At MIT, the graduate students live by the following adage: “coursework, research, sleep – pick two.” I toiled under that mantra for six years, believing things could not possibly get worse. Silly me, I traded grad school for an assistant professor job where the governing adage is “research, grant writing, teaching, service – pick two, but excel at them all.” Note that in this job, sleep doesn’t even make the list.
However, even as CGIAR and IFPRI are calling for reductions in biofuel production from food crops, President Bush is pushing for increased domestic ethanol generation from corn. According to the AP article, “Food scientists say stop biofuels to fight world hunger,” the President’s push to increase biofuel production arises from his national energy security policy and a desire to mitigate record-high fuel prices.
So, what do we do? We can starve our neighbors (and ourselves), save the environment, or secure our national energy supply; but we can’t do them all. The classic conundrum of having too many necessities and not enough resources to devote has escalated into a global problem: fuel, food, security - pick two.
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.