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Blogs
Content posted in September 2011
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MapleSim Drives Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Design
CAD/CAM Corner 
9/30/2011  4 comments
As part of a strategy to seed a portfolio of add-ons for its MapleSim physical modeling and simulation tool, Maplesoft has released the Driveline Component Library aimed at improving overall vehicle fuel efficiency.
The Case of the Mysterious Computer Resets
Sherlock Ohms 
9/30/2011  3 comments
Computers were resetting themselves for no apparent reason. For no reason, that is, until Sherlock Ohms looked into the matter.
Is Your Freaky Gadget Worth $500?
Gadget Freak 
9/30/2011  5 comments
Send us your gadget and become an official Design News Gadget Freak.
Gadget Freak Case #195: Nifty Master/Slave Green Power Switch
Gadget Freak 
9/29/2011  7 comments
This green gadget allows the user to turn speaker systems on and off with a TV or laptop computer. It can also be used to turn on lamps and other electric appliances.
The Case of the Failing Bus Transmissions
Sherlock Ohms 
9/29/2011  11 comments
Electric bus transmissions were failing in the field. Sherlock Ohms had to track down the problem.
3D Printing Accelerates Prototyping
Engineering Materials 
9/29/2011  7 comments
Low-cost 3D printers are rapidly changing the design process.
Elysium Explores CAD Data Mining Service
CAD/CAM Corner 
9/28/2011  3 comments
Hoping to facilitate better insights and decision making, Elysium is testing a service in which it helps companies mine critical product-related IP locked away in CAD models for integration into other core business systems.
Should Design Engineers Run Environmental Compliance?
Lead-Free Zone 
9/28/2011  11 comments
With the constant changes in environmental compliance, design engineers need support.
Design News Radio Talks Multicore MCUs on Wednesday
Blog 
9/27/2011  Post a comment
Design News Radio's "MCUs Grow Up: The Next Generation of Multicore Controllers," will be a live, streaming audio show and companion online chat Wednesday, Sept. 28.
Tree-Climbing Robot
Gadget Freak 
9/27/2011  13 comments
A high school senior has built a robot that grips on to a tree and climbs up like an inchworm.
3D Systems Ramps Up Push for Maker Market
CAD/CAM Corner 
9/27/2011  11 comments
With the BotMill open-source 3D printer company the latest acquisition under its belt, 3D Systems is stepping up efforts to target makers and enthusiasts as part of its vision to "democratize" low-cost 3D print and content solutions.
Troubles With the Ford Taurus SHO
Made by Monkeys 
9/27/2011  19 comments
Watch out for the Ford Taurus SHO. Its weird engine means big troubles.
Another Case of a Buried Electrical Box
Sherlock Ohms 
9/27/2011  4 comments
How do you find electrical materials buried in a wall? You get as inventive as Sherlock Ohms.
Interface Chip Simplifies Time-Frequency Measurements
Mechatronics Zone 
9/26/2011  1 comment
This Universal Sensors and Transducers Interface (USTI) integrated circuit provides 29 measuring modes, as well as digital sensors that operate in the time-and-frequency domains.
Design Tool Vendors Step Up Education Efforts
CAD/CAM Corner 
9/26/2011  6 comments
In response to national concern over the shortage of skilled science and engineering graduates, design tool vendors are stepping up efforts to seed technology within the student community, hoping to foster interest in engineering careers.
Safety Is Basis of TI's Hercules MCUs
Blog 
9/26/2011  2 comments
TI’s Hercules line of safe microcontrollers features comprehensive diagnostic and self-testing capabilities built into the hardware.
Will Split-Cycle Engine Compete With EV Powertrains?
Blog 
9/23/2011  45 comments
Scuderi Group says its split-cycle engine boosts fuel efficiency by 20 percent to 30 percent while cutting emissions.
The Case of the Ridiculous Fatigue Calculations
Sherlock Ohms 
9/23/2011  9 comments
In the process of taking fatigue calculations, the data came in sky high at some points and zero at others.
Dippy Bird Knows the Time
Gadget Freak 
9/23/2011  2 comments
These four Dippy Birds will tell you the current hour.
Green Contest Gives Crash Course in Sustainable Design
CAD/CAM Corner 
9/23/2011  9 comments
Russell Donovan, winner of SolidWorks' Green Design Contest, says his exposure to SolidWorks SustainabilityXpress to create his "leaf" chair was an eye-opener in terms of considering environmental factors throughout a product's lifecycle.
China's Rare Earth Export Cutbacks Raise Alarms
Blog 
9/22/2011  20 comments
Prices for rare earth elements, an important component electromechanical products, have jumped by at least an order of magnitude in the past year as a result of export cutbacks from China, the world's largest source.
The Case of the Semi-Proficient Measurement
Sherlock Ohms 
9/22/2011  6 comments
Sometimes old equipment is just right -- other times, it's just too old.
MCU Vendors Tackle Electronic Safety
Electronics News 
9/21/2011  4 comments
Electronics suppliers are rolling out hardware and software that promote electronic safety.
So What's an 'Embedded System,' Anyway?
Blog 
9/21/2011  10 comments
IDC says 1.8 billion embedded systems will ship this year, generating $1 trillion in revenue. Is its definition of the market so broad that we must reconsider what does and doesn't fit in its boundaries?
The Monkeys Are All Over the LG Refrigerator
Made by Monkeys 
9/21/2011  14 comments
The LG deluxe refrigerator is anything but deluxe with it comes to design.
SAP Pumps Up 3D Product Visualization
CAD/CAM Corner 
9/20/2011  7 comments
SAP's acquisition of Right Hemisphere shows a commitment to leveraging 3D visualization to let all business lines make more informed decisions throughout the product lifecycle.
Damn the Error Codes
Mechatronics Zone 
9/20/2011  14 comments
Service manuals often give incomplete error or malfunction information and fail to include information on fixing the problem.
The Dump Trailer Won't Dump
Made by Monkeys 
9/20/2011  13 comments
What happens when your dump trailer won't dump? Such a simple function, and so hard to find.
Slideshow: BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet Teardown
Guest Blogs 
9/20/2011  3 comments
A UBM TechInsights teardown of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook tablet reveals that Texas Instruments (TI) is the big design winner.
The Case of the Unexpected FM Transmitter Turnoff
Sherlock Ohms 
9/19/2011  2 comments
When a new transmitter was installed, the radio station kept going off the air. Time to bring in Sherlock.
Will an MBA Benefit You?
Electronics News 
9/19/2011  9 comments
The Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree, long a staple for engineers preparing for leadership, is looking pretty enticing lately.
At Wit's End With the Kenmore Microwave
Made by Monkeys 
9/19/2011  20 comments
We bought this Kenmore microwave for "ease of use." What a laugh.
Electronics Group Resisting Calif. Energy Regulations
Green Scene 
9/19/2011  22 comments
The CEA pounds California policymakers for proposing new regulations while the electronics industry is reporting gains in energy efficiency.
Does Anyone Know the True Cost of EV Batteries? (Not Really)
Automotive News 
9/16/2011  36 comments
If you want to start an argument about electric vehicles, the best way to do it is to mention battery costs.
Design Tools Get the Human Touch
CAD/CAM Corner 
9/16/2011  4 comments
Graphics-rich mobile devices, greater processing power, and consumers' continuing push for simplicity are remaking the design tool experience to be less technology centric and more focused on human-centered design.
The Case of the Intermittent Shutdown Glitch
Sherlock Ohms 
9/15/2011  5 comments
Engineers encountered an intermittent issue where one engine in a rail car would shut down for over speed during the start cycle.
Gadget Freak Case #194: Fluffing Up Model Lighting
Gadget Freak 
9/15/2011  7 comments
William Grill created an inexpensive controller to customize the lighting for a model or simulator.
A Different Way to Your Rapid Prototype
Guest Blogs 
9/15/2011  7 comments
Metrix Create:Space offers a variety of fabrication tools, including 3D printing. The difference is that you do the work.
Hot Off the Presses: Design News September Digital Issue
Wolfe's Den 
9/14/2011  Post a comment
Download the free e-magazine and PDF versions of the September issue of Design News.
Now You Know What Rime Ice Is
Mechatronics Zone 
9/14/2011  10 comments
A new sensor uses the optical properties of ice to detect when it builds up on refrigerator coils.
Fun With the Arduino Inventor's Kit
Gadget Freak 
9/14/2011  1 comment
Gadget Freak blogger Steve Ravet follows up on his kids' experiences with the Arduino Inventor's Kit.
Let’s Hear About Your Sherlock Heroics
Sherlock Ohms 
9/14/2011  1 comment
Tell us about your Sherlock moment, the time you solved a true engineering mystery -- or at least solved a problem.
PLM: The Ultimate Engineering Job Saver
Guest Blogs 
9/14/2011  5 comments
By following PLM's product-centric, information-driven approach to product design, engineers can produce better and more innovative products using fewer resources in less time -- and keep their jobs.
Prius Plugs Into a New Era
Automotive News 
9/13/2011  18 comments
Small battery, fast recharging, and low costs are the keys to Toyota's "less is more" strategy of electrification.
Monkeys Only Mess With New Appliances
Made by Monkeys 
9/13/2011  15 comments
One after another -- from washers to dishwashers -- it's the new appliances that fail.
My Mercury Wiring Harness Nightmare
Mechatronics Zone 
9/13/2011  8 comments
When I attempted to replace a power-window motor on my '96 Mercury I uncovered an amazing nest of wires that controls windows, door locks, and mirror positions.
Amazon's Bezos Patenting 'Blue Origin' Spacecraft
Wolfe's Den 
9/13/2011  10 comments
Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is building a commercial spacecraft via his Blue Origin company.
Case of Shocking Countertop Could Be Electrocution Hazard
Sherlock Ohms 
9/13/2011  7 comments
Dennis Darling explains there is more to the Shocking Countertop story. Shocks call for deep investigation.
Automaker Partnerships Surge in Bid to Reduce Dev Costs
Automotive News 
9/12/2011  5 comments
Automakers save time and save tens of millions of development dollars by teaming with other automakers and with suppliers.
Siemens Says PLM's Matured Into True Engineering Platform
CAD/CAM Corner 
9/12/2011  4 comments
At Siemens PLM Software's media event, the focus was on how PLM has evolved into a true multidisciplinary product development platform.
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ABI Research, a firm based in the UK that specializes in analyzing global connectivity and other emerging technologies, estimates there will be 40.9 billion active wirelessly interconnected “things” by 2020. The driving force is the usual suspect: the Internet of Things.
Just in time for Earth Day, chemicals leader Bayer MaterialScience reported from the UTECH Europe 2015 polyurethane show on programs and applications using its materials to help reduce energy usage. The company also gave an update on its CO2-based PU as that eco-friendly material comes closer to production.
Solar and wind energy are becoming more viable as a source of energy on the electric grid. For decades, the major drawback to solar and wind was that they’re temperamental. A cloudy day kills solar and a still day renders the wind turbines useless. Automation tools, however, are providing a path to help these renewables become practical.
In honor of Earth Day, the National Security Agency has launched the STEM Recycling Challenge in Maryland schools to encourage kids to think about where the garbage they throw out every day actually goes. The agency has also introduced “Dunk,” a muscular blue cartoon recycling bin wearing shorts and sneakers.
If you’ve noticed the recent news about electric cars and batteries, then it’s easy to wonder about the continuing wisdom behind public subsidies for EVs.
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