Engineers who feel they are in the dark about how their products are working in the field now have Nlighten, a web-based product from Ninatek (www.ninatek.com) that delivers field-performance data to engineers for analysis. Josh Siler, Ninatek's director of technology, says the product lets engineers see field-service reports and monitor performance at the part level, as well as do financial and reliability studies. "Basically, with that information you can decide whether it's worth the effort to change the design or just keep replacing parts," he says.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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