It's no secret that engineering groups are trying to figure out how to entice more engineers to become professionally certified. Notwithstanding all the midnight oil that must be burned to prepare for the punishing 8-hour exam, some states—which are free to set their own rules and fees—may be spoiling the pot with their mercenary ways. Case in point: Stephen Austin, an R&D Manager at Gerber Technology in Tolland, CT, says that the State of Connecticut is essentially holding his PE license for ransom. He passed the exam in 1987, when the annual renewal charge was $50. Shortly thereafter, he says that a budget shortfall prompted the state to raise the annual fee by a factor of five. Having moved from the state, Austin refused to renew his license. Upon returning to Connecticut, he inquired about reactivating it. He was advised that in order for the reinstatement to be considered, all back license fees must be paid. "Although I have a certificate that I passed the exam, and maintained my credentials through continuing education and seminars, the reinstatement of my license and legal recognition as a Professional Engineer is subject to the payment of all back fees—which amounts to thousands of dollars," complains Austin. So far, he's not paying. His advice to engineers: Be aware that states can change rules (and fees) at will.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Microchip recently released the 3D TouchPad, the first USB PC Peripheral device that couples 2D multi-touch input with 3D air gesture technology. The company seeks the help of developers to further enhance the capabilities of the technology.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
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.