You are in your year 2000 model car and want to get a read on a road map or check on the kid a sleep in the back seat. No need to fumble around looking for that pesky switch. Instead, all you have to do is touch the lamp's surface to turn it off, on, or dim it. So predicts Cooper Automotive (Troy, MI) engineers who created the "touch lamp." The technology resembles the touch technology used on microwave ovens, according to Jim Anderson, supervisor of product engineering at Cooper Automotive's Wagner Lighting Div. The technology uses the touch of the lamp to activate a computer chip that "tells" the computer to begin the desired function--whether it be to adjust the light or change the temperature, compass, or mileage read-out. Anderson adds that the touch lamp exceeds automakers' 5,000 to 10,000 cycles for durability, and can withstand the one million mark in cycle testing. FAX (248) 649-2255.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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