Nobody likes to find that a simple unplugged connector is the cause of a failure that shuts down a system for a long time. That's especially true when a hard-to-reach plug is on an orbiting spacecraft. NASA's hoping to avoid that type of problem with a rewrite of its Specification S-311-P-822, which addresses connectors. When Compact PCI connectors are selected for NASA space flights, Hypertronics Corp.'s cPCI connectors with the Hypertac “Basket of Wires” are now a connector of choice. Connectors from the subsidiary of the Smiths Group have already been used on the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Mars Science Lab., the Hubble Space Telescope and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
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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