When BMX racing makes its Olympic debut at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, the riders will kick off each race on a new pneumatic starting gate that features advanced electronic controls. ProStuff LLC builds this eight-rider gate, as well as a line of smaller practice models, mostly from a collection of standard Parker Hannifin components. What's most interesting about the gate isn't so much the componentry as ProStuff's design philosophy. ProStuff's founder, Pierce Barker III, has a day job as vice-president of Barker Rockford, a systems integrator that been building industrial machines for about 50 years. "We approached BMX gates the same way we would approach any machine-building project–with a focus on safety, performance, and reliability," he says. And that machine-builder's mentality has resulted in BMX gate designs that are arguably the most advanced in the world. Read the full story here.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
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