ttemple, you're right that some DN articles are product-oriented or contain product information, and they should be, since that's one of the reasons why engineers have historically read technical magazines: to bring useful and interesting new products to light. But in a typical technical publication, articles can display a range of focus on products or product details, depending on whether they are news or analysis, and whether they are contributed by a manufacturer, or staff-written.
Thanks for your feedback, Dave. Interesting observation about Japanese vs US companies. I've found the opposite to be broadly true when interviewing companies about their technology: Japanese companies have been far less likely to want to be interviewed in the first place and if they do agree, are much less forthcoming. Over time (since the late 80s) the gap has shrunk but I think it's still there. Considering that reluctance, I've been surprised at how forthcoming they can be at technical conferences.
OLD_CURMUDGEON, thanks for the additional thoughts on this topic, and for bringing it up in the first place. I tend to agree with Tom-R's thoughts on the matter. I think a lot depends on picking the right model to fit the target goal. I agree about teamwork--when applied to appropriate goals and executed correctly, it can be extremely productive.
Tom-R, thanks for your feedback. The network of known subject experts is an interesting version of crowdsourcing. The open forum we're discussing is meant to be a lot looser, but has similar goals. Thanks also for the clear discussion of trade secrets issues, and the suggestion about offline contacts: excellent suggestions.
Ann: I don't know that it WOULD be a problem, but with children suing their parents over trivial matters, and with out super-litigious society in general now, it MAY be something for one to keep in the back of their mind..... that's ALL I was suggesting. Of course it's a good thing when scientific minds can collaborate & share technical ideas amongst their peers, but it would be a real shame IF someone were to become liable for a contribution due to an overzealous "ambulance chaser" type.
In my earlier decades' design role, we always worked on large-scale projects as a team. Even technicians were brought into the collaboration, not only to learn, but also to be an active part in the design process. These groups worked well, and the products' that became "alive" served their purpose well for many years.
Nancy, thanks for all those specific suggestions and excellent questions. Just what we're lookiing for at this stage. And thanks to Warren for a good example of why crowd-sourcing one's experiential database in a forum like this one can be a good idea.
Ceylon0, that may not be as far off as one might think, based on what I've seen in nanodevices, self-assembling devices and programmable materials (and BTW that was my slideshow). But--please hold that thought!
OLD_CURMUDGEON, thanks for raising that issue. But I don't see why that would be any more a problem here than on the comment boards we already have. The whole point is a free expression of ideas and the purpose is to aid in better designs and solve new and challenging design problems. So it would be expected that some of the ideas would be adopted by readers in their work. I think it's highly unlikely any ideas discussed here would be specific enough to be patentable.
There is an old adage, "There is no such thing as a stupid question." I beg to differ, but I do think "There is no such thing as a bad idea."
Years ago I was developing a scanning laser ophthalmoscope for Coopervision and the subject of using the 633nm HeNe for doing graphics came up. I thought it was a bad idea and a waste of time. Little did I know it became the most useful function of the instrument.
There may be stupid questions, but I don't see any bad ideas. It just may not be their time, yet (flying cars, personal helicopters, transporters, warp drive...)
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