Get Your 15 Minutes of DIY Fame
Gadget Freak 11/28/2014 Post a comment If you have a Gadget Freak project, we have a reader who wants to make it. And not only will you get your 15 minutes of fame on our website and social media channels, you will also receive $500 and be automatically entered into the 2015 Gadget Freak of the Year contest.
Deep Learning is the Future of Automation and Robotics
Blog 11/28/2014 2 comments Robots are getting more agile and automation systems are becoming more complex. Yet the most impressive development in robotics and automation is increased intelligence. Machines in automation are increasingly able to analyze huge amounts of data. They are often able to see, speak, even imitate patterns of human thinking. Researchers at European Automation
call this deep learning.
Engineer Comic Works in PowerPoint
Blog 11/26/2014 15 comments If you didn't realize that PowerPoint presentations are inherently hilarious, you have to see Don McMillan take one apart. McMillan -- aka the Technically Funny Comic -- worked for 10 years as an engineer before he switched to stand-up comedy.
Video: Bamboo-Based Hybrid Wind Turbine Aimed at Developing World
Blog 11/20/2014 Post a comment Green energy is being billed as a way to make communities that are energy deprived more self-sustaining. So it makes sense to use natural materials to create devices that harvest this type of energy. Thatís the idea behind a hybrid wind/solar energy harvester made of bamboo thatís been developed by UVM researchers.
11 Robots Take Flight
Blog 11/17/2014 9 comments Flying robot hardware is still important, but what's getting as interesting now is some of the new uses, such as equipping them with medical equipment for aiding first responders, monitoring and recording biometric health data about athletes, and commercial aircraft inspection.
Video: German Kids Can Build Better LEGO Robots
STEM Connection 11/17/2014 4 comments Google has teamed up with the German research institute Fraunhofer IAIS to develop and offer OpenRoberta, which simplifies programming for LEGO Mindstorm robots for German kids and teachers and lets them control the robots from mobile devices.
Did You Know that Time Constants May Not Be Constant?
Guest Blogs 11/17/2014 Post a comment People usually think of a time constant as the time it takes a first order system to change 63% of the way to the steady state value in response to a step change in the input -- itís basically a measure of the responsiveness of the system. This is true, but in reality, time constants are often not constant. They can change just like system gains change as the environment or the geometry of the system changes.
The Sound Beneath the Floors
Guest Blogs 11/13/2014 8 comments At its core, sound is a relatively simple natural phenomenon caused by pressure pulsations or vibrations propagating through various mediums in the world around us. Studies have shown that the complete absence of sound can drive a person insane, causing them to experience hallucinations. Likewise, loud and overwhelming sound can have the same effect. This especially holds true in manufacturing and plant environments where loud noises are the norm.
10 Programmable Robots for Kids
Blog 11/12/2014 7 comments Here's a variety of robots for kids that are all programmable. Some can be controlled with simple building blocks while others use programming language.
Do Good Engineers Make Good Engineering Managers?
Blog 11/11/2014 20 comments Being a good engineer is a prerequisite for being a good engineering manager. However, itís a necessary but not sufficient condition: not every good engineer will make a good engineering manager, or even want to be one in the first place. This is why good engineering managers are few and far between.
Grabit Uses Static Electricity to Let Robots Grip Anything
Blog 11/7/2014 6 comments Designing a robot gripper that is flexible enough to grab a variety of objects -- even oddly shaped or heavy ones -- has always been challenging. A company called Grabit has found a solution with a robot that uses static electricity to pick up virtually anything and is well-suited for a range of industrial applications.
30 Seconds With Festo's AquaJelly
Electronics News 11/7/2014 1 comment Frank Langro of Festo Corp. describes how AquaJelly, the intelligent artificial jellyfish, works. Festo demonstrated AquaJelly at its booth at Pack Expo 2014 in Chicago this week.
Why You Need to Take a Break
Blog 11/6/2014 30 comments This is the article your manager doesnít want you to read. Are you working on a tough engineering problem? Donít keep plugging away at it. Take a break and do something else for a while. Your manager will thank you later.
Advanced Warfare: 4 Real-Life Military Exoskeletons
Blog 11/6/2014 3 comments This week sees the release of the latest edition of the wildly popular Call of Duty video game franchise, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Sledgehammer, the studio behind Advanced Warfare, consulted with military experts on the design of the game's exoskeletons. What they eventually came up with is certainly very sci-fi but not too far away from technologies being developed today.
Protect Your Hardware From Hacking
Blog 11/6/2014 1 comment Cyber security for hardware assets has become a major issue as more and more devices get connected. A whole slew of new protection technology is beginning to show up to confront the problem. While weíve seeing plenty of attention paid to networks, securing hardware has received less attention. Yet there plenty of security advances available now for hardware protection.
Engineering Job Prospects 10 Years Out
Blog 11/4/2014 19 comments Job prospects for US engineers in the coming decade is a mixed bag, with some disciplines seeing a 27% growth rate (biomedical engineering), while others are flatlining (materials engineering).
How GM Failed Me
Blog 11/4/2014 31 comments Iím willing to believe that Mary Barra is sincere in her desire to fix GMís mistakes. Iím even willing to forgive GM for the defective ignition switch. However, after the abysmal service my daughter and I received, itís hard for me to imagine ever buying another GM product.
Does it Still Make Sense to Go Offshore?
Guest Blogs 11/3/2014 5 comments It has been common wisdom of late that anything you needed to manufacture could be made more cost-effectively on foreign shores. Following World War II, the label ďMade in JapanĒ was as ubiquitous as is the ďMade in ChinaĒ version today and often had very similar -- not always positive -- connotations. Along the way, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other Pacific-rim nations have each had their turn at being the preferred low-cost alternative to manufacturing here in the US.
9 Inventions Provide Frightful Fun for Halloween
Blog 10/31/2014 8 comments Halloween isnít just a time for creative costumes. Thanks to the element14 online design community, the holiday this year also brings us a number of creative electronic device design ideas aimed at making your Halloween party a unique experience.
NASAís Asteroid Redirect Mission: Innovative or a Waste of Time?
Blog 10/31/2014 11 comments On April 15, 2010, President Barack Obama gave a major speech at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, announcing that the US would send astronauts to Mars by the mid-2030s. But in order to do so, NASA would first need to ramp up its capabilities through missions directed toward "a series of increasingly demanding targets," i.e. asteroids.
Windowless Planes: The Future of Flight or Fright?
Blog 10/28/2014 76 comments Would you fly in a plane that had no windows? British developers at the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) believe that taking out the tiny porthole windows in planes and replacing them with giant flexible OLED screens is the future of flight, and posit it could even become a reality in less than 10 years.
10 Talented Robot Arms & Hands
Engineering Materials 10/27/2014 14 comments We've found an amazing variety of robot hands & arms in medicine, space, and service robots, as well as R&D and assembly. Some are based on industrial designs modified for speed or dexterity, while others more closely emulate human movements, as well as human size and shape.
30 Seconds With Formlabs
Electronics News 10/23/2014 Post a comment Kevin Gautier of Formlabs describes the making of a carbon fiber mold for an intake manifold, using a $3,300 3D printer, during Medical Design & Manufacturing Midwest.
Let Isaac Asimov Lead Your Brainstorming Session
Blog 10/23/2014 7 comments Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
30 Seconds With Optimal Design
Electronics News 10/21/2014 1 comment At Medical Design & Manufacturing Midwest, Joe Wascow told Design News how Optimal Design prototyped a machine that captures the wing-beat of a duck.
12 Robots That Play Sports
Blog 10/20/2014 26 comments Some humanoid walking robots are also good at running, balancing, and coordinated movements in group settings. Several of our sports robots have won regional or worldwide acclaim in the RoboCup soccer World Cup, or FIRST Robotics competitions. Others include the world's first hockey-playing robot and a trash-talking Scrabble player.
Gadget Freak Case #264: Drink Delivery Vehicle Ė Inverted Pendulum
Gadget Freak 10/17/2014 30 comments The DDV-IP is a two-wheeled self-balancing robot that can deliver cold beverages to thirsty folks on hot summer days. A wireless RF remote enables manual control of the device beyond the act of self-balancing. All of the features of the DDV-IP result in an effective delivery vehicle while providing entertainment to the user.
Get Your Gadget Freak On
Gadget Freak 10/16/2014 1 comment Design News and Allied Electronics have raised the stakes for our second-annual Gadget Freak of the Year contest. The top three gadgeteers will be awarded a total of $10,000. Don't delay, enter today!
A new federally sponsored manufacturing innovation center to strengthen US manufacturing abilities in fiber-reinforced composites has formed, bringing together materials suppliers, OEMs, university R&D labs, and national labs.
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