Gadget Freak James Kinney was looking for a way to take the pressure off the back end of a tow truck when it’s 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 truck’s suspension system. Kinney developed the air suspension system, called the Mechatronic Microcontroller, in his mechatronics’ class at Colorado State University. The gadget uses a resistive touchscreen from an electronic Sudoku game to select the ride height of the tow truck’s bed to make it level, thus spreading the stress of the towing weight evenly across the truck’s suspension.
One way to keep a Formula One racing team moving at breakneck speed in the pit and at the test facility is to bring CAD drawings of the racing vehicle’s parts down to the test facility and even out to the track.
Most of us would just as soon step on a cockroach rather than study it, but that’s just what researchers at UC Berkeley did in the pursuit of building small, nimble robots suitable for disaster-recovery and search-and-rescue missions.
Design engineers need to prepare for a future in which their electronic products will use not just one or two, but possibly many user interfaces that involve touch, vision, gestures, and even eye movements.
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