The First Person Gamerunner fuses a treadmill with a USB game controller and allows players to literally walk through first person shooter games. The system uses optical encoders and embedded software to translate the movements of the treadmill to the corresponding movements inside the game environment, according to Charles Van Noland, Gamerunner's inventor. The toughest part of the design, he says, was translating digital signals from the encoder into the analog signals required to control the games. The system has a swiveling set of handlebars that allows players to make direction changes within the game. The handlebars also house user-configurable buttons, such as the one used for the trigger. Gamerunner Inc., the device's manufacturer, calibrates the system for fast walking speeds, rather than flat out running — mostly to allow gamers to play for long periods of time. And for the sake of safety, the treadmill moves forward only; a "reverse" button translates forward treadmill movement into backwards in-game movement. Gamerunner builds its treadmill structural elements from machined aluminum billets. "We wanted them to be rugged," says Van Noland, a mechanical engineer with a background in CNC machining. For more information and look at some videos of the controller in action, visit http://rbi.ims.ca/4915-528.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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.