Hat's off to Gary Lau. You, the readers of Design News, selected Gary as your favorite Gadget Freak
of the Year for his very unusual "Lightening Dog Cooker," invention which we
featured in the 12.01.03 issue of Design News. Actually, it is a table-top Tesla coil that he designed. Though he doesn't do any real cooking with it, he says it has produced continuous 9-inch streamers, frequent 11-inch streamers, and most recently, occasional 14-inch strikes. Find out more about Gary's very unusual hobby on his website at www.laushaus.com/tesla/.
I'm sure Gary is grateful for your votes. In addition to the notoriety of being Gadget Freak of the Year, he is the lucky recipient of a special, limited edition Gadget Freak Bobblehead doll, courtesy of Allied Electronics (sponsor of this special section). A year from now, I guarantee these dolls are going to be selling on eBay for big bucks (check the real thing out on p.18 of this issue).
Gary's just one of many engineer/inventors with what some may consider way too much time on their hands that we've featured in the Gadget Freak section of the magazine. Some of the other inventions that we've showcased include: an automatic drink mixing machine that's been a huge hit at Michigan State University parties; a climate-controlled tent with a compressor-based cooling system (a thermoelectric-powered model is coming soon!); a wristwatch altimeter that really has been tested by the inventor at high altitudes; and my personal favorite—a yard perimeter protection system designed to douse stray dogs and young children who may wander onto your grass. You can check out the details of these inventions (and get the plans to build them yourself) at www.designnews.com/gadgetfreak.
And if you can't wait for the print edition to arrive to read about the latest invention, you can sign up for our special Gadget Freak newsletter, which links you directly to the content online. Sign up for this newsletter or one of seven others we publish that cover breaking news in key market and technology areas at www.designnews.com/subscribe.asp?.
If you have an invention that you'd like us to consider for Gadget Freak, drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with a description of how it works and a parts list. Your proposed project must incorporate electronic components and involve sensing, motion, timing, or networking elements. If we select your invention, you'll be eligible for a $500 check (courtesy of Allied Electronics) and one of those special Bobblehead dolls. You'll also automatically be entered into our Gadget Freak of the Year contest along with the guys with the hovercraft skateboard, flashing Xmas tree lights, and more!
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.
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.
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.