International Space Station Alpha, Orbiting Around Earth —On April 23, Space Station Alpha got a permanent crane—the Canadian-built Canadarm2, or "Big Arm."
Built by MacDonald Dettwiler Space and Advanced Robotics (MD Robotics; Brampton, Ontario, Canada), the 57-ft, 9-inch crane replaces the Little Arm, a 50-ft, 3-inch crane carried back and forth aboard each Space Shuttle.
Until now, Space Station Alpha has had to rely on the Little Arm--shown here aboard the Space Shuttle--for spacewalking robotics.
The new arm has two hands and seven joints, with freedom of motion at its shoulder, elbow, and wrist, allowing it to "walk" completely around the outside of the Space Station like an inchworm. With a body made of high-strength aluminum, stainless steel, and graphite epoxy, it has no trouble supporting its own 3,618-lb mass in zero-gravity space, and is designed to lift as much as 255,000 lbs mass.
In coming years, the billion-dollar Big Arm will attach the station's solar wings and airlock. And a 2003 Shuttle flight will bring the arm's "fingers," allowing it to catch passing satellites.
PTC will offer a virtual desktop environment for its Creo product design applications, potentially freeing engineers to run them from remote desktops on a variety of operating systems and mobile devices.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.