Planetary wheel failure was a vexing issue for the U.S. Marine Corps.’ Light Armored Vehicles, partially because these failures couldn’t be predicted. Wireless temperature and vibration sensors from Solidica Inc. of Ann Arbor, MI, made it possible to monitor the wheels without the difficult task of routing wires through the water-tight hull. The Solo sensor device, which includes a Freescale Semiconductor MMA7260QT accelerometer, dynamically monitors both temperature and vibration. Wireless communication also lets the USMC alter the embedded algorithms as the vehicles move into different operational environments and has built-in signal conditioning and alert prognostic algorithms. Ruggedization is a key factor, since the sensors get drenched when the vehicles drive through water.
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.