Electronic Color Coding

Cut the red wire!” This is a familiar line to any fan of high-stakes action movies like Lethal Weapon. In the movies, characters hoping to diffuse a bomb before it’s too late are faced with a dilemma- what color wire do they cut? While the answer to that question may depend on the film- the difference in color coded wires has real life consequences. How does a color coded system improve electrical safety? Are all color coding systems still used today? Most importantly- what do all of these different colors mean?

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Are AI Images Real Art?

4 AI generated images showing water at night with glowing green and blue

In August 2022, Jason M. Allen won first place at the Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Competition. The category for his submission was “digital arts/digitally manipulated photography”. Normally this award wouldn’t make national news headlines, but the prize-winning image was controversial in its creation. Allen used the AI image generator Midjourney as the base to create his piece, leading to a divisive debate: are AI images truly art, owned by the artist? Are these AI generators another artistic tool, or are they just the product of randomized computer code?

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LEGO®, LabVIEW, and Robots- Oh My!

Lego Robot and assorted pieces on a play mat

As one of the largest companies in the world, the bright colors of plastic Lego bricks are a familiar sight to any toy aisle. These interlocking bricks provide an engaging outlet for creativity and innovation, going far beyond playtime and becoming a valuable asset to classrooms around the globe. Through the robotics kits of Lego Mindstorms®, engineering and programming concepts are taught in a way that actively engages children while also imparting important life skills.

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The Potential of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

As the new school year starts, there are classrooms full of engineering students who do not remember the time before the use of both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth was commonplace. These technologies did not become widely available to the public until the early 2000s, but given their prevalence within everyday life in 2022, it is clear that these short-range communication networks are catalysts for innovation. With so much technological advancement in such a short amount of time, it’s worth asking the question- how did we get here, and what does the future look like?

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The Tech of Electronic Communication

Picture of dark cityscape with arched lights connecting different places

Today’s world is connected now more than ever before in history. Gone are the days of wired telegraphs and telephones, limited to one place. Cellular technology and wireless signals have forever changed how humans interact- both with each other and the world around them. Images, sounds, and written messages can be sent almost instantly across long distances, and information can be searched with the touch of a button. With convenient communication as the new normal, it is easy to take these advancements of electronic communication systems for granted. The truth is, it takes many different technologies working in tandem to make such communication possible.

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Advancing Water Sustainability in Manufacturing

Closeup of a large body of water being churned by waves

Utilizing water in a way that manages the ecological, societal, and economical concerns we are currently facing without jeopardizing our ability to do so in the future is the focus of many in the manufacturing industry. On July 6, 2022, it was announced that the Taiwan-based design and building firm WaterPark Environment Corp. was acquired by Gradiant, a global solutions company and cleantech water provider based in Boston. This merger is expected to help bring advanced manufacturing and semiconductor production even closer to the goal of water sustainability.

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The Humanoid Future of Robotics

The Terminator. I, Robot. Ex Machina. These are just a few of the multitude of popular movies that explore the relationship between humans and robots. It is clear that we are all fascinated by (and in some cases, fearful of) the idea that Artificial Intelligence could advance enough to allow robots to emulate human emotions, motivations, and responses. With resources such as NI’s LabView software driving engineering education forward, it seems as though each year brings us new and groundbreaking advancements. In 2022, exactly how close are we to achieving the intelligent humanoid robots of the future?

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System Maintenance with Apex Waves

System maintenance is an integral part of test engineering. Whether you are designing a new test program set or working within an established one, it’s important to keep resources for both preventative and corrective maintenance in mind. By having plans for both addressing equipment issues as they come up and preventing issues from occurring in the first place, your system will be spared from expensive delays in the future. With a specialized focus on National Instruments parts, Apex Waves is able to provide the repairs you need to maximize the performance of your equipment and system.

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Understanding the Semiconductor Industry

The semiconductor industry is vital to technological innovation. However, the complexities of the supply chain and the nuances of different computer chips can leave one with more questions than answers. With this broad overview, it is easy to gain a better understanding of the industry as a whole. The first thing to note is the distinction between digital chips and analog chips. The common belief is that digital is an upgraded, more technologically advanced version of analog- but this isn’t the case. In fact, the worlds of analog and digital chips are complementary.

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