I recommend the ZigBee protocol only when a design requires interoperability with other ZigBee devices, or when someone wants a ZigBee certification. For proprietary designs or basic wireless communications, modules that operate to the IEEE 802.15.4 standard will do a nice job without the software overhead ZigBee requires.
I was once very interested in those TI 802.15.4 SoCs, but those currently in production use an 8051 core and to do anything useful with them requires a heafy investment in development tools (eg IAR which costs 2-3k$). No thank you, ARM for me please.
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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