Engineers at several automotive, aerospace, and marine manufacturers are apparently so interested in a new vibration-proof fastener that they demanded it before it was priced. That may seem like the kind of problem every company would love to have, but it can still cause blood pressure to rise. Permanent Technologies Inc. spent 11 years developing the fastener, a one-way nut-and-bolt combination that locks the nut and bolt at a predetermined position. Then the company spent a lot of effort to overcome the challenges that new companies often face, such as lack of recognition and doubts about the product. Part of the strategy was a modified show-and-tell: They sent samples for engineers to play with. Boy did that work—a little too well, in fact. Company President Loren Ball says the orders have been flying in faster than the cost estimates they have been getting from the contract manufacturers who will make the fastener. Not to worry, though: Ball says pricing is now in place. He's ready to ship.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
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