Take a Teardown 'Voyage' With Kindle
Blog 11/18/2014 6 comments Look and be amazed! Amazon has added a new tablet to its e-reader lineup, and this one aims to perfect the reading experience. But can it beat Amazon's rocky repairability record?
Keeping It Together With Bolted Joints
Blog 11/18/2014 5 comments It's not uncommon for thousands of dollars worth of equipment to be held together by $.10 screws. Because of their low cost and high degree of standardization, screws, studs, bolts, and nuts tend to be thought of as commodity products. As a result, bolted joints too often fail to receive the level of attention they deserve in engineering design.
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.
You Generate the Power on Polaris eBike
Blog 11/14/2014 23 comments The new line of Polaris eBikes features technology called Perpetual Arc Regeneration that allows a rider’s pedaling and other uses of the bike’s motor system to generate power to the bike’s battery in a number of ways.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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 we’ve seeing plenty of attention paid to networks, securing hardware has received less attention. Yet there plenty of security advances available now for hardware protection.
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.
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.
9 Inventions Provide Frightful Fun for Halloween
Blog 10/31/2014 8 comments Halloween isn’t 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.
NASA’s 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.
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.
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.
Smart Battery Sensor Provides Warning Before Catching Fire
Blog 10/23/2014 13 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 28 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.
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.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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