Video: Glass-Paved Roads Provide Solar Power
Blog 4/30/2014 28 comments Scott and Julie Brusaw are the inventors of Solar Roadways, a project to develop solar panels durable enough to be driven on so they can replace asphalt or concrete surfaces of parking lots and roadways.
3D-Printed Bioplastics Coming Soon
Engineering Materials 4/25/2014 27 comments Bioplastics formulator and manufacturer Sierra Resins and distributor 3D Printlife are working together to introduce a new biofilament for 3D printers.
Solar Impulse 2 Flies New Materials
Engineering Materials 4/24/2014 26 comments Solar Impulse 2 -- a 100% solar-powered airplane -- has been completed. It features several advanced materials, some developed specifically for next year's attempted around-the-world flight.
Smart Glasses Rival Google
Blog 4/23/2014 33 comments Lumus and eyeSight have partnered to create consumer-grade devices that offer all the prime functions of smart glasses without the bulk.
Composite Rocket Fuel Tank Will Explore Deep Space
Engineering Materials 4/23/2014 8 comments NASA and Boeing developed a huge, carbon composite cryogenic fuel tank for deep space missions, and started testing it last month. The 18-ft cryotank will enable heavy-lift launch vehicles to send both humans and robots into deep space.
Turtle Inspires 3D-Printed Car Frame
Engineering Materials 4/22/2014 6 comments German engineering firm EDAG Group showed a single-piece, 3D-printed car body design inspired by a turtle at the Geneva Motor Show. It came about after an assessment of how additive manufacturing could be applied to making industrial components, modules, and complete vehicle bodies.
World Demand for Service Robots Still Rising
Blog 4/21/2014 18 comments Unlike industrial robots, which suffered a slight overall slump in 2012, service robots continue to be increasingly in demand. The majority are used for defense, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); and agriculture, such as milking robots.
Video: BionicKangaroo Mimics the Real Thing
Blog 4/18/2014 20 comments Festo's BionicKangaroo combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology, plus very precise controls and condition monitoring. Like a real kangaroo, the BionicKangaroo robot harvests the kinetic energy of each takeoff and immediately uses it to power the next jump.
10 Engineering Toys From Your Youth
Blog 4/17/2014 81 comments These are the toys that inspired budding engineers to try out sublime designs, create miniature structures, and experiment with bizarre contraptions using sets that could be torn down and reconstructed over and over.
10 Ways Robots Are Better Than Us
Blog 4/16/2014 34 comments Today's robots should be respected, and humans should be wary of their growing skills and sophistication. Quite simply, robots are better than us in a lot of ways. Here are 10 of them.
Video: 3D-Printed Drone Flies High
Engineering Materials 4/16/2014 8 comments 3D printing has met up with drones in a 3D-printed UAV. University of Sheffield engineers printed the prototype drone in 24 hours from ABS plastic using Fused Deposition Modeling.
3D Pictures of Huge, Self-Assembled DNA Structures
Engineering Materials 4/15/2014 5 comments Some of the biggest self-assembled building blocks and structures made from engineered DNA have been developed by researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute. The largest, a hexagonal prism, is one-tenth the size of an average bacterium.
3D Printing High-Strength Carbon Composites Using PEEK, PAEK
Engineering Materials 4/14/2014 6 comments Arevo Labs' end-production 3D printing technology for carbon composites includes a high-temperature, filament fusion printer head design and firmware for use with the company's new carbon fiber and nanotube reinforced high-temperature matrix polymers like PEEK.
World Industrial Robot Demand Falls
Engineering Materials 4/10/2014 9 comments The International Federation of Robotics reports that global sales of industrial robots decreased by 4% in 2012 over 2011. The biggest hit was electrical/electronics manufacturing, down by 13%; but by region, the Amerficas did well.
Lightweighting: The Future of Aluminum
Guest Blogs 4/10/2014 3 comments The shift to aluminum is gaining momentum and the demand from automakers for aluminum is soaring, "expecting to reach one billion pounds this year, up from 200 million in 2012, and to grow by more than 30% annually through 2020."
Slideshow: New Carbon Composites for Volume Car Production
Engineering Materials 4/9/2014 21 comments At the JEC Europe 2014 composites show in Paris, many companies showcased their carbon fiber composite products, especially for volume automotive manufacturing. Some companies touted their contributions to BMW's all-carbon composite body-in-white. Others introduced automotive products and processes.
'Einstein' Sparks STEM Initiative
STEM Connection 4/9/2014 7 comments Einstein in a Box inspires critical thinking with the actual doing and experiencing. They take the statement "inquiring minds want to know" to a whole new level.
Teardown: Amazon Fire TV
Blog 4/8/2014 10 comments Amazon has announced a tiny black box that supposedly does everything better than all of the other tiny black boxes. Join the team at iFixit as they investigate the insides of this April treat to see if it's got what it takes to burn through the competition.
Women in Industrial Design
Guest Blogs 4/8/2014 Post a comment The first Women in Industrial Design show is coming to San Francisco Design Week this June. The show is the first exhibit organized by the Women in Design section of the Industrial Designers Society of America, and the first exhibit to feature female industrial designers.
What Could Go Wrong When Outsourcing Product Development?
Guest Blogs 4/7/2014 10 comments To make sound outsourcing decisions, identify the functions and features, all of the must-haves, your new product requires. Then find a product development partner able to marshal the right technologies for each stage of development and use a proven process to ensure timely, cost-effective delivery.
Teardown: First Look Inside Fairphone's Fair-Trade Smartphone
Blog 4/4/2014 1 comment Fairphone is a social enterprise with the aim to develop a smartphone designed and produced with minimal harm to people and planet. The main motivation for founding Fairphone was to develop a mobile device which does not contain conflict minerals and with fair labor conditions for the workforce along the supply chain.
Students Invent a Device to Save the Elderly
Guest Blogs 4/4/2014 10 comments The Nano Consultants are a group of high school engineering students from the Walker Career Center in Indianapolis, Ind. They are proud to announce their solution to this year's Phoenix Contact, Nanoline automation-solution Competition: RoboDose.
Mentoring Is the Key to a Competitive Robotics Team
STEM Connection 4/3/2014 Post a comment When a school like Boyle Heights’ Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles wants to enter into the high-tech world of competitive robotics, there are three things that are needed to support the project: money, students, and most importantly, skill.
Fraunhofer Designs Flexible Energy Harvesters for Wearable Tech
Blog 4/2/2014 2 comments The increasing interest and development of wearable electronics also is calling for new types of power sources that are flexible and compact enough to fit into these devices. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany are working on this problem with the design of a flexible energy harvester that can be manufactured through a low-cost printing process.
Report: Biochemicals, Bio-Based Materials Capacity to Jump
Engineering Materials 4/1/2014 1 comment A report forecasts a big capacity increase for bio-based materials and biochemicals, including those that go into bioplastics. These are mostly based on first-generation feedstocks like corn and sugarcane, but second-generation cellulosic feedstocks continue to grow slowly.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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.