Mechatronics Zone Recent News

3D-Printed Smart Glass Works More Efficiently Than Previous Designs

March 23, 2018

Researchers are devising myriad new ways to make building construction more eco-friendly and buildings themselves more energy-efficient. Engineers at the University of Delaware recently contributed to this effort by inventing new “smart” glass that can automatically reflect or absorb light when needed to help moderate temperature.

Blue Collar or New Collar? The Fight Over Manufacturing's Future

March 22, 2018

“Stop using the term 'blue collar worker' and start using the term 'essential worker,' ”John Ratzenberger told an audience during his keynote at the 2018 Advanced Design & Manufacturing Show in Cleveland (ADM Cleveland).

Understanding the Role of Cobalt in Batteries

March 22, 2018

A new report by the Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU) in Germany suggests that worldwide supplies of lithium and cobalt, materials used in electric vehicle batteries, will become critical by 2050. The situation for cobalt, a metal that is typically produced as a byproduct of copper and nickel mining, appears to be especially dire as “…the cobalt demand by batteries might be twice as high as the today’s identified reserves,” the HIU report stated.

12 Milestones in Electric Vehicle Racing

March 21, 2018


Senior Editor Kevin Clemens has been writing about energy, automotive, and transportation topics for more than 30 years. He has set several world land speed records on electric motorcycles that he built in his workshop.


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Autonomous Mobile Robots Close the Automation Gap in Production Facilities

March 21, 2018

Autonomous mobile robots are becoming widely accepted in manufacturing and other settings. They’re getting deployed in a broad range of environments and applications, from moving materials in a factory to carrying medication to patient rooms in a hospital. Production processes have long been automated, but the movement of material has typically been a manual process, a gap in an otherwise automated facility.

The Unknown & Hidden Behaviors of Real-Time Systems

March 20, 2018

Hardware designers have it easy. They are working with a physical component that can be examined, weighed, and measured. If the hardware doesn’t work or has an issue, hardware designers can probe the electrical signals and visualize them using an oscilloscope. When I started developing embedded software almost two decades ago, it always bothered me that I couldn’t see what was actually happening in the microcontroller. I had to cross my fingers and hope that the software was executing as I intended.