How can product designs be integrated better into manufacturing processes? The National Academy of Engineering seeks answers by awarding predoctoral fellowships each year for projects in integrated manufacturing and processing. Twelve fellows were named this year to research their ideas at different U.S. universities. Research in the program, which began in 1993, may cover aspects of unit operations, tooling and equipment, intelligent sensors, and manufacturing systems, as they relate to product design. One 1998 fellow plans to use an innovative tooling design to improve sheet-metal forming in the automotive industry. Another wants to find a simplified approach to composite repair of aircraft by identifying the integration of initial design, strength requirements, and manufacturing challenges. Each award carries a stipend of $20,000 a year, and an institutional allowance of up to $15,000 per year for three years of support. A similar competition is planned for 1999. You can find out more at www.fellowships.nas.edu, by contacting the Fellowship Programs Unit by phone at (202) 334-2872, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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.