Mike Hastings, marcom manager for Texas Instruments Standard Linear and Logic Semiconductor Group, had a really big phone bill recently. Due to a computer glitch, several design engineers who ordered samples of TI logic parts received something else instead: An automatic reply tersely advising them that their order had been kicked out of the system for review. Why? Because they had exceeded their sample quota. Complaints from some extremely irritated engineers quickly made their way up the corporate hierarchy to Mike, who suddenly went from having a good day to a bad day. "Talk about a stupid error," says Mike. "Our goal is to get samples into the hands of engineers." To make good on his word, Mike personally called every engineer and apologized. They got their parts the next day. And, presumably, as many more samples as they want.
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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