Nearly every engineer loves Dilbert. Now Scott Adams, the creator of our favorite nerd, has created a new site called the "Lazy Entrepreneur", which promises, "all talk and no funding." The site encourages fans (and In-Duh-Viduals who can find the site) an opportunity to share their good ideas for a new invention.
Even though the site launched a few months ago, there are already tons of ideas, including some from Mr. Adams himself. How about a find-your-car-device—a string of lights placed on your antenna with a remote control on your keychain? Or a suspended track chair for those worthy few who have a large workspace? (Wouldn't this be even better with a small electric motor, too?) How about electronic wallpaper regulated by a low-voltage current running through a chemical mesh glued to the wall of your house? (No more washing walls either, just key in a darker color!) There's even a suggestion for an empty parking space detector with a zoomable map showing empty spots plus an indicator of parking meter status. (Some visitors have already mentioned that this exists in Europe!)
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
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 discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.