A big thank you to Design News for supporting FIRST! One of FIRST's missions is to create awareness in the mainstream media for the importance of STEM education and careers, but I am frankly surprised that I don't read more about FIRST in trade journals like Design News. I do realize that there are a lot of topics that must be covered and STEM is not high on the list, but consider that many of these students are future subscribers who will ultimately influence the industries that you cover. Also consider that many current readers graciously volunteer their time and talent to FIRST as mentors and volunteers, and perhaps more would if they were aware. If you are interested in supporting FIRST, visit www.usfirst.org or simply contact your local FIRST team. They would love to hear from you!
I think the products here are great, especially things like beagleboard, aimed at people making their own devices at home or in other non-commercial settings, but what I most like about this is the partnership with FIRST robotics. I am on a FIRST team, and I feel that even in just two years it has given me more real-world experience with engineering, industry, and collaboration than anything else I've done (given, of course, that being 17 I haven't done that much yet). I think it's especially great that it, and other such programs, are starting to be noticed on a larger level, such as the thanksgiving day parade (which this year was started by a couple of FIRST robots). I'd love to see more events and such involving these programs, especially through such widely noticed and followed media.
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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