Let Isaac Asimov Lead Your Brainstorming Session
Blog 10/23/2014 5 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.
Smart Battery Sensor Provides Warning Before Catching Fire
Blog 10/23/2014 4 comments Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
How it Works: E-Cigarettes
Blog 10/22/2014 19 comments In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Kindle Fire HD 6 Teardown
Blog 10/21/2014 5 comments Advertised as the "Most Powerful Tablet Under $100," the Kindle Fire HD 6 was too tempting for the team at iFixit to pass up. Join us to find out if inexpensive means cheap, irreparable, or just down right economical. It's teardown time!
5G Will Drive Test Equipment Surge
Blog 10/21/2014 1 comment The increased adoption of wireless technology for mission-critical applications has revved up the global market for dynamic electronic general purpose (GP) test equipment. As the link between cloud networks and devices -- smartphones, tablets, and notebooks -- results in more complex devices under test, the demand for radio frequency test equipment is starting to intensify.
Lithium Battery Charges 70% in 2 Minutes
Blog 10/21/2014 16 comments Much of the research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on how to make the batteries charge more quickly and last longer than they currently do, work that would significantly improve the experience of mobile device users, as well EV and hybrid car drivers. Researchers in Singapore have come up with what seems like the best solution so far -- a battery that can recharge itself in mere minutes and has a potential lifespan of 20 years.
12 Robots That Play Sports
Blog 10/20/2014 19 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.
MSC Software Spiffs Up Its CAE
Blog 10/16/2014 2 comments A recent example of a major CAE revamp is MSC Apex, released last month by MSC Software Corp. In a discussion with Design News, MSC executives noted that its next-generation platform is designed to substantially reduce CAE modeling and process time, “in some cases from weeks down to hours.”
Understanding the Hardness of Metals
Blog 10/13/2014 8 comments When designing metal parts, it's important to specify their hardness. However, many engineers have only a shaky understanding of what hardness actually is, or how it's measured. This article helps clear up that confusion.
3D-Printed Robot Thwarts Drug Smugglers
Blog 10/10/2014 8 comments MIT researchers have used 3D printing to develop an underwater robot about the size of a football that can protect ports by scanning the hulls of ships for suspicious or illegal cargo.
Michigan Brewery Also Serves Solar Energy
Blog 10/9/2014 46 comments The Dark Horse Brewing Company teamed with the Patriot Solar Group, The Green Brewery Project, and Contractors Building Supply to create a 40-kilowatt, 140-panel system to generate solar energy not just to power the building but also the local grid. The brew company actually gets paid for the excess solar energy it sends to the local utility.
NI's Online Condition Monitoring Improves Equipment Maintenance
Blog 10/9/2014 2 comments NI InsightCM Enterprise is a software solution National Instruments recently introduced to help companies gain insight into the health of their equipment. With years of experience in condition monitoring, NI developed NI InsightCM Enterprise as its first end-to-end software solution that addresses big analog data challenges and builds on the Industrial Internet of Things.
How to Think Like an Engineer
Blog 10/8/2014 30 comments Most engineers spend a lot of time thinking about how to solve design problems, but not much time thinking about how we think. Using analogies can help you come up with more, and possibly better, design ideas.
Top 20 US Graduate Engineering Programs
Blog 10/7/2014 7 comments As promised when we listed the top undergraduate engineering schools, here are the top 20 US engineering schools based on their graduate programs. We looked at a number of rankings and created an overall list based on an average.
Is Your Star Rising?
Blog 10/7/2014 1 comment Help Design News recognize engineers who are ahead of the trends and making big moves in the design engineering community. Nominate a Rising Engineering Star today.
Engineering Disasters: NASA’s Genesis Probe Got it Backwards
Blog 10/6/2014 22 comments The Genesis was a NASA probe designed to gather a sample of solar wind and return it to earth -- the first mission designed to bring samples back since the Apollo Program. Launched on August 8, 2004, the probe did a great job getting close enough to the sun to collect samples. But the return ride turned into a disaster.
Stratasys Adds 3D Printing to Next-Gen Smart Appliances
Blog 10/3/2014 6 comments Stratasys will lend its 3D printing expertise to GE’s community effort to build the next-generation of home appliances. The 3D printing manufacturer and service provider is providing 3D printers as part of a new partnership of FirstBuild, an affiliate of GE that aims to use the ingenuity of technologists in an online community to build more intelligent appliances.
Can You Really Slip on a Banana Peel?
Blog 10/2/2014 12 comments The 2014 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Dr. Kiyoshi Mabuchi and his team members for their work measuring the slipperiness of banana peels. Turns out they're slipperier with the yellow side up.
Flexible Solar Cell Can Be Woven Into Energy-Harvesting Fabric
Blog 10/2/2014 1 comment Many scientists have been working battery-free ways to power wearable electronics that can replace bulky battery packs, particularly through the use of energy-harvesting materials. Now a team of researchers in China have upped the game by developing a lightweight and flexible solar cell that can be woven into two-way energy-harvesting fabric.
Chew On This: Chin Strap Harvests Energy
Blog 10/1/2014 20 comments Researchers in Canada have developed a chin strap that harvests energy from chewing and can potentially power a digital earplug that can provide both protection and communication capabilities.
3D-Printed Limbs Turn Kids into Superheroes
Blog 9/30/2014 29 comments Enabling the Future is designing prosthetic appendages modeled more like superhero arms and hands than your average static artificial limbs. And they’re doing it through a website and grassroots movement inspired by two men’s design and creation in 2012 of a metal prosthetic for a child in South Africa.
Security Is Going Down to the Device
Blog 9/30/2014 1 comment In order to keep an enterprise truly safe from hackers, cyber security has to go all the way down to the device level. Icon Labs is making the point that security has to be built into device components.
India's Mangalyaan Probe Reaches Mars
Blog 9/30/2014 13 comments Three days after NASA's MAVEN probe reached Mars, India's Mangalyaan probe went into orbit around the red planet. India's first interplanetary mission, and the first successful Mars probe launched by an Asian nation, has a total project cost of nearly $600 million less than MAVEN's.
Plant HMI Goes Millennial
Blog 9/26/2014 17 comments Plant user interfaces are beginning to incorporate the consumer features such as swipe, double tap, and pinch. The driver is Millennials who expect plant equipment to match the sophistication of the smartphone.
Fairchild Pivots to Quicken Customers’ Time to Market
Blog 9/25/2014 1 comment Fairchild Semiconductor recently rebranded itself to focus the company’s resources on the development of power products and services designed to help design engineers shorten the time-to-market for mobile devices and wearable technologies, among other products.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
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.
If you’re designing a handheld device or industrial machine that will employ a user interface, then you’ll want to check out the upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center course, "Engineering Principles Behind Advanced User Interface Technologies.”
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.