Your RF Cafe
This collection of video and a few audio files represents files that have been featured on the RF Cafe homepage. Every week or so a new file is added that should be of interest to RF Cafe visitors.
Please send me an e-mail if you have a good subject. Note: "Videos for Engineers" formerly went by the name "Cool Videos."
Finally, a reasonable method for quickly and precisely folding those
RF Cafe T-shirts! Engineers are all
about efficiency and elegance in solutions when tackling difficult problems such as this. Materials
cost is minimal if you go to Wal-Mart during re-stocking hours and pick out an appropriately-sized cardboard
box and a roll of packing tape. The video demonstrates both construction and use of the apparatus. A
patent is probably pending as this is being written. If you are fortunate enough to win my monthly drawing
and choose a "We Are the World's Match Makers" T-shirt as the prize, you are now prepared to handle
the responsibility of ownership.
Here is an opportunity to vent some frustration over that old troublesome printer, refrigerator, lawn mower, or even your 1980 BMW that wouldn't start on cold mornings. A company called SSI make shredders that will make mince meat out of just about anything. It is awesome to watch these machines seemingly effortlessly devour everything from engine blocks to great chunks of reinforced concrete. Note the design of the "teeth." This video shows a little about how the monsters are manufactured. Truly wicked.
SolidWorks has a winner in their series of spoof videos called "3 Dudes Gone 3D." The tag line is, "CAD Brought Them Together. A Trailer Might Tear Them Apart." It probably takes someone who appreciates Dilbert humor to relate to the situation, with about a dozen productions in their repertoire. The series has been running for a couple years. It features the trials and tribulations of Stephen, Kish, and Bob. This episode is called "Blessed CAD."
3/30/2010A lot of people new to the use of spectrum analyzers have some difficulty grasping the concept of video bandwidth (VBW), resolution bandwidth (RBW), video averaging, and peak hold. This short video from Anritsu explains the functions and demonstrates how settings affect signal display and sweep time. There are many similar test equipment instructional videos available online. HP (now Agilent) had the best SA app note (AN-150) for years, and it was used by a couple generations of engineers as a must-read document.
Unless you've been held prisoner in a Taliban cave for the last couple weeks, you know about the whole Apple iPhone-4G-prototype-left-at-a-bar-and-exposed-by-Gizmodo thing. Jon Stewart took a poke at Steve Jobs for his company's approach to resolution. "Apple, you guys were the rebels, man, the underdogs," he says at one point. "People believed in you. But now, are you becoming The Man? Remember back in 1984, you had those awesome ads about overthrowing Big Brother? Look in the mirror, man!," says Jon.
This video certainly helps explain why the U.S. Congress cannot manage the country. This freaking moron, Hank Johnson, who is on the House Armed Services Committee, is actually lecturing Admiral Robert Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, about overloading the island of Guam with Navy personnel and materiel to the point that it "will become so overly populated that the whole island might tip over and capsize." You can see that the good admiral can barely contain his incredulity. You must see this to believe it!
Lego robots have for many years been a favorite pastime
for nerds young and old alike. A Google search of Lego videos will result in a plethora of cool projects
that hobbyists have dreamed up - like this Lego Pen Plotter. Lego manufactures a large selection of
components for robotics including motors, gears, vision systems, microprocessors, sensors, gears and
drive belts. Their
Mindstorms NXT series is a good place to start if you are inclined to join the club.
Don't bother trying to sell your manager on the cost savings of building this plotter and selling the
$8k HP model; it's not quite that good.
Another Google Earth 3-D map of the globe? Not this time. IBM researchers have developed a method of "drawing" these kinds of textured images by using an extremely small silicon tip, about 100,000 times smaller than a sharpened pencil tip, to create patterns and structures as small as 15 nanometers across. Nanomachining is now possible without chemical etching. The video shows how the system works and explains a wee bit of the magic behind it.
The Blendtech guy is at it again. This time, his victim is the venerable (to many) / despised (to many) iPad. "Will It Blend?" you might ask. How does he get that iPad into the blender? Watch the video to find out. iPad lovers with weak stomachs might want to skip this one. You have been warned. There have been more than 5,000,000 views thus far. Blendtech has gained much publicity via the antics in their "Will It Blend" video series, in which all kinds of popular consumer products have been subjected to the ultimate test of ruggedness. Q: Will the Blendtec blender blend?
4/13/2010Modern technology allows amateurs to accomplish amazing feats of "extreme" endeavors, be they athletic or scientific. High altitude balloon flights with camera payloads are in vogue these days. Altimeters trigger payload release and parachute deployment, and tracking beacons allow the descending equipment to be found once back on terra firma. Ancients could not infer a round Earth from its shadow cast on the moon during a lunar eclipse. I wonder what they would conclude from images like this?
IEEE Spectrum has titled a story "The Most Disturbing Presentation of the Year," where game designer Jesse Schell lays out a scenario where ad designers and government entities manipulate behavior to cause people to voluntarily - indeed passionately - pursue life choices solely out of a compulsive drive to "win" a game. Ostensibly, the goal is to improve the human condition. Right. Will it cause us to be better people? Well, maybe, if you believe that the people devising the behavior modification carrots are infinitely smarter than you, and they have the ability to "improve" you. It looks like another master race experiment akin to others that have failed miserably over the centuries.
You have heard of, read of, and/or experienced how major sun eruptions impact Earthly electronic communications, but have you ever seen a video of the event's source? Most coronal mass ejections (CME) are minor and do not project in the Earth's direction, but the ones that are of significance have the potential to be catastrophic. This video shows a rather extreme example that was imaged by a white light coronagraph in 2003. Billions of tons of mass are ejected along with an entraining magnetic field. When the particles and associated fields interact with the Earth's magnetic field and ionosphere, sparks can fly - literally.