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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics


How to Crash an Engineering Course at Rice University Lynnette Reese
I never thought that I would be sitting in on an EE class, years after graduating, taught by a Professor Emeritus at Rice University. I snuck in at the tail end of the course when he was in the middle of discussing op amps. I feel so guilty; I haven’t paid the university a dime, but I am excited to be here. I settle in and listen for a while. No one asks any questions; I assume they are all busy taking notes. Then I sped up time a bit so things would go 25% faster, since I had seen most of this before. It’s handy, but you have to have a MOOC to do that.

From a Little STEM Grows an Exciting Future Caroline Storm Westenhover
I got to the end of my last blog and found myself so excited about the possibilities of Radio Frequency Identification that I could not help but sit down and do some thermal engineering to satiate my desire for some math and physics, the foundations of engineering.

A Brief History of Robots Justin Risedorf
Since Karel Capek first introduced the world to robots in his 1920 Czech play, R.U.R.: Rossum’s Universal Robots, people have been fascinated by robots (and slightly afraid that they might take over the world). Thirty years later, American author Isaac Asimov began to popularize robots through his science fiction books including I, Robot and The Bicentennial Man. While actual working robots have a long way to go before they live up to their science fiction personas, many exciting advancements in robotic technology have been made. Here are a few of our favorite moments in the brief history of robots...

There’s Failure And Then There Is Constructive Failure Caroline Storm Westenhover
The awesome thing about the human mind is it never fully shuts off. The terrible thing is, this does not always mean it is being clever. Case and point. Some time ago I went to Body Worlds, a traveling exhibition of preserved human bodies and body parts that are prepared to reveal inner anatomical structures. By the by, never take friends to Body Worlds without first feeding them. Hunger plus Body Worlds can make for an unpleasant experience.

ePedal Power David Fambrough
Positioned as an alternative, more eco friendly answer to gasoline powered automobiles, there’s been lots of development and coverage on electric/hybrid vehicles. It wasn’t that long ago that the press proclaimed that the Tesla Model S was automotive perfection. (Or, as I would like to say in tribute to Ben Franklin… the tightest kite string in a bad storm with lightning.) All of that led me to wonder, what’s happening in the world of electric bikes or eBikes? After all, May is officially National Bike Month. Anyway, probably the most brilliant scientific and engineering mind ever, Albert Einstein, loved riding bikes. It even laid the groundwork to one of his greatest discoveries.

FIRST: More Than Meets The Eye Erik Smith
The first robots I recall ever interacting with when I was young were Transformers. I suppose, if you were being REALLY generous, you could refer to them as semi-educational toys since each was a mini-puzzle that only kids younger than 13 could figure out. In fact, if I were this clever at 8-years-old, I might have convinced my parents to want to buy me more. But then, all I would have to show for it would be a box full of forgotten plastic robots that transformed into cars I could now sell on eBay. But there was a different group of transforming robots that I wish I had discovered in my high school days. Instead of buying them, you built them with a group of your peers. Instead of transforming into cars, they would transform your life.

You Can't Be Creative With What You Don't Know Caroline Storm Westenhover
Awhile back I was walking past the door to the lab where I work and noticed that there was a meeting going on to which I had not been invited. I guess they assumed the sophomore-level undergrad did not have much to contribute. It’s not that they would be wrong, but still it’s nice to be invited. As I walked into the room I noticed that I did not recognize one of the people, and he had a distinct accent. I went on to learn that he was Spanish, but is a professor at Aalborg University in Denmark, both of which might account for his accent. He was giving a presentation on Smart Grids, and since I am helping out with my professor’s Smart Grid research I figured I would stay.

Navigating Kids and Technology as a Dad Justin Risedorf
Technology connects me to work, news, and entertainment 24/7. That type of access has its benefits, but when left unchecked, it can dominate my time, distracting me from the things that matter most. New research on the patterns of technology used by parents has me wondering, what are my kids learning about life as they watch me check my phone for the nth time tonight?

LED Technology and Art - A Greek Geek Perspective Paul Golata
I can’t draw! I can’t paint! I can’t make anything with clay besides a sorry looking snake and I made one sorry looking ash tray in my elementary school days. I have always wanted the gift of being able to produce art. I am in no way an artist! I saw this picture on the internet as one of the “photos” of the day and it grabbed my attention. This artist is using LED technology in his art in an interesting way.

Fool Me Once: April Fools' Gags 2014 Erik Smith
Another April Fools' Day is upon us, and with it comes a fresh helping of tech-based pranks. Followed by an inbox full of amazed e-mails from gullible family and friends. Here's a helping of some of my favorite high-tech hijinks from around the web, in no particular order:

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