from the sea

 By Rick Nelson, on April 12, 2014

Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Materials Science and Technology Division, have demonstrated a gas-to-liquid (GTL) process that recovers CO2 and H2 from seawater and converts it to a liquid hydrocarbon fuel. The researchers have used fuel derived from the process to power the sustained flight of a...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Military / Aero Test :: Key Technologies ::



Massachusetts looks to learn from California on noncompete rules

 By Rick Nelson, on April 10, 2014

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is proposing legislation that would make it easier for workers in technology and life sciences to move from job to job, according to a report in the Boston Globe. The legislation would ban noncompete agreements that prevent employees from moving from one company to a competitor. The Globe

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NI shares Clemson energy application for Earth Week

 By Rick Nelson, on April 9, 2014

With Earth Week scheduled for April 21-25, a spokeswoman at National Instruments shared this energy application with an environmental focus: "The U.S. Department of Energy is counting on wind power to meet 20% of the nation's power needs by 2030 (up from 3% today), which means advancing technologies are playing an increasingly critical role...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Instrumentation :: Key Technologies ::



Windows XP disowned but far from dead

 By Rick Nelson, on April 9, 2014

Microsoft formally discontinued support for the Windows XP operating system yesterday. That's bad news for users of the estimated 500 million computers that still run the OS. Unfortunately, it's also bad news for those of us with modern operating systems that might unwittingly connect to machines running XP—which experts liken to a...

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Spirax Sarco seeks oldest working steam boiler, joins ISA100 WCI

 By Rick Nelson, on April 8, 2014

I often receive news from Spirax Sarco, a steam system management company. The news is not generally relevant to our focus areas at EE-Evaluation Engineering, but this latest item caught my attention: The company is looking for the world's oldest commercially operating steam boiler in an industrial or building-service and needs your...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Communications Test ::



Despite online surge, study shows print offers high ROI

 By Rick Nelson, on April 7, 2014

Do you prefer to get your information through print or online? If you're reading this blog, you're online, as this blog doesn’t appear in print (although I might adapt blog posts for print editorials). Most likely, you prefer a mix of online, print, and other media. Of course, advertisers are very interested in knowing how you like...

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Radiation overuse, programming errors damage patients

 By Rick Nelson, on April 6, 2014

I commented last week on an EE Live keynote address in which Michael Barr, CTO and cofounder of the Barr Group, put the focus on "killer apps"—in which he cited examples of high-tech products that have caused fatalities. One example he described was a 1980s-vintage radiation therapy machine that in some circumstances provided significant...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Medical Test :: Key Technologies ::



AMD teams with Mentor to pursue "Surround Computing"

 By Rick Nelson, on April 6, 2014

San Jose, CA. The recognition of a shift in computing paradigm has led AMD to focus on what the company calls "Surround Computing," according to Kamal Khouri, director of marketing. In an interview at EE Live, he said Surround Computing extends beyond the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing to become a seamless part of everyday life. And...

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OpenXC paves road for makers and tinkerers

 By Rick Nelson, on April 4, 2014

San Jose, CA. There's not much work a maker or tinkerer can perform on a car these days—at least not without risking the warranty. As cars become more advanced, they become more inaccessible, or more of a closed, system, according to Zac Nelson, a research engineer at Ford, delivering a keynote address at EE Live yesterday. However, some...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Automotive/Vehicle Test ::



IPSO Alliance and Grid Connect launch "PKE Smart Sensor"

 By Rick Nelson, on April 1, 2014

My intensive iInvestigative journalism has just uncovered this important breaking news:

The IPSO (Internet Protocol for Smart Objects) Alliance and Grid Connect jointly announced the launch of a new Psychokinetic Energy (PKE) Smart Sensor today. This new product will allow consumers to remotely monitor paranormal...

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EE Live keynoter: killer apps leave 30 dead

 By Rick Nelson, on April 1, 2014

San Jose, CA. In a keynote address at the EE Live event held here this week, Michael Barr, CTO and cofounder of the Barr Group, put the focus on "killer apps," citing examples of software problems that over the past three decades have taken the life of 30 people and left more than 100 injured. He addressed the past, present, and future of software...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Military / Aero Test :: Medical Test ::



BIOMEDevice presenter charts diagnostics of the future

 By Rick Nelson, on March 30, 2014

Boston, MA. "Before your immortality!" was the enticing title of a presentation by Barmak Heshmat, a post-doctorate associate at the MIT Media Lab. Speaking March 27 at BIOMEDevice, Heshmat charted a journey to the diagnostics of the future. The idea of an elixir of life is thousands of years old, he said, adding that although immortality is not...

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Consumer technology boosts mobile healthcare

 By Rick Nelson, on March 30, 2014

Boston, MA. Speaking March 27 at BIOMEDevice, Bill Betten, vice president of business solutions at Logic PD, cited benefits of mobile healthcare. By 2020, 55 million Americans will be over 65. A day in the intensive care unit can cost $10,000, he said, while the expense of a mobile healthcare app might be $1 per day. We must, he said, push to...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Medical Test :: Software ::



Supreme Court to hear software patent-troll case

 By Rick Nelson, on March 30, 2014

The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday will hear a case on whether a concept that can be implemented in software on a general-purpose computer can be protected by patent. The case—Alice vs. CLS Bank—deals with claims of patent-assertion entity Alice Corp. against CLS Bank, which has implemented an escrow system on which Alice...

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Tracking technologies exist but airlines resist

 By Rick Nelson, on March 29, 2014

Flying is safer than ever—so much so that it's nearly incomprehensible that MH370 could disappear, despite search efforts that continue three weeks after the last communication from the plane. In fact, however, the loss of MH370 fits into a recent pattern that might be better described as complete lack of pattern. "Airline disasters...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Military / Aero Test :: Communications Test ::



3-D printing: from toys to exoskeletons

 By Rick Nelson, on March 27, 2014

Boston, MA. BIOMEDevice presenter Gil Robinson treated attendees to a summary of the history of 3-D printing—from the time that Scott Crump pioneered fused deposition modeling (FDM) by mixing wax and plastic formulae in his family kitchen. In his presentation titled "3D printing revolution," Robinson explained that Crump went on to cofound...

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BIOMEDevice presenter touts power from the people

 By Rick Nelson, on March 26, 2014

Boston, MA. "Bionic energy from ourselves" was the title of a presentation by Huai-An Chin, Ph.D. candidate of the Electrical Engineering Department at Princeton University, at the BIOMEDevice conference this week. Bionics, he said, is the application of characteristics in nature to the study and design of systems and devices. Mechanical...

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IPC APEX EXPO convenes in Las Vegas

 By Rick Nelson, on March 24, 2014

IPC APEX EXPO convenes this week in Las Vegas, with the exhibit hall open Tuesday, March 25 through Thursday, March 27. Sponsoring organization IPC said the exhibit hall will host 440 companies, including 57 first-time exhibitors, showcasing new technologies, products, materials, and services for the electronics manufacturing industry. Exhibitors...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: ATE :: Inspection ::



Is a flight simulator, and missing data, suspicious?

 By Rick Nelson, on March 23, 2014

In the news, or lack thereof, surrounding the missing MH370, pundits and investigators have focused in part on the flight simulator owned by MH370 captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah. As Adam Taylor put it in the Washington Post, "To all appearances, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the 53-year-old pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370, was obsessed with...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Military / Aero Test ::



Engineer gets Boston Marathon bombing survivor dancing again

 By Rick Nelson, on March 19, 2014

With help from Hugh Herr, director of the Biomechatronics Group at The MIT Media Lab, Adrianne Haslet-Davis took to the dance floor today at TED2014 in Vancouver. Haslet-Davis, a professional ballroom dancer whose left leg was partially amputated after the Boston Marathon bombing nearly a year ago, took the stage with professional dancer Christian...

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Cornell researchers say fruit flies do calculus

 By Rick Nelson, on March 19, 2014

Researchers at Cornell have been investigating how fruit flies recover when their flight is disturbed. Their conclusion is that despite the insects' minimal nervous system, a group of fly neurons solve calculus problems. To perform their investigations, the researchers glue metal filings to the flies' backs, allowing the scientists to...

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Key to good data security is knowing there's no perfect security

 By Rick Nelson, on March 18, 2014

Looking to encrypt your data? The key to good security is knowing that perfect security doesn't exist, according to Bruce Schneier, as reported by Alex Carp in POLITICO. Schneier, who has written 13 books on encryption and has worked for the Department of Defense as well as telecommunications companies and banks, helped the journalist Glenn...

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With reliable electronics, transponders should always be on

 By Rick Nelson, on March 18, 2014

Malaysian officials are issuing ambiguous statements about the timeline surrounding loss of voice, civil-radar, and data-communications contact with the missing MH370. But if Gregg Easterbrook had his way there would be at least one fewer source of potential ambiguity. Hijackers or rogue pilots, he writes in the New York Times, should not be...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Military / Aero Test :: Communications Test ::



Is science becoming the domain of billionaires?

 By Rick Nelson, on March 16, 2014

Private investment is increasingly important to scientific endeavors, with organizations like the XPRIZE Foundation leveraging private money to drive radical breakthroughs in areas ranging from space travel to oil-spill cleanup, as I reported...

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ACARS suggests lost plane flew for hours

 By Rick Nelson, on March 14, 2014

Aviation Week this morning summarizes what we know about Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The Wall Street Journal has reported that the plane sent Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) signals four hours after loss of radar and voice contact, when the plane's transponder was turned off,...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Military / Aero Test :: Communications Test ::



Mobile health technology faces reimbursement hurdle

 By Rick Nelson, on March 13, 2014

Mobile healthcare apps—which the FDA defines as software that runs on smartphones or other mobile communications devices and optionally software plus accessories that attach to smart devices—offer the potential to improve healthcare and decrease costs. Senior Technical Editor Tom Lecklider will look at such apps in an April feature in...

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With modern tracking technology, how could Malaysia Flight 370 disappear?

 By Rick Nelson, on March 11, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off at 12:21 a.m. local time Saturday March 8 from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing. The airliner lost contact with ground personnel within two hours of takeoff and has not yet been located. With technology seemingly able to track our every move, how can an airplane disappear? That is the question technology...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Military / Aero Test ::



Semiconductor companies ready for 3-D TSV ICs

 By Rick Nelson, on March 7, 2014

Semiconductor foundries, OSATs, and IDMs are ready for 3-D through-silicon-via (TSV) ICs, based on participation in the second annual "European 3D TSV Summit" held January 20 to 22 on the Minatec Campus of CEA Leti in Grenoble, France. What are not ready are applications for the devices, according to Raj Pendse, VP and chief marketing officer of...

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Agilent adds PXIe, AXIe modular products

 By Rick Nelson, on March 5, 2014

Agilent Technologies is augmenting its modular product lineup with a new high-performance PXIe vector signal analyzer, a PXIe embedded controller, and an AXIe chassis and system module. Mario Narduzzi, modular solutions marketing manager, said the new products complement the company's existing line of RF/microwave PXI instruments and AXIe...

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Now you, too, can conduct a Mendelssohn symphony

 By Rick Nelson, on March 3, 2014

Now you can conduct a Mendelssohn symphony—if you can get to the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Museum in Leipzig. An installation at the museum called the Effektorium provides a user-friendly way for a musician of limited skills to conduct glorious music. The idea for the Effektorium originated in the cooperation between Bertron Schwarz Frey...

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Tektronix emphasizes spectrum analysis for scopes

 By Rick Nelson, on February 25, 2014

Tektronix is looking to upend the mainstream oscilloscope market with two significant announcements today. First, the company is cutting the prices of its MDO4000 mixed-domain oscilloscopes to bring them in line with the prices of comparable-bandwidth MSO4000 mixed-signal oscilloscopes, which will be phased out. At the same time, the company is...

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DC/DC-converter, LED examples highlight SMU benefits

 By Rick Nelson, on February 24, 2014

A source-measure unit (SMU) provides an efficient way to apply precision stimulus to a device under test while simultaneously accurately measuring the DUT response. SMUs are suitable for a variety of applications, including semiconductor device characterization. In a paper posted on the PXI Systems Alliance website, National Instruments explains...

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Switching 101 Final Exam

 By Rick Nelson, on February 20, 2014

In discussing his March Special Report on Custom Switching, senior technical editor Tom Lecklider proposes that you try your hand at this Switching 101 final-exam question before reading his article: "With all the test-system switching solutions available today, are there any applications that cannot be addressed by commercially available...

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Fusion experiment exceeds unity fuel gain

 By Rick Nelson, on February 17, 2014

Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) last week provided details on a series of fusion experiments at the National Ignition Facility (NIF). They achieved fuel gains greater than unity, which means that the fusion reaction generated more energy than the amount of energy deposited via laser into the deuterium-tritium (DT)...

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NIH and partners AMP up medical research

 By Rick Nelson, on February 13, 2014

The National Institutes of Health has announced what it calls the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP). Under AMP, NIH, 10 biopharmaceutical companies, and several nonprofit organizations will attempt to "transform the current model for developing new diagnostics and treatments by jointly identifying and validating promising biological targets...

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Foxconn looks to Google for robot help

 By Rick Nelson, on February 13, 2014

Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn is looking to Google for help in deploying robots in its factories, according to Lorraine Luk in the Wall Street Journal's Digits blog. Google, known for it work on autonomous vehicles, beefed up its robotic efforts in 2013 through the acquisition of

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NI cites trends in two new reports

 By Rick Nelson, on February 12, 2014

What trends are you on the lookout for in the year ahead? You might want to check your predictions with those of technologists at National Instruments, which has just released two significant reports: "NI Trend Watch 2014" and "Automated Test Outlook 2014." The new "NI Trend Watch" is NI's inaugural effort in this area, and it cites these...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Instrumentation :: Software ::



From Three Mile Island to the moon, by way of Pittsburgh

 By Rick Nelson, on February 6, 2014

The rebound of Pittsburgh can be traced to Three Mile Island, according to Red Whittaker. As reported by Glenn Thrush in POLITICO, when the post-steel-powerhouse city's unemployment rate reached 17.1% in 1983, Whittaker and some grad students at Carnegie Mellon University used a $1.5 million grant to build a "remote recognizance vehicle" that...

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Memory maker talks Automata, suggests DRAM replacement

 By Rick Nelson, on February 2, 2014

Santa Clara, CA. Memory maker Micron Technology is addressing processing, as described by Thomas Pawlowski, Micron chief technologist/fellow, at a DesignCon keynote address January 30. The company's Automata Processor (AP), he said, is massively parallel and great for unstructured problems. The company is also preparing for new memory...

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Under Keysight banner, Agilent to continue innovating

 By Rick Nelson, on January 30, 2014

Santa Clara, CA. Agilent Technologies—set to take on the moniker Keysight Technologies by yearend—will continue evolving electronic test-and-measurement solutions to meet the needs that market trends are driving, according to Siegfried Gross, vice president and general manager of Agilent's Electronic Test Division. Speaking at a...

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Earn an XPRIZE for measureable results

 By Rick Nelson, on January 30, 2014

Santa Clara, CA. "Before anything is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea," said Eileen Bartholomew, senior vice president, prize development, XPRIZE, in a keynote address at DesignCon January 29. Unfortunately, we humans have a difficult time identifying the inflection point that separates "breakthrough" from "crazy," because we, as humans...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Communications Test :: Military / Aero Test ::



Intel VP praises DesignCon attendees

 By Rick Nelson, on January 29, 2014

Santa Clara, CA. Transistors are a dime a dozen—or maybe a dime a billion. It's how you put them together that counts. Intel is good at making transistors, and Dr. Hermann Eul, vice president and general manager of the company's Mobile & Communications Group, took to the DesignCon keynote stage January 28 to praise attendees'...

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DesignCon participants target signal, power integrity

 By Rick Nelson, on January 26, 2014

( Updated January 29) DesignCon takes place January 28-31 in Santa Clara with participants targeting signal-integrity issues accompanying high-speed chip, package, board, cable, and system design. More than 150 exhibitors will showcase a variety of cutting-edge high-speed design solutions including ones for modeling and simulation and test...

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Making chips and shoes in U.S. factories

 By Rick Nelson, on January 19, 2014

Although many offshored jobs will not return, U.S. manufacturing is in good shape, according to Donald B. Rosenfield, director of the Leaders for Global Operations program and a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Writing in the

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Wanxiang in running to acquire Fisker Automotive

 By Rick Nelson, on January 12, 2014

The possibility that Wanxiang Group of Hangzhou, China, might acquire bankrupt Fisker Automotive got a boost on Friday. Reuters reports, "A U.S. judge rejected a planned sale of Fisker Automotive to Hong Kong businessman Richard Li in favor of competitive bidding, opening the way for China's largest auto parts company to bid for the maker of...

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January Special Reports focus on oscilloscopes, HSIO Test

 By Rick Nelson, on January 12, 2014

High-speed I/O (HSIO) is presenting significant measurement challenges, as detailed in EE-Evaluation Engineering's January special report on serial-bus test. That report describes the relevant offerings of...

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For good or ill, 2014 may be the year of the robot

 By Rick Nelson, on January 12, 2014

The new year may be shaping up to be the year of the robot. According to Tom Risen in U.S. News & World Report, "Google, Amazon, and Apple each spent millions on robotics in 2013, which could inspire development of artificial intelligence, along with deployment of robots in factory work, delivery, and beyond." And robots may increasingly be...

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Former DoE head calls for U.S. "third-world grid" upgrade

 By Rick Nelson, on January 12, 2014

Our power-transmission system has serious deficiencies, according to former secretary of the Department of Energy and former governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson. In Politico, he writes, "As secretary of energy in the Clinton administration, I often characterized the U.S. power transmission system as resembling a 'Third World...

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Agilent Division Targets Power and Energy in 2014

 By Rick Nelson, on January 9, 2014

The future looks bright for Agilent Technologies' new Power and Energy Division, which addresses applications areas ranging from solar inverters to mobile consumer devices. Announced in May of 2013, the division hit the ground running with the

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Agilent test and measurement employees headed for Keysight

 By Rick Nelson, on January 7, 2014

Mark Pierpoint, Ph.D., vice president and general manager of Agilent Technologies' Software and Modular Solutions Division, is one of about 9,500 Agilent employees poised to join Keysight Technologies on August 1. At that date, Keysight will become—as a legal entity—a wholly-owned test-and-measurement subsidiary of Agilent, whose...

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Sharks take to social media in Australia

 By Rick Nelson, on January 3, 2014

The Western Australia Department of Fisheries reports that it is continuing to roll out its Shark Monitoring Network and has deployed two new satellite-linked tagged shark monitors. Shark Monitoring Network project manager Mark Kleeman

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Hybrid-vehicle maker Fisker may find new life with A123 owner

 By Rick Nelson, on January 2, 2014

(Updated below) Bankrupt Fisker Automotive may get a new lease on life in conjunction with A123, which once supplied batteries to the maker of plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles. Creditors are asking a bankruptcy judge to consider holding an auction in which the U.S. subsidiary of Wanxiang Group of Hangzhou, China, which now owns A123, could...

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Measuring time in months and years

 By Rick Nelson, on January 1, 2014

EE-Evaluation Engineering readers are likely to measure time in units of microseconds or picoseconds, yet time measurements in terms of months and years have presented challenges for millennia. Farah Stockman presents a concise history of timekeeping on the month and year level in the

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Friendly robots team up with people

 By Rick Nelson, on December 31, 2013

Robots and people can be expected to increasingly work together, according to Thomas Black at Bloomberg. He writes, "After years of walling off robots to ensure safety, some companies are finding ways to put them alongside...

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3-D printer builds miniature organs

 By Rick Nelson, on December 29, 2013

The human body could represent the next frontier of 3-D printing, based on work at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine. That organization is leading a $24 million project funded by Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Pacific (SSC Pacific), on behalf of Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). The goal is...

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PPPL drives fusion progress, gains pundit's support

 By Rick Nelson, on December 26, 2013

Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), the University of California-Davis, and General Atomics have developed a technique that may assist in confining charged plasma within tokamaks, thereby minimizing degradations that can limit the performance of fusion reactions. The technique that...

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Computer asks: 'Where y'all from?'

 By Rick Nelson, on December 24, 2013

If you have some free time over the holidays you might try out the online dialect quiz in the New York Times. You answer 25 multiple-choice questions based on how you pronounce certain words and what words you use to describe certain things. For example, you might be asked whether "Mary," "merry," and "marry" all rhyme, whether are all...

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Electronic nose mimics dogs' cancer-detection skills

 By Rick Nelson, on December 23, 2013

Odors can be clues to a variety of conditions, such as the presence of explosives or even diseases. Dogs are well known detection agents for bombs and illicit drugs, and they have even shown an ability to detect cancer tumors. Of course, a dog's...

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Tesla battery technology powers business

 By Rick Nelson, on December 19, 2013

Batteries are key components of a smart grid system that enable utilities contend with the intermittent supply of renewable energy from solar cells, for example. Now, businesses as well can deploy batteries to help manage their energy use. Earlier this month, SolarCity unveiled a smart-energy storage system based on Tesla battery technology. The...

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Google may boost ARM in server space

 By Rick Nelson, on December 17, 2013

ARM is increasingly finding its processor technology expanding from its hold on mobile applications into the server space. Broadcom, for example, is developing a 64-bit ARM-based CPU core with server-class performance, as reported here. Other...

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Did a human telemarketer fail the Turing test?

 By Rick Nelson, on December 14, 2013

In the Turing test, a computer is supposed to convince a human interlocutor that it's human. In a recent odd phone interaction between Time Washington bureau chief Michael Scherer and Samantha West, a telemarketer, Samantha—who very likely is human—convinced Scherer and colleagues that she is a robot. Here's how Zeke...

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Glassdoor cites companies to work for in 2014

 By Rick Nelson, on December 11, 2013

Looking to start the new year with a new job? Glassdoor, by way of Sanjay Salomon at Boston.com, has a list of the "50 Best Places to Work for 2014." Glassdoor compiled the list based on analysis of more than a half million anonymous responses to surveys of current and former employees of companies with 1,000 or more workers. And Boston.com also...

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XBOSoft event, survey address software quality

 By Rick Nelson, on December 10, 2013

Software quality improvement is the focus of XBOSoft, and the company is presenting a webcast on the topic Tuesday December 17 at 11 a.m. EST. Titled "The Good, The Bad and The Metrics," the event features Mike Lyles, Rex Black, and

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All I want for Christmas is a platform

 By Rick Nelson, on December 9, 2013

What's on your holiday wish list? An Android or iOS mobile device might be all you need—it can serve as a phone, contact list, watch, calendar, e-mail client, book, browser, navigation aid, flashlight, even a

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Mobile devices gain as shopping platforms

 By Rick Nelson, on December 4, 2013

The PC remains the platform of choice for making online holiday gift purchases, but mobile devices are rapidly gaining in popularity, based on research by Ovum and IBM. On Cyber Monday, Ovum released the results of a survey of more than 15,000 consumers across 15 major global markets. The research firm

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Radio is Cellphone Alternative in Rural Tanzania

 By Rick Nelson, on December 2, 2013

Innovations ranging from refrigeration to real-time communication can bring significant benefits to populations worldwide (review 6,000 years of innovation here),...

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Agilent's Nersesian addresses EM spinoff on YouTube

 By Rick Nelson, on November 25, 2013

Ron Nersesian, executive VP of Agilent Technologies and CEO-designate of the soon-to-be-spun-off electronic measurement company, takes to YouTube today to discuss the path forward—after taking a look back to the founding of the electronic measurement business 75 years ago by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard in their famed garage. On September...

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Tesla's Musk fights fire, bogus comparisons

 By Rick Nelson, on November 25, 2013

Tesla Motors is facing scrutiny after three of its Model S vehicles caught fire after collisions that compromised the batteries. "After garnering high praise for its styling, performance and eco-friendly electric power, the Model S will be the subject of scrutiny by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration," reports the

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3-D printing is old hat: it's time for 4-D

 By Rick Nelson, on November 24, 2013

Perhaps Yogi Berra might say of 3-D printing, "Nobody does that anymore—it's too popular." If that's the case, it's time to move on to "self assembly" and 4-D printing. Computer scientist and...

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Columbia researchers build graphene FM radio

 By Rick Nelson, on November 21, 2013

Oscillators based conventional resonators such as quartz crystals require considerable off-chip space. That's a problem that researchers at Columbia University were looking to address by building µm-scale atomically thin graphene nanomechanical resonators. The resonators are a subset of what the researchers call nanoelectromechanical...

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History offers lessons for software projects

 By Rick Nelson, on November 17, 2013

Boston, MA. The Winter War of 1939 and the fate of the 17th-century Swedish warship Vasa have lessons to teach software developers and testers, according to Iris Classon, a software developer at Swedish IT company Evry. Delivering a talk titled "To Build Better Software, Build Better Developers and Testers" at the

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BMW moves from carbon footprint to carbon fiber

 By Rick Nelson, on November 17, 2013

BMW is introducing an all-electric BMW i3, which is manufactured using carbon-fiber reinforced plastic as its foundation. The car accelerates from zero to 60 mph in about seven seconds, delivers 170 hp at 184 lb-ft of torque, operates for up to 100 miles on a full charge, and can be fully recharged in three hours. The car's "…uniquely...

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EPA puts brakes on ethanol

 By Rick Nelson, on November 16, 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday put the brakes on ethanol. As part of its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, the EPA each year specifies the amount of renewable fuels to be integrated into the motor-vehicle fuel supply. For 2014, the EPA is proposing the use of 15.21 billion gallons of renewable fuel, with 2.20 billion gallons...

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Wanted: four-engine aircraft for delivery in 2021

 By Rick Nelson, on November 15, 2013

If you are thinking of running for President in 2020—or at least joining the presidential entourage—you may want to give some thought to your mode of travel. The current Presidential fleet of 747-200 aircraft will reach its 30-year planned service life in 2017, and the Air Force is facing mounting maintenance costs and parts...

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Economy depresses mobility of young adults

 By Rick Nelson, on November 15, 2013

Young people are tending to stay put, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics reported by the Associated Press. For the 12-month period ending March 2013, only 23.3% of adults aged 25 to 29...

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LEGO plays role in college engineering education

 By Rick Nelson, on November 14, 2013

The latest versions of mechanized LEGO sets are can spur on young users' interest in STEM subjects, but they are not just for children. Dr. Ethan Danahy, engineering research program director at the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) at Tufts University, makes use of LEGO in first year courses at the Tufts School of...

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Audio Precision VPs cite interface, electroacoustic convergence

 By Rick Nelson, on November 11, 2013

Convergence is a key trend in audio, according to Dr. Tom Kite, VP of engineering at Audio Precision. "I've got an iPhone here in my hand, and it's the archetypal convergent device. You can get audio into and out of this thing in many, many different ways." Added Tom Williams, VP of sales and marketing, "We've seen a lot of acoustics...

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Silicon Savannah attracts technologists to Africa

 By Rick Nelson, on November 10, 2013

Silicon Savannah is looking to give Silicon Valley a run for its money. Konza Techno City, as Silicon Savannah is more formally known, is envisioned to be a sustainable technology hub with a mix of businesses, workers, residents, and urban amenities. The emergence of such technology hubs is motivating companies like IBM establish centers in Kenya....

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NIDays event brings NIWeek to Boston

 By Rick Nelson, on November 6, 2013

Boston, MA. National Instruments is taking a version of its annual NIWeek event on the road by presenting NIDays at four U.S. cities. The Boston version convened yesterday with NI business and technology fellow Mike Santori describing innovation in a platform-based world. Indeed, our world, he said, has transformed into a huge programmable...

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New FAA rules may boost flyers' Wi-Fi use

 By Rick Nelson, on November 4, 2013

The FAA is loosening its rules on the use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) onboard commercial passenger aircraft, which in turn might spur on increasing demand for in-flight Wi-Fi. The FAA said last week it has determined that airlines can safely expand passenger use of PEDs during all phases of flight, and the agency said it is immediately...

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LitePoint's ZTEC acquisition melds verification and production test

 By Rick Nelson, on November 4, 2013

Teradyne subsidiary LitePoint is expanding its wireless-device test capability with its acquisition last week of ZTEC Instruments. The acquisition highlights the limitations of design-verification and production-test silos and how to address those limitations. “Our goal is always to provide the right test solution for the job being...

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Rooftop sensor network monitors gunfire in DC

 By Rick Nelson, on November 4, 2013

A network of acoustic sensors deployed across 20 square miles of Washington, DC, have recorded about 39,000 incidents of gunfire over the past eight years, according to an analysis by the Washington Post. The network—called ShotSpotter—employs a central computer to analyze a captured sound's acoustic signature, distinguishing...

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BlackBerry sale off, software focus foreseen

 By Rick Nelson, on November 4, 2013

BlackBerry the company isn't selling any better than its devices. The once dominant smartphone maker has canceled plans to sell itself and will likely focus on software. The company announced today that it has entered into an agreement pursuant to which Fairfax Financial Holdings and other investors will invest in BlackBerry through a U.S. $1...

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Economist proposes no Daylight time, two U.S. time zones

 By Rick Nelson, on November 3, 2013

Those of us in most states in the U.S. just turned our clocks back one hour to Standard Time. And we should keep them there, according to Allison Schrager, a New York-based economist and writer. The end of daylight saving time sets off an annual ritual "…where Americans (who don’t live in Arizona or Hawaii) and residents of 78 other...

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"Cash for clunkers" found less than optimal

 By Rick Nelson, on October 31, 2013

The 2009 "cash for clunkers" program, formally known as the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), was, unsurprisingly, less than a resounding success, at least as far as job creation goes. The cost of job created by CARS was $1.4 million, much higher than policy alternatives such as increasing aid to the unemployed ($95,000 per job created) or...

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ARM TechCon prompts ARM architecture news

 By Rick Nelson, on October 29, 2013

The ramp-up to ARM TechCon, being held in Santa Clara this week, has prompted ARM and partners to release news related to automotive and industrial-control applications, cloud computing and the Internet of Things, and more. For its part, ARM has disclosed technical details of its new ARMv8-R architecture for real-time embedded processors for use...

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What are the great innovations of the past six millennia?

 By Rick Nelson, on October 27, 2013

The printing press is the greatest invention of the past 6,000 years, according to an article in The Atlantic titled "The 50 Greatest Breakthroughs Since the Wheel" and published October 23. In a lengthy and informative introduction to the top 50 list, national correspondent James Fallows explains that the magazine assembled a panel...

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Bio-factories crank out drugs, flavorings, fuel, more

 By Rick Nelson, on October 27, 2013

“You can now build a cell the same way you might build an app for your iPhone,” said Jack Newman, chief science officer of Amyris, as quoted in the Washington Post. Newman can type out DNA sequences on his laptop and synthesize cells in a nearby "bio-factory." Post writer Ariana Eunjung Cha writes that some believe such work...

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As alternative to electricity, Audi pushes diesel

 By Rick Nelson, on October 24, 2013

Electric vehicles seem to attract headlines, whether their batteries are running low, being automatically swapped out, or

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Medical device manufactures keep fighting tax

 By Rick Nelson, on October 24, 2013

The 2.3% medical device tax, designed to help fund the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, survived the recent political battles over the debt ceiling and continuing resolution. Medical-device manufacturers and their lobbyists aren't giving up on repeal of the tax, however, and they are finding bipartisan support in Congress. Politico

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Frost & Sullivan checks pulse of oscilloscope market

 By Rick Nelson, on October 22, 2013

In a webcast titled "Checking the Pulse of the Global Oscilloscope Market," Jessy Cavazos, industry director for test and measurement at Frost & Sullivan, surveyed trends, major drivers and restraints, growth prospects, bandwidth and resolution perspectives, and the competitive landscape. Megatrends, she said, include connectivity and...

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Software—should you build it or buy it?

 By Rick Nelson, on October 21, 2013

In a free open-source world, why buy a commercial software package? In fact, investing in software is not so different from investing in anything—from a safety razor or ink-jet printer to a turnkey ATE system. The initial cost, or lack thereof in the case of free software or a razor, may end up being a fraction of your total life-cycle cost....

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Panel topics range from abalones to robots

 By Rick Nelson, on October 10, 2013

Excess capacity, energy, robotics, employment, and the manufacturing expertise of abalones were all topics of conversation at a panel discussion last evening in Cambridge, organized by 89.7 WGBH radio. Panelists included Robin Chase, founder and CEO of Buzzcar and co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar; Angela Belcher, W.M. Keck Professor of Energy...

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Qualcomm head urges caution on patent legislation

 By Rick Nelson, on October 8, 2013

Paul Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm, uses a sponsored column in Politico to address patent legislation. As I reported earlier, Congress is considering measures aimed at cracking down on patent trolls, or patent-assertion entities. (See "Patent trolls...

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A 20-nm node by any other name would be as large

 By Rick Nelson, on October 7, 2013

What's in a process-node metric—130 nm, 90 nm, 70 nm, 65 nm, 20 nm, 16 nm, 14 nm? Such measurements are becoming fictional, according to Mentor Graphics CEO Wally Rhines, addressing the International Electronics Forum 2013 meeting in Dublin, as reported by David Manners at Electronics Weekly (see "

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Shutdown takes toll on space telescope programs

 By Rick Nelson, on October 7, 2013

Operations of the Hubble Space Telescope could be compromised by the government shutdown, and the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble's successor, could be delayed. That's according to Meg Urry, the Israel Munson professor of physics and astronomy at Yale University and director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and...

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F-35 technical and quality-management issues cited

 By Rick Nelson, on October 6, 2013

The F-35 program suffers from technical and quality management problems that could adversely affect aircraft performance, reliability, maintainability, and program cost, according to the inspector general of the US Department of Defense. In a report titled "Quality Assurance Assessment of the F-35 Lightning II Program," the inspector general's...

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Power companies feeling heat from solar

 By Rick Nelson, on October 6, 2013

Solar power is becoming increasingly affordable option for many Americans, prompting an adverse response from utilities, according to Clare Foran, writing in National Journal. A main point of contention is the net-metering policy, through which customers with solar panels can earn credits for surplus electricity generated during the day, which...

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Tesla fire originated in battery pack

 By Rick Nelson, on October 3, 2013

Officials are saying a fire that destroyed a Tesla electric car near Seattle earlier this week began, unsurprisingly, in the battery pack. The driver, according to the AP, said he believed he had struck metallic debris on the highway. The incident...

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Help wanted: American textile workers

 By Rick Nelson, on October 2, 2013

In a recent post, I commented on research about US jobs that are susceptible to automation. Textile jobs are pretty high on the list, but at least in the short term, one textile factory owner in Minneapolis can't find enough help. (Read my earlier post

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Patent trolls defend themselves

 By Rick Nelson, on October 1, 2013

Patent trolls—or patent assertion entities—believe they have an unfairly bad reputation and are heading to Capitol Hill to mount a defense. According to Politico, "Long pilloried in Silicon Valley as a drain on...

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Perhaps robots will offer us jobs

 By Rick Nelson, on October 1, 2013

In a previous post I discussed a paper from Oxford University that suggests 47% of total US employment is at risk from computerization. In light of the Oxford paper, it's worth looking at earlier research (originally conducted in 2011 and updated in January of this year) from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) and Metra Martech....

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Government shutdown shuts down BlackBerrys

 By Rick Nelson, on October 1, 2013

As if BlackBerry didn't have enough problems, the company might now find some of its most loyal customers out of commission. With the US government shut down, many federal employees might have to power down their cellphones.

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Ivanpah thermal-solar generating system syncs to grid

 By Rick Nelson, on September 30, 2013

BrightSource Energy announced last week that the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) produced its first energy output when one of three stations was synchronized to the power grid for the first time. NRG Energy, BrightSource Energy, and Google are equity investors in the plant; the Department of Energy has provided loan guarantees....

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Computers are coming for 47% of our jobs

 By Rick Nelson, on September 29, 2013

Computers are coming for our jobs, or at least nearly half of them, according to a paper from Oxford University.* Authors Carl Benedikt Frey, of the Oxford Martin School Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology, and Michael A. Osborne, of the Department of Engineering Science, analyzed 702 occupations in the US labor market and estimate that...

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Technology meets royalty, heiress; court case ensues

 By Rick Nelson, on September 28, 2013

The Boston Globe presents an interesting story that writer Shirley Leung says might read more like an Agatha Christie novel than a business and technology article. Characters in the story include Corinna von Schonau-Riedweg, a Swiss heiress, and Baron Wilfrid von Plotho of Rothschild Bank of Switzerland. Technology enters the story because, writes...

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Marvin Test Solutions elaborates on armament test gap

 By Rick Nelson, on September 26, 2013

At Autotestcon last week (as I report here), Steve Sargeant, Major General, USAF (Ret.), and CEO, Marvin Test Solutions, discussed the armament test gap as part of a panel discussion titled "Automatic Testing for...

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Autotestcon panelists cite opportunities and challenges of the new military

 By Rick Nelson, on September 19, 2013

Schaumburg, IL. A September 18 plenary panel at Autotestcon provided an opportunity for executives to comment on the challenges and opportunities afforded by such factors as sequestration, ATE standardization efforts, and public/private partnerships. Mike Ellis of Northrop Grumman served as moderator of the panel, titled "Automatic Testing for...

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Autotestcon Tech Trek iPad winners announced

 By Rick Nelson, on September 18, 2013

Schaumburg, IL. ( Updated 9/19, 11 a.m.) Autotestcon attendees had a chance this week to win an Apple iPad Mini. An attendee could pick up a Tech Trek card at EE-Evaluation Engineering's booth and then visit 10 participating exhibitors to receive stickers for the card. Participants included Virginia Panel, Wireless Telecom Group, ADLINK...

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Vendors choose Autotestcon to highlight instrument innovations

 By Rick Nelson, on September 18, 2013

Schaumburg, IL. Autotestcon kicked off here this week with vendors highlighting significant product innovations. Jean Manuel Dassonville, modular solutions outbound manager at Agilent Technologies, cited three key trends driving the need for innovation: first, applications are scaling up, driving the need for multiple stimulus and measurement...

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Learn to love your robot

 By Rick Nelson, on September 17, 2013

Can you empathize with a robot? I commented earlier on Boxie, a cardboard robot able to extract stories and otherwise...

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ITC keynoter comments on 75-GFLOPS/W compute target

 By Rick Nelson, on September 13, 2013

Performance and reliability are increasingly interdependent, according to Pradip Bose, manager, Department of Power- and Reliability-Aware Microarchitectures, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. In a Thursday morning International Test Conference keynote address titled "Efficient Resilience in Future Systems: Design and Modeling Challenges," he...

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ITC keynoter addresses nonlinear validation challenge

 By Rick Nelson, on September 12, 2013

Anaheim, CA. Verification and validation are key aspects of supporting a brand and providing customers with a better user experience, according to John D. Barton, vice president of the platform engineering group at Intel. Delivering a Wednesday afternoon International Test Conference keynote speech titled "Compute Continuum and the Nonlinear...

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NVIDIA adopts OT tools to help the imaginary appear real

 By Rick Nelson, on September 11, 2013

Anaheim, CA. Craig Nishizaki, director of ATE development at NVIDIA, took advantage of the International Test Conference held here this week to deliver a talk titled "Leveraging Cross-Operational Test Data for Manufacturing Yield and DPPM/RMA Improvements." In the lunch presentation, sponsored by OptimalTest, he described the rollout by...

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Test is not a passing fad

 By Rick Nelson, on September 11, 2013

Anaheim, CA. Test is not a passing fad—it's a driver of the world economy, according to Gordon Roberts, general chair of the International Test Conference, which convened here today. His opening remarks were followed by a keynote presentation from Kwang-Hyun Kim, executive vice-president at Samsung Electronics, who provided an overview...

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FCC commissioner works to save AM radio

 By Rick Nelson, on September 9, 2013

Can AM radio be saved? According to the New York Times, "The digital age is killing AM radio, an American institution that brought the nation fireside chats, Casey Kasem’s Top 40 and scratchy broadcasts of the World Series." AM has long been under siege from FM and more recently faces competition from

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Apps, smart traffic signals complement EVs to save energy, commute time

 By Rick Nelson, on August 30, 2013

Waze, the community-based traffic and navigation app, aims to speed you on your way to your destination with real-time input on traffic conditions from other drivers. Waze seems like such a good idea that Google bought the Israel-based company for an estimated $1 billion (

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Voice calls are not dead yet

 By Rick Nelson, on August 29, 2013

I'm a fan of email as a communications medium, despite the overwhelming amount of spam and overload of legitimate messages, as I've commented before. Nevertheless, the good old-fashioned voice call retains an important role...

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Tesla safety rating perhaps not all it's cracked up to be

 By Rick Nelson, on August 27, 2013

Tesla Motors last week touted its 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)—going so far as to say that although the NHTSA doesn’t publish star ratings above 5, the underlying test data suggest a combined rating of 5.4 stars. However, some believe Tesla's claim not all it's cracked...

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Fuel cells and thermal batteries power refrigeration

 By Rick Nelson, on August 26, 2013

Refrigeration has a key role to play in the transportation of perishable goods. Implementing effective refrigeration schemes in developing (and hot) countries like India presents particular challenges, but even in developed countries, where refrigeration is taken for granted, there is always room for improvement. Speaking earlier this month at...

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Ambient backscatter powers battery-free wireless communication

 By Rick Nelson, on August 19, 2013

In what could be a boost to the Internet of things (IoT), University of Washington engineers have created a new battery-free wireless communication system that takes advantage of what the researchers call "ambient backscatter." Michelle Ma of the university's news and information office

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Wireless electric vehicles take Gumi City citizens on 24-km roundtrip

 By Rick Nelson, on August 18, 2013

As Elon Musk presents his 57-page Hyperloop plan and demonstrates a fast battery-swapping station for the Tesla S, the Korea Advanced Institute of...

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UC Riverside Researchers Advance Resistive Memory

 By Rick Nelson, on August 15, 2013

Resistive memory is emerging as a promising new memory technology. Resistive RAM (RRAM) is a possible successor for flash, according to Jan Van Houdt, director of the flash memory program at imec. He outlined RRAM and other advanced memory technologies at the July 8 imec Technology Forum in San Francisco and summarized his presentation

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Test-instrument user community evolves

 By Rick Nelson, on August 14, 2013

The test-instrument users of today may have little in common with earlier generations of test engineers. That's the conclusion of John Tucker, product marketing manager at Keithley, who has been in the field talking to Keithley customers and EE-Evaluation Engineering readers. One out of five EEs today has started his or her career within the...

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Presenters chart students' path from K to rocket science

 By Rick Nelson, on August 11, 2013

Austin, TX. Inspiring and preparing the next generations of innovators was the theme of the concluding keynote session of NIWeek. Presenters ranging from Pernille France of LEGO to Leland Melvin of NASA elaborated on their efforts to engage students, while teams from Rice University and a local Austin high school demonstrated their capabilities....

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NI execs tout move to programmable world

 By Rick Nelson, on August 6, 2013

Austin, TX. How many people here wear a watch? That was the question Dr. James Truchard, CEO and cofounder of National Instruments, put to attendees of NIWeek, convened here today. Many did wear a watch, but many also came equipped with a "virtual watch," a software application that rendered the time on a platform such as an iOS or Android device....

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Email continues to outshine communication alternatives

 By Rick Nelson, on August 5, 2013

Email's role in our business lives is back in the news, thanks in part to the claims on behalf of Steve Cohen, the CEO of SAC Capital, that he may have missed a crucial warning because he is deluged with 1,000 email messages per day. The company is under

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Patent trolls come under attack

 By Rick Nelson, on July 30, 2013

Silicon Valley and other tech-industry companies are turning to Washington to curb patent trolls, according to a report by Michelle Quinn in Politico. The effort comes despite tech lobbyists' concerns that Congress wouldn't revisit the topic so soon after passage of the

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Charge your mobile devices from shutdown PCs

 By Rick Nelson, on July 30, 2013

Do you have a drawer full of chargers somewhere that have outlasted whatever devices they were designed to charge? GSMA has estimated that manufacturers produce 51,000 metric tons of redundant chargers each year. To minimize the waste, IEC in 2011 announced the publication of a globally relevant

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LEDs offer bright future for test engineers—and everyone else

 By Rick Nelson, on July 22, 2013

LED lamps are poised to make inroads in worldwide lighting, according to Sri Jandhyala, strategic marketing director for the lighting segment at ON Semiconductor. Jandhyala delivered his remarks during an invited address titled "LED Lighting—Opportunity, Challenges, and the Future" to attendees of the Test Vision 2020 Workshop, held earlier...

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Diesels vie for respect in an electric-vehicle world

 By Rick Nelson, on July 22, 2013

Electric vehicles seem to get the publicity and the government perks, but the seemingly retrograde diesel might be an equally worthy recipient of energy-efficiency accolades and public largesse. That's the view put forward in an article titled "

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DAS addresses semiconductor-industry environmental concerns

 By Rick Nelson, on July 22, 2013

Environmental concerns were front-and-center at SEMICON West earlier this month. As an example, Dr. Horst Reichardt, chairman, president, and CEO of DAS Environmental Expert GmbH, and Dr. Guy Davies, director of the company's gas business unit, were on hand to provide an overview of their company and to preview a new product introduced last...

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Mobile devices leave PCs in the dust

 By Rick Nelson, on July 22, 2013

Mobility is a key driver in the semiconductor space. That point was driven home by Ajit Manocha, CEO of GLOBALFOUNDRIES, as he discussed how semiconductor manufacturers can deal with the challenges of the burgeoning mobility field in his keynote

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Manocha describes Foundry 2.0 at SEMICON West

 By Rick Nelson, on July 13, 2013

San Francisco. SEMICON West is like Major League Baseball's All Star Game, said Ajit Manocha, CEO of GLOBALFOUNDRIES, in his keynote address at SEMICON West this week. Semiconductor equipment and materials players bring their best game, and attendees can choose the best of the best. And the best of the best is what will be required as...

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Flextronics CTO charts course to smart everything

 By Rick Nelson, on July 12, 2013

San Francisco. Erik Volkerink, Ph.D., chief technology officer of Flextronics, outlined the future of global technology to attendees of the Test Vision 2020 Workshop, held in conjunction with SEMICON West. Although he now focuses on products and systems instead of semiconductors, he has extensive experience in semiconductor test, having served as...

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Imec looks to make the unexpected happen

 By Rick Nelson, on July 10, 2013

San Francisco. Imagine that you could assemble a team consisting of a brilliant physicist, an entrepreneur with character, a genuine marketer, a pioneer, a go-getter, a chemist, a businessman, a trendsetter, and a steady hand. If you could do that, the unexpected would happen, said Luc Van den hove, imec president and CEO, as he presented images...

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U.S., European Union trade talks underway

 By Rick Nelson, on July 8, 2013

Talks are underway regarding a U.S. and European Union free-trade agreement, despite earlier concerns that the talks would be suspended over accusations that the U.S. had tapped EU offices in Brussels, Washington, and New York. (See "U.S. and European Union trade talks in jeopardy"

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Americans may have passed peak-driving point

 By Rick Nelson, on July 2, 2013

Even as hybrid and electric vehicles offer an increasing array of motoring alternatives, Americans may have passed the point of peak driving. Doug Short at Advisor Perspectives has analyzed the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Commission's latest report on traffic volume trends. He finds that estimated vehicle miles driven on...

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Vendors address carrier aggregation for LTE-Advanced

 By Rick Nelson, on July 2, 2013

Vendors including Agilent Technologies, Aeroflex, Anritsu, and Spirent Communications have recently made news with regard to the test of LTE-Advanced carrier-aggregation technology. Carrier aggregation helps carriers meet wireless uplink and downlink data-rate requirements for data-hungry applications and services—even when the carriers...

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U.S. and European Union trade talks in jeopardy

 By Rick Nelson, on July 1, 2013

In our July issue Dr. Manfred Bayerlein, CEO of TÜV Rheinland, comments on the benefits of a proposed free trade agreement between the EU and the United States, which could help manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean while financially benefiting U.S. and European households. (Read the article online

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This post not sent from my smartphone

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 30, 2013

I'm writing this post, like nearly all of my articles, on my laptop. I probably shouldn't admit it, though, and should follow the advice of Bianca Bosker, executive technology editor at The Huffington Post. On more than one occasion, she writes, she has typed out an email message on her MacBook and ended it by manually typing "Sent from my...

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Agilent targets MIPI M-PHY test

 By Rick Nelson, on June 24, 2013

Agilent Technologies has made news on two fronts with respect to the MIPI Alliance's M-PHY specification. First, the company announced an automated physical-layer receiver and transmitter test capability, and second, it introduced the U4431A MIPI M-PHY protocol analyzer. The M-PHY specification is helping to meet growing bandwidth...

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Tesla battery-swap faster than gassing up

 By Rick Nelson, on June 23, 2013

Tesla Motors addressed a key concern of electric-car skeptics last week with a demonstration of a battery-swap capability that gets motorists back on the road in 90 seconds—vs. 30 minutes or more for about 200 miles worth of charge from the company's superchargers, as reported by Ashlee Vance in

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Sensors track focused on measurement and detection

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 17, 2013

Sensors Expo this year premiered a new technical-program track titled "Novel Approaches to Measurement and Detection" in conjunction with EE-Evaluation Engineering. Sessions addressing topics ranging from the world data-acquisition market to a .NET-based embedded watchdog took place June 5-6 in Rosemont, IL. In addition, Sensors Magazine announced...

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IEEE 1149.1-2013 aims to slash costs through test reuse

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 17, 2013

IEEE today announced IEEE 1149.1-2013 “Standard for Test Access Port and Boundary-Scan Architecture,” which aims to cut costs by means of test reuse from IP to the system level. CJ Clark, Intellitech CEO and chairman of the IEEE 1149.1-2013 working group, said the updated standard provides a standardized plug-and-play interface for...

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Sensors Expo articles are EE-News reader favorites

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 14, 2013

An article on a Sensors Expo keynote address by Dr. Joseph A. Paradiso, director of the responsive environments group at the MIT Media Lab, was the most popular item among readers of Wednesday's EE-News, EE-Evaluation Engineering's weekly email newsletter. It was followed article describing products and capabilities that Sensors Expo...

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Sensors Expo Highlights New Products and Capabilities

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 11, 2013

Rosemont, IL. Sensors Expo saw a variety of products and technologies presented as it took place June 5-6. Among the highlights were Coto Technology Inc. RedRock RS-A-2515 microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based magnetic reed switch and MEMSIC Inc.'s MMC246xMT two-axis magnetic sensor. Also on display were a new cellular gateway device for...

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MIT Media Lab connects humans to the electronic nervous system

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 6, 2013

Rosemont, IL. Connecting humans to the emerging electronic nervous system will be a key challenge facing engineers, according to Dr. Joseph A. Paradiso, Director, Responsive Environments Group, at the MIT Media Lab. In a June 5 keynote speech at Sensors Expo, he said we are well into the age of opportunistic sensors whose technologies are changing...

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MTT-S IMS underway this week in Seattle

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 4, 2013

The International Microwave Symposium is underway this week in Seattle, providing an opportunity for companies to highlight new RF/microwave test instruments and software. Agilent and Anritsu have already weighed in with new offerings. (Check back throughout the week for updates.) Agilent's EEsof Division is presenting the latest release of...

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Tesla founder prefers Hyperloop to bullet train

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 3, 2013

Want to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco real fast? Elon Musk has a solution, and it doesn't involve a Tesla S. In fact, he has suggested that the trip would take half the time you'd need to simply recharge your Tesla S...

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Storm-chaser Samaras killed in Oklahoma tornados

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 2, 2013

I just saw the sad news that storm-chaser Tim Samaras, his 24-year-old son, and colleague Carl Young were among the nine people killed in the tornados that struck Oklahoma Friday night. I saw Samaras, who founded TWISTEX (Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in Tornadoes Experiment), speak at NIWeek 2011, where he described how NI LabVIEW, NI...

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Despite criticism, smart-city technologies take off

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 2, 2013

Smart city technologies will generate more than $117 billion within the next seven years and will account for $20.2 billion in annual sales in 2020, up from $6.1 billion in 2012, according to Navigant Research. But not all observers see such spending as a good investment. Alec Appelbaum, in a New York Times article titled "

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Maxwell's equations topic is EE-News reader favorite

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 30, 2013

An article on Maxwell's equations and Beethoven's 10th Symphony was the most popular item among readers of Wednesday's EE-News, EE-Evaluation Engineering's weekly email newsletter. It was followed closely by an article on the effect earning a master's degree can have on starting salary. Other items focused on a Honda...

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Video offers peek into LXI Conference China 2013

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 29, 2013

The LXI Conference China 2013 took place May 22 at the Rigol Technologies campus in Beijing. The conference focused on the technical challenges and solutions for connecting test instrumentation via the network and demonstrated how these are addressed using LXI. Organizers report that attendees learned what LXI instruments are and what the...

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Master's degree boosts engineering starting salary

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 28, 2013

I recently commented on engineering starting salaries, noting that according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, entry-level engineers can expect to earn more than their counterparts in computer science, business, health science, and education (read the original post

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Critics address Google Glass danger and social stigma

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 26, 2013

Have you tried Google Glass? Would you like to? One in 10 Americans would like to, reports Brian Fung, writing in National Journal. But those who try the device may be a danger to themselves and others. Daniel J....

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Small-cell Wi-Fi topic is EE-News reader favorite

 By Rick Nelson, on May 23, 2013

An article on the use of Wi-Fi functionality in small-cell base stations was the most popular item among readers of Wednesday's EE-News, EE-Evaluation Engineering's weekly email newsletter. It was followed closely by an article on an Amherst professor's experiments with quantum-computing speed. Other hot topics included an imec...

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Who wrote Maxwell's equations, or Beethoven's 10th symphony?

 By Rick Nelson, on May 21, 2013

(Updated below) A recent issue of The Institute has an interesting article pointing out the role Oliver Heaviside played in developing Maxwell's equations as we know them today. Michael Geselowitz notes,...

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History lesson: chips and oil don't mix

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 20, 2013

Remember Exxon's foray into the semiconductor business? How about Schlumberger's incursion into the semiconductor test arena? As an EE-Evaluation Engineering reader you're more likely to remember the latter, and it was only ten years ago that Schlumberger exited the business by spinning off NPTest. An item by Alexis C. Madrigal in...

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Starting-salary topic is EE-News reader favorite

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 16, 2013

Commentary on engineering starting salaries was the most popular item among readers of Wednesday's EE-News, EE-Evaluation Engineering's weekly email newsletter. Other hot topics included a new loudspeaker test technique, microbatteries, powering data centers, and using plants (the green kind) to make electricity. If you missed your...

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Microbatteries pack a punch for consumer and medical devices

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 14, 2013

"Though they be but little, they are fierce," writes Liz Ahlberg, physical sciences editor at the University of Illinois News Brueau. She writes that the most powerful batteries on the planet are only a few millimeters in size, yet they pack such a punch that a driver could use a cellphone powered by one to jump-start a car. (The phone's USB...

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Researchers learn from solar-power champions

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 14, 2013

The undisputed solar-power champions are plants—the green kind, not the photovoltaic kind like the Nellis Solar Power Plant. Writing in

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For cloud data centers, the rent's too high

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 14, 2013

Looking for reasonable rent for your business? You might try Park Avenue in New York City, but don't even think about Mahwah, NJ. The New York Times reports that yearly leases top out at about $150 per square foot for a trophy high-rise in Manhattan, but reach four times that for "low, bland buildings across the Hudson River in New Jersey."...

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Engineering starting salaries top NACE list

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 10, 2013

Prospective college students might be well advised to enroll in engineering—it's an interesting, challenging subject, and graduates can expect high starting salaries. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the class of 2013, across all job categories, will receive average starting salaries of $44,928, up 5.3%...

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Spectrum-analyzer topic is EE-News reader favorite

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 9, 2013

Commentary on spectrum-analyzer basics was the most popular item among readers of Wednesday's EE-News, EE-Evaluation Engineering's weekly email newsletter. Other hot topics included bionic ears, DAQ for academic users, e-waste regulations, and a posture sensor and app. If you missed your edition, check your inbox for EE-News. Or,...

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Basic spectrum analyzer handles reflection and stimulus/response measurements

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 7, 2013

If you need to characterize RFID tags or make reflection or stimulus/response measurements on antennas or transceiver modules, you might be able to make use of a low-cost basic spectrum analyzer. Agilent Technologies has released three application notes that detail the use of its

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IBM recycles IT equipment

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 7, 2013

Discarded cellphones may be piling up in toxic heaps in developing companies, but IBM has an ongoing program focused on remanufacturing or otherwise recycling end-of-life IT equipment. I commented yesterday on the fate of many of the 150 million cellphones that Americans discard each year, and it

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Evolving regulations pose e-waste challenges

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 6, 2013

Electronics vendors struggle to keep up with toxic substance and recycling initiatives, with assists from organizations like IPC-Association Connecting Electronics Industries. Unfortunately, such initiatives are having little immediate effect, based on

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Electric vehicle post is EE-News reader favorite

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 2, 2013

Commentary on electric vehicle technology was the most popular item among readers of Wednesday's EE-News, EE-Evaluation Engineering's weekly email newsletter. Other hot topics included Moore's law and data acquisition, edible electronics, indoor GPS, big data and semiconductor test, and printed-circuit board test and inspection....

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Payphones deliver free Wi-Fi

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 1, 2013

Payphones are getting a new lease on life—16 payphones in the Boston area will soon begin delivering free Wi-Fi, and officials at companies leading the effort hope to expand that to about 400 payphones citywide by the end of next summer, according to a report in

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Electric vehicle technology doesn't need roadblocks

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 30, 2013

The financial plight of Fisker Automotive has prompted complaints about electric vehicles and the road we are taking toward perfecting the technology. As the LA Times reported, the Anaheim-based company failed to make a $10 million federal government loan payment. The

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Board test, inspection, and programming get boost

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 29, 2013

April 29, 2013. GOEPEL electronic has recently announced several electrical test and inspection capabilities aimed at printed-circuit boards and board-resident programmable devices. The enhanced offerings include an AOI system, an inline test and programming system, and a desktop tester and programmer. At the

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Bluetooth forecast shows need for multiradio test capability

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 23, 2013

The market for Bluetooth chips is expected to boom through at least 2017 according to IMS Research, now part of IHS. The market research firm reports that although shipments of standalone Bluetooth chips remain substantial, the market is currently dominated by combination ICs that incorporate support for multiple wireless technologies....

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Would you pay a premium for Apple?

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 23, 2013

Would you pay a premium for an Apple product? How about for Apple stock? The first question was raised by April 11 presentation at Electronics New England, at which Bill Betten, medical technology director at TechInsights, described teardowns of an iPad Mini vs. a Nexus 7. Betten pointed out that the iPad Mini is significantly more expensive...

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Technology Plays Mixed Role in Marathon Bombing Investigation

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 22, 2013

I'm a resident of Cambridge, but I work from home (EE-Evaluation Engineering's headquarters is in Sarasota, FL), so I was able to stay on the job during the Friday lockdown as authorities pursued the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. Except, of course, I frequently checked the news, or non-news, as the case mostly was. The airwaves seemed...

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Keynoter highlights medical and consumer device convergence

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 13, 2013

Boston, MA. Despite a history of significant differences, consumer electronics products and medical devices are converging, according to Bill Betten, medical technology director at TechInsights and a former vice president of engineering at a medical device company. Betten made the remarks while delivering a keynote address titled "When Worlds...

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Computational photography takes a look around

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 11, 2013

Boston, MA. Cameras that look around corners, trillion-frame-per-second video, and hardware "apps" in the form of low-cost mobile-phone accessories were just a few of the topics that Ramesh Raskar addressed in a keynote presentation Wednesday at Electronics New England. In the presentation, titled "The Capabilities of Super-High Speed Imaging,"...

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Software innovations span design through manufacturing

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 9, 2013

Recent software innovations have yielded products that run the gamut from design through manufacturing. Intusoft addresses design and test with a new build of its ICAP/4 Spice simulator and Test Designer automated fault isolation tool, CadSoft has revealed improved simulation and modeling capabilities for its EAGLE PCB board-design software, and...

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Talking, seeing cars poised to evolve into autonomous vehicles

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 9, 2013

The deployment of fully autonomous vehicles faces technical and societal challenges as engineers deal with sensors and processors in both the vehicles and surrounding infrastructure and as governments deal with necessary changes in the rules of the road. I have posted previously on evolving rules of the road (see "

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Georgia Tech wins DARPA contract on 3-D IC cooling and reliability

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 8, 2013

Georgia Tech reports that is has won a 3-year, $2.9 million DARPA contract to develop 3-D chip cooling technology. The goal is to handle heat loads as much as ten times greater than those exhibited by today's chips while also handling on-chip hot spots that exceed even the 10X figure. John Toon of the Georgia Tech news office quotes Yogendra...

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Software gets boost; products tackle communications, EMC test

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 2, 2013

Recent software innovations from Dell, ProPlus Design Solutions, and Keithley Instruments are boosting engineering workstation performance, speeding circuit simulation, and enhancing high-power-semiconductor characterization. Meanwhile, Agilent has reported on a MMIC simulation application. In addition, vendors including Aeroflex, Anritsu,...

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Reports of email's death slightly exaggerated

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 1, 2013

Is email losing its importance as a communications tool? Michael B. Farrell writing at Boston.com would seem to want you to think so. In the March 29 article "E-mail gets a cold shoulder," he notes that "the amount of...

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BiTS presentation demystifies burn-in and test sockets

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 27, 2013

Test sockets might seem relatively simple compared with the test equipment with which they are used, but in fact they are quite complex and specialized, said Paul F. Ruo, VP of sales and marketing at Aries Electronics, in a presentation at the March 3-8 Burn-in and Test Strategies Workshop. Titled "Anatomy of a Test Socket," the presentation won...

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Glass tsunami threatens e-waste recyclers

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 26, 2013

A glass tsunami is threatening electronics recycling companies as the market for CRTs dries up. The New York Times reports that a few years ago glass from broken monitors and TVs could be recycled profitably, with the glass fetching $200 per ton. But the emergence of flat-panel technology has left many recyclers over their heads in useless, toxic...

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DAQ vendors offer price and performance options

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 26, 2013

Data-acquisition vendors have been busy this month introducing systems that span the gamut of price and performance points and a variety of applications areas, from sonar to aircraft power monitoring. For example, Elsys Instruments announced it now offers its highly accurate transient recorder technology in a portable, ruggedized system for...

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Vendors tout power meters and sensors, expanded DSO portfolio, and more

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 19, 2013

Power meters and sensors, public-safety radio support, and an expanded line of digital oscilloscopes highlight instrument makers' recent innovations. Agilent, Rohde & Schwarz, Tektronix, and Aeroflex have all introduced new communications test products, while B&K Precision expanded its digital storage oscilloscope portfolio. In other...

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Embedded test technologies leverage FPGAs, gate arrays

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 18, 2013

Embedded test technologies got attention on two fronts last week as GOEPEL electronic and JTAG Technologies each debuted new capabilities. GOEPEL said its IP-based ChipVORX technology has been extended to execute bit-error-rate test (BERT) by enabling FPGA-based embedded instruments to perform the BERT function. JTAG's latest initiative is...

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Varying 400G proposals present test challenges

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 13, 2013

Companies beginning to deploy 100G data-communications systems are simultaneously facing the need to develop next-generation 400G systems—and even 1-Tb/s systems—as well. To achieve higher speeds, instead of increasing the symbol rate of a single carrier, one approach is to transmit signals in parallel by using multiple carriers at...

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Wearable tech treats pain, monitors UV exposure

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 12, 2013

Wearable technology continues to be a field attracting innovative development efforts, as companies pursue intelligent jewelry and personal health devices. Two examples include an adhesive patch designed to provide pain relief and a UV-sensing bracelet that notifies you when to reapply sunscreen. These devices join a glowing

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Instrument vendors debut communications-test software options

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 12, 2013

( Updated March 13) Communications test instrument vendors—including Aeroflex, Anritsu, Tektronix, and Teledyne LeCroy—have announced software options to augment ease of use and to support several communications standards. For example, Tektronix announced a new software option for its OM4000 optical modulation analyzer series...

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Wireless nanoscale devices augment drug delivery and diagnostics

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 11, 2013

It may be time to rethink drug delivery and diagnostics approaches, and that's what's happening at the recently launched MIT Institute for Medical Engineering and Science. Researchers there are investigating new nanoscale drug delivery systems that could treat diseases like cancer. In addition, they are developing implantable sensor...

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Keithley offers power-supply advice

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 11, 2013

How can you be sure your power supply is applying the correct current and voltage to your DUT? In an infographic titled "Maximize the Performance of Your Power Supplies," Keithley Instruments offers some concise, well illustrated tips. For example, use a power supply with sense leads to make sure the supply is regulating voltage at the DUT...

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Kickstarter boosts smart basketball, jewelry makers

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 5, 2013

Entrepreneurs developing a smart basketball and smart jewelry have turned to Kickstarter to help their efforts. First, InfoMotion—which describes itself as "…the world’s pioneering leader for innovating sports products that quantify and digitize muscle-memory based athletic skills..."—expects this month to launch its...

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Vendors extend communications test offerings

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 5, 2013

Rohde & Schwarz, National Instruments, and Agilent Technologies have been busy over the past week with a variety of product and services introductions. Agilent kicked off the month by announcing that all new Agilent electronic test instruments sold after March 1 will be covered by a “bumper-to-bumper” 3-year repair warranty. Ken...

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Researchers extend coherence of qubits

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 5, 2013

University of Pittsburgh and Delft University of Technology researchers have developed a method that better preserves the coherence of quantum bits (qubits). "Single electron spins in semiconductor quantum dots are a versatile platform for quantum information processing," the researchers note in the February 17 online issue of Nature...

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March reports address switching systems, multistandard radios

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 1, 2013

Articles from our March issue are now online, including special reports on switch systems and multistandard-radio test. The report on switching covers several significant themes relate to today’s switch modules used for test applications, including the relative absence of MEMS-based solutions, which are not ready for prime time in many...

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UNH-IOL and Agilent Demonstrate MIPI Test Services at MWC

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 26, 2013

The University of New Hampshire Interoperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) is demonstrating its MIPI testing services for mobile device component suppliers this week at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona. The UNH-IOL and Agilent Technologies are co-hosting the MIPI Test Corner, a section of the MIPI Alliance booth at the MWC. Reporting from the...

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From JTAG to X-ray, test and inspection innovations abound at APEX

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 24, 2013

IPC APEX EXPO concluded last week with companies having exhibited a variety of test and inspection and related software products, while keynoters looked back at technology and charted its future. In addition, IPC's president and CEO outlined initiatives for the coming year. Significant product introductions included a new boundary-scan tool...

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IPC's Mitchell Emphasizes Members' Technical and Financial Success

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 24, 2013

San Diego, CA. An association must be about its members. That's the view of John W. Mitchell, D.Ed., president and CEO of IPC—Association Connecting Electronics Industries. Consequently, he has launched an initiative to focus on customer success. According to its

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Professor and former GM exec charts bright automotive future with transformational change

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 20, 2013

San Diego, CA. The automobile has a bright future, but significant reinvention will be a key to that future, according to Dr. Larry Burns, Professor of Engineering at the University of Michigan and director of the Program for Sustainable Mobility at Columbia University. Presenting a keynote address to attendees of IPC APEX EXPO, Dr. Burns, former...

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APEX keynoter Kaku says term "computer" will vanish from our vocabulary

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 19, 2013

San Diego, CA. "Imagine, and Create, the Future"—that was the title of Dr. Michio Kaku's IPC APEX EXPO keynote address as well as the advice Kaku presented to a standing-room-only crowd of conference attendees this morning. The physicist, author, and media personality noted the dangers forecasting, citing the well known views from Yogi...

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IPC APEX EXPO convenes in San Diego

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 17, 2013

San Diego, CA. IPC APEX EXPO convenes this week in San Diego, where vendors including Aegis, Agilent, ASTER, Diagnosys, GE, GOEPEL, JTAG Technologies, Seica, and YESTECH will exhibit a variety of printed-circuit-board and assembly test and inspection systems.

Visit our complete show wrap-up More >>

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Vendors address Ethernet and RF/microwave test challenges

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 17, 2013

Vendors including Agilent Technologies, EXFO, and Azimuth Systems have been active over the past week addressing communications test challenges ranging from smartphones to Ethernet and radar. With respect to Ethernet, EXFO Inc. announced the introduction of the FTB-88100NGE Power Blazer Multiservice Test Module to address 40G/100G field...

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Tesla vs. NYT feud sheds little light on EV future

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 16, 2013

As I recounted earlier, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, released vehicle datalogs in response to an unfavorable review of a Tesla S and Tesla's northeast supercharging stations by New York Times reporter John M. Broder. Now Broder has...

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Tesla's Musk releases datalogs for NYT test drive

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 14, 2013

Perhaps you have been following the dispute between the New York Times and Tesla Motors. In summary, on February 8 Times reporter John M. Broder recounted a sometimes slow, cold test drive of a Tesla S from Washington, D.C., to...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Automotive/Vehicle Test :: Instrumentation ::



Improved Landsat 8 sensors to gather visible light and infrared data

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 11, 2013

NASA announced that its Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) blasted off at 1:02 p.m. EST Monday aboard an Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base. LDCM is the eighth in the Landsat series of satellites that have been continuously observing Earth's land surfaces since 1972. NASA said the...

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Agilent debuts 160-MHz real-time spectrum analysis to 50 GHz

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 8, 2013

Andover, MA. Agilent Technologies is rolling out real-time spectrum analysis (RTSA) capability for its PXA X-Series signal analyzers. Speaking on the eve of the February 8 official release date to a select group of Boston-area customers at Agilent's Andover facility, Agilent's Andy Botka said a PXA analyzer equipped with the new capability...

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TI, RPI presidents push U.S. support of engineering

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 6, 2013

Richard Templeton, chairman, president, and CEO of Texas Instruments, and Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, make the case for government funding of science and engineering in Politico. "A kindergarten student in the United States today will enter adulthood living in a very different type of house, working...

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Some advice on EMI/RFI shielding

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 5, 2013

If you are looking to alleviate EMI/RFI problems, you have many alternatives. As shielding-product maker Tech-Etch puts it, "EMI/RFI shielding products are designed to either keep out or keep in electromagnetic interference." But whether you are looking to keep interference in or out, you have several issues to consider, including...

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AVnu Alliance and UNH-IOL launch certification program

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 4, 2013

The AVnu Alliance and the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab (UNH-IOL) last month launched an AVnu Bridge Certification program at UNH-IOL. The AVnu Alliance is an industry forum dedicated to the advancement of professional-quality audio/video. The alliance promotes the adoption of the IEEE 802.1...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Communications Test :: Automotive/Vehicle Test ::



The robots are coming, and they're looking for jobs

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 4, 2013

The robots are coming, and they are looking for work. Although I reported last April on one observer's contention that the increased adoption of robotics in manufacturing could actually increase jobs, another pundit now sees robots and...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: ATE :: Automotive/Vehicle Test ::



DesignCon emphasizes signal integrity

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 4, 2013

DesignCon concluded last week in Santa Clara, with vendors having exhibited a variety of design, simulation, test, and measurement tools. A key focus was ensuring signal integrity on high-speed serial buses. In addition, industry experts weighed in on test-related topics. In

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DesignCon keynote: Instrument evolution keeps pace with design

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 31, 2013

In Wednesday's keynote at DesignCon, Mike Santori, business and technology fellow at National Instruments, traced the evolution of instrumentation and described a complementary evolution in standard commercial off-the-shelf electronic products. In the '80's he said, NI offered GPIB boards to support test automation via personal...

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Agilent VP highlights strategy for high-speed digital design

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 30, 2013

Santa Clara, CA. Agilent Technologies is highlighting a variety of tools for high-speed digital design at DesignCon this week, as outlined in our complete coverage of the show. Jay Alexander, vice president and general manager of...

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EDA tools key to exploiting Moore's Law

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 30, 2013

Santa Clara, CA. EDA and methodology development constituted the focus of a DesignCon Tuesday keynote address by Jonah Alben, senior vice president of engineering at NVIDIA. To the layman, he said, technology advances may seem to be driven solely by Moore's Law, but EDA plays a key role as well. If we were still using the design tools of 30...

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Vendors tout test and measurement at DesignCon

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 27, 2013

(Updated February 1, 2013) DesignCon is convening this week in Santa Clara, with the goal of helping board and systems designers, software developers, and silicon manufacturers gain design expertise, learn about emerging design tools, and network with peers and industry experts. Test is a key focus as well, with companies including Agilent,...

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Presentation at European 3D TSV Summit charts road to IC test

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 27, 2013

The evolution of from SoCs and sensors onto 3D ICs is presenting quality and test challenges, according to James Quinn, VP of sales and marketing at Multitest. He outlined those challenges in a presentation titled "3D Technology Fusion—Is KGD Good Enough?" Delivering his presentation January 23 at the

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Researcher pursues bottom-up approach to semiconductor miniaturization

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 22, 2013

Semiconductor miniaturization efforts have thus far centered on top-down approaches, in which a silicon wafer is etched using micro- or nanolithography techniques. Although such techniques continue to predominate, advances such as the perfection of

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NIST, NRL focus on lab-on-a-chip shelf life

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 22, 2013

Researchers are working on many fronts to remove technical roadblocks to effective lab-on-a-chip technology. One roadblock is limited sensor shelf life. Now, researchers at NIST and the Naval Research Laboratory have patented a concept that could extend sensor life for months or more. According to NIST, NIST researcher John Kasianowicz has...

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Dreamliner raises test, political issues

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 20, 2013

The problems surrounding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are raising technical as well as political issues. Technical issues involve lithium-ion batteries, leaking fuel and oil, and cracked windshields, which are being addressed by engineers. The company has an additional card to play as the issues get sorted out. According to More >>

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Tech journalist Colin Holland dies at 59

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 19, 2013

It's my sad duty with this post to extend condolences to the family, friends, and coworkers of Colin Holland, an electronics-industry journalist who died on Thursday in a London hospice after a year-long battle with cancer. I would meet Holland from time to time at industry events and always knew him to be knowledgeable and helpful, even...

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Romper suit could protect against SIDS

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 15, 2013

Breathing sensors integrated into a stretchable printed-circuit board that in turn is fitted into a romper suit could help prevent sudden infant deaths, according to a report from the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration (IZM) in Berlin. The suit could warn parents if their child stops breathing. Researchers at the...

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Does manufacturing test add value?

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 14, 2013

Does manufacturing test add value, or is it simply an unavoidable cost center? If the latter, it makes sense to drive the cost to an absolute minimum. If test adds value, though, it may be worth paying a little more for test if it adds a lot more value. Rich Yerganian addresses this question for the semiconductor industry from his vantage point...

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Polaroid paves the way back to bricks and mortar

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 8, 2013

Polaroid is looking to make a comeback with a foray into bricks and mortar. The down-but-not-quite-out instant photo pioneer is teaming with Fotobar to open 10 "experiential retail stores" in 2013. The idea is to get customers' photos out of the digital realm and let customers "quickly and easily liberate their favorite images from the...

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MIT's p-type transistor offers improved carrier mobility

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 7, 2013

Researchers at the MIT's Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) have developed a germanium p-type transistor whose carrier mobility doubles that of previous experimental p-type transistors and which nearly quadruples that of commercial devices. The MIT News Office More >>

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It's time to clarify autonomous-vehicle laws

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 3, 2013

The likelihood that you'll encounter autonomous vehicles on public roads will increase this year. That's due in part to the technical success Google has had with its autonomous car program and in part due to the efforts of legislators to promote—or at least define the rules of the road for—the new vehicles.


...

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Happy New Year!

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 1, 2013

Happy New Year from EE-Evaluation Engineering, and we look forward to serving you in 2013. Although industry news has been sparse over the holiday season, the close of 2012 did see some significant product introductions and technology innovations relating to wireless test, simulation, modeling, MHL CTS 2.0 test, M2M development, back-pain...

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Are Lego sets blocking creativity?

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on December 28, 2012

Are today's Lego sets a threat to creativity? In the '60s, as I recall, Lego blocks came in one size and form factor—a rectangular brick—and it was left to the imagination of the child to decide what to build with a collection of the homogenous bricks. By the time my son reached Lego age in the 90s, Lego sets seem to have...

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SPUDS help Boeing test airline Wi-Fi

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on December 21, 2012

An effective multiuser Wi-Fi deployment can require significant testing to ensure adequate service to all users. Airlines providing Wi-Fi service on their planes face the additional task of ensuring that Wi-Fi signals won't interfere with sensitive navigation and communications equipment. To speed the testing that would ensure adequate...

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Rick's Picks—100 Hot Products of 2012

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on December 18, 2012

The end of the year brings the opportunity to look back at the many new products and product enhancements introduced in 2012. Here are my choices for 100 notable products introduced between December 1, 2011, and December 1, 2012, arranged into these categories: ATE, Communications Test, Compliance Test, Data Acquisition and Sensors, Instruments...

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Looking back at technology at year end, and forward

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on December 18, 2012

The past year has turned out to be a fruitful one for innovative products and technologies. We've been tracking product and technology news on a variety of fronts, particularly in our monthly Special Reports. If you've missed any of these reports, now is a fine time to catch up on oscilloscopes, mil/aero test, modular instruments, power,...

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Remorseless rejection of single-task devices threatens e-readers

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on December 17, 2012

What's been on your gift wish list this holiday season—an e-book reader, tablet, or cell phone, or perhaps one of each? What key functionality are you looking for, and which of these devices can best deliver it? If rather than a prospective recipient of such devices you work for a designer or manufacturer of them, the key question is...

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Nighthawk tackles cost of RF test

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on December 10, 2012

Norwood, MA. Semiconductor vendors, foundries, and test houses face increasing pressure to cut test costs, and ATE companies have worked to reduce test costs through a variety of strategies, including massively parallel multisite test. But when it comes to RF test, massively parallel test on traditional ATE systems can result in underutilization...

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Forecasts and results indicate persistent economic weakness

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on December 4, 2012

The semiconductor, equipment, and printed-circuit-board markets reflect economic weakness, according to reports released over the last week from IHS iSuppli, IPC—Association Connecting Electronics, and SEMI. IHS said it is downgrading its forecast for the global semiconductor market in 2012, with revenue now expected to decline by 2.3% for...

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Low-cost instruments address time, frequency analysis

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on December 4, 2012

If you're looking for low-cost approaches to frequency- or time-domain analysis, you might be able to take advantage of recent product introductions from Agilent Technologies or Tektronix. The latter has introduced an entry-level oscilloscope, while Agilent has introduced a basic spectrum analyzer. The new Tektronix offering, the

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IBM: Managers struggle with social media

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on November 26, 2012

Do you make use of social media on the job? The answer is yes if you are reading this blog. And perhaps you have a page on LinkedIn or Facebook, and perhaps you tweet or follow companies including

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Execs describe FormFactor's MicroProbe acquisition at ITC

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on November 18, 2012

Anaheim, CA. Aiming to become the largest probe-card manufacturer in the industry, FormFactor acquired MicroProbe in October 2012. Tom St. Dennis, FormFactor CEO, and Mike Slessor, former CEO of MicroProbe and now head of FormFactor's MicroProbe Business Unit, discussed the acquisition and the path forward in a November 8 interview at the...

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EDA firms tout IJTAG, memory test and repair

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on November 13, 2012

IJTAG and memory test and repair were key topics highlighted by Mentor Graphics and Synopsys, respectively, at this year's International Test Conference. Mentor introduced its Tessent IJTAG tool, and Synopsys highlighted its DesignWare STAR Memory System 5, which supports embedded memory test, repair, and diagnostics at 20 nm and below....

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3-D IC test workshop caps ITC activities

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on November 12, 2012

Anaheim, CA. A workshop on 3-D IC test capped Test Week activities held in conjunction with the International Test Conference. Workshop general chair Yervant Zorian, of Synopsys, welcomed attendees Thursday afternoon by noting that this year's event marks the third iteration, completing a two-year period in which 3-D technology has emerged...

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Broadcom describes OT deployment at ITC

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on November 7, 2012

Anaheim, CA. OptimalTest at this year's International Test Conference continued what's becoming a tradition of asking a major customer to describe its use of the OT...

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CEOs address innovation at ITC

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on November 6, 2012

Anaheim, CA. CEOs of key test companies addressed International Test Conference attendees at a Monday evening panel in which they discussed entrepreneurship in the ATE industry. The CEOs included B. Bottoms of  3MTS, G. Erickson of Aehr Test Systems, D. Glotter of OptimalTest, B. Madsen of LitePoint, and M. Roos of Roos Instruments. E....

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Got English majors?

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on November 1, 2012

If there is a war between the sciences and humanities, it might seem the sciences are winning, notwithstanding difficulties in attracting students to the STEM subjects. As Michael S. Malone writes in the Wall Street Journal (based on a speech he gave at...

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Expo focuses on automotive test

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on October 25, 2012

Novi, MI. Data acquisition, data management, HiL test, and environmental test were all subjects under investigation at this week's Automotive Testing Expo. Presenters covered these and related topics in the event's Open Technology Forum, while the presenters' companies highlighted related instruments, systems, and software on the...

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Oscilloscope vendors highlight resolution, channel count

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on October 22, 2012

Instrument manufacturers are looking to meet customers' needs for features not found in traditional oscilloscopes, based on recent product releases from Yokogawa and Teledyne LeCroy. The latter introduced instruments with 12-bit ADCs, while Yokogawa released scopes with eight channels. Yokogawa's new offering is the DLM4000, which the...

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How do we determine what jobs are appropriate for the U.S.?

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on October 18, 2012

I have commented previously on the prospects for manufacturing jobs in the U.S. in the face of increasing productivity here and low wages elsewhere. The topic got some attention at the presidential debate Tuesday evening, with respect to China, at least, with the candidates proposing that we can compete with China in attracting manufacturing jobs...

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DARPA looks to boost sensor development

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on October 16, 2012

DARPA is looking to accelerate sensor-system development time through the use of commercial processes. To that end, last month the agency launched phase 2 of its ADAPTable Sensor System program, with the goal of cutting development times to a year or less from the current three to eight years. Today, DARPA reports, sensor systems are designed...

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Customers seek optimum price points with instrument choices

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on October 15, 2012

Although engineers value flexibility and room to grow in their instruments, economic realities are dictating that they seek out optimum price points when purchasing new equipment. That's the conclusion of Jerry Janesch, market development manager for multi-application products at Keithley Instruments Inc., who has been examining customer...

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Present at Sensors Expo—Proposal Deadline Approaching

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on October 10, 2012

Update: Deadline Extended to October 19. Visit this link to submit a proposal. Sensors Expo & Conference is seeking qualified speakers to deliver presentations at next year's conference, scheduled June 5-6 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention...

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LXI plugfest sheds light on IPv6, HiSLIP, and Teradyne subsystem

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on October 9, 2012

Natick, MA. IPv6 and HiSLIP have been recent points of emphasis for the LXI Consortium, according to Steve Schink, marketing planner at Agilent Technologies and president of the consortium. In a brief interview at a consortium meeting and plugfest held October 8 at the Mathworks headquarters, Schink also said the consortium now embraces 55...

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OS bridges embedded-system design-creation and production-test gap

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on October 1, 2012

Embedded-system hardware designers may have an easier time getting their products to market if they can close the gap between design creation and production test. As described by Bob Potock, VP of marketing at Kozio, design creation can include schematic entry, FPGA design, PCB layout, and DFM, signal-integrity, and power-integrity analysis....

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Intel addresses Internet of Things at DesignEast

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on September 24, 2012

Simplifying the Internet of Things (IoT) is the goal of Intel's Intelligent Systems Framework, according to Jim Robinson, general manager of Intel's Intelligent Systems Group. The need for simplification comes from Intel's prediction that more than 15 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2015 and that one-third of these...

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Modular-instrument products and strategies dominate Autotestcon

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on September 17, 2012

Products featured at Autotestcon 2012 last week spanned a variety of applications and formats. Highlights included boundary-scan tools, radar test instruments, cable testers, and low-noise synthesizers. Modular instruments were in the forefront, as panelists discussed modular instrument strategies and companies presented new modular products,...

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Tags :: Ricks Blog :: Military / Aero Test :: Instrumentation ::



Autotestcon panelists chart design-and-test future

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on September 12, 2012

Anaheim, CA. The world is a messy place filled with unpleasant surprises, necessitating a powerful military to respond appropriately, according to Bob Rassa of Raytheon, convening the 2012 Autotestcon plenary session yesterday. Following a moment of silence for the victims of 9/11, Rassa turned the proceedings over to a panel led by Mike Ellis of...

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Weather forecasting bests economic, seismic predictions

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on September 9, 2012

Under the headline "The Weatherman Is Not a Moron," the New York Times Magazine this weekend published an adaptation from the forthcoming book The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—but Some Don’t, by Nate Silver. Silver is probably most famous for his FiveThirtyEight blog, which deals with political...

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Agilent Development Strategy Yields PXIe VSG and Handheld Analyzers

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on September 4, 2012

Agilent Technologies is pursuing a development strategy that leverages algorithms and devices from Agilent Labs to build the multiuse components and subsystems that make up a variety of PXI and AXIe modules as well as handheld and bench-top instruments. The results of that strategy with respect to PXI and handheld instruments are on display with a...

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Cars talk safety in Ann Arbor

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on August 29, 2012

The role of cellphone conversations in motor-vehicle accidents is likely to remain contentious, but getting cars talking to one another and to infrastructure could be a boon to safety. As I reported earlier, it may be that drivers likely to be talking...

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Ban the drivers—not the cellphones

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on August 27, 2012

About a decade ago, Robert W. Hahn of the American Enterprise Institute made waves when he touted the advantages of talking while driving (TWD)—that's right, advantages. Banning cellphone use while driving, he said, would cost $25 billion annually (presumably in revenue not collected by carriers) while affording considerably less...

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Rethink Robotics hopes to do for manufacturing what the PC did for the office

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on August 26, 2012

Rethink Robotics Inc. is poised to introduce a new generation of robots that will improve productivity in manufacturing environments. The versatile and flexible robots will be capable of autonomously sensing and adapting to their environment while being easy to buy, train, and deploy. And, the company says, they will be much less expensive than...

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Logic analyzers handle wide-bus debug chores

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on August 21, 2012

The logic analyzer might seem to be on the road to extinction as mixed-signal oscilloscopes take on some logic-analyzer functionality, but that's not the case. Logic analyzers are still invaluable when you have a hundred or more bus lines to monitor simultaneously while performing system-level debug. Further, logic analyzers can display data...

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Mouser launches harsh-environments technology site

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on August 16, 2012

Mouser Electronics Inc., the global distributor for semiconductors and electronic components, has announced the launch of a new technology site that focuses on harsh environments. The company noted that although "…electronic components are primarily designed for stable, controlled environments, the real world often dictates extreme...

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Rohde & Schwarz Partners with Albatross on EMC in North America

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on August 13, 2012

Pittsburgh, PA. Rohde & Schwarz has announced that it will take over the sales of anechoic chambers and shielded rooms from Albatross Projects GmbH in the U.S. and Canada. Under the partnership, production, sales, and service of complete EMC systems for North American customers are now available from a single source. A spokesman for Rohde...

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EMC Symposium addresses channel characterization and modeling

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on August 8, 2012

Pittsburgh, PA. Channel characterization and modeling was a topic of interest at the EMC Symposium, held here this week. In a session Tuesday afternoon chaired by Jianmin Zhang of Cisco Systems and Ye Chunfei of Intel, presenters representing Rambus, Ohio State, Intel, Purdue, Cisco, and Missouri University of Science and Technology discussed...

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Community College Boosts MEMS Commercialization

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on August 5, 2012

MEMS technology commercialization is getting a boost with the establishment of the Richard Desich SMART Commercialization Center for Microsystems at Lorain County Community College in Ohio. In an interview last week, Matt Apanius, director of the center, described it as a multi-user, shared resource focused on the back-end packaging and...

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Carriers Challenge Emergency Communications Aircraft

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on July 30, 2012

Effective communications capability is critical for properly managing the response to emergencies, but natural disasters can wreak havoc on terrestrial communications infrastructure. To facilitate communications during times when terrestrial systems are severely damaged or unavailable, the FCC has proposed the deployable aerial communications...

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MEMS technology roadmapping could address test challenges

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on July 23, 2012

San Francisco, CA. As semiconductor technology extends into "more than Moore" territory, test engineers will need to contend with integrated devices containing multiple MEMS structures. A roadmap can be useful in establishing effective test strategies, according to Dr. Michael Gaitan of NIST, who delivered an invited address July 12 at the

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Google execs propose crowd sourcing to fight crime

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on July 18, 2012

In an interesting although somewhat convoluted column in today's Washington Post, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen of Google propose a dual-crowd-sourcing technical solution to drug-related crime in Juarez. Having recently visited the city, they describe it as overwhelmed by crime with citizens overwhelmed by fear. Schmidt and Cohen

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Malefactors expected to attack 3-D ICs

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on July 14, 2012

San Francisco, CA. The move to 3-D integrated-circuit architectures will present significant challenges to design and test engineers, as 2-D test techniques based on fault models and scan test could have limited applicability once dies are stacked. In addition, 3-D stacks will provide new vulnerabilities that could allow malefactors to introduce...

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Keynoter describes ubiquitous computing from data center to pacemaker

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on July 10, 2012

San Francisco, CA. This year represents a critical juncture for the semiconductor industry, as organizations look to 3-D IC packaging, extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, and 450-mm wafers in pursuit of moving Moore's law ahead. That's according to Karen Savala, president of SEMI Americas, who kicked off

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IMS2012 attendance hits more than 7,600 participants

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on July 8, 2012

July 8, 2012.  More than 7,600 microwave industry participants converged on Montréal the week of June 17, according to the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society, which sponsors the event. The society said IMS2012 saw strong involvement from the international microwave community, reinforcing the theme of “Microwaves...

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Advanced degrees don't guarantee jobs for scientists

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on July 8, 2012

Scientists in Ph.D. programs may find the advanced degrees they are pursuing will pay off. Although President Obama and groups like the National Science Foundation have been calling for universities to produce more scientists, there are in many fields too many laboratory scientists for too few jobs. That's according to a report in the

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Technology dispersion rate boosted iPhone

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on July 2, 2012

Is the iPhone the most astoundingly successful product ever? Henry Blodget, the former Wall Street analyst, thinks so, but Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic, offers a different opinion. Blodget notes that the iPhone generates nearly $25 billion in revenue per quarter, making the iPhone business itself bigger than

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Microwave ovens at International Microwave Symposium

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 25, 2012

One doesn't generally associate the International Microwave Symposium with microwave ovens, but Freescale Semiconductor nevertheless chose IMS to highlight a microwave-oven innovation. As a spokesperson for appliance maker Midea put it, "Since Raytheon Company introduced the world's first commercial microwave oven in 1947, the traditional...

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Sea level rise threatens East Coast

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 25, 2012

I commented earlier on efforts of North Carolina lawmakers to thwart climate-change effects—or at least predictions of the effects—through legislation. They may be too late, based on this excerpt from a Boston Globe article: "The seas along the East Coast from North Carolina to New England are rising three to four times faster than the...

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Lee touts IoE at IMS

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 22, 2012

Montréal, Québec. The future of wireless is bright—so go out and make it happen. That was the advice Thomas H. Lee provided to International Microwave Symposium attendees at the conclusion of his IMS closing ceremony keynote address Thursday afternoon. Lee, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford currently on leave as...

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Agilent touts design and simulation at IMS

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 20, 2012

Montréal, Québec. Agilent Technologies chose the International Microwave Symposium to tout its alignment of business units to support design simulation and measurement automation. The company also introduced a new USB power sensor and highlighted several products introduced over the past few months. Speaking at a June 19 press...

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Victories in the lab, or in court

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 17, 2012

I commented last month about misconceptions surrounding the heroic lone inventor and about the need for well equipped, well staffed laboratories. Now, Derek Thompson writing in the Atlantic offers more perspective on the topic, discussing the invention of the cotton gin, telegraph, telephone, light bulb, movie projector, automobile, airplane, and...

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Legislators vs. science

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 11, 2012

Reminiscent of apocryphal reports that lawmakers have attempted to round off π, North Carolina state lawmakers are considering a measure that would limit how North Carolina prepares for sea-level rise, according to a report in the

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IMS to convene as MTT-S celebrates 60th anniversary

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 4, 2012

The International Microwave Symposium and associated Microwave Week events will take place June 17-22 in Montréal as the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society celebrates its 60th anniversary. This year's IMS continues a tradition begun with the first "Microwave Meeting," held November 7, 1952, in New York, and sponsored by the...

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Regulation and healthcare apps

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on June 4, 2012

Relationships between regulators and the regulated in the medical field could become increasingly contentions as the FDA moves to assume some authority of medical related apps that run on smart phones and tablets. Politicians, however, may be poised to offer relief, as Congress moved last month to consider curtailing the FDA's control over...

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Robots: replacements or collaborators?

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 31, 2012

I reported earlier on a presentation by John Roemisch, general manager at FANUC Robotics, speaking at BIOMEDevice Boston. Roemisch concluded his presentation by saying that vision and tactile feedback will become ever more important for robots as they become increasingly collaborative with people. (View my earlier post

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Medical innovation requires reasonable risk

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 24, 2012

Philadelphia, PA. The U.S. medical device community leads the world in innovation. But maintaining that leadership role will require improved communication among the industry, the public, and government officials—with the public accepting and government officials permitting reasonable risk. That's the conclusion of Dean Kamen and...

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What's needed for innovation—labs or dorm rooms?

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 20, 2012

That innovation stems from a genius or two operating from a garage, or a dorm room, is a common misconception. Most people think of Edison toiling alone to invent the light bulb or Hewlett and Packard holed up in their garage inventing—well, most people probably don't quite know what Hewlett and Packard were up to. The credit commonly...

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Camera Link HS speeds inspection applications

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 14, 2012

The AIA chose The Vision Show held in Boston last week to formally release version 1.0 of the Camera Link High Speed (CLHS) standard and to announce that a CLHS IP core would be available May 31. Bob McCurrach, the AIA's director of standards development, announced the standard would be available free from the

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Can Lego lead the way to manufacturing renaissance?

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 7, 2012

Is the U.S. economy poised for a boom? Perhaps, if you are willing to wait a decade. Two trends—increasing energy production and a forthcoming manufacturing recovery hold significant promise, according to David Ignatius writing in the Washington Post. I  am particularly interested in the second, manufacturing, trend, and seemingly so...

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Headphones and productivity

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 7, 2012

Are headphones—ones that employees use to listen to music—in the office hindering productivity? One theory holds that the headphones reduce distractions and improve concentration. Another holds that headphones inhibit collaboration. Reports the

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Productivity continues to dog employment

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 4, 2012

U.S. employment grew at a sluggish rate in April, with a net increase in jobs of only 115,000. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1% as discouraged job seekers left the labor market. "Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected a gain of 168,000 in payrolls and for the jobless rate to remain at 8.2% in April," the Wall Street Journal

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Evaluating football

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 3, 2012

Football is struggling with health issues, most recently brought to the fore by the death of NFL linebacker Junior Seau—which continues a string of early deaths for former players. The sport may owe its...

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Events address PXI for IC test, BRIC test markets

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on May 1, 2012

Events coming up this month include one addressing PXI for semiconductor test and another covering growth opportunities in the general-purpose test-equipment market in the BRIC countries. First up is a May 15 seminar in Santa Clara, in which presenters representing Geotest, Robson Technologies (RTI), and ZTEC Instruments will discuss recent...

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Enabling items to talk to us

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 30, 2012

Are 2-D barcodes trendy? David J. Holliday thinks they are, citing the ubiquitous QR codes popping up on billboards and in magazine ads. Of course, as I've noted before, QR codes have come in for some less than flattering...

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Android makes inroads into embedded design

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 27, 2012

Android hardware and software are likely to play an increasing role in embedded system design as companies migrate toward tablets and away from custom embedded systems. Product development experts James H. Bleck, the founder and president of Bleck Design Group, and Matthew Hickcox, president,

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Microfluidics becomes enabling technology

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 27, 2012

Microfluidics is moving from the realm of academia—where it has been a technology looking for a problem to solve—and becoming an enabling technology for practical lab-on-a-chip devices. That's according to Dr. Holger Becker, the co-founder and chief scientific officer of

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Robots go green

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 26, 2012

When it comes to green technology, the headlines tend to go to transformational technologies—gasoline-powered cars giving way to electric vehicles, or fossil-fuel power plants giving way to solar or wind-powered generation, to name two examples. In many cases, however, incremental improvements in existing technologies can yield significant...

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Bringing the 15th century into the 21st century

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 23, 2012

Running low on reading material? You could have an extra 1.5 million pages to browse as a result of a collaborative effort between the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (BAV). Thanks to a £2 million award from the Polonsky Foundation,...

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MIT facility to design mil/aero components

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 20, 2012

MIT is proposing to build a research facility at Hanscom Air Force Base near Boston that would design electronic components for use in aerospace, communications, and missile technologies. The facility would be run by MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, according to a report in the

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Have device, will travel to hotel lobby

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 19, 2012

Home-based freelances and contractors often rely on coffee shops to provide a venue for meetings or even solitary work, equipped, as the shops are, with Wi-Fi. All you need is a laptop, tablet, or smart phone, depending on the type of work you do. But perhaps Yogi...

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Armed forces initiatives to boost energy efficiency

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 16, 2012

The U.S. government is looking to boost the energy efficiency of the armed forces, according to several initiatives announced by the White House last week. The initiatives include a new laboratory, the deployment of a convoy to advance STEM education, and a competition to develop energy-storage technologies for battlefield and civilian...

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Shake-and-Bake Test for Five-Story Building

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 13, 2012

Most products undergo shock and vibration testing, but what if your product is a five-story building, including an intensive-care unit, a surgery suite, piping and air conditioning, fire barriers, and an elevator? According to writer

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PXI Addresses MIMO Test

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 9, 2012

The modular PXI architecture offers key advantages for MIMO test, based on a recent product introduction from Agilent Technologies and the publication of a detailed white paper by ZTEC Instruments Inc. Agilent, for its part,

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50th Anniversary Issue is Online with News of PXIe, Cloud Computing, and More

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 3, 2012

PXIe affords significant opportunities as a test-system architecture because of its high throughput, yet PXI remains the cost-effective choice for many applications, according to Senior Editor Tom Lecklider, reporting in our April 2012 Special Report. The April issue also provides details on RF/microwave signal analyzers in various modular and...

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Productivity need not kill manufacturing jobs

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on April 1, 2012

The conventional wisdom is that manufacturing as an employment driver in the U.S. is in decline, because of outsourcing and because of drastic increases in productivity for the factories that remain in the country. As I reported...

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Children Could Make Computers Smarter

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 27, 2012

Smart devices, and their developers, may be reprogramming the operating systems of children—that's the conclusion of at least one set of parents whose one-year-old daughter thinks a print magazine is a broken iPad. However, children might be returning the...

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Discrete silicon devices going way of dinosaur

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 22, 2012

Discrete silicon power devices are going the way of the dinosaur as semiconductor makers and customers pursue higher efficiencies. As new semiconductor technologies such as GaN and SiC emerge, instrument vendors are addressing the test challenges the new devices impose. First, consider the market demands: "Cloud computing and carbon emissions...

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Looking for a parking place?

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 19, 2012

Wireless mesh networking is helping flustered drivers find parking places in congested cities. The New York Times reported last week on San Francisco's effort "… to make sure that there is always at least one empty parking spot available on every block that has meters." The city employs the law of supply and demand to raise...

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Apps make the person

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 19, 2012

"Clothes make the man," said Mark Twain. "Naked people have little or no influence on society." In today's world, perhaps he would have said, "Mobile apps make the person. Disconnected people have little or no influence in society." Certainly, apps can make you more effective, bringing e-mail, messaging, and social networking to your smart...

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Moving skills to where they're needed

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 11, 2012

Although unemployment in the U.S. remains high, some companies report difficulties finding skilled workers, as I noted in an earlier post. One problem may be that people—especially young people—are unwilling to...

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March EE highlights mil/aero ATE, LTE, smart power, more

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 6, 2012

Our March issue, now online, includes features on mil/aero ATE, LTE test, smart power, semiconductor yield enhancement, AXIe, PXI, remote monitoring, and signal generation. In our special report...

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Empowering oscilloscopes to measure GaN

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 5, 2012

One of the hottest segments in electronics design and test these days is, believe it or not, power. That's Tektronix technical marketing engineer Randy White's takeaway from the Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition (APEC 2012) last month in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Conference...

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Traditional runner-up takes top spot in consumer MEMS market

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on March 2, 2012

What class of device was the top revenue generator in 2011 in the dominant consumer and mobile segment of the microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) market? Hint—the devices go into iPhones and iPads. Another hint—they are not accelerometers. According to an

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An Ideal Culture of Innovation?

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 27, 2012

Bell Labs has something to teach today's American companies about innovation, according to Jon Gertner, author of the forthcoming “The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation.” Writing in the

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Does manufacturing need special help?

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 23, 2012

I cited in an earlier post a prediction that the adoption of robotics could add manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Recently released figures from the

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Modulated Google logo honors Hertz

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 22, 2012

Today is Heinrich Rudolf Hertz's 155th birthday. Google is honoring him with a doodle, which has prompted the mainstream press to recount Hertz's work. The Christian Science Monitor, for example, notes that his work "is crucial to television, radio, and Wi-Fi. The Washington Post, under the headline...

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BlackBerry means business, and that's the problem

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 20, 2012

Whatever happened to the BlackBerry? The once-dominant smart mobile device seems headed for oblivion. While researching my recent feature on mobile apps for engineers, I...

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Building robots—and teaching them social skills

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 16, 2012

Will robots create jobs or kill them? Although robots may be able to take over some jobs now performed by people, the overall expectation is that the robotics industry will create one million new jobs over the next five years, according to

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Elevating the test function

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 16, 2012

Organizations are elevating test engineering and identifying it as a strategic asset that can help organizations gain a competitive edge over the competition. That's one of five trends that National Instruments has identified in its recently released 2012 Automated Test Outlook. In an effort to optimize test organizations, NI reports,...

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NCSU researchers get on-chip GPUs and CPUs to cooperate

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 14, 2012

Manufacturers are moving to consolidate more and more functions on a single chip. As Dr. Elan Spillinger, vice president for hardware and technology at the Microsoft Interactive Business Entertainment Unit, said at a DesignCon keynote address January 31, designs used to...

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Beyond smart dust to smart paint

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 13, 2012

Smart dust is a concept that's been around for a while now and is being commercialized by companies such as Dust Networks, recently acquired by Linear Technology Inc. Now, researchers at the University of Strathclyde are developing...

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February edition now online

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 6, 2012

The February edition of EE-Evaluation Engineering is now online. In this month's special report, Tom Lecklider takes a look at the progression of modular MIL/aero test systems as equipment builders bring state-of-the-art performance to MIL/aero test applications...

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Smart manufacturing and the need to scale

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 6, 2012

Manufacturing—or more specifically, smart manufacturing—will be one of three drivers of a significant technological transformation that in the coming years will have the impact that electrification, telephony, and the advent of the automobile age had a century ago. That's according to Mark  P. Mills, a physicist and founder of...

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From GUI to natural user interface

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on February 1, 2012

Hardware at Microsoft has a 30-year history, with the company working with a manufacturing supply chain to deliver in high volumes the products Microsoft designs. And you can apply to your own projects some of the lessons Microsoft hardware engineers have learned. That's according to Dr. Elan Spillinger, vice president for hardware and...

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Agilent outlines mobile opportunities in the cloud

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 31, 2012

Santa Clara, CA. The nature of design and test is changing rapidly because of the increasing dominance of mobile devices and cloud computing. That was my takeaway from a press conference presented by Agilent Technologies this morning at DesignCon. Ross Nelson, general...

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This is Your Internet on Roller Skates

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 29, 2012

I have commented recently on the future of paper in the age of eBooks, smart phones, and tablets, and in my editorial in the February paper edition (yes, you can read it electronically

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DesignCon to address 2.5-D and 3-D devices

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 27, 2012

Our February 2012 features are online, and they include my article on 2.5-D and 3-D devices.

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Mark Your Calendars

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 19, 2012

Several events of note are taking place over the next month and might be worth checking out, including DesignCon in Santa Clara, MD&M and related shows in Anaheim, and a series of online presentations from Agilent Technologies. DesignCon 2012, which I...

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E-books continue assault on paper

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 16, 2012

I've been commenting on the promising future for paper in the age of e-books and tablets. But e-book proponents are continuing their assault on more traditional ways of delivering information.

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The younger set has confidence in paper

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 5, 2012

Perhaps you have seen the fascinating and adorable video of a toddler who thinks a print magazine is a broken iPad. She pokes and swipes at it with no results—no hyperlinking, no zooming, no nothing. Notes the parent who...

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Will iOS and Android face Windows competition?

 By Rick Nelson, Executive Editor, on January 2, 2012

'Tis the season for predictions for 2012, and if one from a key industry pundit comes true, it may have a bearing on the availability of test apps for engineers. The prediction comes from Dylan Tweney, executive editor of VenturBeat, who prognosticates about potential top technology products for 2012 in an interview with Jon Erlichman on Bloomberg...

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MEMS May Hold Key to Internet of Things

 By Rick Nelson, Editor, on December 19, 2011

My last post commented on "The Internet of Things" becoming a topic of general interest thanks to recent coverage in publications like the New York Times. Of course, you also have the opportunity to drill down for more detailed information on the...

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Telebriefing details Chinese general-purpose test-equipment market

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on December 8, 2011

Agilent Technologies is the market share leader for general-purpose test equipment in China, followed by Tektronix, Rohde & Schwarz, Fluke, and Anritsu, according to Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Wei Wei, speaking during a December 8 telebriefing, in which I participated. Other players in the market include LeCroy, National...

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China offers general-purpose instrument opportunities

 By Rick Nelson, on December 2, 2011

As in other regions, the trend toward rapid growth in modular instruments, especially PXI, is occurring in China as Chinese customers look for flexibility and automation. Among standalone instruments, growth potential in China presents itself in high-end applications in which performance specs, including bandwidth, frequency range, and accuracy,...

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MSR and multimeasurement needs pose wireless test challenges

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on November 21, 2011

As cellular systems transition from 2G to 3G to 4G, and as WLAN  systems undergo similar rapid evolution, wireless products must incorporate multistandard radios (MSRs), and designers find themselves needing to simultaneously make multiple measurements. In a recent conference call, Liz Ruetsch, applications marketing and planning manager in...

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High-tech health care—beware the nocebo effect

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on November 14, 2011

Researchers are making progress in developing portable and wearable electronics that can constantly monitor consumers' health and provide feedback. Recently, for example, Imec and Holst Centre announced a body patch that integrates an ultralow-power electrocardiogram...

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HTML5 could challenge app store model

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on November 11, 2011

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the work-in-progress HTML5 today, stating that a year and a half following Steve Jobs endorsement of it, "…HTML5 is rapidly taking over the Web." HTML5, theoretically, should let users of mobile devices, for example, access a Website's audio, video, motion, and 3-D capabilities and play...

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EUV key technology for IC production, inspection

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on November 7, 2011

Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) is shaping up to be a key technology for the production of next-generation chips and for performing the inspection functions necessary to ensure the quality of those chips. October saw significant innovations on both production and inspection functions in the EUV space, with the U.S. Department of Energy’s...

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Manufacturing looks up, but skills shortage adds complication

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on October 31, 2011

In good news for the manufacturing sector, the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) market is projected to grow 14.8% globally and 10.2% percent in North America this year, according to a study released by IPC —...

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Virtex-7 uses 2.5-D technology to deliver 6.8 billion transistors

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on October 25, 2011

Xilinx Inc. has announced first shipments of its Virtex-7 2000T FPGA, which incorporates 6.8 billion transistors to provide customers access to 2 million logic cells. Xilinx says that's equivalent to 20 million ASIC gates. The new devices can serve as ASIC replacements and in ASIC prototyping and emulation applications. A Virtex-7 2000T FPGA...

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Qualcomm leverages OptimalTest software for IC test

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on October 24, 2011

The semiconductor industry increasingly depends on a diversified supply chain with organizations dispersed worldwide. While such a supply chain lets each organization focus on its core competency—design, fabrication, packaging, test, test-system and software development, tester-interface-hardware development, and so on—the diversity of...

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Test vendors address LTE certification

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on October 20, 2011

Manufacturers of LTE handsets and other user equipment are getting support from test-equipment vendors as they pursue certification in accordance with criteria set by the Global Certification Forum and the

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Measuring multiple domains

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on October 14, 2011

The term "domain" is cropping up a lot lately—notably, often with regard to the Tektronix MDO4000 multi-domain oscilloscope, which offers a frequency-domain channel along with traditional time-domain channels. Senior Technical Editor Tom Lecklider comments on the MDO4000 and other instruments in "

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Teradyne Completes Acquisition of LitePoint

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on October 14, 2011

Teradyne Inc. announced that it has completed the acquisition of LitePoint Corp., a provider of wireless test solutions for makers of modules and consumer electronic products including smart phones, tablets, and PCs. “LitePoint adds a powerful new growth engine to Teradyne’s portfolio of market leading test solutions," said Mike...

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Morning highlights chips, clouds, motion, and vision

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on October 13, 2011

RF and microwave test topics have been in the news this week, driven in part by European Microwave Week, where Agilent and More >>

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Morning Highlights October 12

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on October 12, 2011

Agilent Technologies Inc. is in the news again this morning, having announced at European Microwave Week that it has extended its PNA-X Nonlinear Vector Network Analyzer (NVNA) to 67 GHz. Also in the news, Rigol Technologies Inc. introduced...

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NI targets power-amplifier test with PXI

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on October 11, 2011

PXI has had a good run in the second half of 2011 so far. At Semicon West in July, Aeroflex, Geotest, and National Instruments all presented low-cost PXI-based systems (with Aeroflex adding AXIe as well) for semiconductor test applications. I posted earlier about More >>

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Morning highlights October 11

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on October 11, 2011

Agilent Technologies Inc. has a flurry of announcements this morning, addressing the design and verification of 60-GHz devices, hand-held spectrum analysis, MAC and physical-layer interaction, and frequency-converter measurements. First, the company announced what it calls "the first complete and...

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Platform can revolutionize medical device design

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on October 10, 2011

Typical point-of-care instruments today can remind you of IBM mainframes of the 1970s, said Charles G. Sodini, the LeBel Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT, at his DesignMed keynote address Wednesday September 28. He hopes...

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Test represents an energy tax

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on October 10, 2011

Test represents an energy tax we can no longer afford to pay, said Bill Dally, Bell Professor of Engineering at Stanford University and chief scientist at NVIDIA. He made the remarks while delivering a keynote speech last week at the International Test Conference in Anaheim. During the address,...

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PXI gets boost at Autotestcon

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on October 10, 2011

PXI is showing strong potential, based on the prevalence of PXI instruments on display at Autotestcon last week. Agilent Technologies, Geotest, National Instruments, Pickering Interfaces, Teradyne, and ZTEC Instruments were among the companies highlighting PXI products. Brand new products released at Autotestcon come from Agilent, for ...

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Frost predicts growth for metrology software

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on October 10, 2011

It's my first day at Evaluation Engineering, and I'll be heading off to Autotestcon soon. Meanwhile I'll be posting here as I get set up on the EE production systems. (This item was originally posted September 13 at http://rickeditor.blogspot.com/.) Highlighting the news today, Frost...

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From T&MW to EE

 By Rick Nelson, editor, on September 11, 2011

Hello, and welcome. You may have encountered me at my "Taking the Measure" blog at Test & Measurement World, where I am serving as editorial director through tomorrow, September 12. But after more than 13 years at Test & Measurement World, I have decided to move on,...

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