• It’s time to introduce the business community to the electricity storage industry

    Viewpoint
    Grid-scale electricity storage is here and the wider business community needs to engage with it and help accelerate its implementation, says Anthony Price, chairman of the Electricity Storage Network
    Pumped hydroelectric schemes, such as Dinorwig in Wales, is not the only large-scale energy storage methodWhen it comes to the topic of electricity storage, everyone has heard it referred to as the ‘Holy Grail’ of the power sector. The prospect that we can store at scale clean
  • Theory could predict noise in future plasmonic systems

    Noise in nanoscale photonic and plasmonic amplifiers could be modelled following research at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. The scientists have proposed an approach that that could predict maximum data transfer rates in future optoelectronic microprocessors, or fundamental limits on nanophotonic interface bandwidth. Surface plasmon polaritons, which can be created from a photon of ...
    Read full article: Theory could predict noise in future plasmonic systems
  • Mentor certifies RTOS for automotive designs

    Mentor Graphics has introduced an ISO 26262 qualification programme for its tools and embedded software for use safety-critical designs and verification flows at all criticality levels up to and including ASIL D. Called the Mentor Safe programme it includes the Nucleus SafetyCert real time operating system, the Volcano Vstar Autosar operating system and BSW stack. It also includes ISO 26262 ...
    Read full article: Mentor certifies RTOS for automotive designs
  • Cambridge deal creates major graphene centre in the UK

    A majority stake in Cambridge Graphene, a spin-out company from the University of Cambridge, has been acquired by UK-based firm Versarien. Cambridge Graphene develops inks based on graphene and related materials using processes developed at the Cambridge Graphene Centre. The spin-out company has commercialised graphene inks for novel technology applications. Cheltenham-based technology firm Versarien says it ...
    Read full article: Cambridge deal creates major graphene centre in the UK
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  • Fully transparent electroluminescent displays

    Fully transparent segmented displays are available form Beneq of Finland. Pictured is the Tasel-branded ELT15S technology demonstrator. “Tasel displays combine the rugged and reliable build of thin-film electroluminescence with the unique freedom of designing a completely transparent display,” said the firm. “It is ideal for consumer electronics, architectural use and other fields where viewing experience and ...
    Read full article: Fully transparent electroluminescent disp
  • Realism must trump alarm

    Stuart NathanFeatures editorDonald Trump can only affect UK engineering and manufacturing in certain ways. Whatever our views on the man himself, we should keep things in perspectiveToday’s news headlines are, of course, dominated by the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, and Trumpophobes should probably be prepared to limit their news intake, because he’s probably going to dominate every news site, paper and broadcast for the next few weeks at
  • Doped carbon could treat water from Fukushima

    US and Russian scientists have discovered a new way to remove radioactivity from water, which could be used to treat contaminated water at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant.
    (Credit: Kazan Federal University)The researchers, from Rice University and Kazan Federal University, used oxidatively modified carbon (OMC) material to remove caesium and strontium from samples of water. Published in the journal Carbon, their work details how over 90 per cent of the radioactive elements were extracted u
  • Scotland turns to Isle of Wight electronics to measure fishing vessels

    Marine Scotland turned to Isle of Wight torque measurement firm Datum Electronics when it had to confirm fishing vessel engine power as part of a certification process. “What Marine Scotland really required was a temporary and relatively inexpensive system that can be easily configured and able to collect data in the field, also logging all ...
    Read full article: Scotland turns to Isle of Wight electronics to measure fishing vessels
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  • EU customs exit ‘no problem’ for component suppliers

    The Prime Minister’s plans to withdraw the UK from Europe’s single market and customs union should not present any problems for electronic component suppliers, according to the ECSN supply chain organisation. The UK electronics supply chain is highly reliant on timely shipment of products across EU and international borders. As things stand there are virtually no tariffs (import ...
    Read full article: EU customs exit ‘no problem’ for component suppliers
  • Cation insertion improves battery material properties

    Improved understanding of how the structure of lithium ion batteries affects how charge carrying lithium ions can move through them could help battery makers design faster charging batteries that could also be lighter, cheaper and safer according to researchers at Bath University.
    Prof Saiful Islam. Image: The Royal SocietyCharge storage devices, such as super capacitors and batteries, are often made from metal oxides with a tunnel-like structure. It has been known for some time that incorporati
  • Computer beats the ‘average American’ in intelligence test

    An artificial intelligence has done well on a test that is said to measures abstract reasoning in humans – Raven’s Progressive Matrices. All of the test’s problems consist of a matrix with one image missing, and offer six to eight choices of answer. The artificial intelligence, “performed better than the average American”, said Northwestern Univeristy, ...
    Read full article: Computer beats the ‘average American’ in intelligence test
  • Artificial intelligence interprets heart scans to assess mortality risks

    Artificial intelligence could one day help doctors to predict which of their patients are at greatest risk of dying of a heart condition, allowing them to be treated more effectively.Researchers at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS) have for the first time used machine learning to interpret heart scans, to predict how long patients will live.
    The research, published in the journal Radiology, found that the AI software could predict survival at one year with up to 80 per cent accu
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  • Tsinghua announces huge memory fab in Nanjing

    Tsinghua Unigroup said yesterday that it would build a $30 billion, 300k wpm fab in Nanjing. Phase 1, costing $10 billion, will be to set up a 100k wpm fab making DRAM and 3D NAND. Tsinghua says the project is part of China’s efforts to build a world-leading chip industry, and it hopes it will ...
    Read full article: Tsinghua announces huge memory fab in Nanjing
  • TacTip wins soft robotics prize for Bristol Robotics Laboratory

    A low cost robotic fingertip with an artificial sense of touch mimicking that of humans has won an international soft robotics competition.
    The 3D-printed sensor, known as TacTip, was developed by the Tactile Robotics Team at Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL).
    The device, which has been under development for more than seven years, consists of a webcam mounted inside a 3D-printed soft fingertip.The webcam tracks the movement of pins inside the device, which act like the touch receptors in human f
  • Mouser adds image-assisted search

    Component distributor Mouser Electronics has added image-based browsing to its website, as well as by data sheets or by newest products. “The new Images tab lets customers to browse by using any search or navigation function,” said Mouser v-p of internet business Hayne Shumate. “Engineers and buyers can now group and browse images using the ...
    Read full article: Mouser adds image-assisted search
  • Liverpool team tune into reconfigurable liquid antennas

    Smaller, cheaper, and reconfigurable antennas could result from a UK research project aiming to build the devices out of liquid, rather than metal.
    technology concept, internet of things conceptualAntennas, which are used in everything from mobile phones to radar, convert radio waves into electrical signals. The devices are typically built from metals such as copper, which have good conductivity.
    However, metal antennas tend to be large, heavy and expensive, and cannot be reconfigured to operate
  • Soft robot offers hope for heart failure patients

    Researchers at the National University of Ireland Galway have developed a robotic device that could help failing hearts continue to beat.
    The technology – a soft robotic sleeve which wraps around the heart and twists and compresses in synch with its beat – could lead to new treatment options for people suffering from heart failure, a condition which, in the UK alone, affects around 900,000 people.
    Systems known as ventricular assist devices (VADs) are already used to sustain heart fa
  • New UK bioprocess could help feed the planet

    A UK company has developed a new biotechnology process to produce mycoprotein – the main ingredient in Quorn – cheaper than ever before and with zero waste.
    Mycoprotein-based ‘meat’ (Credit: Daniel Neville via flickr)3f bio is a technology spinout from the University of Strathclyde. Its patented technique involves integrating the production of bioethanol with the fermentation of mycoprotein. The current method for producing mycoprotein uses glucose as a feedstock, whereas
  • Materials research points to safer stents and catheters

    Engineers have developed a superhemophobic titanium surface, an advance that could help mitigate blood clotting and infections associated with implants like stents and catheters.
    The material, which is extremely repellent to blood, could form the basis for surgical implants with lower risk of rejection by the body.
    Blood, plasma and water droplets beading on a superomniphobic surfaceThe work, published in Advanced Healthcare Materials, is a collaboration between the Colorado State University lab
  • Cambridge: superconductivity initiated in Graphene

    Researchers have activated the dormant potential for graphene to superconduct, by coupling it with praseodymium cerium copper oxide (PCCO). According to St John’s College, University of Cambridge, graphene could now be used to create new types of superconducting quantum devices for high-speed computing, and might be used to prove the existence of the mysterious ‘p-wave’ ...
    Read full article: Cambridge: superconductivity initiated in Graphene
  • The Secret Graduate Engineer: Get comfortable being uncomfortable

    In the first of a series of blogs, our Secret Graduate Engineer lifts the lid on entering the workplace with a reminder that your career will often – and quite necessarily – take you from your comfort zone.
    As a rule, discomfort is a state most of us seek to avoid throughout our lives. Given the choice between a bed of nails and a feather down pillow I know which I’d choose. So perhaps it’s strange that the first thing I write as a graduate engineer is a piece on the upsi
  • Low-power chip modulator has THz potential

    A novel slot waveguide with tunable, two-dimensional electron gas could form the basis of a room temperature THz modulator, according to Massachusetts-based Tufts University. Through lack of THz facilities, the researchers have created a lower frequency prototype, than can amplitude modulate a 250GHz carrier to 96% intensity with a 14GHz signal. “This is a very ...
    Read full article: Low-power chip modulator has THz potential
  • Superhemophobic surface could make implants safe in blood

    Medical implants might be able to reside in the blood following the development of a ‘superhemophobic’ surface by Colorado State University engineers. According to Colorado biomedical engineer Ketul Popat, the undesirable interaction of blood with foreign materials is an ongoing problem in medical research. Over time, clots and obstructions form. Often patients need blood-thinning medications ...
    Read full article: Superhemophobic surface could make implants safe in blood
  • Toshiba mulls semiconductor spin-off

    Toshiba is looking at spinning off its semiconductor division and selling a 20% stake in it, reports the Nikkei, and may make the decision this week. The accounting scandal followed by cost over-runs in its nuclear business following a US acquisition, have exposed Toshiba to huge liabilities. On Friday the company meets its bankers to ...
    Read full article: Toshiba mulls semiconductor spin-off
  • Charger chip for LiFePO4 cells leaks less

    Intersil has announced a 3.6V single-cell battery charger for lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) cells. Called ISL78693 and qualified to AEC-Q100 Grade-3, it leaks only 3uA, suiting it to eCall back-up battery charging, said the firm, which announced the chip at the Automotive World conference in Tokyo. In the event of a crash, eCall systems are intended ...
    Read full article: Charger chip for LiFePO4 cells leaks less
  • Brexit: Hard times lie ahead

      Andrew Wade, senior reporter
    So, we finally have some clarity, and a hard Brexit looms. Theresa May’s speech yesterday outlined the key pillars of the UK’s exit strategy, including leaving the single market and the customs union. For many across industry, this is a worrying development. The prospect of tariffs and proof of origin requirements being reintroduced is difficult to countenance, and the prime minister’s assurances of as “frictionless” a trade deal
  • Brexit Britain: the impact on UK businesses

    Back in June 2016, Britain sent shockwaves through Europe and the rest of the world by voting to leave the European Union. In the months that have followed, there has been very little action to note, as we as a country come to terms with the decision and work out what to do next.
    However, while we’re yet to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, our businesses are already feeling the impact of Brexit. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that materials and fuels pur
  • Mains power chip is efficient at 6W

    Power Integrations has introduced a family of off-line, ac-dc converter ICs delivering up to 6.1W in wide-input range designs, and up to 9.2W for 230Vac open-frame applications. Designed for isolated and non-isolated fly-back topologies and called LinkSwitch-XT2, the family can achieve current and voltage regulation of better than -/+3% and typical efficiency above 80%. LinkSwitch-XT2 ICs consume less ...
    Read full article: Mains power chip is efficient at 6W
  • OLED electrodes made from graphene for the first time

    German researchers have succeeded in manufacturing organic light-emitting diode electrodes from graphene for the first time
    Orange luminous OLED on a graphene electrodeThe team, from the Fraunhofer Institute for organic electronics, electron beam and plasma technology FEP in Dresden was working on an EU-funded project known as Gladiator which focuses on production, characterisation and integration of graphene layers. OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) are becoming increasingly common in displ
  • All IoT forecasts are baloney

    The semiconductor industry will grow by 11% this year, Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, told IFS 2017 in London this week. Unit demand growth is, however, trending below the 30 year average of 10%, said Penn. In 2013, the unit growth was 9.5%, in 2014 it was 8.3%, in 2015 it was 5.1%, and ...
    Read full article: All IoT forecasts are baloney
  • Danielle George says Marconi can inspire a generation

    How did the work of Guglielmo Marconi. the pioneer of long-distance radio transmission lead to today’s massive radio arrays which are watching star formation in deepest space? Danielle George, a Professor of Radio Frequency Engineering at the University of Manchester, will discuss the impact of Guglielmo Marconi on the world of radio astronomy in the Institution of Engineering and ...
    Read full article: Danielle George says Marconi can inspire a generation
  • Melexis chip-set implements ToF 3D vision

    Melexis brings out a chipset and its evaluation kit that simplify and speed the implementation oftime‐of‐flight 3D vision.
    Read full article: Melexis chip-set implements ToF 3D vision
  • Nanoscale understanding of hair could lead to new body armour

    A greater understanding of hair’s properties could lead to the development of new materials for body armour and help cosmetics manufacturers create better hair care products.This is the claim of researchers from the University of California San Diego, who said hair has a strength to weight ratio comparable to steel and can be stretched up to one and a half times its original length before breaking.
    “We wanted to understand the mechanism behind this extraordinary property,” said
  • Xilinx wins space design-in

    FPGAs are at the heart of processing in Iridium NEXT satellites launched a few days ago, according to Xilinx.
    Read full article: Xilinx wins space design-in
  • US Army flies UK built hover bike

    The US military has successfully demonstrated the flying capabilities of a quad-copter hoverbike that it claims could transform the battlefield.
    Developed by engineers from the US army research laboratory (ARL) in collaboration with UK manufacturer Malloy Aeronautics, the so-called Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle (JTARV) is being developed as a method of rapidly resupplying troops on the front line.
    A prototype under trial at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland“Anywhere on the bat
  • Shrimp shells hold promise as oil-free alternative for plastic carrier bags

    Biodegradable shopping bags made out of discarded shrimp shells are being developed by researchers in the UK.
    Chitosan film from shrimp shellsThe project, being led by Dr Nicola Everitt at Nottingham University alongside researchers at Nile University in Egypt, is aimed at developing an alternative to oil-based plastics for use in packaging.
    By developing the biopolymer bags, the researchers hope to help reduce the significant waste problem in Egypt, as well as producing a new food packaging mat
  • US FTC suing Qualcomm

      After getting an $854 million fine from Korea for abuse of a dominant market position and a $975 million fine from China for abuse of a dominant market position, Qualcomm is now being sued by the American FTC for abuse of a dominant market position. “Qualcomm recognized that any competitor that won Apple’s business ...
    Read full article: US FTC suing Qualcomm
  • SkillWeld shows young people what they’re missing

    The Government is investing in a large range of infrastructure projects over the coming years but there is widespread concern that the engineering industry, dogged by a colossal skills shortage, won’t be able to keep up. Tim Hulbert of Air Products – a sponsor of SkillWeld 2016 and a world leader in industrial gas – explains why he thinks previous attempts to address the problem have fallen short and highlights a more effective way to promote careers in engineering.
    A whole new
  • Statoil sells 25 per cent stake in floating offshore wind farm

    Statoil has agreed to divest 25 per cent of its assets in the world’s first and largest floating offshore wind project to Masdar, an Abu Dhabi-based clean energy company.
    Under the agreement, Masdar will cover 25 per cent of past and future costs of the 30MW Hywind Scotland pilot project while Statoil will retain a 75 per cent stake. Statoil said the partnership also consists of a collaboration agreement which will enable the two companies to work together on clean energy technologies acro
  • Imagination brings complex games to mid-range phones

    Imagination Technologies is aiming to bring sophisticated gaming to mid-range mobiles with a series of PowerVR graphics processors (GPUs). The processors combine computational performance (‘flops’) with pixel processing performance (pixels/clock). In general, the flops pre-process image – in rich gaming environments, automotive object detection, augmented reality and virtual reality, for example – then the pixel ...
    Read full article: Imagination brings complex games to m
  • ACE start to 2017 for Shropshire etching company

    Advanced Chemical Etching (ACE) has experienced an encouraging start to 2017 with demand for its ‘etching’ service growing by 20 per cent over the last four months.
    The Shropshire manufacturer said interest has come from companies looking for busbars and components for battery management systems.
    Bosses at the Hortonwood-based firm believe these two sectors alone have the potential to generate up to £1.8m of sales between now and 2019.
    It has already funded new capital equipmen
  • Whitehouse helps Morris cut cycle times and labour costs

    Whitehouse machine tools have slashed the time needed to machine metal bar into gyroscope partsPlymouth subcontracting company Morris Engineering has reduced the time taken to turn and mill a part for a military aircraft gyroscope from stainless steel bar from one hour, 15 minutes, to 7.5 minutes using a 36mm capacity Biglia B436-Y2 twin-spindle lathe with two Y-axis turrets, supplied by Whitehouse Machine Tools.
    The degree to which the new process cuts down on inter-machine handling has also he
  • XYZ machines transform operations at automotive supplier

    The XYZ machine tools have improved manual turning and milling capabilities at WOSTwo machine tools have transformed operations at automotive components supplier WOS Performance.
    The company, whose products include starter motors and power supplies, needed to increase the rate at which it completed components, and was in particular need of improving its manual turning and milling capabilities.
    Initially, WOS purchased an XYZ SMX 2500 bed mill; since none of its employees at the time were trained
  • IMechE launches 2017 drone challenge

    This year’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Challenge has been officially launched by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).Now in its third year, the UAS Challenge will feature 19 student teams from the UK, as well as three international teams from Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan. The competition will see teams designing and building their drones before a “fly-off” later in the year where the vehicles will be tasked with transporting a package as accurately and rapidly as poss
  • Tech body welcomes May’s Brexit plan

    Commenting on today’s Brexit speech from Prime Minister Theresa May, Antony Walker, deputy CEO of techUK, believes leaving the Single Market will have a bigger impact on tech than the rest of the UK economy and so an orderly Brexit will be essential. But he does not think the risk of falling off a regulatory cliff ...
    Read full article: Tech body welcomes May’s Brexit plan
  • DMG Mori supplies high-precision machines for viscometer maker

    Viscosity-measuring instruments require high precisionViscometer manufacturer Hydramotion turned to DMG Mori when it neededto invest in manufacturing equipment.
    Its instruments are used in a wide range of industries, including oil and gas, food and beverage, paints and coatings and resins, measuring the viscosity of liquids to an extremely high precision. This demands that the components of the instruments have to conform to extremely tight tolerances in dimensions and very high-quality finishes
  • Leonardo turns to RK for rotor head machining

    Helicopter rotor heads are heavy and complex componentsRotor heads for helicopters are large and awkwardly shaped objects, and machining them from a forging is a challenging operation. When Leonardo Helicopters decided to bring manufacture of rotor heads in house, it turned to RK International to supply machine tools for its plant in Yeovil that was up to the task.
    Leonardo produces the Lynx range of helicopters, whose rotor heads are made from forgings measuring 1.5 x 1.5m. To make the pro
  • Building a future: career prospects in civil engineering

    With more than £500 billion of investment in the UK construction industry, and several major projects underway, there has never been a better time to build a career in infrastructure. Evelyn Adams reports
    The UK’s construction industry is ramping up activity in 2017. Last month, the government announced more than £500 billion worth of infrastructure investment – money that will benefit everything from the country’s built environment to its communications networks.
    T
  • Intel wants to put robots in shops

    Intel is going into shops, or it hopes so anyway. This will be base on the processor firm’s Responsive Retail Platform which makes the most of an IoT style sensor node with imagers, wireless connectivity along with new software and APIs. CEO Brian Krzanich told the Retail’s BIG Show in the US this week that the firm plans to invest ...
    Read full article: Intel wants to put robots in shops
  • Augmented reality guides surgeons during spine and cranial surgery

    An augmented reality system designed to guide surgeons through delicate minimally-invasive spinal procedures has been developed by Philips.The system, which combines camera images of the outside of the patient with three-dimensional X-rays of the inside of the body, is designed to create a detailed path for the spinal surgeon to follow. This could help to improve surgical tool navigation and implant accuracy, as well as reducing procedure times, the company claims.
    Spinal procedures have traditi

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