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Return to Earth and Splashdown

Design News - Mon, 2019-07-22 04:30

July 22-24

Apollo 11’s three parachutes bring it safely home to a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. (Image source: NASA)

Returning from the Moon took two days for Apollo 11, during which time two more television transmissions were made by the astronauts.

Re-entry procedures were initiated on July 24, 44 hours after leaving lunar orbit. The Command Module (CM) separated from the Service Module (SM) and was rotated around to a heat-shield-forward position. Because of bad weather in the original Pacific Ocean target area, the landing point was changed by about 250 miles. The CM Columbia entered the Earth’s atmosphere at 12:35 pm, protected from the intense heat, caused by friction with the air, by the spacecraft’s heat shield.

President Richard Nixon welcomes home the Apollo 11 astronauts (from left, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin.) The astronauts were quarantined after their mission to ensure they did not bring back any contamination from the moon. (Image source: NASA)

As Apollo 11 entered the denser part of the atmosphere, three parachutes were deployed and Columbia splashed down 13 miles away from the USS Hornet recovery ship. Apollo 11’s total flight time to the Moon and back had been 195 hours, 18 minutes, and 35 seconds. After the spacecraft hatch was opened by the recovery crew, the astronauts donned isolation suits to ensure that they wouldn’t spread any possible lunar microbes. President Richard Nixon was on-board the Hornet to congratulate and welcome the astronauts home. These three men had just returned from one of humankind’s most remarkable, challenging, and historic journeys.


Leaving the Lunar Surface

Design News - Mon, 2019-07-22 04:00

July 21, 1969

The ascent stage of the Lunar Module Eagle returns from the lunar surface and approaches the Command Module Columbia for its rendezvous. (Image source: NASA)

After a seven hour rest period that included some fitful sleep, Armstrong and Aldrin prepared Eagle to leave the lunar surface. The Lunar Module (LM) was designed in two parts—the descent stage had done its part in bringing the pair of astronauts to a touchdown on the surface. Now, the ascent stage, with its crew quarters and separate rocket engine would separate from the descent stage and return the men to lunar orbit.

Grumman, who had designed and built the LM knew that the single rocket engine in the ascent stage was the only chance that the astronauts would have to leave the lunar surface. The company had simplified its design to make it as bullet-proof as possible. They had also included a variety of redundant systems to help ignite the engine, should anything go wrong with the primary system.

After 21 hours, 36 minutes on the moon's surface, the ascent stage engine fired perfectly and Eagle began its return to lunar orbit. The engine was shut down 435 seconds later when the Eagle reached an initial orbit of 11 by 55 miles above the moon, and when Columbia was on its 25th revolution. A short time later Eagle’s reaction control system, or RCS, fired to place Eagle into a circular orbit at about 56 miles, some 13 miles below and slightly behind Columbia.

Attached to the leg of the Lunar Module Descent stage was a plaque that contained the signatures of the three Apollo 11 astronauts, and President Richard Nixon. (Image source: NASA)

In addition to their footprints, Armstrong and Aldrin had left on the lunar surface commemorative medallions bearing the names of the three Apollo 1 astronauts who lost their lives in the launch pad fire, and two cosmonauts who had died in accidents. A one-and-a-half inch silicon disk, containing micro miniaturized goodwill messages from 73 countries, and the names of congressional and NASA leaders, also was left behind. On the leg of the Eagle descent stage that remained behind was a plaque that read, "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."

Eagle docked with Columbia on its 27th orbit of the moon. Docking with Columbia occurred on the CSM's 27th revolution. Armstrong and Aldrin moved more than 48 pounds of the all-important moon rocks they had collected from the surface into the Command Module and four hours later, the crew jettisoned the faithful LM.

Returning to the Earth was initiated with a Trans-Earth injection as the Service Module engine fired for two-and-a-half minutes when Columbia was behind the moon. It had been a busy and stressful two days and as Columbia began its long journey home, the three astronauts slept for about 10 hours.


“We came in peace for all mankind."          


New Technology Could Dramatically Increase Solar Output

Design News - Mon, 2019-07-22 03:30

Researchers around the world have been working for years to improve the energy efficiency of silicon-based solar cells to help promote alternative energy production.

One problem that has stumped researchers is that in these cells, there is an absolute limit on overall efficiency based on how they function--each photon of light can only knock loose a single electron, even if that photon carried twice the energy needed to do so.

Now researchers at MIT may have solved this dilemma with a method that allows high-energy photons striking silicon to knock loose two electrons instead of one. The team—comprised of researchers at both MIT and Princeton—paves the way for a new kind of solar cell with unprecedented efficiency, they said.

The research team included MIT graduate student Markus Einzinger, professor of chemistry Moungi Bawendi, and professor of electrical engineering and computer science Marc Baldo. While the technology the team invented is new, the concept they used to create it has been known for decades.

That concept is called “singlet exciton fission,” which is the process by which light’s energy splits into two separate packets of energy that move independently. The research team first demonstrated this process could work for solar-energy production six years ago; now they are completing years of work with its integration into a fully functioning solar cell, Baldo said.

Diagram depicts the process of “singlet fission,” which is the first step toward producing two electrons from a single incoming photon of light. MIT applied this principle to solar cells, which could improve their energy production and efficiency. (Image source: MIT researchers)

Pushing the Efficiency Envelope

Conventional silicon cells theoretically have a maximum efficiency of about 29.1 percent conversion of solar energy; current solar cells sold on the market are typically around 20 percent efficiently, give or take. However, with the new approach could add several percentage points to that maximum output, researchers said.

To demonstrate that the principle worked, researchers used an organic photovoltaic cell, which is less efficient than a silicon cell. In the current case, they needed to transfer two electrons from top collecting layer made of tetracene into the silicon cell, which proved difficult, Baldo said in a press statement.

The key materials to splitting the energy of one photon into two electrons are called excitons, or “packets of energy [that] propagate around like the electrons in a circuit,” but with far different properties than electrons, Baldo said in the statement.

“You can use them to change energy--you can cut them in half, you can combine them,” he said.

In singlet exciton fission, the exciton first absorbs a photon, forming an exciton that rapidly undergoes fission into two excited states, each with half the energy of the original state, Baldo said in the statement.

Researchers than had to couple that energy over into a non-excitonic material--the silicon of the cell. This is something no researcher had done before, according to the team.


Middle Ground

To achieve their goal, researchers first coupled the energy from the excitonic layer into an excitonic, inorganic material called quantum dots.

“That worked; it worked like a charm,” Baldo said in the statement.

Ultimately, this intermediate step was integral to demonstrating singlet exciton fission works in a silicon solar cell, Troy Van Voorhis, a professor of chemistry at MIT who worked on the original research, said in a press statement.

“It turns out this tiny, tiny strip of material at the interface between these two systems [the silicon solar cell and the tetracene layer with its excitonic properties] ended up defining everything,” he said. “It’s why other researchers couldn’t get this process to work, and why we finally did.”

The team published a paper on its work in the journal Nature.

Researchers said they still have a long way to go to actually use what they’ve demonstrated to improve the efficiency of solar cells on the market—which still aren’t at their maximum efficiency potential.

“We still need to optimize the silicon cells for this process,” Baldo said in a press statement

Researchers plan to continue their work to stabilize the materials they’re working with for durability, as well as adding another kind of cell—perhaps one of perovskite material—over the silicon, he added.

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 20 years. She has lived and worked as a professional journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco and New York City. In her free time she enjoys surfing, traveling, music, yoga and cooking. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.


Drive World with ESC Launches in Silicon Valley

This summer (August 27-29), Drive World Conference & Expo launches in Silicon Valley with North America's largest embedded systems event, Embedded Systems Conference (ESC). The inaugural three-day showcase brings together the brightest minds across the automotive electronics and embedded systems industries who are looking to shape the technology of tomorrow.
Will you be there to help engineer this shift? Register today!


This Clever, Staggered Design Will Make the Dreaded Middle Seat More Comfortable

Core 77 - Sun, 2019-07-21 15:20

Last month, the FAA certified a clever upgrade for triple-seaters that will make sitting in the middle seat feel less like drawing the short stick.

The design comes via Colorado-based seating startup Molon Labe (Greek for 'come and take them'—more on that below) and gives the middle seat a bit more breathing room by moving it two inches lower and three inches further back from the side seats.

The armrests feature a stepped design so that middle passengers can get the lower, back portion while their neighbors use the front part—hopefully putting an end to elbow wars once and for all. Passengers won't get any extra legroom, but the layout would allow middle seats to get wider, increasing from the standard 18-inch width to 21 inches.

As a plus for carriers who may be interested in adopting the seat now that it's certified, the adjustment is subtle enough that it won't result in the loss of any valuable rows. The company has already signed its first customer, a still-undisclosed Western airline who will start out by retrofitting 50 of its planes with the S1 seats by the end of 2020. They're also developing the S2 seat, which offers a similar design for long flights, with an added screen on the back (if implemented, they would be the widest screens available in economy) and a curved, one-sided headrest.

You might soon be sitting in a Molon Labe seat but don't get used to the name—it'll be changing. As Wired reported, CEO Hank Scott was familiar with the Greek phrase "from teaching military history and the movie 300 but was unaware of its association with the American gun-rights movement."

Lomography's LomoChrome Metropolis Film Exposes a New Generation of Photographers to Fresh Materials

Core 77 - Sun, 2019-07-21 15:20

A photo taken with LomoChrome Metropolis film.

Lomography keeps running out of film. LomoChrome Purple, which they first released in 2013 and have rereleased three more times since then, always sells out. This year, the wait-list for the most recent batch was more than 11,000 names deep. "Whenever we offer a new batch for preorders, people go crazy and stock up on it," says Lomography USA team member Birgit Buchart. They're able to maintain a healthy supply of their standard color negative and black-and-white film, but experimental products have cult appeal.

There's not a lot of truly new film on the market. Kodak and Ilford Photo have each been in business for well over a century; Fujifilm is 85 years old. While they've brought back discontinued lines of film, they aren't creating new color emulsions. Lomography, a vintage-inspired photo equipment company that evolved out of a '90s photography collective, decided it doesn't have to be that way.

Lomography's popular LomoChrome Purple film.

The complicated production process means they can only release small batches, but they're committed to churning out new materials for the next generation of analog photographers. Following their popular LomoChrome Purple and Turquoise films, they're now releasing another, LomoChrome Metropolis, through Kickstarter.

New possibilities for classic photography

"We wanted it to have a completely new look—a new color palette that sits in between a color negative and black-and-white film," says Lomography cofounder Sally Bibawy. "The LomoChrome Metropolis is characterized by a nostalgic look, reminiscent of past photographs and movies and heightened by the strong presence of black. This new film opens up new creative possibilities and makes it viable to achieve results that were previously not obtainable in analog photography."

The expanded ISO range gives expert photographers more flexibility with darker and more muted tones while preserving high contrast; the range of sizes accommodates those shooting on standard 35 mm film cameras as well as 120, 110, and 16 mm; and the development process isn't prohibitively technical—any lab can handle it.

The ongoing challenges of a finicky process

The long wait-lists for Lomography film aren't just a function of the products' popularity. New film is very difficult to produce. Machinery costs are high, materials are hard to source, and new product development is finicky.

"We set up a production chain throughout different continents with different but equally passionate partners," says Lomography cofounder Matthias Fiegl. The team is still restricted to small batches—and makes sure to communicate that film production is never an exact science. "The look of the film ultimately depends on many factors, like lighting conditions, the cameras used, the way it is being developed, and how it is exposed," he says. "But these are also the [factors] that make it so unique and so special to the whole film community."

What's old is new again—now a bit newer

"In a time of rediscovering vintage mediums like vinyl and painting, film is also experiencing an increasing demand," says Bibawy. "Currently, the film market is not really offering anything new in terms of experimental, artistic color emulsions. That's why we decided to focus our efforts on the creation of one of the most analog products possible: a brand-new color negative film." It's a project that aims to give those discovering and preserving the tradition of film photography some creative new materials to work with, and expands the possibilities of what they might make.

LomoChrome Metropolis XR 100–400 Film is live on Kickstarter through August 23, 2019.

—Katheryn Thayer

Design Job: Are you uncommonly talented? Join UcommonGoods as Senior Art Director in Brooklyn

Core 77 - Sun, 2019-07-21 15:20

As Senior Art Director—reporting to the Creative Director— you will manage a team of designers, collaborate with our fellow creative team members of photographers, videographers and copywriters, and work with Product Management, UX, Tech, Merchandising and Marketing teams to make design delightful. You will

See the full job details or check out all design jobs at Coroflot.

Studio Drift Honors the Apollo 11 Launch Anniversary with a Lyrical Drone Performance

Core 77 - Fri, 2019-07-19 13:06

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11's launch on July 16, 1969, NASA has commissioned Studio Drift to bring their drone installation, Franchise Freedom, to the Kennedy Space Center's rocket garden. Tonight, against the backdrop of a full moon and accompanied by a Duran Duran concert, 300 luminous drones will swarm the night sky with a hypnotic choreography based on the flight patterns of starling birds.

Studio Drift FRANCHISE FREEDOM from Studio DRIFT on Vimeo.

Studio Drift first debuted the performance in 2017 at Art Basel in Miami and have since staged it at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and during Burning Man in 2018. Based on 10 years of research, co-founders Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta developed an algorithm that replicates how birds swarm and self-organize in nature. The resulting choreography is not entirely pre-determined as the drones are continuously responding to each other. Each drone has a light source, and its intensity and color is influenced by the distance between it and other drones.

Studio Drift FRANCHISE FREEDOM at Burning Man from Studio DRIFT on Vimeo.

In the context of the Apollo 11 anniversary, the performance offers a moment to reflect on technology, nature, our place in the universe, and our responsibilities as we continue to innovate in the 21st century. "The Apollo 11 moon landing exemplifies what technology can do for humanity," says Nauta. "Let's take this as an example of what amazing possibilities we have if we put our minds together. It is our responsibility to use technology to build a sustainable future. Whether we're exploring the moon, the sky or anywhere else it all ends up being about improving life here on earth."

IBM Patents a Watch That Can Transform Into a Tablet

Core 77 - Fri, 2019-07-19 13:06

Undeterred by the clunky rollout of products featuring folding screen technology, IBM has just patented an intriguing yet awkward wearable device: a smartwatch that unfolds into a full-sized tablet on your wrist.

Rendering by Let's Go Digital

Originally submitted in 2016 and approved last month, the patent, titled "An Electronic Display Device Configured for Variable Display Size," details how the bezel-less screen can be expanded by using "a set of slides that form a storage compartment within the housing." Each panel would measure 2 x 3 inches and could expand in two configurations. First, you can add three additional panels and achieve a screen that's roughly the same size as a smartphone. From there, you can fold out the same area again and end up with an 8-inch by 12-inch screen—eight times the original size.

An illustration from IBM's patent

It's possible that more screen real estate could make smartwatches more useful, but the tech necessary to make this work is still far out. We're also not sure how many people will be eager to walk around with a goofy, tray-sized screen on their wrists.

Just because the patent was approved doesn't mean we can expect an actual product anytime soon. IBM is very patent-happy and their website proudly notes that "IBM inventors received a record 9,100 patents in 2018, marking the company's 26th consecutive year of U.S. patent leadership and crossing the 110,000-patent milestone." As Venture Beat pointed out, "IBM rewards employees for patenting even 'stupid' inventions, tying patents to promotions and internal recognition while giving the company both licensable innovations and defensive patents for lawsuits."

5 Engineering Facts About the Apollo Guidance Computer

Design News - Fri, 2019-07-19 06:00

The Apollo flight to the moon would not have been possible without the support of mission control, engineering knowledge, and technical skills of the astronauts. In addition to these human talents, there was a small innovation that allowed the lunar module’s successful landing on the moon and return to earth: the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC).

Developed around 1965 at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, the AGC is well known as one of the first modern embedded systems. But there are other details of this system that you might not have known:

The Apollo Guidance Computer with display and keyboard. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

1.) The AGC Was a Digital Computer

The AGC was designed as an airborne digital computer to control, test, and operate the Apollo lunar module’s guidance system. The general-purpose computer used a binary 15-bit format for parallel word transfer and instructions using single addressing mode. The AGC’s data and instructions were stored in memory. The memory structure consisted of several fixed thousand words and 1,000 words were erasable. Included with AGC was a small number of central addressable registers for data storage and two interrupts. The interrupts resolved efficient programming and real-time system requirements operation conflict concerns.


2.) The AGC Used NOR Logic

AGC computation designed used three input NOR logic gates packaged in microcircuit form. Bipolar transistors served as the core method of selecting erasable memory for the AGC. The circuit configuration of the erasable memory was accomplished with current drivers. Also, discrete diode-transistor circuits enable the fixed memory function of the AGC’s computer logic. The basic logic function of the NOR gate is where one binary 1 input will produce a binary 0 output. This logic gate function served as the core decision making block for creating more complex combinatorial decision circuits.

The AGC schematic for the dual NOR logic function. (Image source: klabs)


3.) The AGC Used Core Rope Memory

The AGCs memory was constructed using a core rope data storage method. The core rope’s arrangement was six modules. Each module can manage 6,144 16-bit words. The core rope memory was further partitioned into banks of 1,024 words. The method of storing the data used a charging circuit. A charged core rope represented a binary 1 value. A binary 0 value was represented by a discharged core rope.

A core rope memory panel. (Image source: pixel)


4.) The AGC Had its Own Unique Display and Keyboard

To interact with the AGC, the Apollo astronauts used a display and keyboard (DSKY). The DSKY’s display used a combination of 7-segment numerical displays and indicator lights. A basic keyboard was used to enter mission programs and operations. The AGC was supported by two DKSYs: a main control panel and another located at the navigator’s station near the optical instruments. The DSKY measured 8x8x7inches and weighed 17.5 pounds.

To communicate with the AGC, the astronauts entered in mission programs and operations using verbs. For example, entering verb 78, allows the DSKY to prompt the astronaut for the azimuth information.

The AGC’s Display and Keyboard (DSKY). (Image source: Heritage Auction)

5.) There Is a Virtual AGC DSKY Simulator

The DSKY Virtual Simulator allows hands-on exploration of the AGC mission programs and operations used on the Apollo lunar module. The simulator was originally developed in C then converted to javascript by Ronald Burkey. Burkey explained the project’s objective was to provide a computer simulation of the AGC used onboard the Apollo lunar module. To illustrate the DSKY-AGC function, there is a Saturn 5 launch checklist to explore with the online simulator on the virtual DSKY website.

The AGC-DSKY Virtual Simulator. Image source: svtsim.com)

To further explore the Apollo Guidance Computer, additional information on the AGC hardware can be obtained from the NASA website. Also, the online virtual simulator for the AGC-DSKY can be found on the svtsim website.

Don Wilcher is a passionate teacher of electronics technology and an electrical engineer with 26 years of industrial experience. He’s worked on industrial robotics systems, automotive electronic modules/systems, and embedded wireless controls for small consumer appliances. He’s also a book author, writing DIY project books on electronics and robotics technologies.


Drive World with ESC Launches in Silicon Valley

This summer (August 27-29), Drive World Conference & Expo launches in Silicon Valley with North America's largest embedded systems event, Embedded Systems Conference (ESC). The inaugural three-day showcase brings together the brightest minds across the automotive electronics and embedded systems industries who are looking to shape the technology of tomorrow.
Will you be there to help engineer this shift? Register today!


One Giant Leap For Mankind

Design News - Fri, 2019-07-19 05:00

July 20, 1969

A grainy black and white television image captures Neil Armstrong’s first step onto the surface of the Moon. (Image source: NASA)

With Eagle landed on the lunar surface, the flight plan called for the astronauts to begin their explorations after a four-hour rest period. The rest was quickly abandoned as Armstrong and Aldrin began their preparations. Even so, it was almost four hours after the landing that Armstrong emerged from the Eagle and deployed a black and white TV camera from the side of the LM in order to beam images of his first steps back to Earth.

Armstrong descended a ladder at 11:56 p.m. on July 20, 1969, and uttered the words, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." About 20 minutes later, Aldrin followed him. The camera was then positioned on a tripod about 30 feet from the LM. Half an hour later, President Nixon spoke with the astronauts by telephone link from the White House.

Neil Armstrong took this image of fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin as he stepped off the LM ladder and onto the lunar surface. (Image source: NASA)

During the EVA, in which they both traveled up to 300 feet from the Eagle, using a sort of hopping gate to move about on the low gravity lunar surface. Aldrin deployed the Early Apollo Scientific Experiments Package (EASEP) experiments. Armstrong and Aldrin both gathered the all-important lunar surface samples. After spending one hour, 33 minutes on the surface, Aldrin re-entered the LM, followed 41 minutes later by Armstrong. The astronauts had been outside the LM for more than two-and-a-half hours.

Armstrong and Aldrin would spent 21 hours, 36 minutes on the moon's surface. That included a rest period with seven hours of sleep. The next phase of the mission, firing the LM ascent stage so that Eagle could return to a rendezvous with Columbia would be one of the most dangerous parts of the mission. If it failed to ignite, the two astronauts would be stranded forever on the surface of the Moon, with no hope for rescue.


"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

The Eagle Has Landed!

Design News - Fri, 2019-07-19 04:30

July 20, 1969

Astronaut Michael Collins aboard Columbia inspected Eagle prior to its landing on the lunar surface. (Image source: NASA)

It was time. On July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin entered the Lunar Module (LM), making their final checks before undocking Eagle and separating from Columbia. On board the Command Module, astronaut Michael Collins made a visual check of Eagle and gave the go ahead for a landing.

While the LM was behind the moon on its 13th orbit, its descent engine fired for 30 seconds to begin its descent orbit insertion. On a trajectory that was virtually identical to that flown during the landing dress rehearsal by Apollo 10, Eagle’s new orbit was 9 by 67 miles. After Columbia and Eagle had reappeared from behind the moon, and when the LM was about 300 miles from its landing target, the descent engine fired for 756.3 seconds. After 8 minutes, the LM was at about 26,000 feet above the surface and about five miles from the landing site.

The descent engine continued to provide braking thrust as the LM neared the lunar surface. As Eagle neared the surface, Armstrong took manual control. The powered descent that ran 40 seconds longer than preflight planning due to Armstrong’s deft maneuvering of the LM to avoid a crater during the final phase of landing. The Eagle finally set down in the Sea of Tranquility at Site 2, about four miles downrange from the predicted touchdown point and almost one-and-a-half minutes earlier than scheduled.

“Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed!”


Apollo 11 Reaches the Moon

Design News - Fri, 2019-07-19 04:00

July 19, 1969

A close-up view of the Sea of Fertility on the lunar surface from the window of Columbia during the fourth live television transmission made from the Apollo 11 spacecraft during its second orbit of the moon on July 19, 1969. (Image source: NASA)

On the fourth day of the Apollo 11 mission, the crew needed to fire the engine of the Service Module to put the spacecraft into orbit around the moon. This lunar orbital insertion maneuver was required to take place on the far-side of the moon, out of contact with Mission Control. The 357.5 second burn of the rocket motor went perfectly, placing Apollo 11 into an elliptical lunar orbit of 69 by 190 miles. Later, a second burn of the Service Module rocket for 17 seconds changed that orbit to 62 by 70.5 miles.

The crew also did another live TV broadcast from their two docked spacecraft from lunar orbit. With the moon so close, attention was focused on the next day when the Lunar Module Eagle would separate from the Command Module Columbia and land on the Moon’s surface.

Friday Funny Presents the Turboencabulator

Design News - Fri, 2019-07-19 03:30

Now here’s one of the all-time classics in engineering humor.

The turboencabulator – or turbo-encabulator – is a fictional machine that purportedly sold to the federal government for $750 million, and that’s in 1977 dollars.

The original technical description of the "turbo-encabulator" was written by British graduate student John Hellins Quick. It was published in 1944 by the British Institution of Electrical Engineers Students’ Quarterly Journal in an article titled, "The Turbo-Encabulator in Industry" by J.H. Quick, Student.

In 1962 a turboencabulator data sheet was created by engineers at General Electric's Instrument Department, in West Lynn, Mass. It quoted from the previous sources and was inserted into the General Electric Handbook.


In 1977 Bud Haggart, an actor who appeared in many industrial training films in and around Detroit, performed in the first film realization of the description and operation of the turboencabulator, using a truncated script adapted from Quick's article. Haggart convinced director Dave Rondot and the film crew to stay after the filming of an actual GMC Trucks project training film to realize the turboencabulator spot.

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 19 years, 17 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.

Drive World with ESC Launches in Silicon Valley

This summer (August 27-29), Drive World Conference & Expo launches in Silicon Valley with North America's largest embedded systems event, Embedded Systems Conference (ESC). The inaugural three-day showcase brings together the brightest minds across the automotive electronics and embedded systems industries who are looking to shape the technology of tomorrow.
Will you be there to help engineer this shift? Register today!


The Drive to Level 5 Podcast - Episode 1

Design News - Thu, 2019-07-18 17:31

The Drive to Level 5 podcast investigates the seismic shift toward the autonomous vehicle and the technical advancements necessary to perfect the connected car, from foundational elements down to the component level.

The exploratory series connects with innovators across automotive electronics and embedded systems industries in preparation for the inaugural Drive World Conference & Expo launching in Silicon Valley August 27-29 with North America's largest embedded systems event, the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC).

Listen below to our first interview where host Jack Heslin sits down with Informa Markets Brand Director Suzanne Deffree to learn about all this exciting new conference has to offer.

You can also find more details about the event here.


Drive World with ESC Launches in Silicon Valley

This summer (August 27-29), Drive World Conference & Expo launches in Silicon Valley with North America's largest embedded systems event, Embedded Systems Conference (ESC). The inaugural three-day showcase brings together the brightest minds across the automotive electronics and embedded systems industries who are looking to shape the technology of tomorrow.
Will you be there to help engineer this shift? Register today!


Design Job: Chill Job Alert! Chilewich is Looking for a Design & Product Development Coordinator

Core 77 - Thu, 2019-07-18 13:01

Chilewich is seeking a design lover with an entrepreneurial spirit and a deep passion for how things are made to join our team as Design & Product Development Coordinator. In this role, you’ll take ownership of the entire Chilewich product development process, including research, sourcing, sampling, costing,

See the full job details or check out all design jobs at Coroflot.

Viktor Hertz's Honest Logos Don't Shy Away From Calling Out Big Brands

Core 77 - Thu, 2019-07-18 13:01

Since 2011, Swedish designer Viktor Hertz has been reimagining corporate logos to better reflect the reality of what those companies have to offer. Hertz carefully replicates each logo and works on a new name that will both capture the essence of their product and fit into the existing (often iconic) graphic design—he refers to the process like working on a jigsaw puzzle. A few of them, like Netflix (Nextfix), are so seamless you might do a double-take.

Often brutally honest, Hertz has rebranded companies like Instagram (Insecurity), Starbucks Coffee (Sugarbomb Combos), and Trump Tower (Plump Power). So far, Hertz has only gotten in trouble once, receiving a cease and desist from Absolut Vodka for his "Absolut Vomit" take. (He's since updated that one to Advertised Venom, a less direct jab.) Hertz recently debuted a series of new designs and edited some older ones, bringing his total up to 50.

Check out some highlights below and if you have any recommendations for who Hertz should rebrand/skewer next, let us know in the comments!

Reader Submitted: Bitty: A Pocket Drum Machine that Encourages Playing Music in Groups

Core 77 - Thu, 2019-07-18 13:01

Bitty is a pocket drum machine and synthesizer. It comes in white, with colorful knobs, and nite mode. It's small, loud, and expandable.

View the full project here

The Weekly Design Roast, #7

Core 77 - Thu, 2019-07-18 13:01

"You can choose between sleeping in a circular bed with a seam running down the middle, or you can have two sofas with no relationship between the backrest and where your legs would go."

"I don't like how people can just pop earbuds in without paying careful attention. This fixes that."

"Because people can't afford to be bored for even one second."

"You can use this like a chaise longue, or open it up, flip it over and use it like a chaise longue that takes up twice as much space."

"I wanted to design a bed that makes both sleeping and having sex more difficult."

"Bananas can be tough to cut into slices. So I designed this plastic object, which is as difficult to clean as Venetian blinds, to solve the problem."

"I don't know about you, but I can't have a conversation with someone unless my legs are interfering with theirs."

"Conventional bookshelves let you see all of the books at once, making them too easy to scan. My design forces you to walk all the way around the thing to find the book you're looking for."

"I wanted to design a piñata for bears."

I can't write a caption for this one because WAFFLE TONGS. I give up.

Design Job: Sparx Hockey is Seeking an Art Director in Boston, MA

Core 77 - Thu, 2019-07-18 13:01

Sparx Hockey is seeking an experienced Art Director to join their rapidly growing team. You’re an ideal candidate if you’re a creative, hard-working, highly-competitive team-player and a problem-solver. The Sparx Hockey Art Director will translate marketing and branding strategies into engaging images, layouts, manuals, packaging, advertising pieces, marketing collateral, webpages, videos and other consumer-facing designs. As Art Director, you will be an important member of the Sparx Hockey mar

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The Batteries That Powered the Lunar Module

Design News - Thu, 2019-07-18 05:00

When President Kennedy proposed, on September 12, 1962, that the US land a man on the Moon before the end of the decade, he set in motion a huge scientific and engineering enterprise. Eventually more than 400,000 engineers and technicians would contribute to the effort—not only at NASA, but at companies that served as contractors around the country.

The design and development of the Lunar Module (LM) was the responsibility of Long Island, New York aviation pioneer Grumman. The role of the LM was to transport two astronauts from lunar orbit, support them while on the Moon, and then to return them and their Moon rock samples to a rendezvous with the Command Module (CM).

The Lunar Module (LM) was designed with two separate stages: the ascent stage carrying the two astronauts and their cargo of lunar rock samples would return to lunar orbit, leaving the descent stage on the surface of the moon. (Image source: NASA)

Two Stages

Right from the start, it was decided that the LM would have two stages, each with its own rocket engine and power systems. The descent stage rochet was highly controllable and could be throttled to allow the LM to hover just before landing. The ascent stage rocket engine was much simpler—once it ignited it held a single level of thrust until it was shut down. This was done to make the ascent stage as reliable as humanly possible—if the ascent stage engine did not fire there would be no rescue and the two astronauts would die on the surface of the Moon.

Size and weight became the critical factors in the LM design. Every ounce of the spacecraft had to be launched from the Earth by the Saturn V rocket, and the original design, which had weighed 22,000 pounds, eventually ballooned to nearly 34,000 pounds by the time it flew with Apollo 11. For the Grumman team of 7,000 employees, led by Thomas J. Kelly, the LM Chief Engineer, reducing weight in a spacecraft that was not much larger inside than a phone booth was a major challenge.

Electrical Power

Initially, the plan was to provide electrical power for the LM through a hydrogen fuel cell. In February 1965, after months of study, NASA approved a switch from fuel cells to batteries. Thomas Kelly in his 2001 book, “Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module,” NASA had become increasingly concerned about the growing complexity of the fuel cell system in the LM. The Command Module would continue to use fuel cells for electrical power because of its longer mission duration. But the LM only needed its electrical power for a couple of days and the simpler battery system was attractive.

The battery supplier for the LM was Eagle Picher. The company had already been supplying batteries to the military for a long time and with the space program all the way back to the first satellite launched by the US, the Explorer I. In addition, the company was already supplying more than 40 batteries for the Saturn V rocket.

Eagle Picher faced a huge challenge of developing these lightweight silver oxide-zinc batteries that would provide electrical power to the Lunar Module during its lunar landing and return. (Image source: Eagle Picher)

Chosen For Reliability

The chemistry for the batteries was chosen for its reliability and familiarity. “All of these were silver oxide-zinc batteries,” Jack Brill explained to Design News. Brill was the project engineer for the Apollo program for Eagle Picher. “I actually started work in 1962- about the time everything kicked off,” said Brill. “I was a young guy, just out of college. I graduated with a mechanical engineering degree and started work in 1962. When I first started I did a lot of mechanical design work. The Vietnam War was kicking off really strong at that time, and I started working on critical batteries for the military. I was the project engineer on the Apollo battery. I was the mechanical design and manufacturing engineer for the Lunar Module batteries,” Brill told us.

“The whole goal was lightweight. There was a lot of design to take the weight out. We broke a lot of ground there—in fact we started using titanium cases. The main thing was to get the weight out. We went from stainless, to magnesium, to titanium. They would take a small number of recharges— 25 times or so—but they were never intended for that,” Brill said.

There were four batteries in the descent stage of the LM and two more to power the ascent stage. The batteries had alternating plates of silver and zinc, separated by paper insulation and surrounded by a liquid potassium hydroxide electrolyte.

An Entire Career

The success of the Apollo 11 Moon landing led to more work for the Eagle Picher space battery designers. “I spent almost my whole life there. I was there when the space industry started. I built different batteries for different experiments on the Moon. We built batteries for the lunar rover, “said Brill. “I retired after 52 years, in 2014. I stayed longer than I meant to! I finished as the Director of Engineering, but all the way through I was involved in space,” he added.

What does it mean to Jack Brill, looking back 50 years to his involvement with the first Moon landing? “At the time we were just so busy doing the job and our goal was to never make mistakes,” Brill told us. “It’s nerve-wracking when something you do might kill somebody. When I look back, there was a lot of achievement that I was part of—I came along at the right time and I saw a lot of wonderful things. I saw a lot of launches…”

Senior Editor Kevin Clemens has been writing about energy, automotive, and transportation topics for more than 30 years. He has masters degrees in Materials Engineering and Environmental Education and a doctorate degree in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in aerodynamics. He has set several world land speed records on electric motorcycles that he built in his workshop.