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Circuit Board Design Apps

TOP FIVE CIRCUIT BOARD DESIGN APPS

Apps can do just about anything! You can order food, track your sleep, monitor your home security—all with a swipe of the finger. Innovative apps aren’t limited to lifestyle, thankfully! With so many niche interests and professions out there, so come the niche apps—including electronic engineering
and circuit board design!Whether you’re a student, hobbyist, or professional, we’ve rounded up the top five apps for electronic circuit board design to help you choose the next addition to your app collection. In no particular order or ranking, here they are!
Droid PCB
Platform: Android
First up is Droid PCB, a PCB design app for Android Users. With this app, you can create, save, and load a project from an SD card; design double-sided PCBs and navigate between layers; hide unused layers; design your own Macro Library; and export your design to PDF or IMG. The app’s developers are working on Geber export, a bigger Library, and support for keyboard and mouse, should you want a little more technical dexterity. Overall, it’s a great app (especially at its zero dollar price point), with users already wishing for the library upgrade and mouse/keyboard support.
EveryCircuit
Platform: Android, iPhone, iPad
EveryCircuit is a “tap and play” app, where you build your circuit and hit go. With the highest price point we found, it certainly delivers in user experience, interface, and capabilities. You can adjust parameters while your “circuit” is running, and the adjustments are made in real time. And from the developer’s description: “You can even generate an arbitrary input signal with your finger!” It boasts features like a schematic editor, an ever-updated library of components both digital and analog, animations of voltage waveforms, current flows, & capacitor charges, oscilloscope, and a public community to share and access designs. You can shake your device to kick-start your oscillators too! And since it’s a paid app, there are no advertisements. EveryCircuit is valued by professional electrical engineers for things like testing functionality and simulating filter designs, and students use it to help them in their studies. It’s celebrated by beginners for its user-friendliness, and by experts for its sophistication. Schematics Lite
Platform: iPhone, iPad Schematics Lite is, according to its developers, “a sophisticated engineering database management system that allows the electronic designer to easily create and revise electronic circuit designs (digital or analog).” The app gives its users access to thousands of libraries, both in-app or online, and streamlines the editing process—you don’t need to have a complete schematic finished before editing. It has a level of complexity that is surprising for a free application, though some users have struggled with navigating the libraries. Overall, enthusiasts of Schematics Lite actually prefer it to PC-based programs!
PCB-ST Lite
Platform: iPhone, iPad
PCB-ST Lite is geared for those who work with printed circuit board design and layout. Developed by McCAD, the app claims it “is net list driven and supports full forward and backward annotation of all net and component attributes passed to and from our McCAD Schematics Lite (available separately).” The app allows for easy cross-checking, design rule checking, auto ground plane creation, auto thermal dispersion, and lets the designer place up to 150 pins. McCAD also hosts additional support tools on its website, and there is an educational version available (PCB-ST SE500) for those looking for an upgrade.

Droid Tesla Pro
Platform:
 Android

Droid Tesla Pro is a Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis (SPICE). The simulator solves basic resistive circuits using Kirchoff’s Current Law (KCL), Gaussian elimination and sparse matrix techniques. For non-linear components, the app makes an initial guess and then improves its own solution with successive calculations via the Newton-Raphson iterative algorithm. Numeric integration methods are used to approximate the state of reactive elements (capacitors and inductors) as a function of time. Droid Tesla Pro can simulate resistors, capacitors, inductors, potentiometers, light bulbs, ampermeters, oscilloscopes, voltage and current sources, and much, much more. Some users do struggle using the app without Wi-Fi or a data connection, which is a point of contention for paid software. For those who want to try it before buying, Droid Tesla Pro also offers a free version.

Robotics and Manufacturing

Factories of the Future: Automation, Robotics and Manufacturing

Automation is the biggest change manufacturing has ever seen. Manufacturing is constantly being presented with new unique challenges as the world surges forward with technological and innovative advances:
connectedness breeds a “need for speed” in production and delivery,climate change calls for “green” processes and packaging, the social media boom means anything from bad press to faulty items to recalls go viral quickly— highlighting a need for damage control policies. Manufacturing must be able to quickly adapt, act, and react at lightning speeds.
Sustainable practices are not limited to mechanical and machining practicalities. The human element must not be forgotten when thinking of the factory processes of the future. Appropriate training and education, safety requirements, ergonomics, and employee well being play a major role in maintaining the future of our factories, our manufacturing, and our economic infrastructure.
So what are the big players we need to be aware of when it comes to discussing the future of manufacturing and all it encompasses? Efficiency, connectedness, talent, processes, and of course, technology.
Efficiency Efficiency in the future of manufacturing is an all-encompassing, almost holistic, contributor to the way factories will run. With a combination of technology, human skill, and interconnected systems, efficiency is the most sought-after “piece” of the manufacturing puzzle. Mechatronics, robotics, logistics and monitoring systems provide, and will continue to enhance, daily operations and production, while the efficiency in big-picture thinking will flow forward into factory and shop floor design and construction. Electronic efficiency will be seen as data mining, collection, and management software becomes increasingly customizable and used on-demand alongside innovations in online software as a service (Saas). Physical equipment with built-in user interfaces will continue to become more widespread as legacy equipment becomes obsolete, and the simplicity and intuitiveness of touch screens will assist both seasoned workers and newcomers as they do their jobs.
Connectedness
“Smart” is the buzzword that has taken over the tech world, usually used in conjunction with the “Internet of Things”(IoT). Pop culture is filled with coverage on everyday items that are now considered “smart” because they are Wi-Fi enabled and are usually accompanied with some sort of data-tracking app. This sort of IoT connectedness is turning from a personal luxury to a production necessity. Autonomous machines and large and small scale robots are connected to a hub in this way so their performance, production, and functionality can be monitored, and management can be quickly alerted to any failures or mechanical issues. We are moving towards factories that have their assets, inventories, and production lines designed to be configured, monitored, and maintained in synchronicity to support decision making, planning, and operations. As the legacy machines that are currently in operation across the globe fail and are replaced, they are replaced with connectedness in mind. Talent
The lack of skilled workers is currently a massive, global problem in manufacturing, and it will only continue to grow as technologies are adopted into existing processes and the skills gap widens. Singapore has moved to pro-immigration strategies that prioritize work visas in the hopes of attracting more skilled manufacturing professionals. A 2012 initiative in India focused on the skills issue in innovation in science and engineering. The US is feeling the very same crunch, especially as its current workforce ages. The companies that conquer this will be the leaders of manufacturing in the future, and it will be done through the attraction, development, and retention of top performers.
Technologies
The major, major driving force behind every aspect of industrial and manufacturing change is technology, from electronic circuit boards to robotics. As mentioned above, additive layer manufacturing (commonly known as 3D printing) is evolving in leaps and bounds, and is solidifying its place in manufacturing as the go-to method for producing prototypes, one-offs and specialized metal parts and components. Even “mundane” practices like painting are being disrupted by technology—the Airbus Group is now able to digitally project camouflage designs on to their military helicopters, giving workers a definite map to follow as opposed to painting freehand, resulting in more accurate design placement and shorter lead times. Robotics, as mentioned above, are taking menial and occasionally dangerous tasks from human hands, both as immobile caged devices and mobile units that can perform uniform quality checks (with less room for error than a human’s quality check) or even fetch stock, such as the autonomous rolling shelving in Amazon warehouses. Robotic exoskeletons are not just science fiction any more, either—manufacturers are embracing the idea of wearable robotic structures to help their workers lift impossibly heavy items without risk of injury or fatigue. And as personal electronics get thinner and smaller, so do the technologies behind them. Nanotechnologies require particular manufacturing processes, as do photonics, advanced materials, microelectronics, pneumatic storage devices, and many more.
These predictions and more are the current, mainstream ideas when it comes to discussing what the future of automation in manufacturing holds—but like technology, it is an ever-evolving conversation. As a world leader in the repair and support of electronic and industrial parts and components for industrial manufacturing, Ensil is well-placed to experience the surge in automation in manufacturing first hand. We have front-row seats to its evolution, and we are uniquely positioned in that we are able to speak with manufacturers firsthand about their struggles and successes as they upgrade and enhance their facilities. This is a dynamic and exciting industry to be in as technologies continue to shape our workforce and economy.
Our constantly growing wealth of experience means that our expertise never stagnates, and lets us always offer our clients the best in repair and rework for the industrial manufacturing and electronic circuit board sectors. Contact us today to discuss how our electronics repair expertise can benefit you and your business.

Radar Technology Developments

A LOOK AT RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN RADAR TECHNOLOGY

TV Signals Can be Used in Radar Capacity: TV signals’ behavior is similar to radar, but they operate at different ends of the radio spectrum. New technology has emerged using receivers tailored to these signals, and successfully tracked 30 airplanes at a range of 10,000 feet.
And where some radar can confuse wind turbine activity with aircraft,the TV signals encountered much less interference. TV signal “radar” takes advantage of broadcast networks that already disseminate the signals. Using TV signals could mean a radar-like technology that is more cost-effective than traditional radar to develop and use.
PASSIVE RADAR IN DEVELOPMENT, EXPECTED TO BE A GAME CHANGER
Military and defense initiatives worldwide have relied on radar since its defensive capabilities were realized in the early 1900s. Radar’s applications have changed and evolved alongside military developments, particularly in the air force, navy, and army. Passive radar, a different type of radar technology, is set to be the next big thing in military radar applications. It operates almost in reverse to existing radar—while radar puts out electromagnetic signals to function, passive radar takes in existing electromagnetic signals from the atmosphere to support imaging and tracking capabilities. Passive radar is less expensive to operate and is more covert than traditional radar. The global passive radar market is expected to hit $10 Billion USD in annual spending by 2023.
METAMATERIALS: Bringing radar sophistication up while driving costs way down
Metamaterials ( materials engineered to have properties that have not yet been found in nature) may be the next big leap in conventional radar technology. Research and development from a company called Echodyne is using the enhanced materials to drastically reduce the size, weight, and ultimately price of radar devices. With these physical, material, and financial shifts, metamaterial-based radar systems may find applications outside their target military markets, such as in cars and personal drones. Military radar system costs begin at $100,000, but metamaterial-based radar systems are aiming for a price point in the low thousands or even hundreds of dollars, which could make defense-level radar technology available to the mass market. In addition to revolutionary metamaterials, this new radar technology uses standard printed circuit boards and copper wire tracing for its electronic components. By using common electronic parts, this radar technology can take advantage of the existing methods of electronic circuit board repair for maintenance.
Radar technology is something we work with every day, and Ensil’s engineers and technicians are excited to see where the future of radar is headed. We pride ourselves on being radar experts with a particular focus on military and defense radar applications, assemblies, and components. Our secure facility has been serving and supporting international defense contractors for over 30 years through our military electronics repair and reverse engineering capabilities, and our extensive National Stock Number (NSN) military parts catalogue. Learn more about our military and defense support services by following the links below:

Circuit board Failure

MOST COMMON CAUSES OF CIRCUIT BOARD FAILURE

Printed circuit boards, or PCBs, are the driving forces behind almost everything we use today—smart phones, control panels for industrial machines, the display screens at fast food restaurants.  When a PCB fails, it disrupts both our personal and business lives.

The causes of printed circuit board failure can generally be linked to one of two factors: performance problems from environmental stresses, or performance problems originating from the design and manufacturing stage of the board’s production. Sometimes these failures happen after years and years of use, and sometimes the issues have been accidentally built into the board during its production, setting it up to fail even prior to its first use. Thankfully, due to the physical nature of the PCB, most issues are repairable.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS

Environmental problems occur when a printed circuit board is exposed to elements or situations that affect its performance. Variables like temperature, dirt and debris, and moisture are the most common performance hinderers, but accidental impacts (dropping, electrostatic discharge, crushing, etc) or power overloads from lightning strikes or power surges can also be severely detrimental to your circuit board. Not even the most expertly crafted circuit board stands a chance against an electrical fire! Elements like dirt will degrade your board in a gradual manner, corroding it and reducing its overall lifespan. High environmental temperatures, like those found on some manufacturing floors, will also degrade components.

Some of these issues (like burned out components) are easily spotted, but if your board is failing and the problem is not easily identified, it needs to be tested with diagnostic equipment to pinpoint the issue. Your repair technician can do this for you.

MANUFACTURE PROBLEMS

Human error is the root of all printed circuit board manufacturing problems. From misreading a schematic to mislabeling a component, there is a laundry list of problems that can present themselves during the design and manufacturing stages. Here’s a quick sample of some of the more commonly seen PCB manufacturing issues: components installed incorrectly or incorrectly placed; poor soldering causing cold solder joints; inappropriate board thickness leading to bending and breaking; poor insulation of traces causing a voltage arc, which can then char the board; traces and pathways accidentally placed too close to each other and “shorting out” the circuit; poor connectivity between board layers causing inefficient performance; and many, many more. Repair is by far the best option for your failed printed circuit board. Choosing repair over replacement is cost-effective, and is often the fastest way to have your PCB performing to its full potential once more. Opting to use a third party repair company is an attractive alternative to conventional repair channels. OEMs (original equipment manufacturer) are known for charging higher than average repair prices and cannot boast the fast turnaround times that third party repair services can.

Ensil is a world leader in electronics repair. Our highly skilled and highly trained engineers and our 30-plus years in business bring you fast, expert, cost-effective printed circuit board repair solutions. Take advantage of our massive OEM parts database and our military level secure facility. Visit www.ensil.com to get your free repair estimate.

Reverse Engineering and Re-manufacturing

Why Reverse Engineering and Re-manufacturing are great for your business?

What It Is

Reverse engineering and remanufacturing are often mistaken to be repair processes, as they produce crucial information and documentation to repair technicians.

They are not directly repair processes themselves, though they are key factors in the repairs of some assemblies or components– especially if said component is part of a larger machine.

A functioning replica device with the exact same specifications and workload capabilities as the original is created through analysis and research. This device can be used to replace a faulty one, thus acting in a repair capacity.

The replica assembly is created without the use of any documentation, due to the loss, destruction, or unavailability of the originals. The process moves from manufactured component to design and schematic, then back to a newly-manufactured component. Conventional engineering, or “forward” engineering, flows from original design and concept, to schematic and documentation, to manufactured component.

Some industries that commonly turn to remanufacturing and reverse engineering are aviation, military and defense, automotive, electrical, engineering, medical, business, and food service.

Why It’s Done

Faulty, damaged, or worn out assemblies are not the end for a component or machine. Through the reverse engineering process these pieces are created anew. Should they have alternate uses or should their potential to be repurposed be discovered during the reverse engineering process, schematics now exist to manufacture as many as needed. Chronic design flaws can also be remedied. Complicated and drawn out manufacturing processes can be streamlined.

Manufacturers and corporations that originally engineered and manufactured the part may either no longer be in business and/or no longer support the specific assembly. This issue can particularly arise in military and defense industries. Defense industries may also use reverse engineering on hostile technologies to understand the best ways to defend against them. Assemblies may be discontinued, leaving business owners with the costly option of replacing an entire machine or re-evaluating an entire production process. Even if documentation does exist, it’s easy for it to be lost over time. Reverse engineering can recreate these lost (or obsolete) documents. Outdated technology can be updated.

Benefits

Remanufacturing saves material costs, usage and waste, can use less energy or alternative energy to remanufacture. It can extend the life cycle of out of date machinery or technology, and pinpoint design weaknesses or flaws in existing components. It is often used to modernize outdated components and correct issues their obsolescence cause. Reverse engineering creates resources your business can use in the future to ensure all the assemblies you need or may need are able to be created.

Ensil is a world leader in the reverse engineering and remanufacturing of electronic and industrial components. We proudly serve as a defense contractor to US and Canadian military divisions, and support our national electronic, telecom, manufacturing, robotic, aerospace, and medical industries. Visit www.ensil.com/reverse-engineering to learn more.

Servo Motor Failure

MOST COMMON CAUSES OF SERVO MOTOR FAILURE

Keeping your servo motor maintained and running in prime condition is vital to any industrial business, robotics enterprise, or CNC machine. Downtime from a faulty servo motor can be costly, both financially and to your lead times. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of servo motor failure and potential ways to avoid them.

OVERHEATING

Overheating can damage or destroy most mechanical and electrical devices, from automobiles to laptops. Servo motors are no exception. A motor may seem to have “survived” an instance of overheating: it may not seem damaged or show immediate signs of failure, but each overheat drastically reduces the overall lifespan of the motor. Blockages within the motor or environmental temperature increases are the leading causes of overheating. The temperatures created from other machines running in close proximity to a servo motor can also lead to an overheat. Monitor the temperature of your work space and that of your servo motor to help avoid heat damage.

OVERCURRENT & ELECTRICAL SURGES

Electrical surges and overcurrents can quickly damage a servo motor. Lightning strikes to motors that have no surge protection are a common occurrence, but power spikes from the power company, or faults from connected machines can also over deliver current. Introducing too high a current to a motor through human error can also cause damage. The electrical components in a motor (such as the circuit board) are particularly vulnerable to power surges. Make sure your servo motor has sufficient surge protection, and that it is not pushed beyond its electrical capacities.

MOISTURE

The introduction of any sort of excessive moisture to your servo motor can cause its components to perform at less than optimum levels.  It can also contribute to component deterioration through rust. The negative effects of moisture are higher in closed-body motors. Drying your motor offline with fans and heaters at the first sign of moisture can help offset potential risk. As well, avoid over-lubricating your motor as the lubrication can be thrown into other internal components. Regulating your environment for humidity and ensuring your servo motor is protected from accidental flooding are excellent ways to reduce the risk of moisture damage.

DIRT

Foreign debris in your servo motor can cause many of the same issues as moisture and accelerate the motor’s deterioration. Additionally, build ups of dirt can block or jam parts—in particular fans, which can then lead to overheating, another leading cause of servo motor failure mentioned above. If your motor is not fully closed, regular inspection and cleaning will keep your motor in good shape. 

VIBRATION

Loose or unsecured parts, or foreign materials and dirt can cause unwanted vibration in your servo motor. Vibration can also mean there is a misalignment of a part within the motor, and continued usage can cause part failure. To avoid vibration damage, inspect the fittings and alignments of all internal components as soon as you notice the vibration. Keep an eye out for dirt or loose objects as you check things over.

We hope that we have provided your business with options for maintaining your servo motor. If the worst does happen and your servo motor fails, we are here for you! Ensil is a world leader in industrial and electronics repair. With highly skilled technicians and over 30 years in business, we provide fast, expert, cost-effective repair solutions for your operation. Visit www.ensil.com to get your free repair estimate.

Professional Soldering

WHY YOU SHOULD LEAVE SOLDERING TO THE PROFESSIONALS

Soldering is a crucial skill in electronics manufacturing and engineering, and a quick Internet search for those who want to learn the skill makes it seem deceptively simple. Learning new skills is a wonderful thing, especially if it relates to your interests or hobbies. However, sometimes things like soldering and electronics repair are best left to professionals.

PCBs (printed circuit boards) and electronic components can be sensitive, delicate, and expensive—and best left in professional hands if you’re inexperienced.

Getting set up to solder is easy. There are so many tutorials and websites out there to walk you through the process, and it’s quite inexpensive to buy all the necessary supplies. It’s obvious why lots of people learn to solder at home! If you have a PCB that needs repairing, you’re a complete newbie to the process, or if you’re just not confident enough in your soldering abilities, here are a few reasons why you should just relax and send your PCB in for repair.

RISK OF BURNS

First and foremost, soldering irons get hot. And we mean HOT. 600 degree Fahrenheit hot. That kind of temperature will severely burn skin, drip hot melted solder on limbs or personal items if the user is careless, and can start fires if the iron improperly set down. Solder may splatter, so eye protection is also needed.

RISK OF FUMES

Solder comes in both leaded and lead-free varieties. Despite the levels of toxicity, many still prefer lead solder due to its strength and workability. Lead-free solder is a less-toxic alternative (and the only option in regions where lead solder is banned), but both solders still produce harmful fumes that may irritate the eyes or cause health problems if inhaled. Ideal soldering set-ups include proper ventilation, which may not be viable for some. There should be between seven to twelve inches of space between your face and your work at all times.

INEXPERT TECHNIQUE

It can take a lot of practice and frustration to get the “feel” for soldering. Too much solder? A solder bridge can form and unintentionally connect two adjacent joints. Too little solder? You might end up with weak electrical continuity from the board to the component. Pulling or yanking the iron away quickly can also ruin the join. It’s frustratingly easy to create a poor connection.

Knowledge of when to “tin” the tip of the iron is key, and failure to do so may cause solder to ball up on itself and/or create a poor, short-lived connection. Improper heat levels and board cleanliness also contribute to poor connections. It is also recommended to use a wet sponge to keep tip clean, but too much moisture can also temporarily reduce iron temperature.

LACK OF COMPONENT KNOWLEDGE

If you’re not well-versed in PCB Repair and are unfamiliar with PCB components, you may accidentally damage something while soldering. The temperatures needed to solder can and will weaken the glues within the boards, making them prone to lifting and separating in unsteady hands (the glue returns to normal strength when cooled). The heat can also damage other, more sensitive, components on the board if heat sinks (clips) are not properly used. It’s also best to install and work on the most static-sensitive components last to best avoid damage during reassembly—requiring component knowledge.

Learning a new skill can be overwhelming, especially in a repair capacity where you’re trying to fix something of value to you. If soldering is too much of challenge for you, that’s just fine! Ensil is here as your trusted partner in electronics repair. We have over 30 years of experience, expert staff, a massive OEM database, in-house electronic components inventory, and we offer free, no-obligation estimates.

Check out our Electronic Express Repair Service.

We also offer electronic manufacturing, reverse engineering, research and development, and industrial components repair. Follow the links below to learn more.

Wearable and Gadgets

As lifestyle tech and electronics surge forward and everything gets “smart”er, we’re able to do everything from control our thermostats with our devices to play with cats via the internet.  Even sleep, one of the human body’s most basic functions, is becoming more plugged in. Let’s take a look at some ways researchers and developers are “hacking” your sleep.

 APPS AND DATA

There’s an app for everything, including sleep. Ranging in price, sleep apps can project soothing lights and sounds to help you drift off, record every moment and variation in your night and report it back to you in summation, and wake you in the timeliest of ways when you’re likely to rouse as non-groggy as possible. For the organizational and data obsessed, leveraging your lifestyle doesn’t have to stop once you hit the pillow.
Start your sleep-app search with some of these popular options:

SLEEPBOT

Using your phone’s accelerometer, Sleepbot charts the quality of your sleep. The more you toss and turn, the less restful sleep you’re bound to have, and Sleepbot will present you with a chart each morning detailing your night’s activities. The accelerometer also serves as a “smart” alarm. The alarm wakes you within 30 minutes of your desired wake-up time based on your movements to avoid pulling you out of a deep sleep. Sleepbot allows you to add notes to your data, like “stressful day”, to help track your sleep.

SLEEP CYCLE

Sleep Cycle performs very similar functions to Sleepbot, with a few differences. It asks you nightly to set your alarm instead of setting routine weekday/weekend alarm times, and offers a Sleep Aid function that plays soothing music or sounds as you fall asleep. But like Sleepbot and most other sleep apps out there, Sleep Cycle uses your phone’s accelerometer to monitor you and wake you up at the most optimal moment.

WEARABLES AND GADGETS

The Jawbone UP wristband functions very much like the apps we’ve discussed, only it’s a wearable. The wristband also tracks your movements and vibrates to wake you at an ideal point in your sleep cycle. It does transmit its data to a companion app that presents information to you in chart form.
Sleep Shield device covers are overlays for your device screens to cut down your exposure to blue light, which is the culprit behind why backlit screens interfere with your sleep. Blocking blue light can help you still indulge in screen-time before sleep.

Has monitoring your sleep become as much as a routine for you as sleep itself? Keep all your sleep-related electronics in perfect working order with Ensil’s expert circuit board repair team. If your device is struggling, head on over to www.ensil.com to check out our Express Repair Service or get a free, no-obligation quote.

Repairing and remanufacturing electronic components isn’t all we do! Along the vein of this article, we’re proud to say that we are becoming more active within the medical technology wearables field. Sleep may be key to restoring and resting your body, but sometimes your body needs some extra help.

Introducing Vastusys, a medical device that helps individuals regain mobility after suffering injury, stroke, or other disorders. Vastusys is a sophisticated electronics system based on both hardware and software that simulates decisions usually made by the brain to facilitate mobility or the movements of the limbs. Signals are received by the Vastusys control module through Bluetooth, are analyzed, and are then again transmitted via Bluetooth to different parts of the body. For more information, visit www.vastusys.com .

Smart Devices

Are Smart Devices Jeopardizing Your Privacy?  Nowadays our cell phones are constantly in our hands or at our ear. We go to bed at night cuddled up to the latest tablet and we wake up in the morning to the alarm from our Smartphone, that is but merely a foot away from our head. But is this modern age attachment to our technological devices jeopardizing our privacy?

This past week Samsung released a statement that your personal conversations could be recorded from your living room through the voice command feature on your Smart TV. These conversations could then be sent to a third party (software company) where they would be converted from voice to text.

Samsung originally advised that users should exercise caution and review the privacy outlines but have since adjusted their statement to comfort customers. They have clarified that they do not sell the information that may be collected and that the user does have the option to turn off the feature. By simply pushing a button on the Smart TV controller the user can deactivate the recording setting and with that provide a semblance of peace of mind in the comfort of their own home.

Samsung does have privacy measures in place, saying it’s Smart TVs, “employ industry-standard security safeguards and practices, including data encryption, to secure consumers’ personal information and prevent unauthorized collection or use.”

But even with those safeguards, as our technology gets smarter the concern for security and the loss of privacy grows. Who’s tracking your smart phone? Who can now access the GPS in your car? Who is turning on your gaming console to record audio?

This close surveillance of our technology is one of the reasons Ensil doesn’t allow cell phones on the property. There is no outside technology past the foyer door and all in-house computer software and systems are constantly monitored to warrant the highest security level be held at all times.

Being aware of the possible security infringements that your devices bring to your life will now have to be a form of common sense. When the drive for improved technology surpasses a place where individualistic privacy needs are respected, vigilance is key.