Skokie, IL —Rand McNally's attachable GPS receiver for 3Com's Palm Pilot organizer allows users to navigate their way through town, as well as their appointment calendars. The product was developed by Magellan Corporation, a manufacturer of satellite access products.
The receiver clips onto the back of the organizer, providing users with an all-inclusive navigation solution. The concept for attaching a GPS unit to a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) has only recently become possible due to advances in the technology. Previous attempts were unsuccessful because the organizer design did not allow for a compatible design solution.
The major hurdles overcome for successful development were reducing the high signal outputs from the PDA compared to the relatively low signal strength of the GPS unit. Developing a lightweight and compact package size for the GPS receiver was equally important during the five-month concept to production design phase. NMEA communication standards and a universal programming language also contributed to the successful design. Users can get address-to-address directions from their computer via the Internet, then download them with customized maps to their organizer.
The company's StreetFinder Deluxe 2000 software can also be run on a personal computer to enable interactive mapping and trip-planning capabilities by downloading maps, directions, and points of interest to Palm organizers. The GPS package also includes a carrying case, cigarette lighter power adapter, rechargeable AAA lithium ion batteries.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
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 radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.