Rick Green 200

AM signals: Patent trolls, data pollution, ‘SewBots’

Nov. 24, 2015

Robots are taking on evermore elaborate tasks, reports the Wall Street Journal. For example, “SewBots,” manufactured by startup Softwear Engineering Inc., may transform the apparel industry. Now, they can prepare buttonholes, but can’t sew together a complete shirt. That may come next year.

Physicist Seamus Blackley was a graduate student at Tufts University preparing to work on the Superconducting Super Collider when the program was canceled in 1993. Instead, he went on to help invent the Xbox. Physics Today has an interview.

What the world needs now is clean data. “The wider problem of data pollution seems to grow by the hour,” writes John Wihbey, an assistant professor of journalism at Northeastern University, in the Boston Globe. He quotes Michael Zimmer, an energy industry attorney and a fellow at Ohio University, as calling the VW scandal an “…early warning signal that we shouldn’t have too much reliance on the sensors, data collection, and data, without some vigilance and cross-checks.”

The Washington Post “In Theory” blog is beginning a series of posts on patent trolls. First, Robert Gebelhoff looks at companies like MPHJ and considers the prospects of patent reform.

Robots are valuable sidekicks to physicians, nurses, and technicians, according to Tanya M. Anandan, contributing editor at the Robotics Industry Association. She writes, “From radiation treatment to eye surgery, rehabilitation to hair transplantation, and robot therapists to robotic pharmacists, and even a robot phlebotomist, healthcare robots are transforming the fields of medicine across the globe.” On the psychotherapy front, though, researchers have questioned computers’ effectiveness.

The European Commission has approved Avago Technologies’ acquisition of Broadcom, reports Broadband TV News. Margrethe Vestager, the commissioner in charge of competition policy, thanked the companies for their cooperation.

About the Author

Rick Nelson | Contributing Editor

Rick is currently Contributing Technical Editor. He was Executive Editor for EE in 2011-2018. Previously he served on several publications, including EDN and Vision Systems Design, and has received awards for signed editorials from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He began as a design engineer at General Electric and Litton Industries and earned a BSEE degree from Penn State.

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