Featured in this issue:      XFdtd with Poseable Hands for Mobile Device Design  |  Revolutionary New Latching Micro D  |  The Future of Digital Storage, from Terabytes to Zettabytes  |  Wireless Microcontrollers  |  Networking Solutions for 100G Systems  |  Actually... It DOES stay in Vegas.  |  See Video — Think Thin, Design Big  |  Face-off: Synchronous vs. Nonsynchronous
 
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Giving the Little Guy a Voice
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Giving the Little Guy a Voice
 
Many independent developers and small electronics companies don't have the resources to add custom voice controls to their products. A startup called Wit.ai aims to rectify that by providing a simple-to-use, always-learning natural-language service. To establish a voice command, the developer simply uploads the desired plain-English commands into Wit.ai's system. When a user utters the command, the system's server analyzes the audio and sends structured data back to the gadget to trigger the desired function. Access to the service is complimentary if the developer agrees to share user data with the Wit.ai community to improve the accuracy of the system.
 
 
 
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Revolutionary New Latching Micro D
 
Revolutionary New Latching Micro D
Omnetics Connector Corporation
 
Omnetics Connector Corporation, world leader in miniature connector and cable harness solutions, has entered the Micro-D market. Within less than a year of making the decision to enter the Micro-D mix, Omnetics was awarded QPL status on Mil-DTL-83513 (Slash 01 through 04). Just entering the fray was not enough for the innovative company.
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The Next-generation Human Computer Interface
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The Next-generation Human Computer Interface
 
Throw out your keyboard, mouse, and scanner and embrace "blended reality." HP's Sprout PC combines a downward-facing 3D scanner/camera/projector with a multi-touch mat to provide a mix of functions, ranging from projecting a touchscreen keyboard to scanning and manipulating objects and documents by touch. The interface not only streamlines human-computer interaction, but it also blurs the line between real and virtual objects.
 
 
 
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Wireless Microcontrollers
 
Wireless Microcontrollers
Mouser Electronics, Inc.
 
NXP's JN516x Wireless Microcontroller series is a range of ultra-low power, high performance wireless microcontrollers supporting JenNet-IP, ZigBee PRO, or RF4CE networking stacks. They feature an enhanced 32-bit RISC processor with embedded Flash and EEPROM memory, offering high coding efficiency through variable width instructions and low power operation with programmable clock speeds.
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Networking Solutions for 100G Systems
 
Networking Solutions for 100G Systems
Avago Technologies
 
Avago has unleashed a new generation of devices for wired infrastructure and networking at OFC 2014 addressing critical technical challenges of 100G network design. For more information...
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Soaking Up Energy
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Soaking Up Energy
 
Researchers have found a cost-effective way to turn molybdenum disulfide into a highly porous film that can trigger the production of hydrogen or serve as a supercapacitor. Testing shows that although the film does not store as much energy as a traditional electrochemical battery, it does retain 90% of its capacity after 10,000 charge-discharge cycles and 83% after 20,000 cycles.
 
 
 
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See Video — Think Thin, Design Big
 
See Video — Think Thin, Design Big
3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes
 
Designs are becoming lighter, thinner, and smaller every day. Now, bulky mechanical systems can be replaced with the incredible, strong, long-lasting viscoelastic bond of 3M™ VHB™ Thin Foam Tapes. The new 3M™ VHB™ Thin Foam Tapes provide the same advantages you expect from 3M™ VHB™ Tape now with an amazingly thin bond line.
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Face-off: Synchronous vs. Nonsynchronous
 
Face-off: Synchronous vs. Nonsynchronous
Maxim Integrated Products, Inc.
 
See how Himalaya synchronous buck converters beat nonsynchronous ones — in not just one area, but five.

• Up to 65% smaller size
• Up to 20° C cooler running temp
• Up to 4x longer board life
• Up to a dozen fewer discrete components
• Three modes for optimized efficiency (multimode)

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Computers That Learn Like Humans
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Computers That Learn Like Humans
 
DeepMind Technologies is developing a computer called the Neural Turing Machine, which crunches numbers like a traditional computer and processes data the way the human brain does. The machine's developers hope this architecture will excel at computational tasks and be able to learn and adapt like a human. With any luck, this hybrid will eliminate the need for programmers by programming itself.
 
 
 
Invisible Hearing Aid
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Invisible Hearing Aid
 
Smaller than a coffee bean, the Nanoplug hearing aid fits inside the ear canal, making it impossible to see. In this position, the device captures sound at about the same point the ear does, naturally localizing sound. Despite its size, the Nanoplug still provides all the features you would expect to see in a conventional design, and its built-in battery operates for six days without recharging.
 
 
 
Taking the Touch out of Touchscreens
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Taking the Touch out of Touchscreens
 
Researchers have developed a way to enable users to interact with touchscreens without actually touching the display. Gizmag explains how the smoke-and-mirrors technology behind the HaptoMime works, using an infrared touch sensor, an ultrasonic phased-array transducer, and an LCD screen. The scientists hope the technology will eliminate those finger smudges on computer screens and prevent the spread of disease through interfaces.
 
 
 
Growing Atomic-scale Semiconductors
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Growing Atomic-scale Semiconductors
 
A team of scientists has developed a process called "pixel engineering" that enables the growth of hybrid, atomically thin semiconductor structures to enhance optoelectronic device performance. The researchers created the composites by combining 2D molybdenum and tungsten disulfide through chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and the application of high heat (850 C, 1563 F). Ultimately, the scientists hope to fabricate fully functional electronic devices on a single plane.
 
 
 
Step Inside the Virtual World
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Step Inside the Virtual World
 
Ongoing work on Oculus' virtual reality goggles focuses on increasing screen resolution, expanding the range of motion that can be tracked, and reducing latency. Even in this stage of development, however, the Rift offers a glimpse of how the technology can be used in the future. Phys.org looks at the ways architects, manufacturers, and NASA scientists are using these virtual reality goggles.

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