Friday, July 17, 2009

RFID Positioned for Growth

There were a couple of significant RFID news items this week. The first was a report indicating that the global radio-frequency identification (RFID) market is growing despite the fact that the world’s largest RFID project - the $6-billion China National ID card scheme - was completed a year earlier. According to IDTechEx, the global RFID market is rising 5 percent this year to $5.56 billion. Most of the action has been in the US, where the largest orders continue to be placed, as well as in the UK, China, and Japan.

The second was a contract for Micronetics who announced that it has received an order in excess of $750K for initial beta testing with a major retailer for its forklift mounted radio frequency identification (RFID) antenna sensor system. The forklift sensor system has recently completed a successful pre-production test phase, and will now begin beta testing with deployments over the next several months. These beta test sites represent approximately 7 percent of the retailer’s total locations. This order is a portion of a purchase agreement containing an option for full scale production roll-out upon successful completion of this phase.

We plan to cover location based technologies in one of our issues later in the year. With the addition of other location technologies such as WiFi, GPS and local positioning systems, this segment should be well position for long term growth. I think the companies that can integrate these technologies seamlessly and offer complete solutions will have a leg up on the competition. What new developments have you seen in this market???

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Creative Mind: Engineers, Scientists and Music

I'm sitting in a meeting when, looking down at my notepad, I noticed that I had jotted the name of "Tesla" on it some time ago. I forgot why I had to remind myself about Tesla when I last used this pad of paper, but seeing the word made me think of this truly aweful song from the 1980's called "Tesla Girls", which got me thinking about songs with titles that would be relevent to engineers. Not able to let a good mind contest go unchallenged, I began to list any song that referred to engineering or science. This brief distraction gave me something to ponder as the meeting wound down and by the time I was ready to put away my pen and pad, I had produced 4 or 5 titles. Not wanting to keep this game to myself, I shared the challenge with my co-workers and now with you. My co-workers immediately doubled the size of my list.

Is there some connection between the musical arts and engineering?

A quick google search on "engineers and music" yielded an article from the University of Wisconsin "Engineering students find harmony between music and math". According to the article most of the students in the UW-Madison marching band are not music majors. "In fact, engineers constitute nearly one-fifth of the 330-member band, and the skills they display on the field carry over to the engineering campus, just beyond the stadium. "

There is at least one engineer in every instrument section. “The engineers I work with are always very bright, and they are often very athletic,” says Band Director Michael Leckrone. “These kids have a great work ethic, and they want what they do for recreation to be something meaningful.”


harmony... harmonic balance? and music. what would this produce via an internet search. Well it's on youtube of course. Harmonic Balance, the song.

Now engineers making music is quite different from songs with engineering themes in the title, but I thought tying the two together might ligitimize the odd journey my wandering mind had taken. Probably not. Anyway, if you find your mind adrift in a meeting, try taking this musical trivia challenge and let us know what you come up with.

Here's our list so far.

1. Tesla Girls by OMD

2. Make a Circuit with me by Polecats
(note: this one has the most references to actual electronics)

3. Electric Avenue by Eddie Grant

4. Weird Scince by Oingo Boino

5. She blinded me with science by Thomas Dolby

6. What's the Frequency Kenneth by REM

7. Electric Boogie by Marcia Griffiths & Fatal Attraction

8. Radio Radio by Elvis Costello

9. Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo

10. Radio Waves by Eli Young Band

11. The Microwave Song by The Softlightes

with Thanks to Pat Hindle and Barb Walsh