Mechatronics Zone Blog

Arm TechCon Innovation Awards Nominations Now Open

By Naomi Price | September 8, 2017

Nominations are now being accepted for the Arm TechCon 2017 Innovation Awards. These awards are open to all exhibitors at ARM TechCon 2017 (October 24-26, 2017, in the Santa Clara Convention Center). The Innovation Awards honor that intoxicating moment when illumination kindles the long, painstaking work of R&D, and innovation is born. 

7 Tips for Getting Started with Application Tracing

By Jacob Beningo | September 7, 2017

Early in my career it always bothered me that I couldn’t see how my program was executing. I would write some software, cross my fingers, and assume the application worked because the LED seemed to be blinking with the correct timing. In reality, once the run button was pressed, who knows if the application executed along the paths the way I thought they should. Verifying the application ran correctly required extraordinary effort.

New Soft Actuator Creates Robots that 'Breathe'

By Chris Wiltz | September 7, 2017

Someday robots could be using the air we breathe for power. Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), have developed a soft pneumatic actuator that is vacuum-powered. EPFL researchers say the new actuator is modular and versatile enough that it can be configured to allow robots to perform a wide range of tasks.

Toyota, Hyundai Edging Toward Battery Electrics?

By Charles Murray | September 6, 2017

The auto industry’s mass migration to battery-electric vehicles may now be influencing two companies that initially cast their lots with fuel cells.

Hyundai Motor Co. recently announced it will launch a battery-electric vehicle with a 300-mile range after 2021, along with an all-electric compact SUV with a 234-mile range in the first half of 2018. Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Corp. is reported to be working on a solid state battery technology that could put the automaker back on the road to a battery-electric car in the future.

Making Old Plant Equipment Newly Efficient

By Rob Spiegel | September 6, 2017

Can you make an old plant run with improved energy efficiencies? Tweaking the machines with a dab of digital overlay may bring aging equipment up to 21st century energy efficiency standards.

Deadline Extended for ESC Boston 2018 Call for Speakers

By Jennifer Campbell | September 5, 2017

Were you planning to submit a proposal for Embedded Systems Conference Boston 2018, but missed the deadline? No worries – the Call for Speakers has been extended to Friday, Sept. 15!

So no matter your expertise -- embedded hardware, embedded software, connected devices, or advanced technologies – you still have the chance to speak at the industry’s most comprehensive technical conference for embedded systems professionals.

The Road to a Trillion IoT Devices

By Rob Spiegel | September 5, 2017

Imagine one trillion connected devices. That’s a thousand billion. The prediction that we’ll see a trillion IoT devices in the next 20 years came from Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank (which in 2016 acquired ARM) at last year’s ARM TechCon conference.

Ceramic Foam Ink Allows for 3D Printing of Continuously Variable Properties

By RP Siegel | September 5, 2017

When it comes to design, there is likely no better teacher than nature. While humans have produced an impressive number of gadgets, devices, and systems, most of them are far less efficient and require far more in the way of inputs than nature’s designs do. Even the simplest organisms have the ability to grow and to do so, they must rely on readily available nutrients in their environment. This often boils down to one ingredient, from which a dazzling array of properties can be produced, often by making changes to structure at a very small scale.

Materials Handling System for Additive Manufacturing Using Metal Powders Introduced

By Tracey Schelmetic | September 4, 2017

Metal deposition technology is at the core of metal additive manufacturing (AM), and the materials are generally deposited in powder form. The powder is deposited layer by layer, melted and bound together by the heat from a laser. Because the metal additive manufacturing industry is still in its infancy, few companies are handling high volumes of powdered metal yet. But as production rates and applications increase, so, too, will safety concerns for materials handling.

Ex-Sun Microsystems Tech Guru Backs Startup to Solve Next-Gen Battery Needs

By Elizabeth Montalbano | September 4, 2017

A notable ex-Silicon Valley tech guru is backing the design of new battery technology that is aimed at solving the problem of next-generation energy storage once and for all.

Ionic Materials, based in Woburn, Mass., is an emerging start boasting a solid polymer electrolyte material that founders claim is the key to developing a “truly soli- state battery” that could replace lithium-ion batteries, according to the company’s website.