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Blogs
Most Commented Content posted in January 2012
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Superbattery: The Next Great Triumph of Engineering
Blog 
1/13/2012  77 comments
The next great engineering advancement in batteries is in the lab and it is tantalizingly close to solution.
Would Cellphone Ban Secure Car Safety?
Electronics News 
1/6/2012  72 comments
Automakers continue to expand the scope of electronic "infotainment" features, despite government pressure to ban them and deem them unsafe.
What's Your Pick for Best Engineering Movie?
Mechatronics Zone 
1/25/2012  70 comments
The PBS film "Azorian" documents the construction of the equipment needed to raise a sunken Russian submarine.
Why Are USB-A Connectors So Frail?
Made by Monkeys 
1/19/2012  57 comments
USBs are the most common PC connectors, yet they are also the most fragile.
Tesla Model S Hitting the Road This Summer
Automotive News 
1/18/2012  54 comments
Tesla Motors' plan to build practical, competitive electric vehicles (EVs) will finally be put to the test this summer, as the upstart car company rolls out its long-awaited Model S.
Time Ticks Backwards on This Clock
Made by Monkeys 
1/6/2012  49 comments
Sometimes an appliance works great, but it just happens to work backwards.
HP Printer Is Baked Back to Life
Made by Monkeys 
1/24/2012  47 comments
The HP printer died. The owner found surprising success with a home-baked solution.
2012 Will Be Year of the Engineer
Wolfe's Den 
1/4/2012  45 comments
Designers will no longer be the Rodney Dangerfield of the tech world.
Prius Pushes Hybrid Efficiency
Automotive News 
1/11/2012  43 comments
Hybrid cars entered a new market segment this week as Toyota introduced a "gateway" vehicle aimed at younger, less affluent buyers.
'KISS' Among Engineers' Top 2012 Concerns
Wolfe's Den 
1/9/2012  42 comments
As we enter 2012, it seems that the design engineering audience is noticing that jobs are becoming encumbered by lots of stuff that may not result in better end products.
Generator Fries Household Appliances
Made by Monkeys 
1/4/2012  42 comments
Peter thought he was wise to have a generator on hand during a power outage -- that is, until he nearly burned down the house.
Battery Sparks Red-Hot Mystery
Sherlock Ohms 
1/26/2012  39 comments
Even the little 9V battery that we use in our smoke alarms and transistor radios delivers plenty of energy -- and can wreak havoc when crossed.
Smartphones Pose More Danger to Drivers
Electronics News 
1/16/2012  39 comments
Engineers who have equipped cars with cameras and collected millions of miles of data on crashes say that the key to distraction is visual, not cognitive.
Slideshow: Plant Safety Takes Center Stage in Factory Automation
Blog 
1/30/2012  36 comments
Safety networks have become more complex, and have actually become simpler and easier to deploy for plant operators. This slideshow highlights developments in plant safety with an emphasis on integrated safety networks.
Petroski on Engineering: The Normalization of Deviance
Guest Blogs 
1/5/2012  33 comments
Normalized deviance has plagued the oil drilling industry, where at least some companies have allegedly let the financial bottom line dominate decision-making.
Oven Door Is Not Child-Proof
Made by Monkeys 
1/16/2012  33 comments
If the oven locks for cleaning, why doesn't it have a child safety lock?
Chevy Volt: Chargeable With Renewable Energy?
Automotive News 
1/31/2012  31 comments
If you're a prospective Volt owner who wants to load your lithium-ion battery with renewable energy electrons, Chevrolet says it has found a way to help you.
Cadillac's ATS Cuts Mass 1 Gram at a Time
Electronics News 
1/24/2012  31 comments
A massive engineering effort has produced a lightweight, high-strength body structure that will let Cadillac enter the compact luxury market segment this year.
Bridge Made From Recycled Plastic Bottles
Engineering Materials 
1/9/2012  30 comments
Recycled plastic bottles and other waste plastic are being turned into structural, weight-bearing elements of a 90-foot bridge in Scotland.
Fatigued Controllers Render Washer Useless
Made by Monkeys 
1/30/2012  26 comments
After watching the harness break off from the washer controller twice, this owner comes up with a ruggedized fix.
Ford Recycles CES Plastic for Car Seats
Engineering Materials 
1/27/2012  24 comments
Ford and Unifi, maker of Repreve, will gather and recycle 2 million plastic bottles at CES and other shows for conversion into the Repreve seat fabric used in the 2012 Focus EV.
Gadget Freak Case #202: Frankenkindle – An Easier-to-Use Kindle
Gadget Freak 
1/3/2012  23 comments
To help his sister, who has cerebral palsy, Glenn Johnson created an easier-to-use Kindle by taking the controls from a children's V.Reader and routing them into the Kindle's interface board.
PCB Couldn’t Take the Heat
Made by Monkeys 
1/3/2012  22 comments
Sometimes when you fix an appliance, you're fixing problems that began in the design process.
Case of the Thawed Engine
Sherlock Ohms 
1/13/2012  19 comments
The car worked in cold weather... that is, until the engine warmed up.
Gadget Freak Case #203: Smart Recycle Can
Gadget Freak 
1/17/2012  19 comments
This recycler determines the type of material being entered, by scanning it in or entering it via a touchscreen; and an RC servomotor opens the trash flap, dropping the material in the can.
Nuclear Plant Triggers False Alarms
Sherlock Ohms 
1/25/2012  19 comments
A nuclear energy generation plant was throwing off one alarm after another. Sherlock Ohms, come quickly.
Chevy Volt Beefs Up Battery Safety
Automotive News 
1/10/2012  18 comments
General Motors said it will beef up the battery safety structure, add a sensor, and install a bracket in the Chevy Volt to prevent the type of post-crash fire that occurred in a Department of Transportation garage last year.
Responsibility & Integrity a Must in Manufacturing
Guest Blogs 
1/3/2012  16 comments
The decision to not make the fix made (short-term) financial sense, but in the long run, will it still be the right financial decision?
CES: Mercedes Foresees Progress in Batteries, Composites
Wolfe's Den 
1/12/2012  16 comments
While Mercedes-Benz and Daimler talk up their new mbrace2 in-car telematics platform, serious alternative-vehicle research is going on in automotive batteries and composites.
Composite Plane Repair Aided by Coating
Engineering Materials 
1/26/2012  16 comments
Coatings that make damage visible at certain wavelengths could be useful in inspecting the composites used in aircraft structures.
Understanding Galvanic Corrosion
Guest Blogs 
1/20/2012  15 comments
Following these simple rules can help keep your designs safe from galvanic corrosion.
I/O Drive Stings Boat Owner
Made by Monkeys 
1/10/2012  15 comments
The Stingray boat ran into trouble with its Volvo Penta SX I/O drive.
Case of the Shorted Signal
Sherlock Ohms 
1/11/2012  15 comments
Why does the printer work better when the power cord is warped?
Jack 7.1 Explores Human Side of Simulation
CAD/CAM Corner 
1/17/2012  14 comments
With the latest release of its Jack human simulation modeling software, Siemens PLM is aiming to make it easier to conduct ergonomic and safety studies on the manufacturing floor and beyond.
MEMS Gains Respect at CES 2012
Blog 
1/19/2012  14 comments
As the MEMS industry spans a myriad of industries and markets, the future of MEMS in consumer electronics will enable a myriad of functionality, applications, and personalization.
Autodesk Starts Testing Android Design Review Mobile App
CAD/CAM Corner 
1/3/2012  12 comments
Six months after the release of Design Review mobile for Apple iOS devices, Autodesk is courting beta testers to help it ready the Android version.
Hot Foot Causes Power Glitch
Sherlock Ohms 
1/9/2012  12 comments
What would cause a high-end lab power supply glitch? A firmware engineer answers this mystery.
Case of the Failing Switching Regulator IC
Sherlock Ohms 
1/18/2012  11 comments
Choose your capacitors well, and read your research notes carefully, lest you blow up your product.
CES: Nest Thermostat Aims at Smart Home
Blog 
1/12/2012  11 comments
The Nest is a sleek-looking digital thermostat which can actually "learn" its owners' schedule and then continue to regulate temperature to suit the user's preferences and patterns.
PLM Startup Targets Efficiency
CAD/CAM Corner 
1/11/2012  11 comments
Positioning itself as the anti-PLM, Kenesto is readying a cloud-based process automation tool that aims to bring efficiencies to manufacturers' product development processes.
Case of the Deep-Fried Resistors
Sherlock Ohms 
1/31/2012  10 comments
One of the key traits of a great engineer is the willingness to try unusual processes to solve tricky problems -- like using a deep fryer.
MEMS Will Set the World on Fire
Blog 
1/6/2012  9 comments
Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) were in focus at the Seventh Annual Livingston Nanotechnology Conference, with the news that the US has a competitive advantage in advanced manufacturing in nano- and, to some extent, microtechnology.
Shortcut Saves Time at Plant
Sherlock Ohms 
1/27/2012  9 comments
A bit of ingenuity can take a burdensome testing job and streamline it with handmade automation.
What Is Pulse Width Modulation?
Guest Blogs 
1/26/2012  9 comments
All engineers need to know what pulse width modulation is, and why it is so widely used.
Power Supplies Cause Confusion in Lab
Sherlock Ohms 
1/23/2012  8 comments
Sometimes your basic assumptions -- like well-working power supplies -- hide the problem you're trying to solve.
Virtually Perfect Pumps PLM 2.0
CAD/CAM Corner 
1/10/2012  8 comments
PLM veteran Michael Grieves's new book, Virtually Perfect, shines a spotlight on how manufacturing giants like Boeing and Apple are driving innovation and efficiencies through virtual product development.
Siemens PLM Software Expands Subscription Menu
CAD/CAM Corner 
1/23/2012  8 comments
In partnership with Local Motors, Siemens PLM Software is offering the crowdsourcing community multiple variations of Solid Edge as subscription licenses.
Design News Radio: Microcontrollers for Mechatronics
Electronics News 
1/19/2012  7 comments
If you design mechatronic systems and want to learn more about using microcontrollers (MCUs) in your applications, listen to our Design News radio program on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
Case of the Freezing Compressor Wires
Sherlock Ohms 
1/5/2012  7 comments
When the freezing temperatures in an ice cream storage room rise, you may have a sticky problem.
What's the Noise in Signal-to-Noise Ratio?
Mechatronics Zone 
1/11/2012  7 comments
A signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) lets us express the relationship between signal and noise powers and between the root-mean-square (rms) values of signal and noise voltages.
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