In the futuristic world of Minority Report, billboards call Tom Cruise out by name to get his attention. Sounds far-fetched? Maybe not. Engineers here in the U.S. would likely balk at getting a message on their Blackberry from a vendor company. But we're hearing that some electronics companies increasingly are using text messaging to get the word out on new products to design engineers in Asia, particularly in countries like Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, where engineers rely more on the web for getting information. "They surf websites, subscribe to electronics newsletters, and also attend on-line seminars," says Greta Pang, a Motorola employee based in Hong Kong. Engineers in China, though, prefer to get their new product info from print trade magazines. "They like reading the application articles and technology stories," observes Pang. And there's no spam.
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.