Boats, an automated inspection system, and V-twin engines are winners in the National Society of Professional Engineers 1998 Best Products competition. The Logic V-Series fishing utility boats, designed by Logic Marine Corporation (Durham, NC), won in the small company category. The boats are close to indestructible, according to Logic Marine. Engineers molded linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) inside a rotating oven to produce a one-piece, double-walled boat that is five times more impact resistant than fiberglass. Another benefit: LLDPE is impervious to corrosion and rot, and will not break down from exposure to ultraviolet rays. The plastic boats cost up to 40% less to manufacture than comparable fiberglass boats, produce no styrene emissions and other air pollutants associated with alternative manufacturing methods, and are 100% recyclable, say developers. In the medium company category, Key Technology (Walla Walla, WA) won for its Tegra(reg) Automated Inspection System. This optical sorter, equipped with a free-hanging conveyor belt, uses trichromatic, high-resolution cameras capable of sensing 16,777,216 shades of color and analyzing shapes. The system can pick out bad nuts, bolts, aspirin tablets, even beans. V-twin-cylinder 16- and 18-hp engines from Kohler Company (Kohler, WI) won in the large company division. The air-cooled, four-stroke engines have an overhead camshaft (OHC) design that incorporates an automotive-type belt and predominantly phenolic and powdered-metal components. The company says the engines are three times quieter than comparable models throughout most of their operating range. FAX: (703) 836-4875.
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Robots in films during the 2000s hit the big time; no longer are they the sidekicks of nerdy character actors. Robots we see on the big screen in recent years include Nicole Kidman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Top star of the era, Will Smith, takes a spin as a robot investigator in I, Robot. Robots (or androids or cyborgs) are fully mainstream in the 2000s.
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.