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).
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.
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