The U.S. Army is asking Hollywood for help. It wants better military training simulators for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is cost. The price tag for a live-fire exercise for a single Bradley fighting vehicle is just under $5,000, according to Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera. In a simulator, the cost is $11. The research for improving the simulators is coming from the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). The organization is reaching out to writers, directors, cinematographers, production designers, art directors, sound mixers, and special effects designers—a collection of creative thinkers who know how to use their imaginations—hoping for help in developing realistic simulations that help soldiers practice negotiating, learn local cultures, and deal with hostage situations. Projects under development at ICT include artificial intelligence that allows digital characters to react to various military situations. Applications for the military technology include special effects for video games. For more information, go to www.ict.usc.edu.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
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 radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.