Too many robot designers assume that their products will be operating with little human contact. So claims a team of NASA engineers who have devised a procedure to assure that safety as well as performance is stressed in the design of robots. The methodology involves five main steps and a number of subsets. For a given application, the procedure assigns minimum acceptable values for performance specifications, such as robot-tip velocities, payloads, position, force accuracy, and dexterity. It also provides values for safety requirements, for example, robot static and impact contact force, pinch forces, and crushing forces from robot weights. For a description of the procedure go to www.nasatech.com and access the Technical Support Package under the Machinery/Automation category.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
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.