Chemists and computer scientists have created people-sized "molecules" at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) by using chemical data, NIST software, special eyewear, and floor-to-ceiling displays. Such a three-dimensional immersion allows researchers to understand molecular behavior in minutes instead of the weeks required using traditional techniques. The materials being studied are the inexpensive smart gels, which can expand or contract to external stimuli. Applications include an artificial pancreas that might release insulin inside the body in response to high sugar levels. But scientists must know more about the molecular behavior of the gels before they can be applied for specific products. To learn more, go to http://nist.gov.
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 vehicleís 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 thatís 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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