I do like the move that the industry is making toward local intelligence. It helps a lot in troubleshooting issues and keeps a lot of the spaghetti wiring to a minimum. In addition, it allows status feedback to the operators so that they can tell immediately what the problem is rather than having the maintenance engineer hook up a bunch of diagnostic equipment.
Not only is localized intelligence making life easier for problem solving and debugging, but the costs are becoming lower and lower which only helps drive the localized solution. Becoming more affordable will allow more solutions, and better designs, to occur with a minimal amount of fuss by engineers.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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