Mechatronics Zone Blog

New Catalyst Bolsters Artificial-Photosynthesis System for Clean-Fuel Development

By Elizabeth Montalbano | February 6, 2018

An artificial way to convert carbon dioxide into energy—also known as artificial synthesis—is a key goal for energy researchers trying to develop clean and alternative fuels.

Now researchers at the University of Toronto are a step closer to developing a complete artificial photosynthesis system with a new catalyst that solves a key problem they’ve encountered in their work to build that system.

Chipmakers Discuss a Future After Meltdown and Spectre

By Chris Wiltz | February 5, 2018

At a recent panel at DesignCon 2018, “Continued Innovation in a World Challenged by the Slowing of Moore's Law,” a group of engineers from Intel, AMD, and ARM weighed in on the impact of Meltdown and Spectre chip hardware bugs and how they could impact the chip industry going forward.

Cold-Resistant Lithium-Ion Battery Developed Functions at Minus-40 Degrees

By Elizabeth Montalbano | February 5, 2018

Like many humans, lithium-ion batteries typically don’t like the cold, which means they don’t perform well at freezing temperatures.

Now researchers in China may have solved this problem by developing a new lithium-ion battery system that can endure unprecedented temperatures even as low as minus-40 degrees Fahrenheit giving it potential for use as an EV battery that doesn’t succumb to cold weather.

Stratasys Mimics Real Organs With 3D-Printed Models

By Chris Wiltz | February 2, 2018

Medical researchers are always looking for better, more efficient ways to train surgeons and clinicians beyond using human cadavers and real human organs. While some companies are looking at virtual reality and simulation as a solution, others are tackling the challenge of creating more realistic physical models for clinicians to work with.

DesignCon Engineer of the Year Builds on Foundation of Astrophysics

By Charles Murray | February 2, 2018

After serving on countless DesignCon technical program committees and delivering 19 years worth of tutorials and technical papers, Mike Peng Li says the conference has become a part of him.

“It takes a bit of energy and passion to do it,” he told Design News recently. “It becomes so much a part of your life, it’s hard to separate yourself from it.”

Gecko Grip Offers Adhesion Solutions

By RP Siegel | February 2, 2018

In the processing of computer chips, robot arms use ceramic chucks that employ vacuum or electrostatic grippers to pick up and handle the wafers. Ceramics are hard, but they tend to give off contaminating debris when they wear, something unwelcome in a clean room environment. Other gripper applications require very small surfaces upon which external sources of normal force can be difficult to apply.

The Silver Lining of Autonomous Car Accidents

By Chris Wiltz | February 1, 2018

It's unfeasible to engineer a self-driving car that won't ever get into a collision. But there is a silver lining for when they do. “When autonomous vehicles have accidents, we can't blame the driver and it will force us to focus on the electronics,” Todd Hubing, Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Clemson University, said.

What Does the Future Hold for PAM-4?

By Chris Wiltz | February 1, 2018

What does the future hold for pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM)? Only five or six years ago PAM-4 was really just a forward-thinking concept to help us reach the realm of 400 gigabit ethernet (400 GbE). Today it's well on its way to becoming a communications standard, with some suggesting it may kill the non-return to zero (NRZ) encoding scheme that previously dominated serial data transmission.

3D Printing Used to Create Prosthetics to Restore Hearing Loss

By Elizabeth Montalbano | February 1, 2018

Researchers have used 3D printing to create breakthrough prosthetics that could help restore hearing loss for those whose hearing is damaged using a surgical procedure that until now has been largely unsuccessful.

SI, PI, and EMI Have a Simpler, More Integrated Future

By Chris Wiltz | January 31, 2018

If you want to think about where signal integrity (SI), power integrity (PI), and electromagnetic integrity (EMI) are going in the next five years, the first thing you need to do is stop thinking about them separately.

“SI, PI, and EMI won't be three technologies anymore. We're going to have to deal with them all simultaneously,” Steve Sandler, Managing Director at Picotest, told the DesignCon 2018 audience at a keynote panel, “SI/PI & EMI Challenges: Looking Ahead Through 2023.”