The Germans once again proved their mettle in engineering by winning the Solar Decathlon that occurred on the National Mall in Washington Oct. 12-20. My colleague Sean Snyder pointed to the winners in an Oct. 19 blog post, but I wanted to elaborate a bit given I actually went to the Solar Decathlon.
The University of Darmstadt, the MIT of Germany, outscored 19 other colleges and universities. The University of Maryland ‘s “Leaf House” placed and a rookie team from Santa Clara University showed. SCU was picked 21st out of 20 that could compete, but lucked into the contest because another school dropped out. MIT, America’s University of Darmstadt, finished 13th. Matt Traum, who as a doctoral student participated on the MIT Solar 7 team, offers his explaination why he thinks America’s most prestigious engineering school did so lousy at his I Have the Power! blog.
The teams each built and designed a solar home and were scored on such criteria as lighting, hot water, comfort zone and architecture. For the most part, the entries looked boxy and ultra-modern. I happened to be in Washington visiting my son in college and visited many of the homes. It’s our youth who give us hope!! Nice job, decathletes!!
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
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.