EEs' Gifts for The Holidays

Good things come in small packages, it has been said, and this holiday season should leave no doubt about it

8 min read
EEs' Gifts for The Holidays

Good things come in small packages, it has been said, and this holiday season should leave no doubt about it. If your nearest and dearest hands you a gift the size of a small paperback book, you might be the lucky owner of a US $900 full-featured digital camcorder or a computer printer.

For high-tech gifts, this holiday season will be remembered as the year when the small became tiny and the tiny became downright minuscule. Not since the early 1960s, when compact transistor radios made it even more fun to be a teenager, sports fan, or pop-music maven, has miniaturization so firmly ruled the consumer electronics kingdom.

Keep reading...Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Hi-fi, Radio, and Retro: The DIY Projects Spectrum Readers Love

They also really like Lego and hacking pretty much everything

2 min read
An assortment of boxy devices, spread out as if on a display table.

Here are some of your favorite Hands On projects: An inexpensive but high-quality DIY audio amplifier (A) and its Web-enabled successor (B); an Arduino-powered replica of the groundbreaking Altair 8800 (C); a Raspberry Pi–powered color mechanical television (D); and (E), a home computer built with just five digital chips that uses an old hack to create an analog video signal.

James Provost

This month we’re celebrating the launch of our second PDF collection of Hands On articles, which IEEE members can download from IEEE Spectrum’s website and share with friends. So we thought we’d take a look at the relative popularity of Hands On articles published over the last five years and share the top 15 projects our website visitors found most interesting.

Just to give a little peek behind our analytics curtain, the measure of popularity Spectrum’s editors use is “total engaged minutes,” or TEM, which combines page views of articles with how long visitors spend reading them. We use TEM because we’re not terribly interested in grabbing folks with a clickbait headline, only for them to bounce out before they’ve finished reading the first paragraph.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

Sleep Can Keep AI From Catastrophic Forgetting

New data-replay strategy prevents AI amnesia

3 min read
silhouette of head laying down with abstract colorful towers inside
iStock

Neural networks can achieve superhuman performance in many tasks, but these AI systems can suddenly and completely forget what they have learned if asked to absorb new memories. Now a new study reveals a novel way for neural networks to undergo sleep-like phases and help prevent such amnesia.

A major challenge that artificial neural networks face is "catastrophic forgetting." When they learn a new task, they have an unfortunate tendency to abruptly and entirely forget what they previously learned. Essentially, they overwrite past data with new knowledge.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This Gift Will Help Your Aspiring Engineer Learn Technology

Know someone that is hard to shop for? We have the perfect gift for you.

4 min read