DN Staff

December 3, 2001

3 Min Read
Hot Spots in Cyberspace

Get e-informed

This holiday season, treat yourself to a gift that will expand your horizons, your knowledge, and possibly your career. And did I mention it's free? Subscribe to Design News E-updates to receive bi-monthly newsletters on cutting edge technology. Choose from CAD/CAM/CAE, Plastics, Motion Control, Fastening, Electrical, and Power Transmission, among others. DN editors examine the latest technology and applications before the news hits the magazine or Internet. If you've got unanswered engineering questions, request help in the "Ask our Experts" section to get reader feedback. Go to the yellow registration update box at www.designnews.com to sign up.

Track Santa

How do you plan on answering your children when they ask how Santa gets to every house in one night? Have no fear, SantaGPS (www.eaze.net/~citius/santa.htm) is here. Through either a world map or satellite view, check Santa's sleigh velocity as he hits major international cities. After downloading the program, you can personalize messages, customize Santa's destinations, listen to Christmas songs, and hear Santa sounds.

It's a bird, it's a plane...

...It's SoloTrek XFV. For those who have dreamed of flying, put down the bedsheet and strap on this compact flying machine. In Jetson-like fashion, the SoloTrek XFV reportedly can hover for 2 hours, travel up to 130 nautical miles, and reach speeds up to 70 knots. At www.solotrek.com, users can view prototype photos, read about the history of the "dream of flight," and watch a video of the prototype in tethered-flight test.

Car-owner for a day

Zipcar is making a name for itself in the auto industry as a reliable convenience.

At www.zipcar.com, users can apply for membership to pick up a Zipcar at a select parking location in a major city, use it for as little as an hour, and then return it to the designated parking space, without the obligation of owning an auto. Instead of taking a cab or renting a car for the day, reserve it online for your next trip to the grocery store.

Know it all

Forget about deeper pockets to hold every engineering calculator available, just go on-line to www.efunda.com/calculator.cfm to find out if your chosen load-bearing spring is safe from fatigue, or to get the correct flow rate of a fluid passing through a venturi. In addition to the engineering design aid calculators, the site offers calculators for finance, mechanical formulas, and pure mathematics. Depending on the calculator used, the site also includes equations and graphs to plot answers.

Not just child's play

Not the typical children's block structures, LEGO(R) MINDSTORMS(TM) are designed for users to build and program actual robots to maneuver around obstacles and through trails. At the MINDSTORMS website (http://mindstorms.lego.com), go to the Robotics Invention System 2.0(TM) section and hit 'highlights' to get close-up information on the important parts list, including the motor, light sensor, and touch sensor. Click on 'product details' to get a list of necessary products, complete with enlarged product photos, to build the robot; 'software section' explains the connection between the robot and your PC.

Blast from the past

The Xtal Set Society (www.midnightscience.com) is a group that builds and experiments with radio electronics, circa 1950's style. The "Online projects" link shows how to build a Quaker Oat box crystal radio or cigar box crystal set. The site includes a list of necessary materials, well-drawn diagrams, and explicit, step-by-step directions.

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