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.
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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