The Conundrum of Published Specs Versus Real-World Performance
Guest Blogs 1/23/2015 2 comments 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 3 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 8 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.
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 16 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.
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.
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 37 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 14 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.
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.
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.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
The word “smart” is becoming the dumbest word around. It has been applied to almost every device and system in our homes. In addition to smartphones and smart meters, we now hear about smart clothing and smart shoes, smart lights, smart homes, smart buildings, and every trendy city today has its smart city project. Just because it has a computer inside and is connected to the Web, does not mean it is smart.
Are you being paid enough? Do you want a better job? According to a recent survey Manpower released just before Engineers Week, employers and engineers don't see eye-to-eye about the state of US engineers' skills and experience.
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.