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Adopt-an-Orbit: Picking up Space Trash


At speeds of up to four miles per second, even flecks of paint become deadly missiles in low-Earth orbit. Pieces of debris collide, turning into metal-shredding clouds of orbital trash. It is estimated that some 30,000 pieces of space junk larger than four inches and millions of smaller ...

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The Silk Road in the 21st Century


China's most ambitious economic development to date, the "One Belt, One Road" initiative is now a couple of years old and still shakily climbing to its feet. The massive project, which seeks to turn Eurasia into a global hub of trade to rival that of the West, spans more than 68 countries ...
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APEX Sets the Tone for 2018


IPC APEX looms as the staple trade show that sets a tone for the electronics manufacturing industry for the coming year. Held in balmy San Diego, APEX is one of the most concentrated electronics assembly trade shows in the world. As you can see from our massive, 136-page March issue ...
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How Pirates Commandeered America's Metric System


The metric system with its powers of 10 makes complete sense for measurements. Washington and Jefferson certainly thought so, but thanks to some Caribbean pirates, America's original route to the metric system was shunted off onto an unused railroad siding, and then the connecting railroad ...

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Not the Matrix: The Emerging Cyber-Physical Landscape


Which comes first, greater speed, more storage, or greater connectivity? Do you really want your refrigerator to order your groceries? How comfortable are you about getting into a car with no steering wheel? We are on the verge of assembling an entire cyber-physical environment, designed ...
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U.S. Manufacturing is Alive and Well


In 2010, the U.S. dropped into second place as the world's largest manufacturer, with China taking the lead. Many complaints have been hurled at U.S. policy toward manufacturing over the last few years, such as the expense of employees and heavy-handed environmental regulations. Still ...

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Leave the Driving to Us


{FP}Mark drove his car to the freeway entrance, noted the sign that said "Automatic," pressed an "engage" button and the car locked onto the buried magnetic cable that ran down the center of the right lane. He leaned back and opened a tattered copy of War and Peace and began reading ...

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productronica 2017: Data the Key to Industry 4.0


{FP}In November, 44,000 visitors from around the world descended on the Messe München for productronica 2017. Our U.S. Tech staff was there in full force. The trade show is a biannual pillar of the electronics manufacturing industry, and this year's event surpassed expectations ...

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How Much Energy Is Enough?


There has been a remarkable transition in the automobile-buying public in the U.S. All-electric vehicles are pushing their way to the top of the popularity list, and for good reason; they run clean and the fuel cost is far less than gasoline. But, there is still a carbon footprint, ...
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Securing the Industrial Internet of Things


The costly data breaches of recent years, most notably the Equifax disaster that was revealed in September, are becoming uncomfortably common. It's hard to tell whether hackers are getting smarter or companies are getting lazier, or just plain stingy. It's likely to be a bit of all ...
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All the News


I had the good fortune to grow up in a much simpler age in a small town in Upstate New York. When I was five, the local bakery would send a horse-drawn wagon down our street, which was a magnet for all of us kids. We would surround the wagon clutching our precious pennies and nickels ...
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Chomping at the Bit: Quantum Computing


Today's technology has advanced to the point where we routinely manipulate single subatomic particles, sometimes with baffling results. This is typified by the classic double-slit experiment, first documented in 1927 by Clinton Davisson and Lester Germer. The experiment demonstrated ...
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Tough Choices for China


Automation is upending the entire job market. Over the next 15 years, nearly 40 percent of all U.S. jobs are vulnerable to machine replacement, according to a study by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers). This number is so high, partly because the U.S. has such a high percentage of employees ...
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Watch This on YouTube


I was on my way to Pascagoula, Mississippi, for a ship launching at the Litton-Ingalls shipyard. It was around 1963, and my seat-mate, Les Solomon, the technical editor of Popular Electronics magazine, was his usual ebullient self, happily gabbling away. The occasion for the ...
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Wear Dark Goggles


When I was in grammar school, the ongoing "big" science story was about a new 200-inch reflector destined for California's Mt. Palomar observatory. The new mirror would make the Palomar telescope the most powerful on the planet. But it was so huge, it took two years to simply cool down ...
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Wearables Are Coming Into Their Own


Wearable technology has been a forward-looking concept that has had a hard time finding a home in the day-to-day life of consumers. In 2004, at the CyberArt Festival in Bilbao, Spain, fashion house CuteCircuit introduced its HugShirt, a sensor-laden garment that records the strength ...
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Augmented Reality: More Real or Less?


Not confined to chunky headsets with thick cable tethers like its kissing cousin virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) uses a variety of everyday objects, devices and surfaces to project digital information into the physical world.
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Far from Dead, Print Resurges


I love my Nook Book e-reader, even with its annoying quirks. At any time that I am reading electronically stored material, I am also reading two other books in hard copy. Of those books, a recent paperback read had a very special characteristic: it cost me absolutely nothing. ...
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Big Data: The New Frontier


Big data is expanding on a scale that is difficult to reckon with. According to IBM, every single day 2.5 exabytes (2.5 x 1018) of data are generated. Since the early 2000s, considered "the beginning of the digital age," the percentage of global data stored digitally has grown ...

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Content Providers, Take Note


Question: Have I gotten too smug in my total acceptance of today's technology? I have been royally spoiled over the years, before the technology became a factor, but much of the spoiling came on so gradually that I really didn't notice until I did a little reminiscing on the Internet ...

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