If you think light switches and thermostats are not very high tech, think again. EnOcean GmbH is shipping wireless modules that use energy harvesting techniques so no batteries are required. To meet the new thrust to manage lights and temperature using wireless technologies that offer more precise control, modules must be small enough to fit in a light switch and be cost-competitive with battery-powered systems. EnOcean's 1.5-inch square module gathers energy from solar sources while also monitoring minute changes in pressure, temperature, vibration and motion to generate electricity. A Microchip Technology controller manages power gathering and radio communications. A proprietary radio transmitter helps keep power demands low.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.