What are engineering technologists,
and do we have enough of them?

Leland Teschler, Executive Editor lteschler@wtwhmedia.com On Twitter @DW_LeeTeschler Those who’ve watched the engineering profession over the years might become suspicious when a prominent scientific organization studies employment in the field. The reason for this wariness arises from previous proclamations from the National Science Foundation which has had a reputation for forecasting fake engineering shortages. One

Not fake news: Politicians want innovation—until they actually get it

Lee Teschler – Executive Editor lteschler@wtwhmedia.com On Twitter @DW—LeeTeschler In olden times when there were no such things as cell phones, Uncle Sam regulated the phone system. Phone companies charged their customers for every handset attached to the lines and used time-domain reflectometery to check phone lines for illegal handsets. Thus began a ritual of

Gallery: New automotive component tech at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show

The recent North American International Auto Show — the Detroit Auto Show for short — is known for highlighting the debuts of new production vehicles and concept cars. But a lot of automotive suppliers also use NAIAS to highlight new developments in component and subsystem technology. We have put a few of the more interesting

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Gallery: Cool vehicle tech on display at Detroit’s 2017 North American International Auto Show

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is known for hosting debuts of new-model vehicles. But some of the more interesting technical developments at the show don’t appear on the vehicles that get the lion’s share of the press coverage. What follows are some of the vehicles we noticed that seemed to host noteworthy powertrain

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Autonomous vehicles have descended from one of the “worst cars of all time”

Leland Teschler Executive Editor lteschler@wtwhmedia.com On Twitter @DW_LeeTeschler Teschler on Topic The governor of Michigan recently signed legislation allowing autonomous vehicles to operate on the state’s highways. The signing was at a ceremony wherein the legislator was flanked by a self-driving Ford Fusion and a Model T. For those who follow the auto industry, there

Tech job interviews produce arbitrary results. Here’s why.

Leland Teschler, Executive Editor lteschler@wtwhmedia.com On Twitter @DW_LeeTeschler Most engineers have probably been in a few job interviews that didn’t pan out for reasons that, afterward, seemed a bit ambiguous. In at least one corner of the tech employment industry, there is a move to eliminate some of the goofier outcomes that can arise in

When intuition fails – How big companies get out-innovated

Lee Teschler Executive Editor @DW_LeeTeschler That’s not how we do things around here. As with many young engineers, I used to hear that phrase a lot when I was first starting out. Though often meant as well-intentioned advice, it was like fingernails on a chalk board for somebody who had what today is called an

Face recognition modules get 10X speed boost

The Human Vision Components (HVC)-P2 module has a maximum recognition speed 10 times that of the previous model, which was introduced in March 2014. The HVC-P2 is offered…

Sensor Tips

Low-pressure sensors go down to ±1-in. H2O range

New low-pressure sensors, called the BLC Series, work over pressure ranges of ±1 in. H2O through ±30 in. H2O and 15 PSIA. The BLC Series basic low-pressure compact sensor…

Sensor Tips

Loser! Should engineers learn to be more civil?

Leland Teschler Executive Editor lteschler@wtwhmedia.com On Twitter @DW_LeeTeschler Recent events have gotten a lot of people concerned about personal attacks, name calling, and reputational smears. No, we’re not talking about the presidential election. Sadly, it is becoming almost as easy to find examples of bullying and defamation in scientific and engineering research as in politics.

Etched and formed micro metal parts sport features down to 3 mils

Tech-Etch combines photochemical etching with precision metal bending to create extremely small formed features in thin metal parts. A staff of talented and creative tool and die makers utilize state-of-the-art techniques to manufacture tools capable of forming features down to 0.003 in. in a wide variety of metals. Tech-Etch continues to push the manufacturing envelope

Robots will build spacecraft in orbit

Lee Teschler Executive Editor @dw_LeeTeschler The days of launching complete satellites and similar extraterrestrial objects into orbit may be numbered. Instead, orbiting robots will construct them in space. The basic principles of this concept are being perfected by a company called Tethers Unlimited Inc. in Bothell Wash. under a NASA contract. Tethers’ SpiderFab: Architecture for

The mythical unskilled American workforce

Lee Teschler – Executive Editor lteschler@wtwhmedia.com On Twitter @DW—LeeTeschler I once sat through a panel session at a technical conference that featured engineering managers from four large high-tech companies. They all moaned about the lack of youngsters entering the engineering profession and about finding engineers with the right kind of skills. To hear them talk,

The downside of patent protection

Leland Teschler – Executive Editor lteschler@wtwhmedia.com On Twitter @DW_LeeTeschler MUCH angst has been expressed over patent trolls that buy up low-quality patents then sue the bejesus out of potential infringers to “enforce” IP rights. Lest you think patent suits by these guys are over money earned from patents, consider this: Scholars at the National Bureau […]

Motion Control Tips

Unable to grasp the meaning of numbers

by Leland Teschler, Executive Editor Much has been written about the innumeracy of the general populace. An inability to grasp the meaning of numbers leads to a variety of bad outcomes that include a predilection to be hoodwinked by junk science and financial scams. An even more pernicious outcome of an inability to understand simple

Fun with correlations: ME Ph.Ds versus World of Warcraft subscribers

From the folks at Spurious Correlations comes this gem: Mere coincidence?

High-res pressure sensor measures over 0.5 to 60-in. H2O range

A new low-pressure sensor called the DLHR Series works over lower pressure ranges of 0.5 to 60 in. H2O, an improvement over previous devices. Developed by All Sensors…

Sensor Tips

Chinese fire drill over trade

by Leland Teschler, Executive Editor Many moons ago I encountered the first auto I’d ever seen that was manufactured in China. It sat in Detroit’s North American International Auto Show, the premier event for vehicle introductions in the U.S. My experience opening the driver-side door set the tone of that initial encounter: A loud and

Reliability concerns drive UAV propulsion technologies

by Leland Teschler, Executive Editor Makers of unmanned vehicles are leaning on technology to field drones that can fly longer with fewer worries about maintenance. Eyeball the radio-controlled model planes at your local hobby store and you’ll likely see some of the same components now found on the unmanned aerial vehicles used in missions over

When “scientific reasoning” is an oxymoron

by Leland Teschler, Executive Editor, @DW_LeeTeschler The journal Science had an interesting take on a recent statement by the American Statistical Association (ASA): Imagine the American Physical Society convening a panel of experts to issue a missive to the scientific community on the difference between weight and mass. And imagine that the impetus for such

Photo-etched tungsten parts excel in medical applications

Photo-etched parts made from materials such as nitinol, elgiloy, titanium, and niobium find extensive use in the medical industry. Tech-Etch in Plymouth, Mass., specializes in the photo-chemical etching of tungsten. Because tungsten is extremely dense, 71% heavier than lead, it often serves in medical applications, including grids used to collimate and attenuate stray x-rays in

Energy efficient a/c combines two different cooling modes

Controls inside industrial cabinets now stay cool efficiently thanks to a combination of a conventional air conditioner and a new take on evaporative cooling. Leland Teschler Executive Editor When industrial controls enclosures and server racks get hot enough to demand their own cooling means, the usual approach is to give the enclosure its own air

The romantic notion of manufacturing jobs

It is trendy to speak of bringing back manufacturing jobs to the U.S. Almost every politician on the stump does so. “Manufacturing is coming back. It’s now our challenge to figure out how …. we can have a renaissance in manufacturing,” says one presidential candidate. “We’re going to bring our jobs back. We’re not going

High profits, sick economy

by Leland Teschler, Executive Editor The U.S. Treasury recently announced rules meant to curb so-called tax inversion deals. An inversion is where a U.S. company merges with a foreign firm, then locates the headquarters of the resulting entity offshore as a way to dodge U.S. corporate taxes. For example, that’s why U.S. industrial giant Eaton

Gallery: Hot technologies at Xponential 2016
unmanned systems exhibition

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International wrapped up its Xponential 2016 exhibition last week where some 600 exhibitors displayed technologies available for drones, autonomous vehicles, and remotely piloted systems of all kinds. One of the themes in evidence was unmanned system technology is maturing. Many of the initial forays in the field relied on

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