Nearly every designer in the 21st Century will be working in some way with light. That's the implication of a study by the Committee on Optical Science and Engineering of the National Research Council. "We are beginning to see the fruits of the scientific discoveries of the last three or four decades," the committee's report says. It predicts major increases in the use of light-related technologies in fields of communication, medicine, defense, research, energy, and manufacturing. The report envisions the following: The entire world will be linked with high-speed fiber-optic communications. People will have personal monitors that will keep tabs of their health non-invasively by evaluating the optical properties of their blood and tissue. Solar cells will reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Factories will be crammed with optical sensors and infrared imagers. Behind the predicted explosion in optical engineering are advances in optical materials from glasses to polymers to metals. The increased knowledge enables mass production of inexpensive, high-quality optic components and systems.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
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.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.