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New Wearable Device Turns Thumbnail into Trackpad

MIT Media Laboratory researchers are developing a wearable device that turns the user’s thumbnail into a miniature wireless track pad. To build their prototype, the researchers packed capacitive sensors, a battery, and three separate chips — a microcontroller, a Bluetooth radio chip, and a capacitive-sensing chip — into the thumbnail-sized device. The engineers built their sensors by printing copper electrodes on sheets of flexible polyester, which allowed them to experiment with a range of different electrode layouts.The capacitive sensing registers touch. A thin, nonactive layer is placed between the user’s finger and the underlying sensors.The team envisions that the technology could allow users to control wireless devices when their hands are full. The device could also augment other interfaces, as well as enable subtle communication via text. The researchers have also been in discussion with battery manufacturers and have identified a technology that they think could yield a battery that fits in the space of a thumbnail. A special-purpose chip that combines the functions of the microcontroller, radio, and capacitive sensor would further save space.SourceAlso: Read more Sensors tech briefs.

Posted in: News

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Dr. David W. Miller, Chief Technologist, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC

     Dr. David Miller began his term as the NASA chief technologist on March 17, 2014. He currently serves as the agency’s principal advisor and advocate on NASA technology policy and programs. Miller, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has also previously worked with a range of NASA programs including the space shuttle, the International Space Station, the JWST Product Integrity Team, and the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative.

Posted in: Who's Who

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Coming Soon - Medical 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing: Going From Why to How

3D printing has been utilized in the medical industry for over 20 years. In recent years, the number of applications, utilization, and utility have increased exponentially. This increase has been driven by two key factors: (1) crossing the chasm from “how to print” to “why adopt 3D printing and additive manufacturing”, and (2) the dramatically increased selection of technologies and materials that meet the needs of medical professionals.

Posted in: Webinars, Upcoming Webinars

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Coming Soon - Application Builder and COMSOL Server™

In conjunction with SAE International COMSOL Server™ lets you get the most out of simulation apps created with COMSOL Multiphysics® and the Application Builder. Using the Application Builder, create custom applications from your COMSOL Multiphysics® models to improve productivity throughout your entire organization, from engineering and manufacturing to sales.

Posted in: Upcoming Webinars

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Beyond Basics: Recent Developments in the Use of Aluminum Extrusion in Automotive Lightweighting

In conjunction with SAE International As aluminum and aluminum extrusions find their way into more and more vehicles, engineers are becoming increasingly familiar with the basics of designing with extrusions. At the same time, the limits defined by “the basics” are being stretched in the drive for higher performance and more creative solutions.

Posted in: On-Demand Webinars

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Elastomer Enables Soft Flapping Robotic Wings

Researchers have discovered a new resonance phenomenon in a dielectric elastomer rotary joint that can make the artificial joint bend up and down, like a flapping wing. The new phenomenon makes the dielectric elastomer joint a good candidate for creating a soft and lightweight flapping wing for robotic birds, which would be more efficient than bird wings based on electrical motors due to the higher energy conversion efficiency of the dielectric elastomer. 

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Connector Performance Reassurance

Reliable connectors need to be better connectors. TE Connectivity’s Power Triple Lock connector family offers increased security and a wider range of applications than other systems in the market. It truly is a reliable connector. Performance driven and dependable, Power Triple Lock is a wire-to-wire, wire-to-board connector which offers enhanced stability, high electrical current rating and ergonomic features.

Posted in: Tech Talks

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