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Engineering & Technology

Issue 20 • Date November-December 2008

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Displaying Results 1 - 25 of 33
  • Engineering & Technology

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  • Page plan

    Page(s): 1
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  • Time to peer past the green screen [Editorial]

    Page(s): 2
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    NO, YOU??RE not going mad; what you should see on our cover this month is dots between the corners of the squares, blinking and flashing as your eye moves over the page. Sometimes I find it works well, sometimes not so well. Here in the editorial office everyone describes what they see differently. I would say there are grey dots overlaying the white ones, but each disappears when I focus on it. Other people describe it as seeing white dots when they focus on them but these disappear when their eye moves away View full abstract»

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  • News

    Page(s): 3 - 11
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    Adding a little bit of blue to standard white-light fluorescent tubes can help workers stay more alert during the day, and sleep better at night, according to researchers who carried out a study at the offices of electronics distributor RS Components. View full abstract»

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  • Green Bubble? [Analysis]

    Page(s): 12 - 13
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    US President-elect Barack Obama wants to encourage clean energy. The article looks at the green investment market. View full abstract»

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  • Letters

    Page(s): 14 - 15
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  • If you ask me

    Page(s): 16
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    Carbon trading can have a big influence on the bottom line and is here to stay. Its future, however, is uncertain, driven by emerging legislation for the period after 2012. View full abstract»

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  • Can you calculate the carbon cost of your shopping?

    Page(s): 18 - 21
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    Many consumers want the products they buy to be 'greener', and research carried out with shoppers in recent years shows they welcome some kind of 'environmental friendliness' label on goods. Labels giving the carbon footprint of a product suggest the company is actively trying to be more sustainable and are generally trusted by consumers, who regard them as a green badge for both the brand on the shelf and the shelf it is on. Companies are being encouraged to go green by taking up a new scheme for displaying the carbon footprint of their products. For the Carbon Trust, BSI and the government, PAS 2050 represents a significant milestone in setting a single, consistent and simplified methodology for companies to work with. View full abstract»

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  • Greening the american dream

    Page(s): 22 - 24
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    How does the 'green' imperative fit with the American Dream and what role does technology play? If the American Dream is, as postulated, founded on freedom, opportunity and prosperity, it has much to commend it. Unfortunately, cynics would translate this as the freedom to pollute and degrade the environment as long as the opportunity exists to enhance prosperity. E&T visits Florida to find it out. View full abstract»

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  • Barack to the future

    Page(s): 25
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    Barack Obama's election bid harnessed technology as never before. E&T evaluates the world's first 'open source' campaign. If you want to understand the scale of Barack Obama's historic election victory, just look at the numbers. I'm not just talking about the 52.5 per cent of the popular vote and the 364 electoral votes he won on 4 November, but the 2,818,410 supporters he has on Facebook, the 870,093 MySpace users who call him friend and the 126,225 people following his every Twitter. The campaign's website, MyBarackObama.com, has more than 1.5 million accounts and was used to promote over 150,000 events. It acted as focal point for the three million private donations that helped Obama raise $650m more than twice what Bush and Gore managed, combined, in 2000. Barack Obama isn't just President Elect of the United States of America, he's an Internet icon who has been downloaded, linked, quoted, advertised and funded online more than any other person in the world, ever. This didn't happen by accident. Technology was at the heart of every stage of the campaign, and it was technology as much as his policies, his charisma and his opponents that helped him win. View full abstract»

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  • Push and pull

    Page(s): 26 - 29
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    Waves represent a vast but largely untapped energy resource. The paper presents a novel wave machine, the Searaser, designed to tap wave energy for electricity generation. View full abstract»

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  • Gadget speak

    Page(s): 30 - 31
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    ARE WE ALL agreed what a `green?? device is? No? Perhaps it is any device that doesn??t need to be plugged in? Certainly this is the definition that many consumer electronics manufacturers appear to assume is the case. View full abstract»

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  • Throwing it all away [Electronics]

    Page(s): 32 - 34
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    The consumer electronics business is now a huge industry and it has a big environmental bill to go with it. If you were to take a look around your home, which bits of electrical equipment do you think would be responsible for keeping the meter under the stairs spinning around like a fruit machine, but never paying out? The kettle. The cooker. The fridge and the freezer. And don't forget the washing machine. Thanks to their heating elements and motors, these are all machines that can chew through the Watts. But are they really using up all your energy at home? But, in the last 20 years, consumer gadgets from TVs to hairdryers have gradually overtaken the obvious candidates for energy usage. Heating and air-conditioning, particularly if you live in the US, remain the largest consumers of energy in the home. But the category that energy analyst firm Tiax refers to as "miscellaneous electronics devices" (MELs) has seen its share of electricity consumption climb to 24 per cent of domestic demand -a total of 298TWh -or 16 per cent of primary energy, which takes into account heating, among other things. Tiax investigators Kurt Roth and Kurtis McKenney concluded in a June 2008 paper in the journal of US air-conditioning organisation ASHRAE: MELs account for a larger portion of residential electricity consumption than any other end use and the second largest portion of residential primary energy consumption (about half of space heating)". As the MEL category includes devices such as toasters, microwave ovens and hair dryers, you might expect a lot of the electricity consumption to be down to their different types of heating elements and motors. But their consumption is easily matched by devices you might not consider to be big drains on electricity. In a report prepared for the Consumer Electronics Association, Roth and McKenney claimed the biggest single electricity consumers in the US were TVs and desktop PCs, with cable and satellite set-top boxes not far behind. Living- room gadgets, from audio players to TVs, accounted for 147TWh of electricity demand in 2006 in the US. View full abstract»

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  • Micro makeover [Electronics]

    Page(s): 36 - 38
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    Microcontrollers are getting more attention as ARM tries to use its weight in mobile devices to break into the business. View full abstract»

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  • Hydraulic hybrids [Control]

    Page(s): 40 - 43
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    Emerging technology can reduce fuel consumption and unwanted emissions, at the same time as upping the quality and capabilities of commercial and off-highway vehicles. View full abstract»

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  • It's green for go [Control]

    Page(s): 44 - 47
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    In late 2007, governing body of the Formula one mtor, F1A announced it was freezing the specification of F1 engines to encourage car makers to develop environmentally friendly technologies such as KERS - a form of regenerative braking making them the only means for the present by which teams can gain a power advantage. KERS technology takes a moving vehicle's kinetic energy, which isotherwise wasted during braking, stores it, and then releases it back into the drivetrain as the vehicle accelerates. One reason behind the FIA's move is to promote the use of eco-friendly technology in road cars by helping manufacturers sell it to the public through its use in F1. Another reason is the thinking behind the freeze on engine design. The third reason is to save money by ensuring the sport's engineers do not pursue technologies that are not relevant to road cars. View full abstract»

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  • War on waste [Power]

    Page(s): 48 - 51
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    New European laws mean there is a pressing need for the UK to review its waste management and consult with the community about how changes could be made. The incineration of waste to generate power is set to become more commonplace in the UK as local authorities struggle to meet commitments of the Landfill Directive to divert waste from landfill disposal, thereby avoiding hefty fines. The incentive for local authorities is the steadily rising tax on landfill use. The UK has historically been heavily reliant on landfill; in 2001, of the 28.2 million tonnes of municipal waste produced, 79 per cent was landfilled, 12 per cent recycled and 8 per cent incinerated with energy recovery through 15 or so plants. There are now 22 facilities, including plant due to come on stream later this year, handling a little under five million tonnes of waste. Additional plants in the planning stage or under construction could add another two million tonnes of capacity, increasing the national grid contribution of electricity generated from waste incineration from a meagre 291 MW to 450 MW by 2010. View full abstract»

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  • Green grumbles [Power]

    Page(s): 52 - 53
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    To combat global warming and the other problems associated with fossil fuels, there is a global drive to adopt renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, wave, tidal and biomass. But it is not all plain sailing for these renewable technologies, because, as with conventional energy production, there are environmental issues to be considered.The drive is on to hit ambitious renewable energy targets, but the author finds that not all environmental groups offer their full support. View full abstract»

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  • Biofuel baby booster [Power]

    Page(s): 54 - 55
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    In a bid to raise awareness of alternative energy and biofuels, Seth Warren and Tyler Bradt of the Oil+Water Project drove their converted Japanese fire truck, Baby, from Alaska to Argentina using only alternative fuel. When Baby, the converted fire truck, arrived in Ushuaia, Argentina it marked the end of a successful alternative-fuelled overland educational journey by two tenacious members of the Oil+Water Project team. View full abstract»

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  • Where the code takes the load [IT]

    Page(s): 56 - 58
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    Integrated development environments have been around since the early days of microcomputing, but they continue to move with the times. In this article, the author explains how these software tools have evolved to meet 21st century programmers' needs. Eclipse evolved into a platform for building many tools, a tool for almost every real-time operating system on the planet. It is very useful to be able to bring the high-end database tools into the IDE and present them in a way the developer can approach and integrate into a workflow. View full abstract»

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  • Viewpoint [IT]

    Page(s): 59
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    This coming 4 December will see the 7th Annual SFIA conference in London, and at long last a number of SFIA-related initiatives that have been in the background for the past few months will come into focus. View full abstract»

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  • Cred - or croak? [IT]

    Page(s): 60 - 61
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    The 'greening' of data centres has been a descant to the corporate utterances from most of the operators and equipment vendors selling into that industry. Many data centres took the green pledge not only because they affirmed its principles and didn't want to damned by default, but also as they realised that IT in general was receiving more than its fair share of criticism. Not only were data centres using vast amounts of energy to run servers, power control units, cooling and air-conditioning units, but the resultant heat generated was not reused constructively. The attention this brought raised the spectre of regulation, and the data centre sector rapidly realised that it needed to be seen to be acting to address environmental issues to offset any possibility of legislative controls from outside agencies. View full abstract»

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  • Trail of hot air [Manufacturing]

    Page(s): 63 - 65
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    It used to be easy to spot what environmentalists call 'greenwash' - unsupportable claims for the ecological friendliness of a product or service. But, as the accusations and counter-accusations fly, it's becoming increasingly difficult to separate green wheat from marketing chaff. Greenwash was rife in the 1980s and 1990s. During this period, growing concerns about climate change and environmental damage boosted the influence of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, WWF (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) determined to subject business's environmental claims to harsh scrutiny. When the mainstream press and TV latched on to the practice, business almost completely stopped making the unverifiable claims. This has changed in recent years, however, as the environment has shot to the top of the political agenda. In 2006, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 117 complaints about environmental claims in 83 adverts. In 2007 it received 561 such complaints about 410 ads. Oil companies and airlines topped the list of ASA transgressors, but car manufacturers are well represented too. View full abstract»

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  • System failure [Manufacturing]

    Page(s): 66 - 67
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    Going 'green' has become a legal obligation rather than a choice for electricals manufacturers in the wake of tough new European legislation. The WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive was introduced early in 2007, but a lack of enforcement of the rules is allowing some companies off the hook. The directive has also raised concern that some organisations within the recycling chain are not playing their part, with the result that e-waste is dumped in Asia and Africa. View full abstract»

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  • Fragile web [Comms]

    Page(s): 68 - 71
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    As society becomes reliant on the Internet, the need to secure it has grown urgent. But the vulnerability of cyberspace may be intrinsic. View full abstract»

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Aims & Scope

Engineering & Technology is the IET's flagship magazine featuring analysis, news, innovation announcements, job advertisements and careers advice.

Full Aims & Scope

Meet Our Editors

Editor-in-Chief
Dickon Ross
IET