Newton, MA--Dean Kamen, inventor and Design News' 7th
Engineer of the Year, has something everyone wants. People are lining up to buy
"IT." Yet, no one even knows what "IT" is.
The buzz began early in January when the news/gossip site
Inside.com leaked information regarding Kamen's $250,000 book deal with Harvard
Business School Press. (Click
here to see the original story) According to the book proposal, Kamen had a
revolutionary new invention on his hands. Something called Ginger. Something so
important and secret it couldn't even be described in its own book proposal.
Talk about titillating! Some astounding quotes accompanied the article, which
included allegations that Ginger would be bigger than the world-wide-web and
make Kamen wealthier than Bill Gates.
Kamen has been relatively quiet, appearing only once since the
leak to say he has a hot prospect, but nothing "Earth shattering." His release
came in the wake of claims that he had something akin to a new power source on
his hands. Some of the less shattering guesses since then propose that Ginger is
a Sterling engine-powered personal scooter.
The web on the other hand has been anything but quiet. Inside.com
has launched www.inside.com/it, a
collection of pages devoted to breaking leads. Another site, www.gingerpoll.com/, is a source for
current headlines and other speculation sites. And believe it or not, you can
already put your name in queue to buy a Ginger from Amazon.com. Not that they
know how much it will cost, what it is, or if they will even be able to sell
them. Justin Osmer, spokesperson for Amazon, said their Ginger
page was launched because so many people were interested in the item and
"Amazon always strives to offer the best selection on the planet." According to
Osmer, "customer response has been astounding…in the thousands." I've already
signed up to buy five!
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.