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.
Engineering Disasters: A Deadly Mistake in Kansas City
Electronics News 11/13/2014 51 comments More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
The Sound Beneath the Floors
Guest Blogs 11/13/2014 4 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.
How Did a Concept Car Shed 26 Pounds?
Engineering Materials 11/12/2014 19 comments A lightweight electric urban concept car designed by several European companies weighs only 992 lb without its battery. It would have weighed 26.7 lb more if its windows were made of glass instead of the specially coated LEXAN polycarbonate resin from SABIC Innovative Plastics.
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, it’s 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.
Would You Let Your Kids Play With Atomic Energy?
STEM Connection 11/10/2014 27 comments In the early 1950s, the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab offered young people the opportunity to watch radioactive decay with a spinthariscope, measure the radioactivity of uranium ore with an electroscope, watch the tracks formed by alpha particles in a cloud chamber, and even prospect for uranium using a Geiger counter. Yikes!
3D Printing Super-Hard Metal Matrix Composites
Engineering Materials 11/7/2014 6 comments The NanoSteel Company has produced high-hardness ferrous metal matrix composite (MMC) parts using a new nanosteel powder in a one-step 3D-printing process. Parts are 99.9% dense, crack-free, and with wear resistance comparable to M2 tool steels.
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 doesn’t want you to read. Are you working on a tough engineering problem? Don’t keep plugging away at it. Take a break and do something else for a while. Your manager will thank you later.
Astronauts to Get Out-of-this-World Java
Blog 11/5/2014 7 comments Dubbed ISSpresso, the world’s first galactic coffee machine has been designed by Italy's famous coffee company Lavazza, and engineered by a Turin-based engineering company, Argotec, to be rocketed into space early next year.
Students: NASA Wants You to Design its Next Space Tool
STEM Connection 11/5/2014 1 comment The winner of NASA's Design a Space Tool Challenge will watch the winning tool being printed on the 3D printer launched to the International Space Station in September. Students in grades K through 12 have until December 15 to submit entries.
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 I’m willing to believe that Mary Barra is sincere in her desire to fix GM’s mistakes. I’m even willing to forgive GM for the defective ignition switch. However, after the abysmal service my daughter and I received, it’s 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 “Made in Japan” was as ubiquitous as is the “Made in China” 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.
HP Finally Reveals 3D Printing Plans
Engineering Materials 10/31/2014 8 comments After a year or so of missteps, false starts, retractions, and postponements, inkjet office printer giant Hewlett-Packard has finally revealed just what it plans to do in 3D printing.
Update: 3D-Printed Optics From New Material, Process
Engineering Materials 10/29/2014 23 comments The company that brought you 3D-printed eyeglasses has launched both an improved clear polymer material for 3D printing optical components and a high-speed, precision, 3D-printing process for making small- and medium-sized batches in a few days.
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.
Engineering Disaster: The Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death
Blog 10/27/2014 32 comments The Xbox Red Ring of Death in 2007 was the hardware error signal from the Xbox 360 video game console that announced your machine was toast. There was no coming back from the red disease -- your machine had to go back to the mothership for serious revamping or replacing. What caused the Red Ring of Death? Was it poor ASIC or lead-free solder?
Europe’s Great Forest Drone Race
Blog 10/27/2014 8 comments Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s two drones racing each other through a forest, and it is, for lack of a better word, AWESOME. Not seeing the forest for the trees can be a bad thing in life, but for drones, it turns out to be a decidedly good thing.
Gadget Freak Case #266: The Window Watcher
Gadget Freak 10/24/2014 28 comments The Window Watcher stops the burglar before he does damage or enters the house. House alarm service companies set off alarms and call the service only after the burglar has damaged and entered the house.
354 Reasons Why Audi's SQ5 Is Worth a Look
Guest Blogs 10/23/2014 1 comment More often than not, with the purchase of a sports car comes the sacrifice of any sort of utility. In other words, you can forget about a large trunk, extra seats for the kids, and more importantly driving in snowy (or inclement) weather. But what if there was a vehicle that offered the best of both worlds; great handling and practicality?
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.
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.