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Among the voices in the buzz around autonomous vehicles and self-driving cars are those saying that making a vehicle drive itself “ruins the experience”. This is akin to those who say that drones will never replace human pilots, until you point out that a drone fighter can take a turn to the maximum capability
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Date:
07/27/2016
We are in a transition phase between two epochs of history; the end of the fossil-fuel dominance of society, and the start of a multi-layered green energy economy. This transition, as all change can be, is painful, but necessary if we are to achieve both the functional advances of a smart integrated grid and
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Date:
06/11/2016
Tools move into the big leagues when they start moving. Even systems we consider basic, like the wheel and axle, lever, and inclined plane are made up of interacting parts. Every tool we have pretty much beyond the hammer and chisel comes from interacting systems composed of various configurations of the six
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Date:
05/04/2016

The ability to create light is one of the definitive things that we do that separates us from the other animals on this planet. Fire, our first great technical discovery (or a really neat gift from a Greek God with a cool name), gave us two very powerful things that are still central to us: heat and light. The
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Date:
04/13/2016
It is a fascinating time to be in the electronic engineering industry, especially in the power sector, as society moves forward into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This promises to be the last, barring the takeover of industry by intelligent robots, as all of the parts are in place and the core technologies
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Date:
03/13/2016
Bring back IrDA

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

With all the buzz around optical data transfer technology development lately, especially in light of the push to empower small, low-power intelligent devices for the Internet of Things (IoT). What many forget is that there was and is a technology that is well-suited for final-feet connection between intelligent
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Date:
01/29/2016
Safe at any speed

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, Power Systems Design

There is a growing debate on the issue of autonomous, or self-driving cars (let’s call them “autocars”), as people and society begin to re-evaluate and further develop the concept of what the next generation of personal mobility technology should be. Cars are on the cusp of change, as next-generation energy,
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Date:
12/03/2015
Thin-client IoT cyborgs

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

The medical industry is a major driver of wearable and implantable technology, and most of the devices and services involved are also part of the rapidly expanding Internet of Things (IoT). Medical technology has always been a major leader in the development in wearable technology, from glasses to glass eyes
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Date:
10/31/2015
Back to the cottage?

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

Once upon a time, many skilled crafters worked from their homes. Their skill and profession was often protected by a guild, and their finished goods and devices were funneled to merchants and factors, who either sold them-as is or integrated them into larger products. Metalwork, fine cloth and lace, medical
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Date:
09/26/2015
Revolutionizing industry

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

Going through the throes of this latest wave of industrial revolution one sometimes feels like Charlie Chaplin in the factory scene from “Modern Times”. From the designer to the consumer, and at every stage in between, how we create, make, store, and distribute products is changing so quickly many of us
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Date:
09/26/2015
No precision without feedback

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

One of the most accurate ways to evaluate the level of advancement in a given technology is to simply measure its level of precision. This is a fair guide, as precision in tooling enables better physical performance and precision in electronic systems brings enhanced software and system operational capability.
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Date:
09/01/2015
Acceleration exhilaration

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

The e-vehicle industry is speeding up, and if you have anything to do with cars it’s time to get moving. We are in a very exhilarating time, as electronics and the Internet of Things (IoT) are changing almost every aspect of cars and how the public relates to them. Automotive design has always been
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Date:
07/02/2015
The iPod of power?

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

There has been a tremendous amount of buzz around the recent unveiling of Elon Musk’s Tesla Powerwall, and even if the product does not completely live up to the hype it has already changed the debate on power management in the grid. Once focused on grid-level solutions, the discussion of energy storage in
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Date:
05/28/2015
LEDs fight for the Edison socket

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

Unfortunately technology development is guided (and often blocked) by the infrastructure issues of the previous technology(s). Nowhere is this more apparent than in solid state lighting, especially that driven by LEDs. There is an old story in technology development that asks about the dimensions
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Date:
03/21/2015
The IoT: revenge of Thin Client?

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

Once in a while we see echoes of things past in new technology development, in this case, the Internet of Things (IoT) has shifted an old methodology to its zenith of maturity. In both hardware and softweare, managing the IoT requires us to think of devices as clients again, an echo of things past from the beginnings
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Date:
02/12/2015
Fight e-pollution

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

The ugly side of our electronics industry is the often dangerous and toxic byproducts and waste from the creation of electronic products and their disposal. E-waste doesn’t have to be a problem; it can be a renewable resource if we manage it properly. Americans generate million of tons of e-waste every year,
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Date:
12/30/2014
A wearable world

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

The biggest buzzword out there since “The Internet of Things” (IoT) was coined by  Kevin Ashton is currently the term “Wearables”, a subset of the cloud-based user-oriented marketplace the IoT represents. Wearable devices have been presented as the very culmination of personal device technology,
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Date:
12/30/2014
The electronics industry needs net neutrality

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

The current state of technology debate in America boggles the mind. Instead of discussing the engineering and development challenges involved in moving the USA towards a brighter future of advanced manufacturing, smart cities, and an Internet of Things enabling and empowering everyone with new products and services,
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Date:
11/21/2014
The Skinner Box society

Alix Paultre, Edirial Director, PDS

The Skinner Box (properly called the “operant conditioning chamber”) was created by B. F. Skinner while he was a graduate student at Harvard University. Used to study conditioning, it has been used as a metaphor when discussing drugs or other addictive behaviors. The addictive behavior in this case is the
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Date:
10/25/2014
Rainmaking in the Cloud

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

The Internet is one of the most powerful information weapons ever created, and it shows us that awesome power occasionally in the “viral” things, the images, messages, and videos that trigger massive waves of response, not only of eyes but also dollars, demonstrating to even the most cynical that one can
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Date:
09/24/2014
On missing planes and black boxes

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

In a previous column we explored the issue of black boxes and commercial aircraft accountability (“Should we put bigger batteries in airplane black boxes?”*) through the lens of the Malaysia Airline Flight 370 tragedy. The terrible initial impact of the irreplaceable loss of life was exacerbated by the physical
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Date:
07/23/2014
Let me start by saying that Google Glass is a very powerful tool even as a beta device, and this essay is intended more to enlighten than complain. However, being an early adopter of disruptive technology is a very interesting (and awkward) experience, especially when traveling in a foreign country. In my case,
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Date:
07/08/2014
Should we put bigger batteries in airplane black boxes?

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

One question a lot of people are asking in the wake of the Malaysia Airline Flight 370 tragedy (yet to be resolved as I write this), and the resulting mystery as to its fate, is why don’t flight data recorders (called “black boxes”), have bigger batteries? In many cases a crashed aircraft can be relatively
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Date:
04/30/2014
Making better motors and controls help move the world forward

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

Making tools that move has been a part of human development since the wheel and lathe, and the drive to make our tools and moving devices more precise, accurate, and easier to operate has been an almost continuous process since the first complex tool was created. Every one of those aspects are vital to the nature
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Date:
04/05/2014
In this video Microchip shows their 8-pin PIC12F1572 on an mTouch-enabled demo board using a Cree LED for Power Systems Design at embedded world 2014.
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Date:
03/14/2014
The new Industrial revolution

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, Power Systems Design

Industrial technology and processes have been under constant development since the invention of the wheel. From the potter’s wheel came the lathe, fire went from cooking to pottery to steam, and precision went from rough measurements based on body parts and other natural comparators to rulers and levels. The
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Date:
02/16/2014
Keep the autocorrect apocalypse from coming

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

Our society, already in the throes of integrating multiple disruptive technologies simultaneously, must also integrate the myriad byproducts and their impact as well. We take for granted that the future will be a web of inter-communicating smart devices within a cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure
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Date:
12/13/2013
Every designer is trying to create a new solution to address the customer's needs, but how that solution is expressed should be a manifestation of not just your customer's needs, but your strategic
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Date:
10/10/2013
Supporters of "green" technologies, especially in the power space, often stress the financial payback of regenerative-energy systems, more efficient electronics, and intelligent power management.
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Date:
08/05/2013
Each turn of the technology wheel brings with it new disruptions and new opportunities. In the area of power, the recent explosion of advanced microcontrollers has enabled designers and product
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Date:
08/05/2013
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