Guest Blogs

Final Shuttle Flight Creates Opportunity

View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
<<  <  Page 2/2
Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Re: Power Points & Columbia
Beth Stackpole   7/13/2011 9:33:56 AM
With the plethora of visualization, digital mockup, system modeling, and 3D publishing tools available today, there are plenty of options for replacing those PowerPoints at every stage of the development process giving executives the technical understanding they need without having to master complex geometries or system-level designs. My hope is with Michael and Lauren that the space programs once again get funding and we have opportunity to see what 21st century design can deliver.

Douglas Smock
User Rank
Power Points & Columbia
Douglas Smock   7/13/2011 9:23:29 AM
Michael, your comments about the shuttle being built with old methods brings to mind an excellent presentation I heard once from Edward Tufte, an authority on visual communication tools. He made the point that engineers make excessive use of PowerPoints to make technical presentations. He used the NASA shuttle Columbia as an example.  He said that NASA executives had a fatal misunderstanding of the potential danger to Columbia because of overly simplistic PowerPoint presentations made by Boeing engineers. His viewpoint was validated by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board in a report issued in 2003. “The board views the endemic use of PowerPoint briefing slides instead of technical papers as an illustration of the problematic methods of technical communications at NASA”.

PowerPoints are a problem for technical communication because 1) They oversimplify complex technical data, 2) They tend to reflect the biases of the presenter, and 3) Information becomes even more filtered as PowerPoints are summarized and moved up a bureaucratic hierarchy. Tufte put it simply: “Serious problems require a serious tool: written reports.”


Lauren Muskett
User Rank
New Design
Lauren Muskett   7/13/2011 9:18:15 AM
I can only hope this is not the last American-manned space flight. Although it is the end of one era it leaves a window of opportunity for better design techniques and a more efficient process. Hopefully NASA will receive funding again...at some point...so we can one day see the new designs in action.

<<  <  Page 2/2
Partner Zone
More Blogs from Guest Blogs
Practically all electronic devices today contain metals that may be coming from conflict-ravaged African countries. And political pressures will increasingly influence how these minerals are sourced and used in products.
Conformal coatings present themselves as space-saving alternatives to enclosures for protecting the circuit boards of automotive electronics. They can also provide electrical insulation.
Design for manufacturing (DFM) in mold production means that mold designers evaluate the manufacturability of their molds in the early stage of mold development by collecting all relevant information and applying it to their designs. They also have to consider many other factors, including flow balance, structural stress, and assembly tolerance, in order to ensure successful molding production.
Some adhesives provide strong structural bonds but take hours to fixture and attain handling strength. The technologies that offer the fastest cure do not bear loads or withstand stresses. A new class of adhesives aims to make both stick.
The continued growth of wireless health is a near-certainty. And engineers will be the key to developing and advancing technology solutions.
Design News Webinar Series
11/10/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
10/29/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
10/20/2015 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
12/2/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Jul 6 - 10, Building Raspberry Pi Controllers with Python
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6 |  7

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.
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2015 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service