Salakazi Racingís KTM nitro methane motorcycle/dragster does the quarter mile in 6.7 sec, with a terminal velocity of 196 mph. One key for reaching these speeds is an automatic three-disc, four-stage clutch fitted with a Proworx digital controller. That controller is pre-programmed for optimal speed given the racing conditions it encounters. Inside this clutch, there are a few tiny but critical devices. Among them are a pair of RM22 encoders from Gloucestershire, United Kingdom-based Renishaw. The encoders are both fast and precise enough to monitor speeds up to 30,000 rpm. One monitors the position of the crankshaft in the engine, while the other measures the clutch speed. When these two values are compared, clutch slippage, traction and road conditions can be determined with high precision.
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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