Forget fuel cells. Plastics are where it's at for automotive innovations. The American Plastics Council (www.americanplasticscouncil.org) says the average North American car will have 142 kg of plastic by 2009, compared to 117 kg in 1999. Keep your eye out for: all-plastic radiators to accommodate lower and flatter front ends; integrated front ends where one plastic module will cover the first third of the vehicle; and snap-in interior instrument panels with molded-in electronics.
This Gadget Freak Review looks at a keyless Bluetooth padlock that works with your smartphone, along with a system that tracks your sleep behavior and wakes you at the perfect time in your sleep cycle to avoid morning grogginess.
Siemens released Intosite, a cloud-based, location-aware SaaS app that lets users navigate a virtual production facility in much of the same fashion as traversing through Google Earth. Users can access PLM, IT, and other pertinent information for specific points on a factory floor or at an outdoor location.
Since 1987, teams of engineers around the world have built solar cars to participate in a road race around Australia called the World Solar Challenge, being tested on the race time, kilometers traveled, practicality, and energy used by the vehicles they invent.
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.