• GE metal process improves MEMS RF switches

     General Electric's research labs have developed a MEMS RF switch that can be engineered to handle up to 1kW or scaled to provide up to provide less than 0.3dB of insertion loss carrying 3GHz signals.
  • Robot surveys sewers with UWB radar

    Ultra-wide-band (UWB) pulsed radar is the key to scanning sewer pipes quickly, claim researchers from Louisiana Tech University.
    Read full article: Robot surveys sewers with UWB radar
  • Latest Italian quake is history repeated

      Andrew Wade, senior reporter
    The 6.2 magnitude earthquake that devastated parts of central Italy on Wednesday is the eighth major quake to hit the country in the past 40 years. Located near the meeting point of the Eurasian and African plates, the region has long been known as a seismic hotspot. Indeed, it was only in 2009 that over 300 people lost their lives in the nearby L’Aquila earthquake. As I write, the death toll from this quake stands at 268, and will inevitably continue to
  • Taking ultrasound to the molecular level

    Ultrasound could be used to image cells and molecules deep inside the human body thanks to developments in protein engineering at Caltech in the US.Gas vesicles – which can be engineered with proteins to improve ultrasound methods – can help detect specific cell types and create multicolour images (Credit: Barth van Rossum for Caltech)The researchers are said to have engineered protein-shelled nanostructures called gas vesicles – which reflect sound waves – to exhibit new
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  • Digital technologies automate placement of cars in shipping containers

    More cars could be shipped in fewer containers thanks to software developed at WMG for Trans-Rak International.Working with Warwickshire-based manufacturer Trans-Rak International (TRI), Piero Filippin, innovation manager at WMG at the University of Warwick, has created a system that automates the placement of cars in a shipping container, allowing for any combination of make or model.
    The software operates a car racking system produced by TRI, and the combined technologies could lead to savings
  • Security must be top of the manufacturing agenda

    Viewpoint
    Following a spate of recent cyberattacks in industrial environments, Jalal Bouhdada of  Applied Risk discusses the future of manufacturing and why security, especially for the WirelessHART protocol, must now be classed as a key business enabler
    Industrial environments are fast shifting from secured, air gapped, enterprises, to becoming fully networked and a key target for hackers. There are many reasons for this increased vulnerability, including an inherent lack of security in m
  • Princeton open sources 25-core server chip

    Princeton University researchers have developed a new chip that promises to boost the performance of data centres. The chip, called Piton, would “substantially increase processing speed while slashing energy usage,” say the researchers. The chip architecture is scalable — designs can be built that go from a dozen to several thousand cores. Also, the architecture ...
    Read full article: Princeton open sources 25-core server chip
  • ON Cleared To Buy Fairchild

    ON has received the US FTC’s blessing to proceed with its $2.4 billion takeover of Fairchild on condition that it sells off the Ignition IGBT business. There is now a 30-day period for public comment after which the Consent Order will come into force. The FTC states: “The merged company would have a combined share ...
    Read full article: ON Cleared To Buy Fairchild
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  • Airlander 10 ends test flight with ‘heavy landing’

    Airlander 10 has had an inauspicious end to its second test flight with a ‘heavy landing’ at its base in Cardington in Bedfordshire.The prototype aircraft had flown for 100 minutes on and completed all its scheduled tasks before returning to Cardington to land.
    Hybrid Air Vehicles, the company responsible for Airlander 10, said the prototype ‘experienced a heavy landing and the front of the flight deck has sustained some damage, which is currently being assessed.’
    Both pi
  • Addressing the manufacturing skills gap in a post-Brexit Britain

    Viewpoint
    The skills gap is not an issue that is going to just go away unless the manufacturing sector takes some decisive action, says Adam McGiveron
     Businesses and government bodies are already making great efforts to attract and retain talent within their organisations but there is always more that can be done to improve the image of the UK’s advanced manufacturing sector and promote the benefits of pursuing a career in this area. With the decision to leave the EU causing increas
  • Metamaterials could mitigate earthquake effects

    Large-scale metamaterials can attenuate the energy and amplitude of harmful low-frequency vibrations associated with seismic shocks.
    This is the conclusion of a European study published in the New Journal of Physics that proposes the use of metamaterials in regions threatened by earthquakes.
    The metamaterials in question are artificial structures that exhibit extraordinary vibrational properties and the study, carried out by a team using detailed computer simulations, shows that large-scale meta
  • Harvard engineers create first entirely soft robot

    Engineers from Harvard’s John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have created an autonomous miniature robot made entirely from soft materials.
    (Credit: Lori Sanders)Nicknamed octobot, the device is powered by microfluidics. Its design was inspired by octopuses, whose movement, strength and elasticity have long been an inspiration for those working in soft robotics. But creating robots with absolutely no rigid parts is extremely challenging, and has never been achieve
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  • nuTonomy beats Uber to self-driving taxis

    After Uber announced it would launch driverless taxis in Pittsburgh by the end of the year, a start-up called nuTonomy has said has launched a driverless taxi service in Singapore. The only snag is that the driverless taxis require both a computer-watcher and a back-up driver. The Lidar-equipped cars will be provided by Renault and ...
    Read full article: nuTonomy beats Uber to self-driving taxis
  • Nano Dimensions ships first 3D printer for PCBs

    Nano Dimension, the Israeli 3D printer specialist, has supplied the first DragonFly 2020 system designated for 3D circuitry and PCBs to a leading defense company in Israel. To date, Nano Dimension has proven its capabilities of printing multilayer electric circuits in lab conditions. With the first supply of the DragonFly 2020 system for testing, Nano ...
    Read full article: Nano Dimensions ships first 3D printer for PCBs
  • Adesto and Embedded Masters link for IoT

    Adesto Technologies, the CBRAM developer, has teamed with board supplier Embedded Masters to help developers of Adesto-based products get products to market faster. Adesto and Embedded Masters wrote and tested native low‐level Flash firmware drivers and application programming interface (API) software routines for a range of Adesto memory IC breakout boards with the Silicon Labs ...
    Read full article: Adesto and Embedded Masters link for IoT
  • Filling the skills gap

    Stuart Nathan
    Features editor
    Education, qualifications and skills. It seems these are subjects that will always be relevant; indeed, it seems they will always be controversial.
    Our poll for this week, published yesterday, asks how the numbers of young people entering further engineering education can be increased, and less than 24 hours after publication the poll has already gathered almost 270 responses and 26 comments; indicating that for our readers, this remains an important issue. It&rsquo
  • RF transistor handles 1.5kW

    NXP’s MRF1K50H is a 1,500W LDMOS transistor, following on from the 1,250W MRFE6VP61K25H. 1.5kW continuous wave is available at 50V, and the device works over 1.8–500MHz. The transistor is characterised from 30-50V. “It operates up to 500MHz for applications from laser and plasma sources to particle accelerators, industrial welding machines, radio and VHF TV broadcast transmitters, and ...
    Read full article: RF transistor handles 1.5kW
  • Membrane technology prevents battery drain

    Engineers from Ohio State University have developed a new type of plastic membrane that prevents power leakage in batteries and enables rapid charging.
    (Credit: Pam Frost Gorder/Ohio State)The technology, which was inspired by how living cell membranes transport proteins in the body, controls how charge flows inside a battery. Lithium-ion batteries have membrane separators that conduct charge and physically separate the anode and the cathode from each other. But existing batteries lose charge ov
  • Foundry to grow 9%, says IC Insights

    The pure-play foundry market is expected to jump 9% this year, up from 6% growth in 2015, says IC Insights.
    Read full article: Foundry to grow 9%, says IC Insights
  • Movidius to use UltraSoC IP

    Movidius will incorporate UltraSoC’s semiconductor IP into its next-generation low-power machine vision systems-on-chip (SoCs). Movidius will combine UltraSoC’s monitoring and analytics IP and tools, with its own MoviDebug technology, to create a chip-wide debug and communications infrastructure that will support its end-to end product development flow. “We’re expecting immediate gains from the ability to use ...
    Read full article: Movidius to use UltraSoC IP
  • SEMI’s July book-to-bill was 1.05

    SEMI’s July book-to-bill was 1.05. July bookings were $1.79 billion – 4.7% higher than June’s $1.71 billion, and 13.1% higher than the July 2015 order level of $1.59 billion. July billings were $1.71 billion – 0.6% lower than June’s $1.72 billion, and is 9.6% higher than the July 2015 billings level of $1.56 billion. “Monthly ...
    Read full article: SEMI’s July book-to-bill was 1.05
  • LTC launches two synchronous current mode buck boost converters

    Linear Tech has brought out two synchronous current mode buck-boost converters that deliver up to 600mA of continuous output current from a wide variety of input sources, including single- or multiple-cell batteries as well as solar panels and supercapacitors. The 2.4V to 25V input voltage range of the LTC3130 and 3130-1 and their 1V to ...
    Read full article: LTC launches two synchronous current mode buck boost converters
  • Strathclyde Uni partners with Mitsubishi

    Mitsubishi Materials Group has become the latest member to join the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.
    (Credit: AFRC)The subsidiary of the Japanese multinational manufactures high-end cutting tools, and will use AFRC as a test facility to develop new products and production processes for industries including oil and gas, aerospace and automotive. According to the AFRC, the agreement will also allow Mitsubishi
  • Linear led driver for automotive lights

    For automotive leds arrays, Allegro MicroSystems Europe has announced two adjustable linear current regulators. AEC-Q100 qualified A6274 and A6284 are pwm dimmable and include a driver circuit that can control an optional external p-channel mosfet which extends output power capability by dropping any voltage headroom not required for led regulation. “This eliminates the need for ...
    Read full article: Linear led driver for automotive lights
  • IQD clock oscillators for extreme applications

    IQD has launched a range of AEC-Q200 qualified clock oscillators released to TS16949 for industrial and automotive applications. The IQXO-540 AUTO series is housed in a 2.0 x 1.6 x 0.8mm ceramic sealed package with frequencies available in the range from 4.0 to 50MHz. With stabilities down to ±25ppm over -40 to +85 degrees C ...
    Read full article: IQD clock oscillators for extreme applications
  • Princeton develops 25-core chip for servers

    A team from Princeton University has designed an open-source 25-core microchip that it says could dramatically improve the efficiency of servers.
    (Credit: Princeton University)The massive data centres that power today’s internet rely on banks of servers with microchips similar to those found in consumer electronics. But by building a chip to specifically address the issues that large servers face, the Princeton researchers believe they can significantly increase performance while at the sa
  • The future of UK manufacturing: solving our productivity puzzle

    Viewpoint
    Productivity remains central to the economic success of the UK, and with Brexit in our near future, it is more important than ever. Brian Holliday of Siemens discusses a recent consultation that asked the nation’s manufacturers what they consider to be the critical areas to improve the country’s productivity performance.
    With the overall longer term ramifications of the Brexit decision still unclear as the country enters a new period of political uncertainty, nonetheless th
  • Last week’s poll: mining in space

    Two-thirds of engineering readers are believe that we will mine for minerals in space.We saw a very split result in last week’s poll. Of  the 462 respondents,  29 per cent believed that there would be a need to source scarce minerals and precious metals from space (by prospecting from asteroids); the same proportion  thought that the cost of such prospecting would be driven down over time. In fact the first option was ahead, but only by two votes. the next option, 23 per cen
  • This week’s poll: Engineering education

    How can we best ensure a strong pipeline of students entering further engineering training, either at university or in apprenticeships?
    Students need advice and experience to understand what an engineering career might involve.This year’s A-level results, published last week, indicate a slight drop in the number of students taking the qualifications necessary to enter engineering course at university: maths, physics, and design and technology. Several of the UK engineering institutions hav
  • Infineon enables NFC payment ring

    "Proximity payments based on NFC technology are clearly on the rise – and payment solutions with smart wearables will accelerate this trend," says Infineon's Thomas Rostek.
    Read full article: Infineon enables NFC payment ring

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