Engineers like Excel for the simplicity in doing quick calculations and developing spreadsheets. But forget about it when it comes to managing those calculations or gaining any insight behind the numbers—two tasks that the software application Mathcad does very well, though its learning curve is somewhat steeper. But that ability to capture the thinking process of engineers is becoming increasingly important to some companies who are looking for ways to capture the engineering calculations in large projects and document the inputs, assumptions, and methods behind them, says Allen Razdow, senior vice president of products and services and cofounder of Mathsoft. "Companies are beginning to realize that a calculation is not an island, and that it's important to know where a number came from and what thinking went into it." To wit, his company just landed a major contract with Lockheed Martin, who is adopting Mathcad as a standard design tool for all structural calculations for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Project, the largest military contract in history. With a budget of $4B, there's bound to be plenty of number crunching. New features of Mathcad, such as the ability to deploy content over a web browser, is bound to make that process a bit more manageable.
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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