A hardware engineer jamming on stage isn't exactly what you'd expect at a technical conference. So that may be why Gustavo Castro's rendition of "Smoke on the Water" nearly brought down the house at Tuesday's keynote address at NIWeek 2004. Plus, he's good. Castro, who played a major role in adding new features to NI's PXI-4070 FlexDMM, a 6½-digit high-speed digitizer for PXI, combined his engineering and musical skills to showcase the 4070's new inductance and capacitance measurement capabilities (http://rbi.ims.ca/3855-547). Essentially, he created a guitar tuner (albeit a pricy one!), exploiting the digitizer mode of flex DMM by measuring the inductance of the guitar pickup and capacitance of the cable and pre-amp, digitizing the output waveform, and tuning the guitar using LabVIEW. And by the way, you can hear Gustavo and his rock band, The Happy Fun Ball, get down on Friday nights on Sixth Street in Austin, TX.
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.
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