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Goodbye SkyMall -- Thanks For All the Ish!
Blog 
1/23/2015  2 comments
In-flight shopping magazine, SkyMall, has stalled, nosedived, and crashed into bankruptcy.
The Conundrum of Published Specs Versus Real-World Performance
Guest Blogs 
1/23/2015  Post a comment
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Babak Parviz Goes Through the Glass
Chris Wiltz 
1/22/2015  2 comments
Golden Mousetrap Lifetime Achievement Award winner Babak Parviz on his new gig at Amazon, the origins of Google Glass and the Smart Contact Lens, and why humanities, not tech, is the future.
Decoding Procurement: How It Can Work as Design Engineering’s Ally
Guest Blogs 
1/22/2015  Post a comment
Procurement actually means well. There is no question that procurement can do a better job of phrasing their questions or making connections between engineering’s goals and the processes underway. And if you are using the right deciphering code, the result can live up to -- or surpass -- your expectations.
Gadget of the Year Won’t Spill Your Drinks
Gadget Freak 
1/21/2015  5 comments
The 2015 Gadget Freak of the Year goes to the DDV-IP -- or, a Drink Deliver Vehicle – Inverted Pendulum. The gadget is a two-wheeled self-balancing robot that can deliver cold beverages to thirsty folks on a hot summer day. 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 users.
CES Panel on Drones Adds to Regulation Debate
Blog 
1/21/2015  11 comments
A panel at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas discussing upcoming FAA regulations for non-military drones brought out many of the issues that concern both industry and federal regulators.
Video: Reconfigurable Robot Walks on Snake Legs
News 
1/19/2015  4 comments
Carnegie Mellon University's modular snake robot can be reconfigured to meet users' needs. Not only will this modular system enable completely new robot designs, say its inventors, it will also help speed up the pace of development and enable more flexible traditional industrial robots.
Manufacturing Expansion Slows Down, Industrial Production Dips in December, Says Fed
News 
1/16/2015  2 comments
US manufacturing output rose 0.3% in December, but warm weather that blanketed the entire country reduced heating demand, significantly dragging down utilities output and the nation’s overall industrial production for the month. The 0.1% decline in December was the first contraction in the nation’s total industrial output since August, the Federal Reserve announced Friday.
10 Places to Visit to Interest Your Kids in STEM
STEM Connection 
1/16/2015  14 comments
Scientific and engineering history is evident everywhere you look in our modern world, and there are a plethora of institutions, museums, facilities and other places that celebrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) ideas and innovations.
Will Obama’s Tuition-Free Community College Plan Work?
STEM Connection 
1/15/2015  29 comments
If done properly, the president’s plan could benefit nearly everyone. Of course, given the realities of Washington politics, it’s hard to tell whether anything -- or, at least, anything good -- will ever come of this proposal.
Tiny Bots Teach Your Kid to Code
STEM Connection 
1/14/2015  3 comments
While many would balk at the idea of robots looking after children not many could argue against robots educating the younger generation to code. After all, the world they are growing up in depends on it, and it’s still not -- for the most part -- being taught or mandated in schools. There’s even an argument to be made that computer literacy is becoming as important in today’s world as traditional literacy.
Sony Hack Should Sound Off Alarm Bells for Industrial Sector
William Ng 
1/7/2015  2 comments
The real silver lining to come out of the Sony hack scandal was the sobering affirmation for both the US government and private sector that we have long-term and persistent cyber enemies from anywhere in the world.
Does a Messy Desk Mean a Creative Mind?
Blog 
1/6/2015  26 comments
Many of the greatest minds in past and current history sat behind very unkempt desks. What does your desk say about you?
When Good Companies Make Bad Decisions
Blog 
1/6/2015  19 comments
Nearly every engineer has a story or two about mind-bogglingly stupid management decisions. The universality of this experience is one reason why Scott Adams’ Dilbert cartoons have enjoyed more than 25 years of popularity.
Who Will Be Gadget Freak of the Year?
Gadget Freak 
1/5/2015  6 comments
Voting in the final round of our annual Gadget Freak of the Year contest is now open. Cast your vote and come back next week to see if your favorite project garnered the $6,000 first prize!
Agile Robots Will Rule in 2015
Blog 
12/30/2014  36 comments
2015 may become known as the year of the robot, just as 2014 was the year of connected everything. The recent shift in robotics is not centered on mammoth packaging or welding machines, but rather on small agile machines that are safe around humans.
You Know You’re an Engineer If ... You Still Have an IBM XT
Blog 
12/29/2014  46 comments
Do you see a perfectly good design and still insist on changing it? You might be an engineer.
Engineers Just Love Team-Building Exercises
Blog 
12/23/2014  38 comments
Engineer comic Don McMillan explains the fun engineers have with team-building exercises. Can you relate?
Gadget Freak of the Year Reader Vote: Round 4
Gadget Freak 
12/22/2014  6 comments
Voting in Round 4 of our annual Gadget Freak of the Year contest is now open.
Video: First Store Staffed Entirely by Telepresence Robots Opens in California
Blog 
12/19/2014  36 comments
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.
3D Printing Water-Based, Biodegradable Composites - with Robots!
Engineering Materials 
12/19/2014  6 comments
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.
Parasite Drones Will Suck Up City CO2, Give It Back to Plants
Engineering Materials 
12/18/2014  37 comments
Polish design firm NAS-DRA has proposed parasitic robotic drones that capture carbon dioxide from the air during the day and release it at night to plants growing on their wings.
Watching the Watchmen: The Hows and Whys of Body-Worn Police Cameras
Chris Wiltz 
12/17/2014  27 comments
With erupting concern over police brutality, law enforcement agencies are turning to body-worn cameras to collect evidence and protect police and suspects. But how do they work? And are they even really effective?
2015 Golden Mousetrap Awards: Finalists
Blog 
12/15/2014  Post a comment
UBM Canon, the world’s leading advanced design and manufacturing industry resource, and Design News, are pleased to announce the finalists in the 2015 Golden Mousetrap Awards, a program that celebrates the companies, products, and people who are energizing North American design, engineering, and manufacturing.
10 STEM Holiday Gifts for Kids
Blog 
12/15/2014  18 comments
Here are our 10 favorite science and technology gift ideas for the future engineer in your life.
President Obama Asks You and Your Kids to Try an 'Hour of Code'
STEM Connection 
12/11/2014  11 comments
As part of Computer Science Education Week, Code.org is asking students of all ages to try their hand at computer programming for one hour. Even President Obama gave it a shot.
You Know You’re an Engineer If ... You'd Let HAL Run a Spacecraft
Blog 
12/9/2014  37 comments
You certainly know you're engineer if you count the number of steps in a set of stairs, or you use a CAD package and a wind tunnel to design your kid's Pine Wood Derby car. Check out our latest list to see if you qualify.
Gadget Freak of the Year Reader Vote: Round 3
Gadget Freak 
12/8/2014  Post a comment
Voting in Round 3 of our annual Gadget Freak of the Year contest is now open.
Amazon Enlists Robotic Elves to Help Ship Your Gifts
Blog 
12/5/2014  13 comments
Amazon's fulfillment centers are turning to robots as a solution to manage the high volume of holiday season orders.
YuMi -- a Robot for You and Me
Product News 
12/4/2014  Post a comment
Robotics company ABB Robotics has unveiled YuMi, a human-friendly dual arm robot that plays well with humans. The machine was designed for small parts assembly, where people and robots work hand-in-hand on the same tasks.
Knightscope's K5 Robot Stops Crime Before it Happens
Blog 
12/3/2014  18 comments
It's not part man, it's all machine, but this robot can still be a cop. Robotics company Knightscope Inc. is rolling out the K5, a friendly security robot that won't just prevent crime, but actually predict it.
Redesigning Star Wars' Awful New Lightsaber
Blog 
12/2/2014  22 comments
The trailer for the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, has given fans a glimpse of a brand new lightsaber ... and its design could use some improvement. Could you do better?
Move Over Pasta -- Machinery Also Key Contribution from Italy
Blog 
12/1/2014  6 comments
Machines Italia is co-sponsoring with Design News the UX Italia video contest, which is asking companies to submit at least a three-minute video testimonial of how the user experience of Italian machinery, technology, or other experience solutions are essential to the business’s success.
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.
Robo-Fabric Brings New Dimension to Wearable Tech
Blog 
11/26/2014  14 comments
Researchers have developed a new flexible fabric that integrates both movement and sensors, introducing new potential for technology-embedded clothing and soft robots.
Writers Are Getting 3D Printing Wrong
Made by Monkeys 
11/26/2014  15 comments
Made by Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
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.
Robots Are Everywhere
Features 
11/26/2014  11 comments
Robots are moving out of their traditional industrial manufacturing environment. You’ll now find robots doing assembly side-by-side with humans, working in a wide range of warehouse duties, and moving up and down the halls of healthcare facilities. Best of all, the cost of robots is coming down.
Is Sexism Driving Women Out of Engineering?
Blog 
11/25/2014  37 comments
When my daughter decided she wanted to study engineering, I was very proud of her. At the same time, in the back of my mind, I wondered if she knew what she was in for.
Low-Power Wireless for the IIoT
Features 
11/25/2014  Post a comment
Low-power wireless networking can extend the network edge and improve uptime to support the Industrial Internet of Things.
Engineers Make Great Leaders
Pamela Moore 
11/18/2014  14 comments
The Harvard Business Review claims engineers make great CEOs. What do you think?
Gadget Freak of the Year: Did You Vote Yet?
Gadget Freak 
11/18/2014  Post a comment
There is less than a week left to vote in Round 1 of our second-annual Gadget Freak of the Year contest, sponsored by Allied Electronics.
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.
Packaging Wants Industry 4.0 to Replace Retirees
Blog 
11/17/2014  2 comments
Advanced automation is solving a multitude of challenges in packaging, not the least of which is the retired-Boomer brain drain.
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.
Do You Dream in CAD? You Might Be an Engineer
Blog 
11/14/2014  20 comments
You let us know through your comments on the last “You know you’re an engineer if ...” post that you agree and disagree with the notions of what makes an engineer tick. Here are a dozen more to consider.
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.
The Atlas Robot is Agile Enough to Mimic 'The Karate Kid'
Blog 
11/14/2014  5 comments
The Atlas robot, a DARPA project built by a subsidiary of Google, is coordinated enough to easily balance on one leg and navigate raised obstacles.
Device Will Never Let You Forget Your Password -- it's Your Heartbeat
Blog 
11/13/2014  25 comments
Biometric identification for access to devices is nothing new, but a Canadian company has put a new spin on the technology by using people’s heartbeats to allow them to wirelessly access their devices -- including their smartphone, computer, car, or even their home.
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In-flight shopping magazine, SkyMall, has stalled, nosedived, and crashed into bankruptcy.
The 2015 North American International Auto Show serves as a perfect snapshot of today’s auto industry.
Data from a new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation undermine the idea of a US manufacturing renaissance.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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