A great thing about college demonstration projects is they don't have to have any commercial prospects. That's a good thing for students at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, who call their model an anti-gravity device. Despite that moniker, the machine uses the same principles that let high-speed magnetic levitation trains float above their tracks. The MSOE levitator uses analog instrumentation amplifiers donated by Analog Devices, a pulse-width modulated H-bridge from National Semiconductor, a coil, a feedback control compensator and Allegro MicroSystems Hall-effect sensors to magnetically suspend an object in mid-air.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.