When does a stuffed Pooh Bear become a sensory stimulation activity center? When seniors and graduate students at Duke use their ingenuity to fashion devices that will meet the needs of care givers and special-needs children. Every year, students form design teams, each working within a $500 budget, using money provided by the National Science Foundation and the Duke Kids Care Fund. The Pooh team students started with a run-of the-mill Winnie the Pooh stuffed bear. Then they installed two fans in its head and a circuit board within its tummy. Also in its head they built a chamber for an air freshener cartridge. And on the outside of its tummy they installed a control panel with red, blue, yellow and orange buttons and associated lights. Each time infants push an orange circular button, they see an orange light and hear an electronic rendition of the Winnie the Pooh song. A diamond-shaped yellow button illuminates a yellow light and makes the animal vibrate an arm. A blue, square button causes the blue light to come on as the bear blows a puff of air through its mouth. The red triangular button illuminates the red light and emits a pleasant scent along with a puff of air. Other projects on this year's program included: An improved submersible wheelchair design, with larger wheels, better safety latches, and colors that are easier to see underwater; a re-engineered electric-powered feeding device; and a ceiling mounted wheelchair transfer hoist; special computer games that let disabled children catch butterflies and drive around obstacles, with the goal teaching joysticks skills for controlling electrically powered wheelchairs; and a 'child friendly' adjustable timer to help a 2-year-old learn to feed himself. Students say they relish the chance to apply their knowledge to real world problems with humanitarian objectives. For more information, contact Monte Basgall at (919) 681-8057.
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.