System Bits: June 13


Nimble-fingered robots enabled by deep learning Grabbing awkwardly shaped items that humans regularly pick up daily is not so easy for robots, as they don’t know where to apply grip. To overcome this, UC Berkeley researchers have a built a robot that can pick up and move unfamiliar, real-world objects with a 99% success rate. Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg, postdoctoral researcher Jeff M... » read more

Inside The Maker Faire


The Maker Faire is to the Internet of Things what Comdex once was to the PC, what Mobile World Congress still is to the mobile device, and what CES has become to the automotive industry. It's a collection of the latest ideas and unique implementations that point the way to the big shifts in technology. Most of the companies exhibiting at these shows never make it to become household names. S... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: March 28


Storing solar energy as carbon monoxide A team at Indiana University engineered a molecule that collects and stores solar energy without solar panels. The molecule uses light or electricity to convert the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide more efficiently than any other method of carbon reduction. Burning fuel such as carbon monoxide produces carbon dioxide and releases e... » read more

When Will It Be Done?


Design teams have done remarkably well in getting chips out the door on time, despite growing complexity at each new node and an increase in the number of features and IP blocks that need to be integrated into designs. There has been plenty of grumbling, along with dire warnings about the future of Moore's Law and the impact of industry consolidation. The reality, though, is that the volume ... » read more

Smart Manufacturing Gains Momentum


Smart manufacturing is gaining traction as a way of addressing increased market fragmentation while still leveraging economies of scale. The goal is to add a level of flexibility into manufacturing processes that until recently was considered impossible. Although the approach makes sense in theory, real-world implementation is proving far from consistent. Sometimes referred to as Industr... » read more

System Bits: Dec. 13


Data, code sharing standards for computational studies While reporting new research results involves detailed descriptions of methods and materials used in an experiment, when a study uses computers to analyze data, create models or simulate things that can’t be tested in a lab, how can other researchers see what steps were taken or potentially reproduce results? To this end, a new report by... » read more

Ready For Social Robots?


After years of steady growth, innovation and sometimes disappointment, the robotics market is heating up on several fronts amid some new breakthroughs in the arena. Both the industrial and service robotics markets are hot. In addition, the consumer market is seeing a new level of interest, as the industry is invaded by the next wave of so-called personal assistant robots or social robots for... » read more

Sharing Information About Corner Cases


The definition of what is good enough when it comes to new technology is still evolving. In safety-critical applications, as well as a number of other areas such as drones or domestic robots, people will need to watch over all machines very closely rather than the other way around. While these machines may serve a useful purpose, they also need to be monitored to ensure they don't go too far as... » read more

System Bits: May 31


In automaton we trust? It is widely believed that there are two kinds of robots: friendly and helpful; or sinister and deadly. But do humans place too much trust in robots? According to the work of Harvard University senior Serena Booth, a computer science concentrator at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the answer is as complex and multifaceted as robots themsel... » read more

What Will China Do Next?


China's attempts to buy up U.S. chip companies is undergoing more gyrations, this time spurred by the exchange rate set by the People's Bank of China and the U.S. Federal Reserve's expected interest rate hikes. The central bank dropped the exchange rate of the yuan versus the dollar to its lowest rate since 2011, according to Bloomberg. The current rate is now 6.55 yuan per dollar, compared ... » read more

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