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Blogs
Content posted in February 2012
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Auto Vehicle-to-Vehicle Comms Viewed as Life Saver
Captain Hybrid 
2/29/2012  24 comments
Consumer Reports has given V2V technology a significant vote of confidence.
Autodesk iPad App Animates Lego Dragon
CAD/CAM Corner 
2/29/2012  12 comments
Autodesk is teaming up with Lego to promote the benefits of animated 3D instruction manuals via a proof-of-concept iPad app that’s powered by the Inventor Publisher Mobile Viewer.
Solder Blamed for Faulty Window Operation
Sherlock Ohms 
2/29/2012  27 comments
After an accident, the windows on the Honda Odyssey did not quite work correctly.
Specifying & Creating Data-Acquisition Systems, Part 1
Mechatronics Zone 
2/29/2012  14 comments
Specifying and creating a data-acquisition system can seem rocky until you analyze what must be measured and what you want to do with the measurement information.
Gadget Freak Case #206: Electroluminescent Wire Sound Controller
Gadget Freak 
2/28/2012  12 comments
By connecting electroluminescent wire to his Android smartphone, Matt Katzenstein has created his own personal disco light that strobes to the beat of his music.
Engine Mount Failure Shakes Oldsmobile
Made by Monkeys 
2/28/2012  35 comments
If the engine seems a little loose, it could be that all three engine mounts failed.
Slideshow: Detroit Auto Show's Concept Cars Roll Hybrid
Captain Hybrid 
2/27/2012  27 comments
The 2012 North America Internation Auto Shows displayed concept cars from Cadillac, Lexus, VW, Chrysler, and other car makers, spotlighting electric and hybrid power trains.
Case of the Faulty Oscillator
Sherlock Ohms 
2/27/2012  19 comments
We couldn't figure out why the oscillator was faulty. We should have looked at who touched it last.
Slideshow: Green Materials Expand Design Reach
Engineering Materials 
2/24/2012  23 comments
There are more green, sustainable materials in use now than ever before, and if some manufacturers have their way, there will be even more of them in the future.
Harley Is Always Running Out of Gas
Made by Monkeys 
2/24/2012  29 comments
With a tiny gas tank and a faulty gas gauge, it's a pain trying to figure out when to stop to refuel.
Consumerization Steers a New Wave of Design Tools
CAD/CAM Corner 
2/24/2012  16 comments
The user experience around personal devices is driving a whole new generation of tools and CAD apps that will deliver enhanced usability and new utility for engineers.
Rebuilding America: Should US Companies Follow Germans' Lead?
Guest Blogs 
2/23/2012  41 comments
Rather than sacking loyal, trained workers, many struggling German companies simply cut the hours of all employees in order to preserve jobs and, ultimately, the enterprise.
Flawed Connections Need Careful Examining
Sherlock Ohms 
2/23/2012  17 comments
Sometimes the only way to identify an electronics problem is to get a good look at the situation.
Air Guitar Retuned by Clippard's Pneumatics
Electronic News & Comment 
2/22/2012  30 comments
Clippard Instruments demonstrated a pneumatically operated guitar at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show.
Driving App Updates via Crowdsourcing
Gadget Freak 
2/22/2012  10 comments
Waze, an open-source GPS-enabled smartphone app, takes full advantage of crowdsourcing to update road conditions.
Bioplastics Powered by Plants & Metals
Engineering Materials 
2/22/2012  20 comments
Two advances in bioplastics include a new additive to create polyamide precursors and improvements in commercialized bio-polypropylene resins.
Auto Climate Control Is Backwards
Made by Monkeys 
2/22/2012  67 comments
The automated climate controls do exactly the opposite of what is needed, despite the season.
Slideshow: Social Side of CAD
CAD/CAM Corner 
2/21/2012  13 comments
Traditional CAD vendors and new startups are bringing a social side to traditional design tools, inspiring new ways of collaboration, and fostering the development of more innovative products.
Packaging Replaces Plastic With Pulp
Engineering Materials 
2/21/2012  31 comments
Procter & Gamble has replaced 57 percent of the plastic in its Gillette Fusion clamshell/tray package with moldable wood pulp, also dropping 20 percent of package weight.
User Interfaces Should Be Easy to Navigate
Mechatronics Zone 
2/21/2012  23 comments
The need to frequently "back track" out of confusing menus indicates a poor design.
Case of the Reversed Power Switches
Sherlock Ohms 
2/17/2012  13 comments
When everything you do to fix the motor fails, it's time to examine your assumptions.
How Much Thread Engagement Is Enough?
Guest Blogs 
2/17/2012  22 comments
To avoid defective designs, you must find the proper thread engagement.
Case of the Plunging Insulation Resistance Values
Sherlock Ohms 
2/16/2012  9 comments
Not all measurements can be trusted, especially if you're using improvised equipment.
Start-Stop Micro Hybrids Gain Momentum
Captain Hybrid 
2/16/2012  30 comments
A Lux Research study predicts that within the next five years, more than half of the new cars sold in the US will be micro- or mild hybrid vehicles.
Wireless Power Pitched as Replacement for EV Batteries
Captain Hybrid 
2/15/2012  60 comments
Stanford University researchers believe they've found a better way to build a long-range electric car. Amazingly, their solution has nothing to do with batteries.
Aluminum Composite to Lower Weight in Brake Rotor
Engineering Materials 
2/15/2012  28 comments
An aluminum composite brake rotor that weighs 60 percent less than cast iron and lasts three times as long could be cheap enough for volume automotive manufacturing.
Case of the Process Variations
Sherlock Ohms 
2/15/2012  10 comments
Sometimes it's surprising how much a composite shell can shrink after curing and cooling to room temperature.
Gadget Freak Case #205: Colorado Smart Bike Shifts Itself
Gadget Freak 
2/14/2012  41 comments
A group of Colorado State University engineering students created a bike that shifts gears by itself based on several inputs: rear wheel speed, pedaling direction, and initial chain position.
Air Bags Cocoon Driver in GMC Acadia
Captain Hybrid 
2/14/2012  12 comments
The new GMC Acadia will now have air bags on both sides of the driver, above and below the shoulder, as well is in the front.
Complexity Surrounds Software-Intensive Product Designs
CAD/CAM Corner 
2/14/2012  11 comments
As software increasingly becomes a lever to differentiate and drive innovation, product development organizations face complex change management issues that can put a damper on potential benefits.
Apple Blasted for Tiny Torx Screws
Blog 
2/13/2012  81 comments
During a DesignCon 2012 teardown, iFixit's CEO criticized Apple for replacing its Phillips screws with tamper-resistant ones.
Rewound Motor Saves Refrigerator
Sherlock Ohms 
2/13/2012  30 comments
Sometimes the real problem is hard to see. Sometimes the fix is even harder to see.
Slideshow: Electric Car Batteries Get Bigger
Captain Hybrid 
2/10/2012  58 comments
To boost the range of pure electric vehicles (EVs), automakers need more onboard energy. To get more energy, they need bigger battery packs.
How Many Calculus Classes Do Engineers Need?
Mechatronics Zone 
2/10/2012  38 comments
Unlike his friends in engineering programs, blogger Jon Titus had little need for calculus except in a few of his college physical-chemistry labs and classes.
Chevy Volt's Big Problem Isn't Safety, It's Cost
Captain Hybrid 
2/9/2012  73 comments
In the wake of the Chevy Volt fire investigations, sales are down, and General Motors' (GM) CEO Dan Akerson is blaming the downturn on a spate of bad publicity.
iPad Controls Flying Video Game
Engineering Materials 
2/9/2012  22 comments
The Parrot AR.Drone could form a design platform for machine vision and military apps with a little imagination and some hardware upgrades.
MEMS in Sports
Guest Blogs 
2/9/2012  23 comments
MEMS in sports is such a hot topic that MEMS Industry Group – a partner of Sensors in Design (part of Design West Summit) – will showcase it at next month’s conference.
Design News Radio Explores Medical Electronics
Electronic News & Comment 
2/9/2012  24 comments
Medical device designers who want to learn more about electronics should join us at Design News Radio on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 2:00 p.m. EST.
Slideshow: More Messy Engineering Desktops
Blog 
2/8/2012  34 comments
We follow up our original slideshow with contributions from our messy readers.
Electric School Bus Eliminates 'Range Anxiety'
Captain Hybrid 
2/8/2012  26 comments
Smith Electric Vehicles teamed with Trans Tech Bus to roll out a 42-passenger, 26,000-lb electric bus called the Newton eTrans, which it hopes will change the way children get to school every morning.
Can You Hear Air Traffic Control Now?
Sherlock Ohms 
2/8/2012  10 comments
After several years of ground-to-air noise, Sherlock Ohms brought clarity to Air Traffic Control.
Gadget Freak Case #204: Self-Starting, Solar-Powered Stirling Engine
Gadget Freak 
2/7/2012  28 comments
Doug Conner's self-starting, solar-powered Stirling engine runs all year when the sun is visible from the sculpture’s location. The engine can shut down when the sun isn’t visible, and it can restart by itself when the sun comes back up.
MEMS Is the Word
Wolfe's Den 
2/7/2012  12 comments
Our Sensors in Design summit focuses on emerging applications.
3D PDF Backed for Engineering Data Exchange
CAD/CAM Corner 
2/7/2012  12 comments
The 3D PDF Consortium is courting a community to drive adoption of the standard as a means to collaborate, exchange, and visualize engineering-related data.
Rebuilding Manufacturing: Fixing the Dysfunctional R&D Tax Credit
Guest Blogs 
2/6/2012  24 comments
As the debate over how to revive US manufacturing heats up, tax and other proposals are emerging to provide incentives for technology companies to boost investment in innovative research that could foster new engines of economic growth.
LEDs Light Up Dodge Dart
Electronic News & Comment 
2/6/2012  43 comments
The new Dodge Dart uses 152 LEDs to form a ruby red "racetrack" around the trunk, tail lights, and rear decklid.
IMSI/Design Has Foundation for Mobile CAD
CAD/CAM Corner 
2/6/2012  2 comments
With its new TurboApps SDK, IMSI/Design is hoping to make its 2D/3D viewing engine a platform for developers building mobile CAD-related apps.
Buying the Logic of Safety
Guest Blogs 
2/6/2012  14 comments
Blogger TJ McDermott recently completed an industrial system requiring a fair amount of safety logic because of its different zones. He looks at each iteration, and lists the cost of each.
Global Warming: Are the Skeptics Right?
Captain Hybrid 
2/3/2012  540 comments
Is the science of global warming incontrovertible? Sixteen distinguished scientists say no.
When Environmental Stress Cracking Strikes
Guest Blogs 
2/3/2012  22 comments
Environmental stress cracking is a common failure mode for plastics, and you may need to do your own testing to make sure that the plastic you plan to use will not crack.
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