When electronic vehicle systems fail, it’s often not the fault of microcontrollers, memories or integrated circuits. By watching for some of the following problems, designers can often boost reliability of end products, especially in automobiles.
Minimize connections. There’s a high correlation between reliability and the number of electrical connections made at an assembly plant. A dashboard with ten connections, for example, is likely to be more reliable than one with 50 connections.
Make sure wires don’t rub against sharp pieces of metal.
Ensure connections go together with an audible snap. If assemblers hear the snap, they know it’s connected.
Design in reliability at the beginning. Usually, if a car starts out reliable in its first model year, it stays that way.
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.
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