Operation Shield America is a new program announced by Customs Service that seeks identification of technology, components, and products that could be on a "shopping list for terrorist organizations." The agency's media spokesperson Jim Michie says that engineers could help the Customs Service by adding to the classified list of more than 100 items. "We're asking for help identifying what should be on this list," says Michie. "The other thing we want to know is who is buying products that could potentially be dangerous in the wrong hands." The Customs Service is asking manufacturers to turn over the names of any suspicious customers. The State and Commerce Department already have defined lists of controlled exports. However, Customs Service Commissioner Robert Bonner indicated that the items on the Customs list differed. Although Bonner did not release the shopping list, he did describe items on it: high-tech devices used for producing nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and low-tech items that help terrorists evade detection and capture. Bonner clarified that he did not want companies to investigate, but rather to just contact the agency. Contact the U.S. Customs Service at (202) 927-8727 or visit www.ustreas.gov/treasury/bureaus/customs.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Microchip recently released the 3D TouchPad, the first USB PC Peripheral device that couples 2D multi-touch input with 3D air gesture technology. The company seeks the help of developers to further enhance the capabilities of the technology.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.