It has been five years and literally tens of thousands of man-hours of work. Finally, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F-24 technical committee has wrestled a new standard for the amusement park industry from the clutches of a variety of task forces evaluating everything from appropriate restraint devices to—for the first time—g-force limits. High g-forces have been thought to pose the risk of brain injuries. This standard is unique not only for its comprehensiveness, but also its global reach (not to mention that consensus building always takes time.) "It was a huge effort, really the biggest single standard that the amusement ride and device committee has worked on in its 25 years," says Greg Hale, chief of safety at Walt Disney World Resort and an outspoken advocate of safety standards. Hale and co-workers devoted hundreds of hours of their own time to this effort. Known as the Standard Practice for the Design of Amusement Rides and Devices—Z9591Z to those in the know—the standard piggybacks on an existing ASTM standard, but is unique in that it addresses detailed design criteria intended to assist engineers in designing rides that make people only feel like they are in peril. Active committee members hail from Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, the U.K., and the U.S.—making for a truly global effort and ensuring that the best design practices from around the world made their way into the standard. Guess it's a small world, after all.
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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