I think there are two different discussions here. Rob and tekochip ended up discussing how features do (or don't) end up in a product. But the missing magnet is not a feature: it's a design flaw. Jim and I were talking about what are, in effect, organizational structures that can blur the lines between brands, in the context of situations that dilute responsibility for product QA and testing and lead to the problem discussed in the article, the design flaw of the missing magnet.
So that means they are trying to anticipate features their customers will desire before their customers are able to articulate that desire. Are the engineers involved in the process to determine what features to develop?
In my experience Marketing writes the specification of what the device does and Engineering determines how to make the product. Features don't come from Engineering they come from Marketing. Certainly, there is a relationship between the two departments and a product benefits from technical and non-technical people brainstorming on what to include in the latest widget, but the specification on what a button does and where the button is located comes from Marketing.
Is that common, Tekochip, that with retail products marketing makes the final decision? On what basis would they make the decision? Seems the needing it out in the market is not a sufficient reason to make a determination that the product is OK to produce ship.
Perhaps you're right, Tekochip. Yet sometimes it doesn't seem like they've tested their systems sufficiently. Sometimes it seems they haven't worked out all of the quality issues with their equipment. Otherwise there would be no Made by Monkeys column. It could be that manufacturers have worked out most of the bugs, and then faulty components lead the system to fail.
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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