The Tek Pulse: The latest and greatest engineering and science posts

Informative, innovative and interesting articles from our favorite blogs

  1. Undergraduates Design and Build ‘Sandbox’ to Show How Gravity Works, University of Iowa, January 15, 2018, Research & Development -- Undergraduate students have designed and built an augmented reality sandbox. With this sandbox, users can mold their own universe with sand and watch how gravity affects an object, like a spacecraft or comet, as it travels through the imagined environment. This sandbox, dubbed “Gravbox,” is the first interactive system of its kind to be used for astrophysics. Similar setups do exist for geology and engineering, but the students have advanced the concept to include gravity. Gravbox will be used to teach fundamental principles in physics, like gravitational dynamics, the shapes and evolution of galaxies and more. The team is also making its software available to the public and they’re creating a website with a tutorial for building the system. For more information check out Research & Development.
  1. Wavy Transistors that Vertically Gain Width Without Increasing their On-Chip Footprint for Future Flexible Displays, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, January 15, 2018, Wireless Design & Development -- A team has designed a new device to improve flat-panel displays. The displays implemented in smart watches, mobile devices and TV’s rely on planar transistor circuits to provide viewers with high-resolution and fast imaging. However, scaling down these transistors is expensive and introduces flaws known as short-channel effects that increase their power consumption and degrade the performance of flat-panel displays. The team has now designed non-planar vertical semiconductor fin-like structures that are laterally interconnected to form wavy transistor arrays. The researchers were able to widen the transistors without expanding their occupied pixel area, thus doubling the transistor performance. In a proof-of-concept experiment, the transistors could drive flexible LEDs at twice the output power as their traditional counterparts – they were brighter without increasing power consumption. For the full story visit Wireless Design & Development.
  1. Future Weather Forecasting: It’s all in the “MRI” of Clouds, Stony Brook University, January 15, 2018, Research & Development -- Analyzing and determining the structure of clouds remains a challenge for scientists trying to forecast weather. Now, a team of researchers is using new types of radar, along with current meteorology technology to take an “MRI” of clouds. With these new radar technologies and forecasting techniques, the team is completing cloud and precipitation research that may evolve into a new and better way to forecast weather. The technologies allow scientists to see how precipitation forms and grows in clouds and predict if it will rain or snow and how much will accumulate on the ground. The Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) Radar Observatory contains a large array of sensors with different viewing perspectives and various sensitivities, allowing observation of the horizontal distribution and vertical structure of clouds and precipitation. For more information visit Research & Development.
  1. Gyroscopes lead scientists to unusual state of matter in a disorganized structure, University of Chicago, January 15, 2018, EurekAlert -- Physicists have crafted a structure that produces unusual waves that can even be directed into particular shapes. The team wanted to explore the behavior of a material whose structure is arranged randomly, rather than of an orderly lattice. The physicists discovered that they could set off one-way ripples around the edges, similar to an audience in a sports arena. This behavior is characteristic of a recently discovered state of matter called a topological insulator. Until now, it was always believed that spatial order had to be globally coordinated. But, when the team modified the pattern of the gyroscopes and scattered them around randomly, they still saw a wave. This discovery offers new insight into the physics of collective motion and could open up possibilities for new electronics and other technologies. For the full article visit EurekAlert.
  1. And lastly, the most popular Tektronix download of the week goes to Troubleshooting Ethernet Problems with your Oscilloscope. With our latest application note you will learn the basics of the 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX Ethernet physical layers to help you troubleshoot bus problems or related system issues. You will also learn how to set up and interpret the results when using automated decoding, triggering and search on an oscilloscope equipped with Ethernet analysis capability.

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Do you have a great article, blog or idea that you’d like to see featured in our series? Please be sure to share in the comments below. Stay tuned next week for another installment of The Tek Pulse, featuring more trending articles from the engineering, technology and science worlds.

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