Cabe, Great idea for a post. I'm looking forward to seeing what new apps are identified. Certainly this is an area that will be continuing to expand rapidly. We're seeing innovations using mobile for automation and control in the factory as a tremendous growth area. Thanks.
I agree. I continue to be amazed at the powerful apps that continue to be developed for smart phones. I suppose that screen size (not processing power) will start to become the limiting factor in the future.
I agree with Al. This is a fantastic idea for a post. Looking at these apps, I can't help but wonder if these capabilities change the way engineering is taught in today's universities. I can't imagine the learning procss is the same as it was when I was in school 40 years ago. On the other hand, would apps such as these inhibit the student's ability to fully comprehend the material?
Young engineers have ofen complained that facilities such as featured don't go far enough in understanding the basics of what is involved. That can always be addressed by an addendum to such Apps that appends the history of the evolution of the technology so that the younger engineers can see from where the technology emerged.
One classic example recently was the 30 something who asked me where his smartphone technology came from so I took him back to the crystal radio via transistor via integrated circuit scenario and he brightened up googling that sequence and feeding back quite an extraordinary understanding of where we are and where we're likely to go....so i believe it can be done without overwhelming the youngsters.
Understanding the basics really means understanding the math behind the principles. Now we can engineer quit well without understanding the math - we put our faith in the software understanding the math. A little bit of trail and error and we have a feasible answer without mudding up the brain with the drudgery of math. So many times now we go right into prototyping without laborious verifications.
Hi Gabe, thanks for the article. Of all the gazillions of apps out there, I don't know how I would come across potentially useful engineering apps without articles like this.
I have a quibble with you though - you didn't put the app names in there at all! Or what platform(s) they're available for. I have to click into the app store / whatever link (or manually parse the URL) to find out what it is called so I can then search for the app. Maybe I should be reading this article on my device to begin with, but that is not the case (tiny screen...ugh). At least I can tell one platform just from looking at the screenshot, but are any available for multple platforms? I dunno.
Nice job in doing the research to find these list of apps. My kids are masters finding new games and all sort of entertaining apps, so I (and I believe most people) tend to look at smart devices (phones, tablets) more as gaming consoles but they really are outstanding resources for Professionals of many fields from Engineering, Medicine, Sports, Management, etc.
By the way, my Company is developing a new app that works as a circuit breaker analyzer, which allows to evaluate the condition of the whole breaker based on vibration analysis, check it out at www.circuitbreakeranalyzer.com
An interesting article, and I am certain that it will be useful for those who choose to work with that tiny screen and those small keys, taking their expensive smartphone out into the oily and harsh production floor environment. Drop that phone once onto a concrete floor and it may not be quite right from then on, drop it into some water and it is gone forever. Some places are just terribly hard on phones, it seems.
But this ia America and we are free and so those who wish to bring a computer like their smart phone into hazardous duty are welcome to do it. My choice is to keep the computer in the office and have what I need to do any kind of work on the plant floor on paper, which is both cheap and rugged, even if not durable. How many pages equal the price of an entry level smartphone?
My point being that there is another side to the discussion and that we just simply do not need the portable computer on the production floor. Instead, we use experience and understanding to find our way.
Keep in mind, there are numerous "smart" products that are designed for those harsh environments. The apps are made for devices suitable for whatever situation. It's like a tuxedo vs work clothes, technically a tux is clothing, but I doubt people would wear it to dig ditches.
Cabe, you are correct, and I am sure that there are devices that are as durable as the Panasonic "Toughbook" computer, even today. But most folks have the more popular smartphones and never consider the places that those phones should never go. Even just a bit of clean water can kill them if it gets into the wrojg places.
Cabe, I totally agree with you this is technology world and technology is moving very fast being an engineer i myself donot carry my system or laptop every where i use my smart phone i have apps downloaded and its really very easy . New generation usually uses these smartphones or tablets and likewise technologies more than the systems because they consider tehm easy to use .Obviously one has to use these technologies carefully but every produt has its features and specification . It is not correct to say that we cant use such technology everywhere .
I'm with you William K! I get aggravated just trying to view a website a tiny screen. It seems unimaginable to be scrolling around in a large schematic trying to get any useful work done. I've been an analog circuit designer for over 40 years ... my eyesight isn't razor sharp and my fingers are big. IMHO, most of the attraction of such "apps" is the gee-whiz factor ... oh, now called "coolness factor". It all sounds good, but is it really useful? And do you really need a circuit analysis program on a factory floor? Sorry, I'll take my full-size keyboard, track-ball, and 24" monitor!
Analog Bill, On the factory floor a laptop with a 14 inch monitor should be good enough, along with one of those nasty touchpads. On the floor we are hoping to find a circuit and wire number, or examine a ladder logic rung or two, or set up a motor controller. No, I couldn't do it t all with the 2 inch screen, unless I had my magnifiers on. And folks laugh at me for that! The whole thing sounds like a marketing type concept, based on an analysis of the situations that never exist except in adventure shows on television. Those of us who are closer to reality understahnd what is involved, those separated from reality will never have a clue.
And I don't hink that I have ever written ladder code with a full sized keyboard, although the AB programmer was close.
Just curious, I realize the very simple circuit shown is just an example, but I have to wonder if such a small platform could support a more typical simulation with maybe 50 or so active and passive components, and whether complex device models can even be added. Put bluntly, is this really just a toy?
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