Gadget Freak James Kinney was looking for a way to take the pressure off the back end of a tow truck when itís carrying a heavy load. If you can equalize the pressure of the truck bed so all the weight is not on the back end, there will be less stress to the truckís suspension system. Kinney developed the air suspension system, called the Mechatronic Microcontroller, in his mechatronicsí class at Colorado State University. The gadget uses a resistive touchscreen from an electronic Sudoku game to select the ride height of the tow truckís bed to make it level, thus spreading the stress of the towing weight evenly across the truckís suspension.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationís recent backup camera mandate could open the door to more vehicle innovations, including better graphical displays, 360-degree camera views, and the increased use of Ethernet.
With support from National Instruments, a group of dedicated students from Connally High School in Austin, where more than 50% of the students are at risk of not graduating, have created a successful robotics team that is competing in the FIRST World Championships.
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