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Reader Submitted: MESA: A Portable Task Light that Won't Blind You

Core 77 - Thu, 2017-08-17 02:41

MESA is a portable light that operates on the simple principle that light should shine where you're looking and not in your eyes. MESA's revolutionary form factor provides directed light without glare so you can see indoors and out. MESA is tall enough to work under and short enough to see over, making it ideal for almost any situation.

View the full project here

The Sewbot, a Fully Automated Sewing Machine, is Cool. It's Also Bad News for Garment Workers

Core 77 - Thu, 2017-08-17 02:41

This is one of those things that's technologically impressive and socially terrifying.

CNC technology has spread into most areas of manufacture. One large component with CNC operations is "hold-down," or affixing the material firmly in place so that the business end of the tool can work it precisely. Hold-down has been solved with rigid materials, but flexible things like fabric provide a problem. Fabric puckers and shifts as it's being manipulated. This is why there's still a demand for human seamsters/seamstresses around the world. The human eye, coupled with trained hands, can make the constant microadjustments necessary to feed fabric through a sewing machine.

But now even the job of seamstress is on the verge of being erased. An Atlanta-based company called SoftWear Automation has harnessed machine vision and robotics to create the Sewbot, a fully-automated garment-producing machine:

That video above was shot nearly two years ago. SoftWear Automation now says the Sewbots are ready for prime time, and last month they signed an agreement with a Chinese company, Tianyuan Garments, to set up a fully-automated T-shirt production line based in Little Rock, Arkansas. According to China Daily,

"From fabric cutting and sewing to finished product, it takes roughly four minutes," said Tang Xinhong, chairman of Tianyuan Garments. "We will install 21 production lines. When fully operational, the system will make one T-shirt every 22 seconds. We will produce 800,000 T-shirts a day for Adidas."

Tang said that with complete automation, the personnel cost for each T-shirt is roughly 33 cents. "Around the world, even the cheapest labor market can't compete with us. I am really excited about this," he said.

Those who are pro-American-manufacturing might also be excited: American technology turning the tables, and stealing Chinese jobs? Well, yes and no. Tianyuan's Little Rock factory will create just 400 jobs "in time." I'd wager it takes more than 400 conventional seamsters/seamstresses to manufacture 800,000 T-shirts per day.

Viewed from an America-vs.-China perspective, yes, American technology is siphoning away Chinese jobs and creating several hundred American ones. But from a global perspective it is of course a net loss of jobs.

The larger picture is that technology is now supplanting workers around the world who are trained in performing a task that was previously impossible for a machine to accomplish. In many regions, a person with little education but good manual skills could earn wages, however paltry, by filling demand at a garment factory. That opportunity will evaporate.

As Sewbots proliferate, SoftWear Automation and companies like Tianyuan Garments will undoubtedly profit. What will happen, we wonder, to the would-be seamsters/seamstresses?

Further reading:

"Sewbots prepare to take millions of jobs off humans in clothes manufacturing sector," Robotics & Automation News

After "Game of Thrones" Capes Revealed to Be Ikea Rugs, Ikea Releases How-To Instructions

Core 77 - Thu, 2017-08-17 02:41

Here's a 10-second clip of "Game of Thrones" costume designer Michele Clapton revealing where the capes of the Night's Watch come from:

Apparently folks were titillated that Ikea rugs were the source material.

So too was someone at Ikea, who then had whomever's in charge of producing Ikea's assembly directions create one for the cape:

Yanks are out of luck; the Skold sheepskin rug pictured above isn't available in the 'States. (The image is from Ikea's Australian website.)

The Ripple Rug: Carpet + Velcro = Successful Product Design for Cats

Core 77 - Thu, 2017-08-17 02:41

To non-pet-owners this may seem like a silly application, but this is actually a very clever use of materials. It's got the simplicity of a student design project but the business brilliance of a shrewd marketer. The Ripple Rug is simply two pieces of carpet, one filled with random holes and with a baker's dozen of small Velcro strips. Here's what that yields:

The company says the carpet is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and can be washed with regular soap and water. At $40 a pop it seems a bit pricey vs. the BOM, but I suppose if your feline scratches this up rather than your couch then it's money well spent.

<b>Makita LS1019L Miter Saw</b>

Core 77 - Thu, 2017-08-17 02:41

Makita recently announced the LS1019L, a new 10-inch sliding compound miter saw with cutting capacity similar to that of many 12-inch models. Among its more notable features are a dual inlet dust collection system, a bevel lock that can be accessed from the front, and a slide mechanism that allows the saw to be used against the wall.

On most sliding miter saws, the motor is attached to rails that slide back and forth through linear bearings. This configuration prevents you from working with the machine against the wall because the rails stick out the back when the motor is pushed in.

Makita's new saw can be used against the wall because because the motor slides back and forth on fixed rails. The only other slide miter saw with this feature is the Festool Kapex

As with the Kapex, a knob at the front of one of the slides allows users to change bevel settings without having to reach around back.

In order to collect more of the cutting dust, the saw has two inlets instead of the usual one. The upper inlet is in the usual place, attached to the motor housing behind the blade guard. The lower inlet is at table level directly behind the slot through the fence.

A dust collecting vacuum can be connected to a port at the rear of the lower inlet, which connects by hose to the upper inlet. When working without a vacuum it's possible to replace the upper inlet hose with a fabric collection bag. Additional features include a laser cut indicator, table extensions, and an upper fence that removes for bevel cuts.

The saw has a direct drive motor (geared all the way), so there's better power transfer and no possibility a drive belt will break. As the exploded parts diagram shows, there is a belt but it's for bevel lock. The lock knob turns a shaft inside the upper rail, which uses a belt and pulleys to turn the bevel lock mechanism below.

How the bevel lock mechanism works.

As for what the new Makita saw can do, it will cut 12" material at 90° and 8 1/2" material at 45° on the flat, 6 5/8" crown nested, and 5 1/4" material vertically against the fence. The saw miters 0-60° left and right and bevels 0-48° in both directions.

The fixed rails and sliding motor are a throwback to the radial arm saw, which until the late 1980s was the machine of choice for wide crosscutting. It fell out of favor after the introduction of the sliding compound miter saw (SCMS), which was smaller, lighter, and safer to use. The SCMS could cut wide material—not as wide as could be cut with a radial arm saw but wide enough for the tasks performed at many shops and construction sites.

I don't know why the first SCMS (an 8 1/2" Hitachi) had a fixed motor and sliding rails instead of fixed rails and a sliding motor. Whatever the reason, this configuration was used in every SCMS built for the next 20+ years. It was not until the introduction of the Festool Kapex and now the Makita LS1019L that we had sliding saws that could be used against the wall. It's a small thing, but it makes a difference when you work in tight quarters.

Underwriters Laboratories Releases Cybersecurity Standards for Industrial Control

Design News - Thu, 2017-08-17 02:18

As more than most software applications available today are comprised of open-source components, organizations must be especially vigilant to implement rigorous software supply chain management systems and procedures to mitigate the potential risk from third-party applications. Thus, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has developed a set of cybersecurity standards – UL 2900-2-2 – specifically designed for industrial control systems (ICS).

The standards were developed to offer testable cybersecurity criteria for third-party software and to validate the security claims of software vendors. The goal is to help mitigate cybersecurity concerns for manufacturers, vendors, and their customers through the UL Cybersecurity Assurance Program (UL CAP) that utilizes the new UL 2900-2-2 standard for ICS. In addition, UL has ongoing research partnerships with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS ICS-CERT) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA ICS) to help mitigate industrial IoT cyber risks.

UL has a long history of developing cybersecurity standards, so the latest efforts are a matter of identifying new needs in in the ICS market. “We felt there was a need for UL to step into this space and address the risks of cybersecurity, since many of our clients are industry vendors,” Ken Modeste, global principal engineer for UL Cybersecurity, told Design News. “We’ve been involved in the space since the 1990s. In the last 10 years, it’s been growing into wireless security and IT security systems.”

The goal was to make the standards broad enough to address security in control systems across multiple industries. “One of the challenges is how to secure the supply chain – to provide a foundation of security across the board. We started looking at the fundamental problem. After polling agencies and experts, we recognized that software is the predominant cause of security,” said Modeste. “If we could address the security of software, it would be applicable to industrial systems. So, we started to do build a foundation based on software and see how we can affect the software during the security design of software.”

The Continual Update Process

Cybersecurity is always a moving target. UL built this into the standards, so they will be updated as changes in the security environment change. “We’re in a continuous feedback mode for continuous improvement. There is no silver bullet or magic way to solve the problem,” said Modeste. “In the past, people have tried for gradual solutions, but that didn’t satisfy industry. We started adding and building on the foundation in order to make it harder and harder for a bad actor to circumvent control systems.”

UL created standards that are designed to adapt to developments in the security environment, a function that is consistent with updates that software vendors provide. “The standards are continually updated. Vendors are producing products, but those products are not static. They make revisions and updates,” said Modeste. “The vendor adapts, so they roll out any new changes. We take that into consideration. We look at how to ensure your vendor is doing the due diligence.”

By adhering to the standards, users can be assured their vendors are providing ongoing updates to security. “In practice, what we’ve seen is that if the vendor adopts these standards, it becomes part of their independent best practices and shows they’re doing the right thing,” said Modeste. “The adoption of these standards demonstrates to their clients that they’re adapting and they have third-part validation of that adapting.”

Ongoing UL Cybersecurity Standards

UL began publishing standards for the ICS providers last year. “We published a series of standards in 2016. We published more this past summer. We started three years ago as we worked is an advisory the Obama Administration,” said Modeste. “We met with several agencies with the government, DHS being the biggest one. We partnered with various agencies, including DARPA. We also include several consultants and utilities.”

The standards come out of UL’s Cybersecurity Assurance Program) UL CAP, which offers third party support to allow users to evaluate both the security of network-connectable products and systems, as well as the vendor processes for developing and maintaining products and systems for security.




While the standards apply to a wide swath of industries, including medical and buildings, the core work was done for manufacturing. “The standards are focused on the manufacturing community, to help them build good design into their products,” said Modeste. “That means the vendor takes into consideration the flaws and weaknesses that a hacker may use to attack. The standards don’t specifically say they should identify and notify the user. Instead, it makes the product robust enough to product itself. The software in the products will be trained to detect and take action.”

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 17 years, 15 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.

Image courtesy of Underwriters Laboratories.


The Embedded Systems Conference (ESC)  is back in Minnesota and it’s bigger than ever. Over two days, Nov. 8-9, 2017, receive in-depth education geared to drive a year’s worth of work. Uncover software design innovation, hardware breakthroughs, fresh IoT trends, product demos, and more that will change how you spend time and money on your next project. Click here to register today!

How Trump&#039;s Manufacturing Jobs Council Fell Apart

Design News - Wed, 2017-08-16 14:08

President Donald Trump has decided to disband the council of his Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. The announcement came Wednesday morning, amidst a large exodus of the council's membership in response to the President's comments regarding a recent white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, VA. By Tweet, the president said:

Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2017

As of Wednesday, several members of President Trump's Manufacturing Jobs Initiative had departed including: Kenneth Frazier, CEO of pharmaceutical company Merck; Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank; Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing; Richard Trumka, of the AFL-CIO, along with Thea Lee, the AFL-CIO's deputy chief of staff; 3M CEO Inge Thulin; and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.

In a blog post, Intel's Krzanich explained his departure, saying:

“ I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing. Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base. ... I am not a politician. I am an engineer who has spent most of his career working in factories that manufacture the world’s most advanced devices. Yet, it is clear even to me that nearly every issue is now politicized to the point where significant progress is impossible. Promoting American manufacturing should not be a political issue.”

Under Armour's Plank, echoed Krzanich's sentiment, expressing a desire to focus on technological innovation over political entanglements. In a statement released by Under Amour, Plank said, “We remain resolute in our potential and ability to improve American manufacturing. However, Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics ...” In the past year Under Armour has gained attention for applying 3D printing techniques to shoe design and manufacturing.

Paul, of the Alliance of American Manufacturing, tweeted about his departure, saying, “... it's the right thing to do.”

I'm resigning from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative because it's the right thing for me to do.

— Scott Paul (@ScottPaulAAM) August 15, 2017

President Trump's Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, first announced back in January, was supposed to be a think tank, bringing together the most prominent business leaders in American manufacturing to tackle the problem of creating job growth in the manufacturing sector. At its inception the council boasted CEOs from companies including Tesla, Ford, Dow Chemical, Dell, Lockheed-Martin, and General Electric among its 28 members. However over the course of the year the council had been steadily dwindling, with the largest exodus coming this week.

The first major blow to the council's membership came in June when Tesla CEO Elon Musk resigned from the council in response to President Trump pulling out of the Paris climate accord. Musk, a known environmentalist, tweeted:

Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017

Other members had left the council for more benign reasons. The departure of Ford CEO, Mark Fields, coincided with his retirement from the company in May but his spot had not been filled since then.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with manufacturing executives at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. From left are, Trump, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, Ford CEO Mark Fields, Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison, United Technologies Corporation CEO Greg Hayes, and Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn. (Image source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

An Exodus Sparked by Protest

During the weekend of August 12 several white supremacist groups, including the KKK, and those that identify with the conservative Alt-Right movement, descended on the city of Charlottesville, Va., to protest the planned removal of a statue commemorating Confederate general Robert E. Lee. The gathering, called the largest white supremacist gathering in at least a decade by several media outlets, attracted large groups of counter-protestors, as well.

Tensions between the two groups culminated on August 12, when 20-year-old Ohio resident James Alex Fields Jr. drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counter-protestors, seriously injuring 19 people and killing one, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, a resident of Charlottesville.

The President Responds

There was an outcry for the President to speak out about the violence in Charlottesville, and to condemn the white nationalist groups behind the protests. But many felt the President's response, which said the violence was on “many sides,” was, at best, an inadequate response and, at worst, an implicit condoning of white supremacy.

What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives.#Charlottesville pic.twitter.com/DB22fgnu6L

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017

“Yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. If you look at both sides — I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either,” the President told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

At that same conference, when asked why he believed CEOs were leaving the manufacturing council, the President accused members of the council of being at odds with his plans to reshore more jobs back to the US:

“Because [these CEOs] are not taking their job seriously as it pertains to this country. We want jobs, manufacturing in this country. If you look at some of those people that you're talking about, they're outside of the country. ... We want products made in the country. Now, I have to tell you, some of the folks that will leave, they are leaving out of embarrassment because they make their products outside and I've been lecturing them ... about you have to bring it back to this country. You can't do it necessarily in Ireland and all of these other places. You have to bring this work back to this country. That's what I want. I want manufacturing to be back into the United States so that American workers can benefit.”


Before he announced its disbandment, the President's remarks were looking to have a long-standing effect on his Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, as companies were likely looking to distance themselves from President Trump and his remarks, which many feel are racist. In a reaction to the first wave of CEOs leaving the council, activists took to social media, starting the hashtag #QuitTheCouncil to urge more business leaders to exit.

While he did not cite #QuitTheCouncil as part of his decision to leave the manufacturing council , 3M CEO Inge Thulin, was among those targeted (and later praised) by the hashtag:

Retweet if u want them to #QuitTheCouncil!@3m@MichaelDell @JNJNews @CampbellSoupCo @WhirlpoolCorp@JeffImmelt@Boeing@generalelectric

— Scott Dworkin (@funder) August 15, 2017

Thulin announced his departure Wednesday morning, saying in a statement released to news outlets:

“Sustainability, diversity, and inclusion are my personal values and also fundamental to the 3M Vision. ... I joined the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative in January to advocate for policies that align with our values and encourage even stronger investment and job growth – in order to make the United States stronger, healthier, and more prosperous for all people. After careful consideration, I believe the initiative is no longer an effective vehicle for 3M to advance these goals. ...”

Symbolic or Impactful?

It is unclear whether the dissolution of the manufacturing council will have an impact on Trump's efforts to grow jobs in the US manufacturing sector. Some analysts have called the council little more than a symbolic gesture that was unlikely to have had any long-term impact on American manufacturing to begin with. Other analysts have credit Trump as a driving factor behind a spike in reshoring in 2017. However other factors including labor costs and lack of skilled workers overseas are also playing a significant role as more advanced technologies in industries such as automative and electronics hit the market.


Chris Wiltz is a senior editor at Design News covering emerging technologies including VR/AR, AI, and robotics.


Design Job: Think Big: Volume Studios is Seeking a Senior ID'er in Chicago, IL

Core 77 - Wed, 2017-08-16 02:34

Volume, an Industrial Design studio based in Chicago, is looking for a Senior Industrial Designer. We’re an atypical creative group looking for an atypical product designer: Someone with a crazy broad range of skills that enjoys working on an equally broad range of projects. About half of our projects are in Consumer Products while the rest are in the Toy & Juvenile Product industry, so experience doing both well is essential.

View the full design job here

Game of Thrones Recap: "Eastwatch"

Core 77 - Wed, 2017-08-16 02:34


In last night's episode of GoT we were treated to this rather epic shot of Daenarys and Drogon presiding over a defeated army.

Since dragons are not large and intimidating enough, Daenarys has placed Drogon up on a hill, to give him that couple of extra feet that make all the difference.

We also see that the Dothraki are a bunch of slobs.

You guys can't wipe the blood off of your weapons? Do you realize how much harder it will be to clean off after the blood has congealed? I guarantee you these guys leave their spaghetti bowls in the sink without rinsing them. These Dothraki scum remind me of roommates I've had. I bet you they don't buy toilet paper after it runs out either.

Someone who isn't a slob? Bronn. During a time when dental hygiene is presumably not a big concern, the man has surprisingly good dentition.

Drogon's teeth, however, are a freaking train wreck. I'm no dentist but at a minimum he's got gingivitis.

We see this in the scene where Jon reaches out to touch him.


The texture of Drogon's skin is pretty gnarly. He could totally have greyscale and you'd never know it.

In one of the sky shots we also get to see Drogon's P-90X dragon body.

Up at Winterfell, the mystery of Bran's wheelchair design from last week is solved! We can now clearly see that the two angled elements at the rear of the chassis do indeed meet at a centralized rear stabilizing wheel. (Still can't see what's going on up front though.)

I still don't like the ergonomics of the towel-bar-style push handle. If was there, I'm not sure what would make me want to push him less: The strain the handle would place on my wrists, or the fact that Bran is now kind of a moody dick.

Speaking of chairs, let's talk the conventional kind. The Red Keep has got fee-yancy chairs:

So does Dragonstone:

The ones at Winterfell are more subdued:

And the Maesters at the Citadel have basic, dorm-room-style chairs.

The Maester's chambers are interesting, because after lightening the shot we can see how much stuff he's got in there. There's even, at far left, an architectural model of a building spire with a spiral staircase inside it.

Also check out this interesting contraption at the back right. I guess this is how you support and swipe through huge scrolls.

I still can't figure out what this thing in the background is, but at least here we can see it's got a handle and is meant to be rotated. My guess is it's some kind of book rack.

Another thing with a handle that's meant to be rotated is the sharpening wheel in Gendry's workplace.

Because yes, this episode we finally get to see inside of a workshop!

I like the basic, minimalist design of the sword racks.

Also, check out this shot:

At far right you can see a workbench. If you look closely, it seems we're looking at an end vise, and it appears to have had its handle and screw removed from the chop, presumably by set dressers seeking to eliminate anachronisms. So I'm guessing that was an actual workbench IRL.

Over at Winterfell there's a bit of palace intrigue, with Arya discovering a scroll. I screen-shotted it to read it but still can't make heads nor tails of what's going on here.

Arya also spies Littlefinger having what looks to be a shady conversation with two Northern lords. What can they be talking about?

"No no no, that's not how you barbecue. You have to sear the outsides first to seal the juices in. As for the marinade I use, it's…."

We also see where Sansa's been crashing at Winterfell. This being the North, the bed linens are pretty Spartan.

Cersei's accommodations, meanwhile, clearly have a freaking pillow menu.

Sam's bed at the Citadel, barely visible here, offers no pillow menu. But we do see him using an interesting object: A candle reflector, to help increase the amount of reading light.

This episode Sam makes a hard decision and decides to steal a bunch of library books and scrolls.

He then flees the Citadel, in a series of shots so dark we were surprised at what we found when we lightened them. For instance, this shot…

…of Sam taking his last, sad look at the magnificent library, is meant to mirror the shot from last season when he first sees the library.

And the shot of him fleeing with Gilly and the child was so dark that the wagon is practically invisible. Someone had to build that prop, so it'd be nice if we could see the damn thing. Particularly since it's pretty detailed.

Another cool thing we finally get to see is Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. The design of The Wall is different here, being tiered. And unlike Castle Black, it looks like there's no elevator.

Lastly, that shot of them walking toward the gate—did it not remind you of football players walking through the tunnel at the Rose Bowl?

How to Set Up Your Files for Multimaterial 3D Printing

Core 77 - Wed, 2017-08-16 02:34

One of the major benefits of printing in Polyjet is the ability to print in multiple materials for a single part. This allows you to simulate overmolds, create soft touch applications, and build living hinges among many other applications.

We get a lot of questions about how to prepare files for multi-material prints, so here's a quick guide to help you out!

General Instructions

When preparing your CAD model for printing in multiple materials, you want to make sure to separate your solid bodies so you can specify which body should be printed with which material. This is easily done in most parametric CAD programs and below we'll cover the process in Solidworks as an example.

Here are the 3 steps to follow:

1. Prepare your CAD file with different solid bodies and save as a STEP.

2. Create a PDF either as a screenshot or drawing which specifies the material for each solid body. Remember to put the durometer you want for the rubber-like material.

3. Upload your STEP file and PDF to Fictiv and select rubber-like as the material.

And that's it – you're all done! Now let's take a look how this would be done specifically in Solidworks as an example.

How to Prepare Your File in Solidworks

1. Prepare the Solidworks file with multiple solid bodies. This can either be an assembly where you have multiple parts, or a single part file with multiple bodies in it.

2. Color code your file to make it easy to distinguish the different materials

3. Save file as a STEP file.

4. Create a screenshot or PDF drawing which calls out the material for each body.

5. Upload PDF and STEP file to Fictiv.com and select rubber-like as your material.


This post is provided by Fictiv, the most efficient manufacturing platform for fabricating parts. Powered by a distributed network of highly vetted vendors, the online interface makes it easy for customers to get instant quotes, review manufacturing feedback, and manage orders—all through a single service.

This Retro-Future Auto Design Exercise Turned Out So Well, Infiniti Decided to Build It

Core 77 - Wed, 2017-08-16 02:34

Alfonso Albaisa is Nissan's Senior Vice President for Global Design, and he recently received a rather interesting assignment. According to Motor Trend, Infiniti's U.S. marketing team asked him "Imagine you are somewhere in the Japan countryside and came across a car, sheltered in a barn, hidden away for decades. Not only is it a race car, but it is also an Infiniti. What would that car look like? Could it be connected to the Infiniti production cars of today?"

"Our expectation was that Alfonso and his team would just do a sketch for us," says Infiniti Americas communications director Kyle Bazemore. "Or maybe, at a stretch, a CG video. And perhaps, if we were extremely lucky, a clay model."

Albaisa ran a team of designers at Infiniti's Atsugi studio in Japan, creating a model of what was dubbed the Prototype 9. When Nissan managers saw it, they decided it had to be made—using a combination of handcraftsmanship and CNC.

"I was a little surprised," Albaisa admits, "but it turns out they still train people in all the traditional car-building arts. They thought this was the perfect project, and they decided—on their own—to follow the design story as if [it were] real." A team of takumi—Nissan's master craftspeople—assembled to lead the build. Nissan's advanced engineering team learned about the project and volunteered to help, as did Nissan's specialty vehicle division, Autech. "Suddenly we had three of our largest departments working on it," Albaisa says.

The tail was hand-hammered into shape by craftspeople, albeit over a laser-cut grid.

That long, gorgeous hood did not see the ministrations of a craftsperson, but was instead created by "dieless forming, using two seven-axis robots to shape the metal." (We imagine that process is similar to Ford's Freeform Fabrication Technology.)

The Prototype 9 has been fitted with an electric powerplant, with the batteries up front and the motor in the rear, driving the rear wheels. The performance specs don't sound all that crazy—you can read the mechanical details here—but with this exercise, that seems beside the point.

Yomee: Fresh Yogurt at the Push of a Button&nbsp;

Core 77 - Wed, 2017-08-16 02:34

Yomee is an automated yogurt maker that allows anyone to easily make fresh, healthy yogurt at home. The Device heats up milk, drops in proprietary Yomee yogurt pods and cools yogurt all on it's own. A smartphone app allows you to select the type of yogurt and even tells you when your yogurt is ready.

View the full content here

Reader Submitted: The AnZa&nbsp;Espresso Machine Brings Concrete and Corian into the World of Kitchen Appliances

Core 77 - Wed, 2017-08-16 02:34

AnZa is an espresso machine that uses materials seldom found in kitchen appliances—concrete and Corian. The result is both an espresso machine that brings life to any kitchen and an unparalleled conversation piece. Born out of a passion for good coffee and boredom with the default espresso machine vernacular, the AnZa brings new life and love to your countertop.

View the full project here

Hilarious Stop-Motion Animation of "Evil Legos" Violently Dismantling a Laptop

Core 77 - Wed, 2017-08-16 02:34

This looks like a scene from The Lego Movie—if it were rated R for violence. Animator Reto Hochstrasser armed a bunch of Lego figures with pickaxes, machine guns and explosives to give this laptop the business:

Helping SMEs Harness the IoT Via PLM

Design News - Wed, 2017-08-16 02:11

The Internet of things (IoT) is becoming the way of the world and because of it, there are now more components being manufactured and more intricate design chain challenges than ever. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will have to learn to trust data and analytics, where once they relied on people. To truly embrace this digital transformation, manufacturers need to step out of their comfort zones to learn new habits, acquire new disciplines, and implement organizational transformation that extends to their supply chain. 

For small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), this may be a bit of a challenge. Turning to their product lifecycle management (PLM) system to manage backend activities typically stored in customer relationship management (CRM), issue tracking, and data collection systems -- as well as all the supply chain activities associated with procurement -- can help SMEs take advantage of the IoT like larger companies.

PLM’s Role in Leveraging Big Data

PLM technology provides a system to centralize product data, standardize business processes and streamline communication of information across distributed product development teams. It helps to shorten development cycles, improve quality and cut the time-to-market by enabling access to current and accurate product data. Anytime. Anywhere. 

To aid in the development of more complex, smart device-enabled products, PLM software has evolved from the backbone for managing multiple discipline processes, product documentation, complex BOMs, and engineering changes, to capturing downstream activities such as manufacturing planning, quality processes, and product and customer/field-level feedback.

PLM is capable of integrating data on both the front end and back end to support a bigger picture  and better-designed products. The amount of data interaction that engineers are going to need is increasing, especially since the domains of the design and engineering environments are no longer silos unto themselves. Data points related to product performance and efficiency can now be shared with the rest of the organization. Products are getting more complex by adding electronic and software components, and increased digital customer interactions bring forth even more information and opportunity.  

Some of the PLM vendors that cater to SMEs have taken the steps to build simple-to-use tools to leverage data and communications in new and more meaningful ways. Let’s face it, communication continues to be the cornerstone of product development, manufacturing, and support. Meetings, emails, and phone/conference calls are important aspects of any team that builds products. It is all about transparency and finding the best ways to get everyone on the same page. Capturing these discussions and associating them to product records provides all personnel with the visibility to understand the full impact their products have had on user, consumers, and customers. Understanding this impact has a direct influence on product features and quality for future designs and updates/upgrades.

Embracing Customer Input

Customer feedback is commonly used throughout the product development process to ensure that the end product is something that solves a customer’s problem or fulfils a need. The companies that can intertwine product development and customer feedback will be the ones that reap strong competitive advantages, have sticky customer loyalty, and earn raving customer advocates. The best business decisions are based on data, not hunches. And this is especially true as the IoT adds an extra layer of complexity with a higher volume of customer feedback from both the consumer and products. Too many times, business owners’ and executives’ decisions are made based on inaccurate data.

Customer feedback is the holy grail of tangible data. It allows the product engineering team a better ability to gather real insight into how their customers really feel about the product or service. Bill Gates put it best when he related that a company’s most unhappy customers are actually the company’s greatest source of learning. 

The Role of Communication Tracking Within PLM Systems

If a large percentage of customers suggest a product feature or want an additional customer service channel, it has now become possible to capture this information using PLM. PLM provides a communication platform to capture issues, feedback, and discussions from internal resources, customers, suppliers, and devices. Tracked items can automatically associate customer feedback to product records and translate to quality items and/or engineering changes/ECOs. This improves product development, quality, and timelines. Such systems can even provide product data links to internal and external feedback that makes the process easy and highly intuitive.

PLM systems have gotten smarter and many offer an efficient pre-filtering process before an issue becomes a quality item (such as a corrective action, nonconformity, process, change, etc.) or introduces product changes (ECOs).  There is now a way to conduct closed-loop processing of PLM-related issues as well as non-PLM related ones. 

It can also deliver a user with a blogging environment to encourage additional communication. Often it can help manage and route help tickets as well as track help ticket closure. Most importantly, it builds solutions and develops a more in-depth knowledge base to address common questions and problems for the purposes of improving product design and corporate policies.

Better Products Come from the Communication Loop

SMEs are coordinating 75% or more of their supply chain activity outside their four walls, using data derived from tapping into such areas as IoT, mobility and cloud-based technologies to achieve a more collaborative PLM framework, according to Frost & Sullivan. The results can deliver positive impacts in the design and engineering of products. This information SMEs are now tapping into is providing greater data accuracy, clarity, and insights, leading to better decision-making. 




Extending PLM capabilities to include downstream processes, data sharing and analytics improve insights into customer requirements and make use of product performance data in real life. With PLCs, sensors, and smart devices improving and becoming more affordable and efficient, there are now more opportunities to track and research how devices are performing and how customers are experiencing products in all industries. Meaningful data gathered from customers, devices, suppliers and multiple departments internal to an organization, can seamlessly be filtered and leveraged throughout PLM processes to create better-engineered products.


Chuck Cimalore is president and CTO of Omnify Software, a company that designs, delivers and supports product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions for the Electronics OEM and Electronics Manufacturing Services industries. He is a graduate of Worchester Polytechnic Institute.

Image courtesy of Omnify Software.


The Embedded Systems Conference (ESC)  is back in Minnesota and it’s bigger than ever. Over two days, Nov. 8-9, 2017, receive in-depth education geared to drive a year’s worth of work. Uncover software design innovation, hardware breakthroughs, fresh IoT trends, product demos, and more that will change how you spend time and money on your next project. Click here to register today!


10 of the Best Augmented Reality Software Development Kits

Design News - Tue, 2017-08-15 05:00


Have you got into AR development? Do you have a preferred SDK? Let us know in the comments! 

ARM Technology Drives the Future. Join 4,000+ embedded systems specialists for three days of ARM® ecosystem immersion you can’t find anywhere else. ARM TechCon . Oct. 24-26, 2017 in Santa Clara, CA. Register here for the event, hosted by Design News ’ parent company UBM.

Chris Wiltz is the Managing Editor of Design News.

Siemens Preaches Gospel of Manufacturing ‘Digitalization’

Design News - Tue, 2017-08-15 03:02

Siemens AG continued its push this month to unite the design and manufacturing realms into a single data model, announcing it will soon add two more key software tools.

The automation giant said that in September it will unveil an application called Manage MyMachines for its MindSphere operating system, along with a separate software solution called Sinumerik Edge for analyzing data from machining processes. The products will serve as two more elements in Siemens’ effort to create an end-to-end software portfolio for companies seeking to “digitalize” their operations. By doing so, Siemens hopes to further close the loop between design and manufacturing, enabling manufacturers to more readily identify whether products are manufacturable before they reach the factory floor.

“Up to now, not everyone has had the ability to close that loop,” Sal Spada, research director for discrete automation at ARC Advisory Group, told Design News. “That’s a big part of their initiative – closing the loop from design down to the manufacturing processes. It’s the digitalization thread.”


In September, Siemens AG will unveil an application called Manage MyMachines for its MindSphere IoT operating system. (Source: Siemens AG)


The Manage MyMachines product is the first application for Siemens’ MindSphere, an open IoT operating system that allows machine data to be sent to the cloud. Manage MyMachines would give operators an overview of the machine data, enabling them to optimize their production. Similarly, Sinumerik Edge would allow operators to process machine data, but to do so at the machine, without sending it to the cloud. Siemens announced the two new products at a press event in Chicago last week.

The two products are the latest entries in Siemens’ ongoing effort to create a “digitalization” platform that encompasses product design, product planning, production engineering, production execution and services. That effort began a decade ago, when Siemens acquired UGS Corp., a provider of product lifecycle management software and services. It then acquired LMS International NV, a supplier of test and mechatronic simulation software, in 2012, followed by CD-adapco, a maker of simulation software, in 2016, and EDA software maker, Mentor Graphics, in 2017. In all, Siemens has invested $10 billion in acquisitions since 2007 and $5 billion in R&D expenditures during that time.

Siemens digitalization effort has value for design engineers in that it enables them to create a “digital twin” of their product, production process, and manufacturing equipment. “That’s huge,” said Spada of ARC Advisiory Group. “If you can’t manufacture something cost effectively, then you can go back to the design before you get to physical manufacturing and redesign it.” The company’s digitalization technology will be especially well suited to automotive and avionics manufacturing – two areas where Siemens is already strong, Spada said.

To be sure, Siemens isn’t the first to offer many of the products in its digital process chain. It is, however, believed to be the first to provide an end-to-end solution on a common platform. “Up to now, manufacturers have used many different tools,” Raj Batra, president of Siemens Digital Factory Division, told Design News last week. “It’s been more bolted-on, rather than integrated and holistic.” Using Siemens end-to-end solution addresses that problem, he said.

Batra added that it’s often said that 80% of a part’s manufacturing costs are pre-determined during design. “That’s why you need to look at this holistically,” he said. “You should be looking at design as it ties to manufacturing.”

Siemens will roll out its new products and demonstrate the digitalization technology at EMO 2017 in Hanover, Germany, in September. The company plans to link 200 CNC machines at the tradeshow up to its cloud-based MindSphere operating system to show off its capabilities.


At EMO 2017 in Hanover, Germany in September, Siemens will link 200 CNC machines up to its cloud-based MindSphere operating system. (Source: Siemens AG)


Siemens believes the demo is key to helping design and manufacturing engineers comprehend the benefits of an end-to-end simulation environment. “What’s important here is to show the art of what’s possible in terms of digitalization,” Batra said.



A' Design Award and Competition Results

Core 77 - Tue, 2017-08-15 01:51

What's better than the thrill of designing a good product? Actually getting recognized for it. On that note, the results of this year's A' Design Award & Competition, one of the most well-known international annual juried competitions for design, have recently been announced. The A' Design Awards cover a wide range of creative fields to highlight the very best designers from all countries in all disciplines. Entries to the competition are peer-reviewed and judged by a jury panel of experienced academics, prominent press members and established professionals. 

The A' Design Award is an opportunity for distinction, prestige, publicity and international recognition through the A' Design Prize, which is given to celebrate all awarded designs. To celebrate the results of this prestigious awards program, we've created a list of our top 20 awarded projects, including ones from this year and a few favorites from past years. 

Cilllia - 3D Printing Functional Hair 3D printing hair by Jifei Ou - MIT Media Lab.

We've seen 3D printed furniture, kitchen utensils and even sneakers, but what about more organic forms? Jifei Ou's 3D printed hair shows us that recreating nature with a printer isn't such a far-off notion.

Moor Wheelchair Suiteable For Interiors by ertunc Vatanperver

ertunc Vatanperver's Moor Wheelchair tackles a problem most people overlook: wheelchairs don't function very well indoors. The Moor Wheelchair is attractive enough to act as a piece of furniture and functional enough to get users around inside their homes.

Infinitas Mega Yacht by Schopfer Yachts, E. Kevin Schopfer AIA,

Could Schopfer Yachts's Infinitas Yacht be the future of yacht design? The futuristic yacht is inspired by the infinity symbol, but we're liking it way more than infinity wrist tattoos.

Happaratus Sculpture tool by Morten Grønning

Happaratus is a cool sanding power glove for sculptors, allowing sanding to (literally) be at your fingertips. 

UltraDry Dryer in bus stop by National Taipei University of Technology

These nifty bus stop umbrella dryers were designed for Taipei, but I bet any city dweller reading this will ask, "where have these been my whole life?"

Formon Core Desktop 3D Printer by Rron Cena

Rron Cena's Formon Core Desktop 3D printer works like a magic box, slowly opening to reveal your print as it gets closer to completion. 

SpiderPan Folding Handled Pan Set by Receb Bilici

Stackable pans with folding handles? My 450 sq ft apartment would thank me.

Flo Underwater Plastic Collector by Team Flo

There have been many proposed solutions to cleaning our oceans and recycle ocean plastic lately, from superyachts to sneakers. We like how Flo looks and acts like a fish but has the power to make a difference through education.

BENJILOCK Fingerprint Padlock by BenjiLock Llc

BENJILOCK is kind of like opening the new Macbook Pro but with higher stakes. 

The FLASH Collection Footwear Collection by Cesar Idrobo

Cesar Idrobo's FLASH footwear collection has been featured on our site before, but we still can't get enough of how this collection uses color to form an emotional connection with the wearer.

Stewart II Human Machine Interface by Felix Ros

The Stewart II Human Machine Interface envisions driving an autonomous vehicle like a horse—both the vehicle and the driver have control over the journey, but the driver holds the "reins".

ShelfPack Luggage packing system by Ken McKaba

Ken McKaba's ShelfPack Luggage hopefully eliminates the need to sit on your luggage in order to zip it closed.

Erdnussschütte To get peanuts without touching them Uniq by Mario Taepper

A sanitary solution to sharing snacks such as trail mix, nuts and M&Ms. A polite way to say, "get your grubby paws off my snacks".

Lynko Freestanding Modular System Nomadic modular freestanding system by Natalia Geci

Lynko is a free-standing modular system for homes that need more than cabinet storage.

Smartstreets-Smartbin™ Cigarette / Gum bin by Chris Garcin and Andrew Farish

These friendly waste bins tackle the common problem of city streets littered with gum and cigarette butts. 

Non Contact Thermometer Body Temperature Monitor by Tobia Repossi

Imagine checking your temperature with a Non Contact Thermometer—no sticking an intrusive device in your mouth or having someone put their germ-infested hand on your forehead. Sounds nice, right?

C 39 Sofa by Yongwook Seong

This pill inspired C 39 sofa is way too interesting to keep off this list.

AdhereTech Smart Pill Bottle Multifunctional by Intelligent Product Solutions

Speaking of pills, these smart pill bottles ensure medical adherence without disrupting the user's daily life.

Up Your Street Cottage Cheese by Springetts Brand Design

We never knew cottage cheese could be so appealing—all in a day's work for well-designed packaging.

CHECK Folding Chair by TpunktR

We're always interested in new designs for folding chairs. This one in particular involves the user as a support system, making use of their legs and back to hold the chair in place.

By the way: A' Design Award registration is now open. Enter your works for consideration here.

How Thick is the Line from a Sharpie?

Core 77 - Tue, 2017-08-15 01:51

How do you even measure such a thing and why would you bother? Machinist Tom Lipton shows how and then explains why it might be useful to know the thickness of various colors and types of ink. 

Different colors have different thicknesses? That's right—red, blue, and black Sharpie lines are not equally thick.

In the video below Lipton uses a Johansson Mikrokator to measure the thickness of various lines. A mikrokator is like a dial indicator only far more precise. By way of comparison, the scale on the cheap dial indicator I use to align woodworking machines is graduated in thousandths of an inch; Lipton's mikrokator is graduated in millionths.

The process of measuring is as follows. Lipton starts by zeroing out the plunger of the mikrokator against a gauge block of known thickness. He removes the block, draws a series of lines on it, and then places it back under the plunger. The added thickness created by the lines of Sharpie ink cause the plunger to sit slightly higher, a distance that registers on the scale of the mikrokator.

If the scale reads zero with just the block and 132 millionths after the block has been inked then we know the ink is 132 millionths of an inch thick. Lipton performed this test multiple times with different types and colors of ink and came up with the average thickness of various lines. He also tested Dykem Layout Fluid, a pigment machinists use to color the surface of metal prior to scribing marks on it (to make the marks easier to see).

Lipton compiled the data into a table that can be seen near the end of the video (8:20). So why would it matter that black Sharpie lines are 118 millionths of an inch thick and red Sharpie lines are 160 millionths of an inch thick? Well, if a machinist knew he needed to increase the height of a fixture by approximately 160 millionths of an inch he could draw a series of red Sharpie lines on the bottom of it. Or some other color or type of ink for a different distance.

It may seem crazy to think in terms of such small increments of distance but this is the level of precision required for certain machining operations. 

The notion of using lines of ink as "shims" does not feel foreign to me. I've never measured it but as a carpenter and woodworker, I know that layers of paint have a certain thickness. If I'm making fine adjustments to the fit of a door I might shim out a hinge by sticking one or more layers of duct or masking tape to the back of it. What Lipton talks about doing with ink is just a more precise way of doing what a carpenter does with tape.

The cool pliers he uses in the video are the Knipex Pliers Wrench.

Design Job: Prepare for Landing: B/E Aerospace is Seeking an Industrial Designer Specializing in Rendering &amp; Materials

Core 77 - Tue, 2017-08-15 01:51

B/E Aerospace (Rockwell Collins) B/E Aerospace is the world’s leading manufacturer of aircraft cabin interior products. B/E Aerospace designs, develops, and manufactures a broad range of products for both commercial aircraft and business jets. For more information, visit the B/E Aerospace website at www.beaerospace.com B/E

View the full design job here