Mechanical engineering professor Paul Wright says that new information technologies such as wearable computers—earrings that monitor body condition, for example—present a host of design problems along with engineering challenges. He is one of several University of California at Berkeley professors behind the University's Center for Information Technology in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). "I'm interested in working with artists to study the human environment in an ethnographic way and to bring that information into the design process," Wright says. CITRIS research will initially focus on the areas of energy efficiency, transportation, seismic safety, education, health care, and environmental monitoring. For more information, go to www.citris.berkeley.edu.
A few weeks ago, Ford Motor Co. quietly announced that it was rolling out a new wrinkle to the powerful safety feature called stability control, adding even more lifesaving potential to a technology that has already been very successful.
It won't be too much longer and hardware design, as we used to know it, will be remembered alongside the slide rule and the Karnaugh map. You will need to move beyond those familiar bits and bytes into the new world of software centric design.
People who want to take advantage of solar energy in their homes no longer need to install a bolt-on solar-panel system atop their houses -- they can integrate solar-energy-harvesting shingles directing into an existing or new roof instead.
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.