Interesting to read about a real bug in a circuit, but perhaps the problem was the bad pump and the insect didn't have any effect. Who knows; it's a good story.
Grace Hopper, a US Navy admiral, worked on many early computers and taped a moth in one of her lab notebooks. The story goes she found the moth between relay contacts in a Mark II computer, noted the problem, and told people she was "debugging" the circuits. Find more info and a photo of the mounted bug here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper.
While inspecting circuit boards a friend of mine spotted an insect on the reverse side of a board. He turned the board over, but no bug. It was sandwiched between the fiberglass sheets used to create the substrate. I think I have a 35-mm slide of the encapsulated bugaround here somewhere. The board was "buggy," but thankfully the creature didn't affect any of the circuits.
While I agree with you, (lucky to be engineers) I've been forced in many instances to rise to a higher, broader perspective, and know firsthand that the general public (family members included) don't always share that perspective.A colleague of mine has a book on his desk entitled Design Engineering, and depicted on the cover is a bridge spanning a great chasm; one side of the bridge says "Design Engineers" and on the opposite reads "The Rest of the World".Yes, we are set apart, and by our perspectives, happily so; but many times from the perspective of the "The Rest of the World" it's their choice to isolate us.Everything is relative. But that's just an engineer's opinion.
Oh, and about the dishwasher – funny story;too bad the insect wasn't the real bug; that would have been poetic!
This story makes me wonder about the filters: why aren't they designed to prevent small items like pistachio shells and broken glass shards from entering the pump, or for that matter, from ever leaving the dish compartment in the first place?
I had a pistachio shell that made its way to the pump. The noise it was making suggested a bearing had gone bad and that a new pump was in my future. I'm glad I decided to open the machine up and take a look before ordering a pump. That made me wonder about the people that don't own screwdrivers and what they would do. Call repair service and buy a new pump? We're all lucky to be engineers.
Kudos to you for continuing to search for the culprit. I have to admit while I haven't experienced the bug problem, we've definitely run into similar issues with glass and other elements being trapped in places that block water flow and essentially wreck havoc on the dish washing cycle. Given that I hardly expect we're alone in this probem, it seems to me, a bit more engineering time could be spent on coming up with a better design for dealing with debris so it doesn't interfere with the unit's operation.
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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