The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has stepped up its campaign to assure that U.S. innovations are not shortchanged by the system of international standards. NIST will host a conference on the issue in Washington, DC, September 23 in conjunction with World Standards Day. The agency hopes to develop "a reasonable plan for an effective national standards strategy to meet global goals in both standards and conformity assessment." Meanwhile, NIST has set up a special toll-free phone number (888) 591-TEST and an e-mail address of firstname.lastname@example.org for reporting suspected standards abuses in dealings with the European Union. NIST especially wants to know of instances in which Europeans have required U.S. firms to repeat compliance measurements in Europe. Later this year a laboratory accreditation system that NIST has spearheaded becomes operational. NIST officials hope the system, called the National Cooperation on Laboratory Accreditation, will enable tests to be performed only once, with worldwide acceptance of the data.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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