For most of us, it's impossible to fully comprehend the consequences of a disease such as Parkinson's or Essential Tremor. Many sufferers shake constantly; they can't eat, drink, or lead normal lives without the help of caretakers. Thanks to Lynn Otten, however, Parkinson's sufferers now have a potent weapon in the fight against the disease. An engineer in Medtronic Inc.'s Neurological Division, Otten worked with three others from the company to develop the Activa Tremor Control system. It is the first FDA-approved electrical stimulation device for long-term implant in the brain. Starting on it as a spare-time project, Otten spearheaded the five-year development effort, which culminated when dramatic test results began pouring in from clinical trails. A biomedical engineer who holds numerous patents, Otten took the device through development, testing, validation, and, ultimately, to manufacturing. The device, which almost completely stops the tremors, is now available to thousands of Parkinson's sufferers who could not otherwise lead normal lives.
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.
Solar and wind energy are becoming more viable as a source of energy on the electric grid. For decades, the major drawback to solar and wind was that they’re temperamental. A cloudy day kills solar and a still day renders the wind turbines useless. Automation tools, however, are providing a path to help these renewables become practical.
In honor of Earth Day, the National Security Agency has launched the STEM Recycling Challenge in Maryland schools to encourage kids to think about where the garbage they throw out every day actually goes. The agency has also introduced “Dunk,” a muscular blue cartoon recycling bin wearing shorts and sneakers.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
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.