|Last year there was story in IEEE's Spectrum of an engineer who strapped a GPS unit onto his cat, Kookoo, to record its movement while being gone for days at a time. This Aiken Pet Social Interface is a compact collar that integrates GPS and wireless connectivity. The makers claim that Fido's adventures can be tracked real-time on his/her own Facebook page. A quick search did not turn up any actual examples. Other companies such as SpotLight sell equivalent devices for around $200US. (P)MSNBC has an article showcasing other high-tech pet gizmos.|
SparGraph is new software that allows you to view your 2-port s-parameter (.s2p) files in graphical format. Contents of multiple files can be displayed on the same charts for comparison. Codemeister Orla Sørensen is offering the fruits of his labor for free, and promises more features if user feedback is strong enough. S-parameter de-embedding (an oft-requested capability) is in the verification process now.
Die-Fi? If you have a sizeable ego that causes you to believe you have a message that needs to be heard throughout eternity, then Objecs has a deal for you - an NFC headstone tag! Granite headstones are durable, but there is only a limited amount of space available for your cogitations to be inscribed. Future generations can simply place their near-field communications devices next to the embedded tag and enrich their lives with your brilliance. From a practical standpoint, this could be a method for leaving a death bed confession (might not be admissible evidence) or a final dressing down to someone you always want to tell off.
|Many households have no landline telephone - by choice. The ubiquity of cellphone service has negated the need for such Alexander-Graham-era schemes. Dwellers of remote or mountainous realms are still tied to copper, but 90+% of the world's civilized population lives within the reach of a cell tower. Because of obstacles and multipath, signal strength can vary significantly from room to room, even enough to drop calls. What to do? Airvana's HubBub CDMA is a "personal" mobile access point, or femtocell access point. When deployed in homes and offices, it allows subscribers to use their existing CDMA handsets in-building with "significantly improved" coverage and increased broadband wireless performance.|
This is not your father's Swiss Army Knife. (well, if you are one of my kids it might be). Maker Victorinox has introduced a model with a Secure Pro USB stick. It is equipped with both a fingerprint reader and a thermal scanner so even your cold, disembodied fingertip won't fool it (spies take note). Like an MI assignment player, it will self-destruct if forced open. Available in 8, 16, and 32 GB versions. The downside is that thanks to the people who brought us the 9/11 attack, you cannot take it on an airplane with you because it includes not only an LED mini white light, a retractable ball point pen, a pair of scissors, a nail file, a screwdriver a key ring, but a small knife blade... oh the horrors!
Not everyone is a fan of everything with a name beginning with "i." This presentation compares the notable features of an iPad with a rock. Undoubtedly part of the originator's motivation is to poke at the millions of people who are fans of everything with a name that begins with an "i," but it is clever. The iPad has received a lot of sycophantic press coverage in advanced of its oft delayed planned release on April 3, 2010. The iPad ($499) is a head-to-head challenge to Amazon.com's Kindle ($260), which has enjoyed marginal success, and to a lesser extent Google's Nexus ($700). Here is a feature comparison.
|"Most Unique Covert Tracker Antenna in the Industry." Mobile Mark’s new patented GPS Multiband Antenna is hidden away inside the vehicle license plate frame. The frame can house multiple antennas, including those for GPS, WiFi, WiMAX, and Cellular channels (including LTE). The GPS band claims 5 dBi for the antenna and a 26 dB LNA, while cell bands claim 2.5 dBi (no LNA). The specs do not indicate whether those numbers represent measurements in free space or while actually mounted to a metal bumper. I suspect that the low position on a bumper, coupled with the vehicle metal, will tend to make the operation highly directional.|
Designing a logo for your company can be a daunting - and expensive - part of starting a business. Indeed, RF Cafe has been through many iterations in its 11 years. Color, size, aspect ratio, images, font, wording, and more all all part of what will become your company identity. Inc. magazine just published a very useful article on websites where you can have potentially thousands of freelance graphic artists do the job for you based on a form you fill in. A "contest" format is used where you offer a price and people submit designs. You pay when - and if - you see something you like. I have narrowed the RF Cafe logo down to about 365 designs - one for each day of the year.
ISEE has developed a compact, low-cost, robust 24 GHz radar sensor (ISM Band included) for automotive, industrial or home applications. Consisting of a planar antenna, a 24 GHz front-end and an OMAP3530 processor unit for signal processing, it measures distances (25 m ±20 mm typical), velocity or properties of objects with high accuracy. The system uses a linear FM CW signal. Lunar Lander X-Prize contestants were all begging for something like this a couple years ago (I know because I received many e-mails looking for such a product). Price is only 145€ ($200).
|Here is unique idea for a clock face. We RF engineers have our Smith Chart clock faces, but this Math Pop Quiz clock is made to order for math geeks. Of course, engineers will appreciate it, so that's why it's listed now on RF Cafe. I dare say a math theoretician probably would not have a clue about our Smith Chart clocks. Here are some other clock designs.|
Unless you are a Ham radio operator, you might not be aware of the plethora high quality, low cost items available from manufacturers that do not advertise in the professional trade magazines. I am referring mainly to things like wall / window connector feed-through panels as pictured above that can be used for home brew shielded test enclosures or to interface to environmental chambers. Isolation transformers for eliminating ground loops are another good example. Prices are scaled to be within reach of Joe Sixpack, so your project manager will be happy. Ask a nearby Amateur Radio guy/gal for last month's edition of QST.
I'm thinking maybe a line has been crossed here. I like a good cup o'joe pick-up as much as anyone, and don't mind waiting a while for the caffeine to kick in. For those occasions when time is of the essence, there now is Coffee LeWhif - a inhaler. In fact, LeWhif is not even coffee - it is a concentrated 100 mg dose of caffeine (as much as a cup of espresso) with either a chocolate or no flavor. As a bonus for the weight conscious, it has 0 calories. More flavors are planned soon, as is an inhalable 3-course meal. I think the Jetsons had those.