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Manufacturing Bits: Sept. 8


Calibrating a microphone The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a faster and more accurate way to calibrate a microphone. NIST’s new calibration technique makes use of lasers, a promising technology that could supplant today’s methods. The technology could one day be used to calibrate sensitive microphones in factories, power plants and other settings li... » read more

Stretching Engineers


Engineering has one constant — you innovate or fall by the wayside. That is true both for the things that are designed and for the engineers who design and build them. Today’s systems are putting new strains on engineers who can no longer be "tall and thin" or "short and fat." Those descriptions pertain to an engineer who is either highly specialized or one who has much broader experience. ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Sept. 9


Smaller, cheaper integrated photonics Researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) developed a way to integrate an optical frequency comb on a silicon photonic chip. Optical frequency combs are collections of equally spaced frequencies of laser light (so called because when pl... » read more

Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing


Arm's parent company, Japanese tech conglomerate Softbank, reportedly is considering a sale or IPO of its Arm subsidiary, which it purchased in 2016 for $32 billion in cash. Considering that Arm chips are in most smart phones, as well as an increasing number of computers and IoT and edge devices, this development is being closely followed by most of the tech world. Last week, Softbank directed ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: June 23


Capturing waste heat Researchers at Wuhan University and University of California Los Angeles developed a hydrogel that can both cool down electronics and convert the waste heat into electricity. The thermogalvanic hydrogel consists of a polyacrylamide framework infused with water and specific ions. When they heated the hydrogel, two of the ions (ferricyanide and ferrocyanide) transferred e... » read more

Logic Chip, Heal Thyself


If a single fault can kill a logic chip, that doesn’t bode well for longevity of complex multi-chip systems. Obsolescence in chips is not just an industry ploy to sell more chips. It is a fact of physics that chips don’t last more than a few years, especially if overheated, and hit with higher voltage than it can stand. The testing industry does a great job finding defects during manufac... » read more

Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing


AI/Edge Brewer Science is introducing its first material for permanent bond used in assembling ICs, image sensor devices, and MEMS for devices and packaging that “include low-temperature bonding, extreme chemical resistance, UV or thermal curable bonding process, and no material movement after cure,” according to a press release. The bond is part of the PermaSOL product family. “These hi... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Jan. 28


Fast photography The California Institute of Technology has developed a high-speed camera that can take pictures of transparent objects. The technology, called phase-sensitive compressed ultrafast photography (pCUP), can take up to 1 trillion pictures per second of transparent objects. Potentially, the technology from Caltech could be used in several applications, such as taking photos of s... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Aug. 27


The sound of typing Cybersecurity researchers at the Southern Methodist University found a way to detect what a user is typing based on sensor data collected from a nearby smartphone. The team found that acoustic signals produced by typing on a computer keyboard can successfully be picked up by a smartphone, which can then be processed to determine which keys were struck – even in noisy conf... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Aug. 13


Smartphone virus scanner Scientists at the University of Tokyo built a new type of virus scanner for smartphones: to detect diseases, not malware. The handheld, portable device uses a smartphone to help scan biological samples for influenza virus. The virus scanner is about the size of a brick, with a slot to position a smartphone such that its camera looks through a lens. Inside the device... » read more

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