Detroit—Keeping passengers cool in the 2001 PT Cruiser was a design challenge involving efficiency. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine taking up only 148.2 inch3 total volume necessitated designing a special air conditioning accumulator that would fit into a confined area.
The accumulator from Parker Hannifin Corp. (Lyon, NY) uses a patented helix design that improves oil circulation. "The helix design provides a swirling and stirring motion that helps keep the oil and refrigerant mixture consistent," says Cary Horamoto, engineering manager of Parker Hannifin's refrigeration and air conditioning division. Keeping the mixture consistent reduces the amount of oil needed for charging the system, creating a cost savings for DaimlerChrysler.
One way to keep a Formula One racing team moving at breakneck speed in the pit and at the test facility is to bring CAD drawings of the racing vehicle’s parts down to the test facility and even out to the track.
Most of us would just as soon step on a cockroach rather than study it, but that’s just what researchers at UC Berkeley did in the pursuit of building small, nimble robots suitable for disaster-recovery and search-and-rescue missions.
Design engineers need to prepare for a future in which their electronic products will use not just one or two, but possibly many user interfaces that involve touch, vision, gestures, and even eye movements.
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