For anyone who's ever taken a motorcycle and "chopped" it, do we have a website for you! A professor from University of Missouri-Rolla, Mike Hilgers and a group of his senior computer science students, have built a site that allows users modify a motorcycle's design. The site is a result of a grant from Honda, which will then use the information gathered on the site in a redesign of the Honda Shadow.
While Hilgers stresses the site is still at the "prototype level", the idea of the Blueprint for a Bike site (http://www.umr.edu/~honda ) is to use the Internet, he says, "to measure the impact of design changes related to the image a motorcycle creates and to offer a quantitative measure of effects of the change. That is, I wanted to be able to make a statement, such as 'lowering the seat an inch will increase the appeal of the bike design by 14.5%.'"
The site works by manipulation of sample blueprints of a Honda Shadow. Users drag certain parts of the bike—front wheel, seat, and handle bars—to redesign some of the basic features to suit their personal vision of a motorcycle they'd like to ride. When finished, they hit the submit button. The modifications are recorded and will be assessed by Honda designers using intelligent system concepts.
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.