I'm going to disagree with colleague Chuck Murray again (he also reports to me-:), this time over global warming. He writes in his Electronics News and Comment blog that engineers are skeptical about the seriousness of global warming even in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence. Indeed, our quickie poll this week showed only 43% in a 108 respondent sample think global warming threatens life on earth. When former vice president Al Gore spoke at the Embedded Systems Conference last week, Chuck noticed eye rolls and smirks in the audience made up mostly of engineers.
I've seen this too, Chuck. At the EDN Innovation Awards a couple of years ago, Wall Street columnist Walter Mossbergscolded engineers for being out of the touch with what consumers want in electronics. I saw looks of disgust around the room. One former colleague (I was editor-in-chief of EDN at the time) stared at his feet and shook his head.
Engineers and journalists (me) are different breeds, for sure, but they also have striking similarities. We're both taught to be skeptical about what people are telling us. The groups about which journalists are the most skeptical are politicians and PR people. Engineers tend to be skeptical about the work of their colleagues or scientists, and this holds true in the global warming debate. Chuck's blog post on the topic is well-reasoned and alludes to the unquenchable "thirst" engineers have for more data and information. That's fine. Where I disagree is with the suggestion that global warming is a media invention, which he all but says.
Chuck also writes that engineers have the "show-me" mentality. So do I. The words of my city room professor from 30 years ago still resonate: "Show the reader, don't tell him (or her)." And on the global warming debate, I think the scientists have done that.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.