Mechatronics Zone Blog

2018 BMWs Will Bring Amazon Alexa on the Road

By Chris Wiltz | October 10, 2017

In 2016 BMW introduced BMW Connected into its vehicles, allowing for Amazon Alexa users to control their vehicle's climate control, lock and unlock doors, and even check fuel status from home. Now, Amazon has announced that beginning in mid-2018 owners of select BMW and MINI vehicles will have access to full Alexa functions in their vehicles.

12 People Who Engineered Change Without a College Degree

By Charles Murray | October 6, 2017




Linux Now Has its First Open Source RISC-V Processor

By Chris Wiltz | October 6, 2017

SiFive has declared that 2018 will be the year of RISC V Linux processors.

The Trend Toward Distributed Robotics

By Chris Wiltz | October 5, 2017

With all of the discussion happening around collaborative robots (cobots) there is, of course, a lot of talk of how these robots will interact (and possibly replace) humans in the workspace. One less discussed aspect is how these robots will collaborate with each other.

Coating Makes Electronically Heated Textiles Possible

By Elizabeth Montalbano | October 5, 2017

It’s one thing to have clothing that keeps heat trapped close to the body to help you stay warm, but what if your clothing actually could electrically heat up inside to stave off the cold?

That’s the potential for a new nano-coating developed at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst, which researchers demonstrated can be used to heat up the fingers of a prototype glove for up to eight hours.

Toyota, Mazda, Denso Team Up to Develop EV Technology

By Charles Murray | October 4, 2017

Longtime electric vehicle holdout Toyota Motor Corp. announced last week it is partnering with Mazda Motor Corp and automotive supplier Denso Corp. to form a new company to develop EV technologies.

Bias In, Bias Out: How AI Can Become Racist

By Chris Wiltz | September 29, 2017

Microsoft must have only had the best intentions when it launched its artificial intelligence (AI) program, Tay, onto Twitter in the spring of 2016. Tay was a chatbot meant to tweet and sound like an 18 to 24 year old girl, with all of the same slang, verbiage, and vernacular. The more it interacted with humans on Twitter, the more it would learn and the more human it would sound.

Watch ABB's YuMI Robot Conduct an Orchestra

By Chris Wiltz | September 29, 2017

YuMi the dual arm collaborative robot released by ABB had a night at the opera on earlier this month – as a conductor.

In a display that was part robotics demonstration, part art project YuMi conducted the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra at the Teatro Verdi in Pisa, Italy, as part of the gala of the First International Festival of Robotics. The team at ABB set out to show that YuMi was capable of learning the precise movements of even an orchestra conductor.

Don’t Miss These 8 ESC Minneapolis Events

By Suzanne Deffree | September 29, 2017

Quick, name three things Minneapolis is known for!

You may have immediately thought of cold weather, perhaps Prince came to the minds of music fans out there, and you may or may not have thought of embedded systems design -- but you should.

Between major companies like Stratasys headquartering in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area and work being done by schools like the University of Minnesota, the region has become a hotbed for embedded systems design and engineering.

Trump Calls for an Investigation into China’s IP Theft

By Rob Spiegel | September 28, 2017

President Trump recently signed an executive memorandum intended to catalyze an investigation into China’s alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property (IP). The order is a first step in the attempt to solve the annual cost of IP theft to the U.S – a figure that may be upwards of $600 billion.