There are a lot of really cool things about working as an editor at Design News. But putting together our annual show issue is quite possibly the best thing about this job.
This is the time when we announce the winners of our Golden Mousetrap Awards for Engineer of the Year, Best Products of the Year, and our first-ever Readers' Choice Awards. And let me tell you, there really is no more fun on earth than telling people they've won something. Except possibly winning something yourself.
Inside this issue, you'll find detailed writeups on all of our 2006 Golden Mousetrap award winners.
First off, there's our 2006 Engineer of the Year, Tom Watson. Our readers (thank you!) selected Watson for this honor for the role he played in spearheading the design of Ford's hybrid powertrain. Responsible for blending two diverse forms of power, he's the guy leading the 104-year-old automaker into a whole new world. Turn to page 82 to read all about how he's drawing on his expertise in hardware, electronics and energy management to pull off this amazing feat.
Second up in this issue, we announce the winners of our Golden Mousetrap Best Products Contest in the categories of electronics, motion control/automation, software/hardware and fastening/joining/assembly. This year to avoid what sometimes can wind up being an apples-to-oranges comparison, we broke each category down into subcategories. That meant more winners, of course, but it also meant that in the case of something like software, CAD software competed against CAD software — not a whole range of different engineering software tools.
Turn to page 90 to read more about the entries readers selected as the best products of the year. Here, we've gone beyond the usual features and functions to discuss why each winning product is of particular significance to design engineers. For more information, we've also provided deep links directly to product details on the vendor's website. You can find writeups on the finalists in each category starting on page 113.
Next up, we profile winning ways to build a better mousetrap, literally. Maybe a silly idea, but one that clearly appealed to you when we posed the question. Problem-solvers at heart, our readers inundated us with good ideas — ranging from elaborate methods of luring mice to the trap to the best baits for the venerable spring-loaded trap to more humane methods of dealing with a mice infestation. Some readers even sent in CAD drawings and assembly instructions for their designs. Most frequently suggested method? Work an ample amount of peanut butter into some string or twine, and thread it into a spring-loaded trap. Turn to page 107 for the winning entries, and to our MAIL column on page 16 for even more ideas.
Last, but not least, in this issue we announce the winners of our first annual Golden Mousetrap Readers' Choice Awards. For this special award, we asked readers to name their favorite vendor across a number of important dimensions — from best engineering support to best website to best quality. Turn to page 109 for the full scoop.
By profiling some of the best new product innovations and services provided to engineers, we hope that you find the content in this issue useful. And we hope you have as much fun reading it as we had putting it together.