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Articles from 2007 In November

36 years ago the 4004 microprocessor is introduced

36 years ago the 4004 microprocessor is introduced

The Computer History Museum celebrates the introduction of Intel’s 4004 micriprocessor 36 years ago. There were no customer-programmable microprocessors on the market before the 4004. It was the first and it was the enabling technology that propelled software into the limelight as a key player in the world of digital electronics design. Intel, which had been making memory chips, used the 4004 as a technical and marketing launch pad to develop an expertise in microprocessors that, in quick time, made it a market leader. 

 In celebration of this milestone anniversary and the November opening of Intel Museum’s new exhibit entitled, "The Intel 4004 Microprocessor ," Intel 4004 designers Ted Hoff and Federico Faggin take the stage with an historical perspective on the evolution of the 4004, from a special-order from Japanese calculator manufacturer Busicom, to a mass-produced device.


Greenpeace blasts Nintendo, Microsoft and Philips on low green scores

Greenpeace blasts Nintendo, Microsoft and Philips on low green scores

Greenpeace pointed to Nintendo, Microsoft and Philips as companies that are failing to show any “environmental credentials” in its quarterly “Guide to Greener Electronics.” The guide ranks companies according to their policies and practices on toxic chemicals and takeback. Greenpeace gave Nintendo “the dubious honor of being the first company to score 0/10 in the guide.” Microsoft did little better, scoring only 2.7 out of 10. Philips was ranked lowest of TV makers, scoring 2 out of 10. In the report, Greenpeace notes that “Our guide focuses on toxic chemical and tackback policy because of the rapid growth in quantities of toxic e-waste being dumped in developing countries like China and India.” The statement went on to say, “While Nintendo’s Wii console appears to be more energy efficient compared to the Microsoft Xbox and Sony Playstation, energy use is not yet covered in the ranking.”


In response to the Greenpeace ranking, Nintendo noted that “Nintendo takes great care to comply with all relevant regulations on avoiding the use of dangerous materials.” The company also notes that its products comply with regulations such as the RoHS directive.”

Extend the Life of Your Cylinders

Webcast available on demand for viewing now!

Watch webcast now

There are several factors to consider when maximizing the life of your pneumatic solutions, including the operating environment, the mounting type, the load, the proper cylinder size, velocity, air pressure and the air quality.

In this webcast, Tom Kane of Mead Fluid Dynamics, a Bimba Company, will offer best practices, tips and tricks for designing in the most efficient solutions, given your application requirements.
This two-part tutorial examines critical factors for extending cylinder life including:

  • Proper cylinder sizing
  • Environmental factors

Watch now

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Marine Current Turbines Pursues Partnership in Canadian Coasts

Marine Current Turbines Ltd. (MCT) recently announced its collaboration with two Canadian companies to develop tidal energy on the east and west coasts of Canada. “The agreements in place are partnering agreements that we work together, in essence prospecting and developing sites on both the east and the west coast,” says Joe Verdi, commercial director for MCT and formerly of EDF Energy.

On the east coast, MCT has partnered with Maritime Tidal Energy Corp. to deploy a tidal turbine off the coast of Nova Scotia in the Bay of Fundy as part of a request for proposals (RFP) by Nova Scotia’s Department of Energy (DOE).

According to a DOE release the RFP is “to find the most efficient, durable, non-invasive technology in existence that will allow the province to tap into the natural power coming through the tides and establish an industry center for technology.” According to Verdi, the DOE will choose three of the proposed tidal devices, which are expected to be deployed by the spring of 2009.

On the west coast of Canada, MCT has partnered with BC Tidal Energy Corp. to deploy at least three 1.2-MW turbines in the Campbell River or in the surrounding coastline of British Columbia by 2009. According to MCT, the proposed tidal farm, which is subject to consent, would generate enough energy to attend to the needs of 3,000 homes.

According to Verdi, there are a finite amount of places around the globe suitable for tidal turbines. On top of that, “every site in tidal renewable is unique,” he says. The tidal coasts of Nova Scotia and British Columbia are both examples of areas that could utilize tidal turbines.

According to Verdi, MCT is interested in working with local partners to provide its expertise and technology for tidal turbines. “Expertise and resource assessment, where you actually set these turbines — once we’ve done all that we will then know and we will then in essence build a machine or provide a machine that is suitable for that location,” he says.

MCT’s technology is present in the SeaGen Tidal Turbine, which has been built and is awaiting final assembly and deployment off the coast of Northern Ireland in Strangford Lough as previously reported by Design News.

Resource Center: Free Materials/Fastening Information, Made Easy

November 29, 2007
Design News' Resource Center e-Alert provides design engineers fast and convenient access to the latest information - data sheets, design guides, CAD files, application notes, instruction manuals, reference designs and white papers - on technologies and products available on manufacturer sites.          
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Hollow Glass Microsphere Technology Vendor:3M | Type: White Paper | Category:Materials/Fastening 3M Performance Additives iM30K high-strength polymer additives are made from a water-resistant and chemically-stable soda-lime-borosilicate glass. These hollow glass microspheres can be used as a low density filler material ideal for plastic and rubber parts created from injection molding or extrusion processes.

Versatile & Durable Product Graphics (Domed Urocals) Vendor:Douglas Corporation | Type: Product Brief | Category: Materials/Fastening Give us virtually any screen printable design. Specify any combination of colors. If you want, include embossed foils for extra stand-out depth. Then, when we've completed the screen printing process, we contain the entire design in a crystal-clear lens of poured polyurethane.

Coatings – Medical, Industrial & Aerospace Vendor:Boyd Coatings | Type: Product Brief | Category: Materials/Fastening Boyd Coatings Research Co. manufactures, applies and distributes custom-developed, high-performance coatings to meet specific medical device, industrial and aerospace market needs. High-volume and flexible manufacturing capabilities allow the company to produce both large and small quantities quickly and cost-effectively. Boyd is a Licensed Industrial Applicator of Teflon.

New color product catalog available Vendor:Elgin Fastener International | Type: Product Catalog | Category:Materials/Fastening Elgin Fasteners International introduces a new 4 page color Product Catalog describing fastener engineering, international sourcing and support services. Included are application engineering, domestic productions, import sourcing and quality assurance. Elgin Fasteners International adds fastener engineering and quality offshore purchasing options to the domestic manufacturing capabilities of the Elgin Fastener Group (EFG).

Precision Mechanical Components Vendor:PIC Design | Type: Product Catalog | Category: Materials/Fastening Request our Product Catalog and receive ordering information about Pawling’s Penuma-seals, inflatable seals, clamps and actuators. They are used in many applications including powder and bulk solids, defense, nuclear and semi-conductor manufacturing equipment.

Free Literature - Bolting Solutions Catalog Vendor:SuperBolt | Type: Product Catalog | Category:Materials/Fastening Unsure how to handle your bolting problems? Check out SuperBolt's bolting solutions Product Catalog to find descriptions of various bolting solutions.
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Take the SpaceClaim Challenge

Take the SpaceClaim Challenge

Remember the old Tide challenge? You know, the one where moms put the popular laundry detergent to the test to take on grass stains, ground-in ketchup and whatever other messes their dirty offspring could muster.

CAD users, get ready for a similar challenge. CAD newcomer SpaceClaim Corp. is inviting mechanical engineers and designers to test out their toughest 3D CAD modification problems on the new SpaceClaim Professional 2007+ in a worldwide contest launched this week.

One of SpaceClaim’s claims to fame is its ability to import 3D CAD and neutral file formats and modify the geometry no matter how it was constructed. That’s no easy task, the officials contend, since engineers typically struggle with modifying 3D CAD models due to the interoperability differences between file formats. Neutral file formats like IGES and STEP and other translators only exchange geometry; they don’t make modifications, officials say.

Engineers participating in the SpaceClaim 3D CAD Modification Challenge get to try out SpaceClaim Professional 2007+ for free and to learn from peers who participate. They will also be eligible to win prizes, beginning in January, which include a copy of the software for a one-year license. The grand prize winner will receive an HP Compaq 6820s Notebook PC installed with a one-year license of SpaceClaim. What does SpaceClaim get out of the deal? They’re hoping to receive valuable input that will help shape future versions of the software.

Entrants will be judged on the degree of difficulty of the design modifications, the complexity of the model, the credibility of the modifications and the use case and the “entertainment factor.”

Shaking devices together pairs them

Here’s a weird one. Shaking wireless gadgets together like a maraca can provide an easier way to pair them up. They compare accelerometer data to check they are shaken together
Read more at:

Here's a chance to influence RoHS directive

Here's a chance to influence RoHS directive

Michael Kirschner of Design Chain Associates is encouraging those in the electronics industry to take a survey that will be sent to RoHS regulators.

From Kirschner’s email:

It is not often that one is presented with the opportunity to directly influence global regulations, but this is such an opportunity with a deadline of December 14th.

The European Union is reviewing the RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) Directive, and dozens of other regional, country, and state / provincial governments are evaluating substance restrictions for electronic and electrical equipment. As the EU reviews RoHS and as other economies consider substance restrictions, it is critical for the industry to provide policymakers with quantitative data on the true costs of RoHS compliance.

By spending approximately 25 minutes completing a survey administered by independent consulting firm Technology Forecasters Inc. (TFI is a valued partner of DCA’s; we are involved in the survey development and analysis for this project) and funded by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), you will be one of 100 to 200 people reporting business realities, costs, and benefits of the EU RoHS Directive. The responses are anonymous, but the objectively analyzed aggregate data will be presented to policy makers who are eagerly awaiting this necessary feedback.

For reporting your experiences, costs, and benefits by the December 14th deadline, you will receive a complimentary summary of this landmark study as well as a copy of Lean and Green: Profit for Your Workplace and the Environment, a book by TFI Founder and Director of TFI Environment Pamela Gordon.

As an alternative to completing the web-based survey, let us know if you would prefer to be interviewed by telephone by replying here with which days and timeslots are convenient for you, which time zone you are in, and the telephone number to call..

We invite you to START NOW. Thanks from all of us at CEA, TFI, and DCA.

Best Regards,
Michael Kirschner
Design Chain Associates, LLC

NY Tree Formerly Burning 3,510 kW-Hrs Per Day Now Wastes 1,297 Instead

NY Tree Formerly Burning 3,510 kW-Hrs Per Day Now Wastes 1,297 Instead

New York City’s Rockefeller Center continues its annual Christmas tree tradition this year – but with a small twist. Instead of being illuminated with incandescent lights, the 84-foot-tall Norway spruce will be covered this holiday season by 30,000 light-emitting diodes (LEDS), as reported in “LEDs will light up Rockefeller Christmas tree” at


Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of NYC, called the tree “an example of green leadership which may inspire [tourists] to make greener choices in their own lives.” Maybe the Nobel Committee should give Bloomberg a share of Al Gore’s Nobel Prize money. I cannot understand how anyone can glorify an inherently wasteful holiday practice such illuminating holiday lights as “energy efficient” just because the energy is being wasted via LEDs instead of traditional bulbs. Its like prying the solar panels off your roof and burning them in your fireplace to stay warm over the winter! For details of my thoughts on LED holiday lights, see "Do LED Lamps Signal the End of Christmas Magic?"


According to, the use of LED lights on the Rockefeller tree equates to a daily “savings” equal to the electricity consumed by a 2,000-square-foot house in a month. Somehow I think they would save even more energy if they just didn’t put the tree up to begin with.


Mayor Bloomberg, if you want to make a real statement to the people in your city and around the world about energy conservation, ban the lighting of Christmas trees (with LEDs, incandescents, candles, or anything else) in New York City.

UC Irvine’s New ICS Building Bests Title 24 by 20%

UC Irvine’s New ICS Building Bests Title 24 by 20%

It always brings me pleasure to highlight the accomplishments of my undergraduate alma mater, UC Irvine. The UCI Anteaters recently completed their newest building, the $40.2 million Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences. As reported in “Legal Eagles Save Energy” in the September 2007 edition of Energy & Power Management Magazine (now Sustainable Facility Magazine), this facility exceeds the energy saving specifications of California’s strict Title 24 by 20 percent.


UCI mandated aggressive efficiency requirements as part of the initial bidding process. However, exceeding Title 24 is particularly impressive because the six-story 160,000 square-foot building originally began its life as two buildings, but it had to be scaled down to meet UCI’s budget. The down-sized building was left with electrical rooms smaller than 114 square feet. Tiny electrical rooms demanded development of a custom-built miniature transformer because a traditional transformer and Integrated Facility System could not fit inside the available space. The building contractor, Andersen & Howard, selected Eaton to perform the transformer design and installation.


This Anteater is pleased to see that the dedication to energy technology and the environment UC Irvine has pioneered in its research is carried through to practice in the specification of UCI’s new buildings.