John, sounds like your class is just what is called for in terms of bringing a more practical approach to a modern engineering education. I hear over and over again from Design News engineering readers and the vendor community about how systems engineering principles are more important than ever. While it's obviously far from a new concept or discipline, it does appear organizations are still stymied by trying to collaborate between the separate disciplines of mechnical, electrical, and software. Perhaps arming the next-generation of engineers with hands-on experience and in-the-trenches best practices for cross-disciplineary work will finally remove the barriers to early collaboration and foster less iteration in design cycles.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.