To the prospective owner who tries out current models at several dealerships, small changes in the location of controls, parking brake, seat position or contour, or instrument panel position often tip the scale in favor of one car over another. To help automotive development engineers capture "the right feel," Prefix Corp. (Rochester Hills, MI) has patented an adjustable prototype development device called a Programmable Vehicle Model (PVM). The PVM is outfitted to appear like a vehicle. Each functional element (seat, roof pillar, steering wheel, etc.) can be moved to emulate different trial designs within ±1/2 mm. Positions of all the elements are monitored and updated with Prefix's control software. Individual elements are mounted on bearing rails using ball screws to move them, via stepper motors, in two or three dimensions. Thus, spatial relationships of, say, the seat to the instrument panel, can be adjusted so that visibility or knee room can be changed. A computerized measuring device, known as the FaroArm, made by Faro Technologies Inc. (Lake Mary, FL), confirms the ergonomics. The arm scans the previously positioned interior and creates a drawing of the desired interior package. FAX Stefanie L. Curylo at (407) 333-4181 (T).
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
Clean diesel continues to be the fuel of choice for transportation authorities in major U S cities, in spite of competitive options aimed at reducing emissions, according to a nonprofit agency that represents diesel engine and equipment manufacturers.
A panel at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas discussing upcoming FAA regulations for non-military drones brought out many of the issues that concern both industry and federal regulators.
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