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March 19, 2013
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Essential news for the global engineering community

  Today's Tech Buzz 
  • Samsung is making time for a smart wristwatch
    Samsung Electronics will compete with Apple for wearable devices as the South Korean manufacturer said it has long planned to introduce a smart wristwatch that will mirror many smartphone functions. "We've been preparing the watch product for so long," Executive Vice President Lee Young Hee said in this interview. Lee declined to provide other details about the watch, which will presumably compete against a similar product reportedly in development at Apple. "The race is on to redesign the mobile phone into something that you wear," said Marshal Cohen, a NPD Group analyst. Bloomberg (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Innovation or stagnation? Observers divided
    A debate is developing over whether the pace of major technological innovations is slackening to the point of near stagnation. One factor in how quickly progress is made is the role of governments, which talk a good game but often act in the other direction with stifling regulations and a reluctance to fund the kinds of projects that can produce big payoffs, writes Paul Sloane. (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Global Window 
  • Former Motorola exec now engineering stoves for developing world
    Mouhsine Serrar, once an executive for Motorola, is now designing and building stoves for use in developing countries with his India-based company Prakti. The goal is to design stoves that provide clean heat and accommodate the many different cooking practices in the many cultures in which they'll be used. Customization is the key, says Prakti Chief Operating Officer Minh Cuong Le Quan, noting that "it makes sense to be [in India] to be close to the users of the stoves who provide us with a quick reality check on what we do." The Guardian (London) (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Computer glitch forces Mars rover back into safe mode
    Issues with the Mars Curiosity rover have forced NASA scientists to keep the machine in safe mode longer than expected. Corrupted memory files were discovered in late February on its main hard drive. Scientists readied the machine to resume normal operations but put it in standby in early March as a protection from radiation from a major solar flare. Now, the rover faces another computer error, forcing it back into safe mode. "It does mean that science has to stand down for a couple more days," said Curiosity's head scientist John Grotzinger. (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovations & Trends 
  • Much engineering, ingenuity goes into making of our "stuff"
    Think of all the plastic "stuff" you own -- keychains, wastebaskets, pens and more. "In some ways it's [the making of] the cheaper parts that will be the trickiest," says Mike Jones, general manager at Georgia-based Peliton Plastics. This article looks at materials used to make inexpensive molded products and delves into how Peliton stays competitive with overseas products. (3/2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 3D ear scanner from Lantos scores FDA clearance
    The FDA has cleared Lantos Technologies to market its 3D ear scanning device. The scanner, set to be released later this year, allows for the development of hearing aid devices that are customized to each patient by streamlining the way ear topology is measured, according to the company. Boston Herald (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Laser developed that uses sound instead of light
    Early theorizing that sound could be used rather than light for lasers has finally been brought to reality with a device that dispenses with the light portion of a laser to concentrate phonons, or particles of sound, into one beam. The so-called phaser employs a mechanical oscillator that excites the phonons, which relax and release their energy into the device. Imran Mahboob of NTT Basic Research Laboratories in Japan says phasers may eventually be used to replace quartz crystals for timekeeping or to scan people or objects for safety and medical purposes. (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Leadership & Development 
  • Why being prepared is bad for innovation
    It's good to be prepared -- but not too prepared, Howard Jacobson writes. Planning carefully for every eventuality can rob you of creativity and the ability to generate ideas on the fly, Jacobson explains. "When our preparation crosses a line and starts to hinder that expression, it renders us dull, distant, and dead," he warns. Fast Company online (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Mechatronics curriculum seen lacking customer focus
    Educational institutions training students in the field of mechatronics -- the intermeshing of electronics with mechanical systems -- have done a great job of bringing in the subject matter experts. However, they have not done such a great job working with the people in the field responsible for purchasing, validating and running such equipment, according to Shane Loughlin of systems integrator SL Controls and researchers at Ireland’s Dublin Institute of Technology. This kind of input would generate a more customer-focused approach to the field, Loughlin says. Packaging World online (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASME News 
  • Colombian team takes top prize at HPVC Latin America
    A team from the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, was the winner of the 2013 ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge Latin America. More than 40 engineering students from three countries gathered at the Universidad Simon Bolivar in Caracas, Venezuela, last month for the contest. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Finalists selected for the 2013 ASME IShow
    Ten collegiate teams will be competing for top prizes at the 2013 ASME Innovation Showcase (ASME IShow) on June 22. The IShow is an annual competition that spotlights the engineering, presentation, and entrepreneurial skills of undergraduate and graduate students. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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