Detroit—Some interesting statistics came out during the recent Firestone
tire recall on Ford sport-utility vehicles. Ford used data from the U.S. Department of Transportation to make a case for the relative safety of SUVs. The information it presented showed the overall occupant fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles lower for compact SUVs than passenger cars (left). However, while frontal impacts in cars had the greatest fraction of fatalities, rollovers in compact SUVs accounted for nearly two-thirds of all deaths in those vehicles—a sobering thought given SUVs' higher center of gravity making them more prone to such accidents—and the reason for Ford's introduction of its rollover protection package in 2002 Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers (see Design News , 10/02/00).
No numbers were quoted for death rates in vehicles colliding with SUVs.
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
Everyone has a MEMS story. For most of us it’s probably the airbag that saved our lives or the life of a loved one. Perhaps it’s the tire pressure sensor that alerted us about deflation before we were stranded alone on a dark muddy road.
Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
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.