Widetronix Uses Tritium For 25-Year Power Source



The image above is a simple betavoltaic graphic from medgadget.  It shows the beta particles creating an electric field over a pn-junction diode, biasing the device, which thereby causes conduction.

It has been some time since betavoltaic batteries have been used. Lithium Ion has been the battery of choice for awhile, probably because it isn’t, you know, radioactive. Widetronix is looking to change that with its Tritium-based, navy-funded technology. By using more efficient semiconductor materials, they have revamped the self-charging betavoltaic battery.

These tiny power sources are said to last for 25 years! Of course, this technology only works for devices that require minimal amounts of current draw (think pacemakers and small sensors).

Check this VentureBeat article for more on these tiny batteries.

A Stadium Full of Solar Power: Taiwan National Stadium Pictures



We’ve been posting some “green” pictures recently here at Industrial Interface.  So, in keeping with theme, check out these amazing pictures of Taiwan National Stadium.  The entire roof is covered in at least 8,844 solar panels!  In addition to powering 75% of the stadium’s energy needs when in use, it also contributes to the local power grid during times of stadium inactivity.

Here are some photos courtesy of Gizmodo:

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Dubai’s Technosphere is HUGE



Here is the latest construction monstrosity to grace Dubai’s desert landscape.  The Technosphere is built to test new green sustainable energy sources and simulate future climates.  Photo Courtesy of VentureBeat.  See the VentureBeat article for more details:

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NASA Picture of the Day: Saturn and Moons



Sweet picture of Saturn and Tethys above (one of Saturn’s moons).  Thanks to NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, we get to see amazing pictures like this one.  It almost looks fake, doesn’t it?  I never get tired of these NASA pictures of the day.  For more space pictures, follow NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Here are a couple other Saturn pictures from NASA, all courtesy of the Cassini probe.  The one on the bottom is a great shot of Saturn’s Titan. Read the rest of this entry »

Innovative Engineering–Years of Intense Study and Engineering Experience



There I Fixed It is a tremendous site where users submit images of innovative engineering feats.  These range from drawing a warm bath over a camp fire to roasting a dozen hotdogs on the fingers of a metal rake to duct taping flashlights to front bumper of a car.

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Top Ten Ways Being An Engineer Improves Your Daily Routine



10. Time Management and Planning
This is only #10 because I think lots of professions train us to be effective time managers.

9. Being Logical
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard two people arguing about something and thought, “That doesn’t make any sense.  Actually, neither one of them make any sense.”  Lawyers run into this thought constantly as well.

8. Puzzles and Strategic Games
Everything we do at work all day is a puzzle of some sort.  Critical thinking to solve complex technical problems is what makes us engineers.

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Top Ten Things That Annoy Engineers



10. The Phone (see our post “10 Reasons Engineers Hate the Phone“)

9. Multiple Office Sites – As if things weren’t complicated enough, I have to try to communicate and solve complex issues over the phone and through NetMeeting, WebEx, and VNC?  Maybe if I am especially lucky, I’ll get to travel back and forth for months at a time!

8. Executive speak – Nothing quite like a load of BS from the VP about how great everything is going.  Or worse… when it’s quiet, you know it’s REALLY bad.

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Cultivate Innovation: What Companies, Managers, and Engineers Can Do



In past blog posts (here and here), I discussed change in the high-tech design workplace.  Today’s blog is about innovation: the driving force for profit in this market.  Companies who deliver the newest, best-performing, most-reliable products to market are almost always the most successful.  This requires an efficient company streamlined to foster, cultivate, and encourage designers to come up with cutting-edge ideas on a daily basis. Read the rest of this entry »