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Talent Talk: Embrace Risk to Advance Your Career in the COVID-19 Era

Design News - Mon, 2020-06-01 09:48

I am going to tell you something you might not have heard during the COVID-19 pandemic — now is a great time to take a little risk.

Something COVID-19 has us all really thinking about is the concept of risk vs. reward. It is a concept as old as time. Our distant ancestors might have asked themselves, “Should we go out and hunt for food, which we need to live, knowing we might be eaten ourselves?”

I heard a debate on the news the other day about whether or not to open local schools in the fall. I am sure that debate is happening in thousands of school districts across the country. One mother said that opening schools would be exposing children to risk and was against it.

How does this concept of risk-reward translate to your career? Ask any successful person if they ever took a career risk and they will tell you, "Yes." Not all risks are created equal — think about the reward side of that equation. Many companies are and will be changing in a lot of ways — some for the better, some for the worse. Now is the time to be open-minded to change and to not miss out on a positive career move because of this virus. With chaos comes opportunity.

If you want to have your best career, you must put on the table the idea of switching jobs, moving to a new location, or going back to school. Within your own company, consider volunteering to be part of a new project team. Look for what is new, what is growing, what excites you.

Mark Zuckerberg once told a group of young entrepreneurs at Y Combinator’s Startup School in Palo Alto that it is risky not to take chances. “In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks,” he said. Need a little proof? Talk to someone who stayed till the bitter end at Enron, Sears, Kodak, or Circuit City.

Image: Gustavofrazao/Adobe Stock


About the author

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at paul@klaindustries.com.

How to DIY a Resin Casting with Carbon Fiber

Core 77 - Mon, 2020-06-01 09:36

Burls Art is the handle of a YouTuber who makes custom guitars, not to sell them, but purely as art pieces. In a recent experiment, he made a guitar out of carbon fiber and documented the process.

In this video he shows you how you can cast your own resin forms and incorporate carbon fiber for strength. And though the end result of his process is a guitar, what you'll learn by watching this can be applied to any number of objects.

Social Distancing Designs: Sombrero-Sized Burger King Crowns

Core 77 - Mon, 2020-06-01 09:36

Burger King tweeted this photo:

I figured it was a gag, but it turns out Burger King in Germany is actually trying these out. "We wanted to reinforce the rules of high safety and hygiene standards that the BK restaurants are following," a Burger King representative told Business Insider. "The do-it-yourself social-distance crown was a fun and playful way to remind our guests to practice social distancing while they are enjoying food in the restaurants."

New Expanded Edition of The Maker's Field Guide, "The No. 1 Book on Industrial Design"

Core 77 - Mon, 2020-06-01 09:36

Industrial designer Christopher Armstrong is releasing an expanded edition of his book The Maker's Field Guide, billed as "The No. 1 book on industrial design." Judging by the trailer and images on the Kickstarter campaign page, I assume that refers primarily to the prototyping aspects of ID, and it appears that Armstrong certainly knows his stuff:

The book has been expanded from the original 2018 addition to include 30 pages on 3D printing.

The Maker's Field Guide has already been successfully Kickstarted, with $47,254 in pledges at press time on a $22,500 goal. There are still 3 days left to pledge.

The 20 Greatest Hoaxes in the History of Engineering

Design News - Mon, 2020-06-01 05:45
RELATED ARTICLES:   Chris Wiltz is a Senior Editor at  Design News covering emerging technologies including AI, VR/AR, blockchain, and robotics.

Factory of the Future Tailored to the Smaller Manufacturer

Design News - Mon, 2020-06-01 03:23

Manufacturers are coming under increasing pressure to produce more product variations in the same amount of time while using the same space. Gone are the days of set-it-and-forget-it. Elements of the smart factory of the future are attainable even for the small shop. This means adopting connected manufacturing step-by-step.

The factory of the future includes a range of new technology modules that smaller manufacturers can add one at a time. (Image source: Rexroth)

There are many steps along the way to the fully connected factory, but there are some key  milestones that can help manufacturers see what is the appropriate first step and what steps should logically follow. Whether it’s a matter of implementing manual solutions or looking to add modular technology, it can be accomplished incrementally. Rexroth has developed a program to help smaller manufacturers implement factory-of-the-future technology.

The Early Steps to the Future

Artificial intelligence (AI) on the plant floor may sound great, but it may not be realistic for the smaller manufacturer. “The questions a small manufacturer has to ask include: Where do I start without substantial competencies, without sufficient manpower, and without a big budget? How can you make it understandable within a learning curve? How do you build up maturity to get to the factory of the future?” said Andy Hassold, connected industry consultant at Bosch Rexroth, told Design News.

According to Hassold, the answers will be different for every industry and every customer. “The beginning steps need a solid foundation. The companies that are successful – no matter size or industry –  are the ones that have a lean program and a lean thinking concept,” said Hassold. “You want to have your processes defined and understood, from a materials standpoint, from equipment, and from a digital standpoint. Then you can ask” What do I do with the data? Does it just go into a repository? What will the people flow be like, the materials flow, the information flow?”

Hassold noted that manufacturers have to ask where they want to go. “What are your problems” What is your pain? Do you want AI in some areas or all areas?” said Hassold. “They should be smart about their investments.” He noted that the second step – once these questions have been answered – is technology integration. “Pick the right technology for networking, sensors, and gateways to get the right data out of your processes,” said Hassold.

Understanding Users and Data

Data is key to successful implementation. What data is necessary and who needs it? You have to ask where to store the data and how quick you need access to the data. “For data analysis you have to understand your users. Who needs the data and how frequently?” said Hassold. “Maintenance needs different data than process people do,”

To answer all of these questions, the manufacturer needs a leader to systematically approach all of the departments and then derive a first, second, and third step. “You have to prove benefits to the users on the floor using a bottom-up approach,” said Hassold. “The integration should provide solutions to pain on the floor. That will drive the adoption of the technology.”

Beyond the immediate pain, other aspects of smart technology can be added to the operation. “We can increase the scope with other AI to cover the entire breath of the supply chain, integrating the  entire value chain,” said Hassold.

Where a small business – or any business – should start is with an understanding of where the operation needs to go. “What are your drivers in your business? Where do you want to set yourself apart? What pain do you have to solve so you can keep growing? Who needs the data and what are they doing with it?” said Hassold.


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.

When Intel Partnered with Maker-Style DIY Inventors

Design News - Mon, 2020-06-01 03:20

COVID-19 has prevented any travel for the near future, but that doesn’t mean we can’t revisit the recent past. In this “Virtual Tech Travel Log,” I’ve set the way-back machine for September 9, 2014. The destination is (was) a three-day event known as the Intel Developer Forum or IDF. Interestingly enough, this was a time when another virus was troubling the world, namely, the Ebola epidemic. However, it was business as usual throughout the west coast as the Ebola crisis had a far lesser impact on the US than today’s COVID-19.

This video highlights what caught my attention at the Intel Developer Forum in 2014. If you attended this event, let me know what you saw that piqued your interest.


John Blyler is a Design News senior editor, covering the electronics and advanced manufacturing spaces. With a BS in Engineering Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering, he has years of hardware-software-network systems experience as an editor and engineer within the advanced manufacturing, IoT and semiconductor industries. John has co-authored books related to system engineering and electronics for IEEE, Wiley, and Elsevier.

Microbots Swim Through Barriers to Treat Cells

Design News - Mon, 2020-06-01 03:08

Scientists have been working on various ways to create biocompatible technologies that can be used inside the human body to deliver targeted medications to alleviate pain, repair cell damage or even treat cancer.

Illustration (top) and scanning electron microscopy image (bottom) of biohybrid bacterial microswimmers, which were fabricated by combining genetically engineered E. coli MG1655 and nanoerythrosomes made from red blood cells. A biotin-streptavidin interaction was used to attach nanoerythrosomes to the bacterial membrane. (Image source: Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems)

Now a team at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems has developed tiny micrometer-scale robots made of biohybrid materials that can swim through the body to deliver drugs or carry other cargo to targeted sites.

A team led by Metin Sitti, director of the institute and a professor in Department of Electrical Engineering and Robotics Institute in Carnegie Mellon University, developed the microbots, which—because they are partially comprised of bacteria—can navigate toward certain chemicals, researchers said. They also can be programmed for remote control using magnetic or sound signals, they said.

“This work is an important stepping stone in our overarching goal of developing and deploying biohybrid microrobots for therapeutic cargo delivery,” Sitti said in a press statement.

Built for Speed and Immuno-Suppression

Key to the success of achieving the performance researchers want for the microbots is that they must be made of materials that won’t trigger an immune response, as well as have the ability to swim quickly through viscous environments and penetrate tissue cells.

To meet these criteria, researchers fabricated the microbots by combining genetically engineered E. coli MG1655 and nanoerythrosomes made from red blood cells. They used a biotin-streptavidin interaction to attach nanoerythrosomes to the bacterial membrane.

Nanoerythrosomes are nanovesicles derived from red blood cells. They can be extricated by emptying the cells, keeping the membranes, and filtering them down to nanoscale size.

These tiny red blood cell carriers attach to the bacterial membrane using the noncovalent biological bond between biotin and streptavidin. This process preserves two important red blood cell membrane proteins for the purpose of the microbots: TER119, which is needed to attach the nanoerythrosomes, and CD47, which prevents macrophage uptake.

The E. coli MG 1655 serves its own purpose in the microrobot, that of a bioactuator that can propel the bot forward through the body as a molecular engine, which it does by using flagellar rotation, they added.

Testing the Capabilities

Researchers assessed the swimming capability of the bacteria using a custom-built 2D object-tracking algorithm, as well as by taking 20 videos to use as raw data to document their performance.

This performance showed that the biohybrid microswimmers with bacteria carrying red blood cell nanoerythrosomes performed at speeds 40% faster than other E. coli-powered microparticles-based biohybrid microswimmers.

The nanoscale size of the nanoerythrosomes and adjustments to the density of coverage of nanoerythrosomes on the bacterial membrane also worked to reduce the immune response to the bots so they could do their work, they said.

Researchers published a paper on their work in the journal APL Bioengineering.

The team plans to continue its work to further tune the immune clearance of the microrobots and explore how they can penetrate cells to release medications to tumors.

“If you decrease the size of red blood cells to nanoscale and functionalize the body of the bacteria, you could obtain additional superior properties that will be crucial in the translation of the medical microrobotics to clinics,” Sitti said in a press statement.


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.

Thermoplastic Honeycomb Technology Reduces Trunk Floor Weight by 20%

Design News - Mon, 2020-06-01 00:32

EconCore, a specialist in lightweight thermoplastic honeycomb core technology, and DPA Moldados, a tier 1 automotive supplier, have developed innovative technology which has reduced the weight of the Hyundai Creta’s trunk floor by 20%. The thermoplastic composite, combining a sandwich panel of polypropylene (PP) honeycomb and glass mat thermoplastic (GMT) composite skin.

The technology developed and patented by EconCore is unique in design. The thermoplastic honeycomb is produced continuously while direct lamination of the sandwich skin layers is most often in-line integrated in the highly automated process. 

The Hyundai Creta’s trunk floor uses thermoplastic honeycomb core and thermoplastic skin layers that comprise partly or sometimes fully recycled materials. Image courtesy of Hyundai.

José Carlos Ricciardi, managing director of DPA Moldados, a Brazilian Tier 1 supplier that has partnered with Econcore to develop this lightweight solution, said: “OEMs are calling for weight reduction but unless we are talking about motorsport, they are not quite willing to accept it if the costs are higher than conventional solutions. We had been seeking a way to address this for a while working with thermoplastic composites, and on that journey we combined forces with EconCore and their German daughter company ThermHex Waben.”

EconCore’s solution is effective because sandwich panels are the most suitable structure when it comes to delivering rigidity at low weight, indeed, trunk floor assemblies of many cars are made of a combination of paper honeycomb and polyurethane / glass fibre composites.

Given the high performance of the honeycomb structure, the use of material is very limited. A low-density honeycomb, when combined with skin layers, delivers a performing sandwich panel. Within Econcore’s technology, the application of skin layers takes place directly as the honeycomb core is made, all within an integrated production process delivering maximum of cost-efficiency. 

EconCore also recognize that sustainability within manufacturing processes is currently at a forefront of its consumers’ minds. Tomasz Czarnecki, COO of EconCore, explains: “With regards to recyclability, our process is using thermoplastic honeycomb core and thermoplastic skin layers that on their own can be already based on partly or even fully recycled materials. At the end-of-life our product, and the thermoplastic finishing carpets that automotive parts require for decorations, are recyclable. Upon molding and integration of the carpets into the sandwich structure, they are not contaminated by other materials such as polyurethanes, so at the end of product’s life, they can be disintegrated and fully recycled.”

Additionally, EconCore’s process uses thermoplastic honeycomb core and thermoplastic skin layers that comprise partly or sometimes fully recycled materials and at the end of product’s life, the part can be easily recycled.

Tour the Purdue University Industrial Design Daze Show at the Core77 Student Showcase

Core 77 - Sun, 2020-05-31 07:16

This show is a collection of work from 2020 Purdue Industrial Design seniors showing examples of product design, furniture design, interaction design, toy design, service design, and user experience design.

A few projects from the show are below. See the entire show here.

Aria Chair by Joel Walker

Design sketches by Mason Parks

Baby By sleeper/pillow by Avery Saylor

Together Band by Sydney Smith

See hundreds of more student projects at the Core77 Student Showcase