Hunters of technical data, engineers are on a constant prowl for information that will help them solve thorny design problems--information on new materials, new components, new design tools, new ideas. That's why you read engineering magazines.
At Design News, we're constantly hunting for feedback on how well our articles are meeting your information needs. That's why we ask you in every issue to rate the usefulness of the stories we publish. Examining those ratings gives us a pretty good idea of, among other things, the kinds of technology you're most interested in. In 1999, the top three articles you found most useful included two on materials and one on motion control. For those who may have missed them, here they are:
Number one is a story in our Annual Medical Issue, June 7, entitled "Surgical gloves will stop needle sticks," by Senior Editor Charles J. Murray. The focus of the article: SuperFabric, a technique developed by Higher Dimension Research for assembling materials into a hard entity. It involves the use of blocks of material connected by a mesh, and, says the company, it can be used with stainless steel, ceramics, composites, and plastics, among other materials. One graphic showed a hypodermic needle bending as it comes into contact with the gloves, a dramatic illustration of the fact that gloves made with this material process prevent needles from penetrating them and puncturing skin. The same process could also be used for industrial gloves and luggage, among other applications.
Next is "Metals that make a difference" (April 19, 1999), by Senior Editor Gary Chamberlain that describes, among other things, an electrolytic surface conversion and coating process developed by Almag Al Ltd. The hardness of the coating is in the same class as sapphire, claims the company, and the wear resistance is about four times that of hard, anodized aluminum.
Rounding out the top three is an article with the intriguing title, "Man moves 30,000 packages in 4 hours!!" (February 1, 1999), by International Editor David Bak. The report is about a package-handling operation that employs IR scanners from Omnix, motors and drives from Lenze, and PLCs from Mitsubishi. Bak follows a typical package through the system, noting that thanks to the technology it goes from receiving station to a final destination conveyor in 2.5 minutes.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Advertised as the "Most Powerful Tablet Under $100," the Kindle Fire HD 6 was too tempting for the team at iFixit to pass up. Join us to find out if inexpensive means cheap, irreparable, or just down right economical. It's teardown time!
The increased adoption of wireless technology for mission-critical applications has revved up the global market for dynamic electronic general purpose (GP) test equipment. As the link between cloud networks and devices -- smartphones, tablets, and notebooks -- results in more complex devices under test, the demand for radio frequency test equipment is starting to intensify.
Much of the research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on how to make the batteries charge more quickly and last longer than they currently do, work that would significantly improve the experience of mobile device users, as well EV and hybrid car drivers. Researchers in Singapore have come up with what seems like the best solution so far -- a battery that can recharge itself in mere minutes and has a potential lifespan of 20 years.
Some humanoid walking robots are also good at running, balancing, and coordinated movements in group settings. Several of our sports robots have won regional or worldwide acclaim in the RoboCup soccer World Cup, or FIRST Robotics competitions. Others include the world's first hockey-playing robot and a trash-talking Scrabble player.
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