Earthrace is designed to highlight the benefits of renewable fuels, particularly biodiesel, during a 24,000-nautical-mile circumnavigation of the earth. The ship uses Xilinx FPGAs in its radar and night vision systems, employing the company's MicroBlaze processor to help the ship travel in any weather. Its unusual trimaran hull also helps meet that goal, letting Earthrace pierce through waves, even submerging at times. New Zealander Pete Bethune heads the international effort and skippers the craft, which is powered by two fuel-efficient Cummins Mercruiser QSC-540 engines.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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