Do neighborhood animals dig up your flower beds or get into your trash? Rick Prescott created a computer-controlled "machine gun" to help deter local pests, including the two-footed kind that invade work cubes. Rick mated an infrared sensor with a Nerf-brand gun that shoots spongy "bullets" to create the Infrared-Seeking Sentinel. An Atmega168 microcontroller tracks a heat source and unleashes either a single shot or a fury of automatic fire. Zap, zap, zap. Take that, Mr. Dog.
The new composites manufacturing innovation center is intended to be a source of grand challenges for industry, like the kind that got us to the moon under JFK. These aren't the words its new CEO Craig Blue used, but that's the idea and the vision behind the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).
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.