When downed U.S. helicopters in Somalia led to a fierce urban battle for U.S. soldiers in 1993, it prompted the development of a new computer-enabled tool by the Office of Naval Research. This tool doesn't fire rockets, it just tells the soldiers where they are and then augments their view with an overlay of images fed through computer-enabled goggles. If, for example, soldiers become lost in an urban area, a global positioning system provides coordinates to a computer that provides a map and directions for escape routes. "Being able to look at stuff and seeing information in context with that stuff is what it's all about," says Steven Feiner, a Columbia University professor of computer science that is helping develop the tool. For more information, call (212) 854-1754 or visit www.columbia.edu.
Most machine design engineers will survey existing component manufacturers for standard linear guide products, limiting what they can do with their designs. Using extruded aluminum profile guides can customize machine designs while shrinking the bill of materials.
Practically all electronic devices today contain metals that may
be coming from conflict-ravaged African countries. And political pressures will increasingly influence how these minerals are sourced and used in products.
Weaned on the relatively effortless connectivity of today’s massive variety of consumer electronic products, automation users in the IIoT will likely not tolerate too many competing, piecemeal standards for long. And the Industrial Internet Consortium is trying to preempt history.
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