friday-funny:-25-science-experiments-you-can-do-at-home

Even though this is designed for kids, it’s amazingly entertaining. Cool science as well.

Here’s a great reminder that we’re surrounded by example of scientific principles. Who would have guessed that you can move cereal around in the milk using a magnet? More iron that you’d expect in Cheerios. Or plant the romaine lettuce stem to grow new lettuce.

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.

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the-global-top-20-cities-for-innovation-and-technology
  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam

    What are the best cities for innovation and technology? Silicon Valley certainly comes to mind, but how about Atlanta or Vienna? Sydney? The business site Business Insider did an analysis of the best cities for technology entrepreneurs. Here’s their list of the top 20.

    Business Insider assessed each city based on 31 segments of their industries and economy, and 162 indicators of innovation. However, the firm’s data analysts compile each city’s index score, out of 60, from three key factors: cultural assets, human infrastructure, and networked markets.

    Here’s the countdown to the top 20 cities for technology and innovation.

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta

    20. Atlanta

    Change from last year’s ranking: -2

    Companies that call this city home: Aptos, UPS, Bluefin, Cricket Wireless

    (Image source: City of Atlanta)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna

    19. Vienna

    Change from last year’s ranking: -9

    Companies that call this city home: TourRadar, Kompany, Tricentis, Robo Wunderkind

    (Image source: City oif Vienna)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna

    18. Amsterdam

    Change from last year’s ranking: -6

    Companies that call this city home: Booking.com, Philips, TomTom, BTC.com

    (Image source: City of Amsterdam)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston

    17. Houston

    Change from last year’s ranking:  5

    Companies that call this city home: Citgo, cPanel, FlightAware, Sysco

    (Image source: City of Houston)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne

    16. Melbourne

    Change from last year’s ranking:  9

    Companies that call this city home: Redbubble, Telstra, Catapult

    (Image source: City of Melbourne)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Seattle

    15. Seattle

    Change from last year’s ranking:  6

    Companies that call this city home: Amazon, Zillow, Qualtrics, Rover

    (Image source: City of Seattle)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin

    14. Berlin

    Change from last year’s ranking:  3

    Companies that call this city home: SoundCloud, HelloFresh, Babbel, Zalando

    (Image source: City of Berlin)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Dallas,

    13. Dallas-Fort Worth

    Change from last year’s ranking:  3

    Companies that call this city home: AT&T, American Airlines, Texas Instruments, Energy Transfer Equity

    (Image source: City of Dallas)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Seoul, Dallas

    12. Seoul

    Change from last year’s ranking: -1

    Companies that call this city home: Samsung, Hyundai Motor, LG Electronics, SK Holdings

    (Image source: City of Seoul)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Chicago

    11. Chicago

    Change from last year’s ranking:  9

    Companies that call this city home: Grubhub, Boeing, Groupon, Motorola Mobility

    (Image source: City of Chicago)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Sidney

    10. Sydney

    Change from last year’s ranking:  4

    Companies that call this city home: Canva, Atlassian, Zip Money, Nuix

    (Image source: City of Sidney)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Paris

    9. Paris

    Change from last year’s ranking: no change

    Companies that call this city home: Orange Communications, Deezer, Thales Group, DailyMotion

    (Image source: City of Paris)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Toronto

    8. Toronto

    Change from last year’s ranking: no change

    Companies that call this city home: Wealthsimple, InterAxon, Wattpad, The Stars Group

    (Image source: City of Toronto)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Toronto

    7. Boston

    Change from last year’s ranking: -2

    Companies that call this city home: General Electric, HubSpot, Bain Capital, Boston Dynamics

    (Image source: City of Boston)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Singapore

    6. Singapore

    Change from last year’s ranking:  1

    Companies that call this city home: DBS Bank, Singtel, CapitaLand Limited, Flex

    (Image source: City of Singapore)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Los Angeles

    5. Los Angeles

    Change from last year’s ranking:  1

    Companies that call this city home: Snap Inc., SpaceX, Riot Games, Hulu

    (Image source: City of Los Angeles)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, New York

    4. New York City

    Change from last year’s ranking: -2

    Companies that call this city home: WeWork, Verizon, IBM Watson, Citigroup

    (Image source: City of New York)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, Silicon Valley

    3. Silicon Valley (San Francisco and San Jose

    Change from last year’s ranking:  1

    Companies that call this city home: Apple, Google (Alphabet), Facebook, HP, Intel, Netflix, Tesla

    (Image source: City of San Jose)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, London

    2. London

    Change from last year’s ranking: -1

    Companies that call this city home: Barclays, TransferWise, BP, ASOS.com, Monzo

    (Image source: City of London)

  • top technology and innovation cities, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Vienna, Houston, Melbourne, Seattle, Berlin, tokyo

    1. Tokyo

    Change from last year’s ranking:  2

    Companies that call this city home: SoftBank, Hitachi, Toshiba, Sony Corporation, Mitsubishi

    (Image source: City of Tokyo)

edge-computing-key-industrial-automation-trend-in-2020

Factory connectivity and communications have become cornerstone technology trends for automation and control engineers in the last 10 years as the development of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has emerged as a corporate objective. But as we head into 2020, edge computing is evolving into a unifying force for machine designers implementing “computing at the edge” architectures that provide performance and security in a world offering a wide range of communication solutions.

IIoT, IoT, edge computing, automation, OT, IT

New edge computing architectures are leveraging edge nodes and gateways to connect IoT devices and subsystems with different types of data centers (private, public or hybrid). Edge nodes perform local processing and storage operations. (Image source: Industrial Internet Consortium

A new white paper from the Industrial Internet Consortium, “The Edge Computing Advantage” explores not only the business benefits of edge computing but also how it has become a keystone in the IIoT’s evolution in the smart factory.

The authors of the white paper conclude that edge computing has grown steadily as a way to extend the technology of data centers closer to the physical devices within the factory. Cloud computing offers flexibility and scale, offering benefits by connecting systems, but also need to be balanced against increased security risks.

Emergence of edge computing paradigm

Given that many industrial facilities have maintained a so-called “airgap” between plants and the Internet (by not being physically connected to the Internet), edge computing has continued to emerge. The benefits: better use of bandwidth on factory networks, reduced latency and variation of data along with use of local data and computation that improves privacy, reliability, resiliency and safety.

Along with these practical benefits, edge computing technology itself is providing a flexible approach that uses a fully distributed computing model between IoT devices and layers of edge nodes that provide communications to the data center.

According to the white paper, “the topology of the network enables IoT systems to make use of layers of edge nodes and gateways to interconnect IoT devices and connected subsystems with various types of data centers. The cloud is the ‘highest-order’ resource, and is usually implemented in large, protected data centers. It may be public, private or a hybrid to process and store data for specific vertical applications. Edge nodes perform local processing and storage operations.”

IT and OT convergence

Efficient, reliable and maintainable Industrial IoT data handling presents significant challenges because the data management solutions that exist today have been mainly designed for information technology (IT) applications. A customized solution to fill the gap between the IT and OT (operations technology) applications is required.

A wide range of suppliers are providing intelligent IoT gateways to help build seamless data processing solutions that bridge this gap. Gateways are being used to mass-deploy IoT devices in the field, acquire data and route it on-demand to a centralized system, other devices or a remote site. The use of edge nodes along with traditional routers, gateways and firewalls provides both storage and computation capabilities that is distributed across devices, nodes and the data center itself.

Opportunities and challenges

The white paper concludes with a discussion of both the opportunities and challenges that this new computing paradigm is creating. What’s expected in 2020 is a continuation of the “blurred lines from the edge to the data center, as cloud-computing and edge-computing architectural models merge and emerge”.

To read the full IIC white paper, view this PDF.

Al Presher is a veteran contributing writer for Design News, covering automation and control, motion control, power transmission, robotics, and fluid power.

DesignCon 2020 25th anniversary Logo

January 28-30: North America’s largest chip, board, and systems event, DesignCon, returns to Silicon Valley for its 25th year! The premier educational conference and technology exhibition, this three-day event brings together the brightest minds across the high-speed communications and semiconductor industries, who are looking to engineer the technology of tomorrow. DesignCon is your rocket to the future. Ready to come aboard? Register to attend!

hydrails-are-the-future-of-rail-transportation

Alstom Transport’s Coradia iLint hydrogen fuel cell passenger train in service in Germany. (Image source: Alstom Transport)

With the concern about climate change and proposed solutions such as the Green New Deal that would phase out fossil fuels, there is question of how freight and passenger trains could still operate. While conventional rail electrification could work in Europe and more dense parts of the US and Canada, the investment cost of an electrified infrastructure in vast portions of both countries could be prohibitive. The answer could be hydrogen fuel cells.

While hydrail, that is hydrogen-fueled locomotives and self propelled railcars, hasn’t got much press in the US, several hydrail projects have moved from the conceptual to demonstration phase in Europe and Asia. Hydrail includes both hydrogen fuel cells and combusting hydrogen in an internal combustion engine. Fuel cells are the more promising approach of the two because they can be a direct replacement for the diesel powered generators in a diesel-electric locomotive. The wheel’s traction motors don’t care whether the electricity comes from a generator or a fuel cell.

Hydrail vehicles would probably be hybrid vehicles in which electrical energy from the fuel cell and regenerative braking would be stored in batteries or ultracapacitors for use by the traction motors. Capturing the energy created during braking via regenerative braking rather than dissipating via resistors, the normal case today, reduces the amount of hydrogen that has to carried onboard the locomotive.

Hydrogen-fueled trains have a carbon-free footprint provided the hydrogen is produced by electrolysis using electrical power provided by wind or solar. Fuel cells do not emit anything but water.

One idea is to produce hydrogen track side in electrolysis plants along a rail line. This would be especially attractive in remote regions where there is ample room to build solar farms, or lots of wind for wind turbines. Since hydrogen can be easily stored, it can be produced whenever the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. Alternatively, if electricity comes from the electric grid, hydrogen could be produced during times of none peak electrical demands.

A fuel cell locomotive would be at least as efficient as a diesel-electric one. The efficiency of electrolysis to convert water into hydrogen is 70 to 80 percent, while the efficiency of fuel cells in converting hydrogen to electricity is 40 to 60 percent. Thus, a fuel cell locomotive would be between 28 and 48 percent efficient. The efficiency of a diesel locomotive in converting diesel fuel to electricity is about 30 percent.

The state of hydrails today

Fuel cell technology is ready to be used in fuel cell powered trains. There are several fuel cell, 18-wheel truck projects underway with some with trucks already on the road. The technology could be transferred to hydrail applications. Toyota, working with Kenworth, is building 10 hydrogen fuel-cell Kenworth T680 Class 8 drayage tractors to reduce emissions at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Anheuser-Busch has ordered up to 800 hydrogen fuel cell-powered Class 8 trucks from startup Nikola Motor Co. Engine manufacturer, Cummins, has shown a concept Class 8 tractor featuring a 90-kilowatt fuel cell. This fuel cell system is scalable up to 180 kilowatts.

Of course, the power of a freight locomotive is much greater than an eighteen wheeler – 2000 to 4500 kW versus 565 hp (about 420 kW) for Kenworth’s hydrogen-fueled T680. Fortunately, fuel cell “engines” can be scaled up by adding more fuel cell modules.

Much larger fuel cell power plants are being planned for marine applications from research vessels to container ships. A fuel cell ferry and push boat are already under construction in Norway and France, respectively, as part of the FLAGSHIPS project. SW/TCH Maritime is building the Water Go Round e-ferry, a hydrogen fuel cell-powered ferry for deployment in San Francisco and New York City. PowerCell Sweden AB and Havyard Group ASA are developing a large fuel cell vessel that will service Norwegian fjords. It will use many 200 kW fuel cell system modules connected in parallel for a total output of 3.2 MW. PowerCell and Havyard Group say the first of the four ships should be operation in 2021.

The use of fuel cells to motivate passenger trains and shunting locomotives is less of a challenge than heavy freight locomotives as used in the US. Thus, in the over 20 demonstration of hydrail technology in 14 countries since 2005, most of the projects are people movers. However, in Topeka, Kans in 2009, BNSF Railway debuted its Vehicle Projects HH20B, a switcher-locomotive powered by hydrogen fuel cells producing 2000 hp (1,490 kW).

Alstom Transport’s Coradia iLint, built in Germany, is considered to be the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell passenger train. Two pre-production Coradia iLint trains began operating in Germany in September 2018. Deployment of fleet of some 60 trains is scheduled to commence in 2021. The current trains will be fueled at the world’s first hydrogen train refueling depot with hydrogen generated on-site using wind power.

By using wind power and electrolysis to produce hydrogen for the fuel cells, the Coradia iLint trains have no carbon foot print. (Image source: Alstom)

San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) is ordering four hydrogen fuel cell-powered, Fast Light Intercity and Regional Train (FLIRT) from Switzerland-based Stadler. The two-car, 108 passenger trains will operate at 79 mph between Redlands and San Bernardino (CA) Metrolink station starting in 2024.

HydroFLEX, the first full-sized hydrogen-powered train in the UK, is currently being tested. It uses an existing Class 319 train set fitted with Ballard FCveloCity-HD fuel cells.

The province of Ontario, Canada has contracted with Alstom and Siemans to create concept designs for a self-propelled hydrogen-powered coach to be used on GO Transit lines in the greater Toronto and Hamilton area as an alternative to installing traditional electrification using overhead wires. It has also requested the design of a hydrogen-powered locomotive to pull GO coaches.

CSR Sifang’s 380-passenger urban tram uses a Ballard Power Systems FCveloCity fuel cell engine. (Image source: Ballard)

There have been several hydrogen fuel cell rail prototypes in Asia. In 2006, East Japan Railway Co. developed the world’s first hydrail railcar. This year, it announced that it is investing in developing a two-car trainset using hydrogen fuel-cell technology from Toyota, hopingto have commercially-viable technology ready by 2024. CSR Sifang Co Ltd. in China has built eight 380-passenger urban trams that use 200 kilowatt Ballard Power Systems FCveloCity fuel cell engines. 

With hydrogen fuel cell technology being developed, and already used, in several transportation sectors, the long awaited “hydrogen economy” maybe just over the horizon.

Bill Siuru is a retired USAF colonel who has been writing about transportation technology for over 40 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Wayne State University, a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and a PhD in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University. He has taught engineering at West Point and the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has authored thousands of articles for automotive, aeronautical, and engineering publications.

DesignCon 2020 25th anniversary Logo

January 28-30: North America’s largest chip, board, and systems event, DesignCon, returns to Silicon Valley for its 25th year! The premier educational conference and technology exhibition, this three-day event brings together the brightest minds across the high-speed communications and semiconductor industries, who are looking to engineer the technology of tomorrow. DesignCon is your rocket to the future. Ready to come aboard? 

Register to attend!

friday-funny:-catch-this-stem-music-video

Get the history of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) from this amazing demonstration of progress from the cave to space.

Have fun with this lovely video. Nicely done history of science and technology.

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.

DesignCon 2020 25th anniversary Logo

January 28-30: North America’s largest chip, board, and systems event,  DesignCon, returns to Silicon Valley for its 25th year! The premier educational conference and technology exhibition, this three-day event brings together the brightest minds across the high-speed communications and semiconductor industries, who are looking to engineer the technology of tomorrow. DesignCon is your rocket to the future. Ready to come aboard?  Register to attend !

the-9-most-disruptive-tech-trends-of-2019

What were the breakthrough technologies for 2019? The answer depends on who you ask. Several common themes have emerged such as cobots, emerging energy source, AI, and cybersecurity breaches. Let’s consider each in more detail.

1.) Robotics – collaborative robots (or cobots)

(Image source: OpenAI and Dactyl)

Remember Dum-E (short for dummy) from the first Iron Man movie? Dum-E was a cobot that helped Tony Stark created his flying robotic suit. It was a scaled down, more human, interactive version of the traditional industrial-grade manufacturing line arm robots.

Cobots are designed to collaboratively work alongside human with a gentle touch, i.e., to not smash fingers or step on the toes of their work buddies. Doing so requires that cobots be much more aware of their location in relation to the humans, via sensing and perception technologies. To achieve this goal, one company, Veo Robotics, uses a variety of 3D sensors placed around the robot’s workcell to aid in location awareness. The company’s sensors add an extra measure of safety by automatically slowing down the movement of the industrial cobots whenever a human co-worker comes close.

To help supplement actual human activity, cobots are becoming more dexterous and moving beyond merely picking components on an assembly line. Robots need greater dexterity to pick up objects that have moved even slightly beyond their programmed parameters. Cobots cannot yet grasp any object just by looking at it, but they can now learn to manipulate an object on their own. 

OpenAI, a nonprofit company, recently introduced Dactyl, a dexterous robotic arm that taught itself to flip a toy building block in its fingers. Dactyl uses neural network software to learn how to grasp and turn the block within a simulated environment before the hand tries it out for real. According to the company, they’ve been able to train neural networks to solve the Rubik’s Cube Problem using reinforcement learning and Kociemba’s algorithm for picking the solution steps.

more-engineering-salaries-at-leading-companies

How does your salary match up? Here’s a sampling of engineering salaries at another 20 top companies.

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Jobsite, Glassdoor, has collected research on the major employers for engineers. In the following slides, you can see how the companies stack up for engineers. We’ve included some of the largest engineering employers, and we show a sampling of engineering salaries. Right now, the average engineering salary across all disciplines and all employers is $81,948.

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Amatel

    $73,648

    The typical Amatel engineer salary is $73,648. Engineer salaries at Amatel can range from $55,304 – $84,330. This estimate is based upon engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: Amatel)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Siemens

    $86,959

    The typical Siemens Engineer salary is $86,959. Engineer salaries at Siemens can range from $62,140 – $166,214. This estimate is based on Siemens engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image Source: Siemens)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Wipro

    $82,915

    The typical Wipro engineer salary is $82,915. Engineer salaries at Wipro can range from $66,172 – $114,836. This estimate is based upon Wipro engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: Wipro)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Westinghouse

    $77,683

    The typical Westinghouse engineer salary is $77,683. Engineer salaries at Westinghouse can range from $68,562 – $110,462. This estimate is based upon Westinghouse engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: Westinghouse)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Bechtel

    $91,668

    The typical Bechtel engineer salary is $91,668. Engineer salaries at Bechtel can range from $62,690 – $124,254. This estimate is based upon Bechtel Engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: Bechtel)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Thornton Tomasetti

    $65,699

    The typical Thornton Tomasetti engineer salary is $65,699. Engineer salaries at Thornton Tomasetti can range from $54,200 – $72,107. This estimate is based upon Thornton Tomasetti engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: Thornton Tomasetti)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    ExxonMobil

    $114,075

    The typical ExxonMobil engineer salary is $114,075. Engineer salaries at ExxonMobil can range from $50,229 – $174,902. This estimate is based upon ExxonMobil engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: ExxonMobil)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Intertek

    $64,944

    The typical Intertek engineer salary is $64,944. Engineer salaries at Intertek can range from $50,873 – $84,428. This estimate is based upon Intertek engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: Intertek)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Toyota North America

    $87,931

    The typical Toyota North America engineer salary is $87,931. Engineer salaries at Toyota North America can range from $63,889 – $116,439. This estimate is based upon Toyota North America engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: Toyota North America)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Cummins

    $77,299

    The typical Cummins engineer salary is $77,299. Engineer salaries at Cummins can range from $67,594 – $100,893. This estimate is based upon Cummins engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: Cummins)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Whirlpool

    $71,124

    The typical Whirlpool Corporation engineer salary is $71,124. Engineer salaries at Whirlpool Corporation can range from $53,566 – $94,781. This estimate is based upon Whirlpool Corporation engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: Whirlpool)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Shell

    $113,441

    The typical Shell engineer salary is $113,441. Engineer salaries at Shell can range from $69,562 – $179,008. This estimate is based upon Shell engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: Shell)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Micron Technology

    $92,781

    The typical Micron Technology engineer salary is $92,781. Engineer salaries at Micron Technology can range from $68,489 – $120,839. This estimate is based upon Micron Technology engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: Micron Technology)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    US Navy

    $85,424

    The typical US Navy engineer salary is $85,424. Engineer salaries at US Navy can range from $53,873 – $139,410. This estimate is based upon US Navy engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: US Navy)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Pratt & Whitney

    $79,423

    The typical Pratt & Whitney engineer salary is $79,423. Engineer salaries at Pratt & Whitney can range from $70,269 – $91,417. This estimate is based upon Pratt & Whitney engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: Pratt & Whitney)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Samsung Austin Semiconductor

    $82,766

    The typical Samsung Austin Semiconductor engineer salary is $82,766. Engineer salaries at Samsung Austin Semiconductor can range from $71,991 – $97,436. This estimate is based upon Samsung Austin Semiconductor engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: Samsung)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Eaton

    $80,725

    The typical Eaton engineer salary is $80,725. Engineer salaries at Eaton can range from $69,443 – $113,084. This estimate is based upon 30 Eaton engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source” Eaton)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    John Deere

    $83,329

    The typical John Deere engineer salary is $83,329. Engineer salaries at John Deere can range from $66,371 – $96,302. This estimate is based upon John Deere engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: John Deere)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Proctor & Gamble

    $91,487

    The typical Procter & Gamble engineer salary is $91,487. Engineer salaries at Procter & Gamble can range from $66,863 – $127,439. This estimate is based upon Procter & Gamble engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: Proctor & Gamble)

  • Engineering salaries, engineering employers, Glassdoor, Siemens, John Deere, Shell, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Verizon, P&G, US Navy, Eaton

    Verizon

    $92,889

    The typical Verizon engineer salary is $92,889. Engineer salaries at Verizon can range from $51,020 – $134,905. This estimate is based upon 24 Verizon engineer salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods. (Image source: Verizon)

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.

DesignCon 2020 25th anniversary Logo

January 28-30: North America’s largest chip, board, and systems event,  DesignCon, returns to Silicon Valley for its 25th year! The premier educational conference and technology exhibition, this three-day event brings together the brightest minds across the high-speed communications and semiconductor industries, who are looking to engineer the technology of tomorrow. DesignCon is your rocket to the future. Ready to come aboard?  Register to attend !

tutorial:-what-are-the-differences-between-force,-torque,-pressure-and-vacuum?

Most second-year university engineering students can easily explain the differences between force, torque and pressure. The reason for their confident answers is that engineering schools typically require a term of study in both static and dynamic forces by a student’s sophomore year. However, from that point on, further studies in these areas are usually confined to aerospace, civil and mechanical engineering disciplines. Few electronic engineers need or will take advanced force mechanic courses.

But modern advances in material properties and device miniaturization as in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and sensors mean that force, torque and pressure are relevant across all of the major disciplines. A quick technical review will help remind everyone of these basic concepts.

Force

Simply put, a force is a push or a pull upon an object. A force can cause an object with mass to change its velocity, i.e., to accelerate. Since a force has both magnitude and direction, it is a vector quantity.

A unit of force in the International Systems (or SI) of units is a newton. One newton is defined as the unit of force which would give to a mass of one kilogram an acceleration of 1 meter per second, per second. In terms of an equation, force equals mass times acceleration (F = ma).

Actually, Newton’s Second Law of Motion defines force as the change in momentum over time, not mass through an acceleration. But the momentum equation is reduced to F=ma for basic engineering calculations.

Sometimes the word “load” is used instead of force. Civil and mechanical engineers tend to make calculations based on the load in which a system (e.g., a bridge) is resisting the force of gravity from both the weight of the bridge as well as the vehicles driving over it.

Newton’s Laws have been called the basis for space flight. According to NASA, understanding how space travel is possible requires an understanding of the concept of mass, force, and acceleration as described in Newton’s Three Laws of Motion. Consider a space rocket in which the pressure created by the controlled explosion inside the rocket’s engines results in a tremendous force known as thrust. The gas from the explosion escapes through the engine’s nozzles which propels the rocket in the opposite direction (Law #3), thus following F=MA (Law #2) which lifts the rocket into space. Assuming the rocket travels beyond Earth’s atmosphere, it will continue to move into space even after the propellant gas is gone (Law #1).

Newton’s Three Laws of Motion

1.

Every object in a state of uniform motion will remain in that state of motion unless an external force acts on it.

2.

Force equals mass times acceleration [F = ma]

3.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Torque

The first university course in static forces is usually followed by a course in dynamic forces in which the idea of rational force or torque is introduced. Torque is the tendency of a force to rotate or twist an object about an axis, fulcrum, or pivot. It is the rotational equivalent of linear force.

Formally, torque (or the moment of force) is the product of the magnitude of the force and the perpendicular distance of the line of action of force from the axis of rotation.  The SI unit for torque is the newton metre (N•m). 

Image Source: Wikipedia by Yawe (Public Domain)

Deriving the equation for torque is often done from a purely force perspective. But it can also be accomplished by looking at the amount of work required to rotate an object. This was the approach the Richard Feynman used in one of his lectures on rotation in two-dimensions.

“We shall get to the theory of torques quantitatively by studying the work done in turning an object, for one very nice way of defining a force is to say how much work it does when it acts through a given displacement,” explained Feynman.

Feynman was able to show that, just as force times distance is work, torque times angle equals work. This point is highlighted in several avionic and aeronautical examples from NASA’s Glenn Research Center where NASA designs and develops technologies for aeronautics and space exploration. Force, torque and pressure concepts continue to exert their influences far beyond the earth’s atmosphere. Concern the release of a large satellite like the Cygnus Cargo Craft from the International Space Station (ISS). The satellite is connected to a large robotic arm that removes it from the ISS prior to release into space. The robotic arm acts just like a huge moment of force in space subject to forces, torques and pressure acting in space.

Image Source: NASA Glenn Research Center

Pressure

Pressure is the force per unit area applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. Many of us are familiar with gauge pressure from measuring tire pressures. Gage pressure is the pressure relative to the local atmospheric or ambient pressure. This is in contrast to absolute pressure or the actual value of the pressure at any point.  This will make more sense shortly.

Pressure is the amount of force acting per unit area. The SI unit for pressure is the pascal (Pa), equal to one newton per square meter (N/m2). Pressure is also measured in non-SI units such as bar and psi.

In his lecture on the The Kinetic Theory of Gases, Feynman introduced the concept of pressure by thinking about the force needed for a piston plunger to contain a certain volume of gas inside a box. The amount of force needed to keep a plunger or lid of area A would be a measure of the force per unit area of pressure. In other words, pressure is equal to the force that must be applied on a piston, divided by the area of the piston (P = F/A).

Image Source: CalTech – Feynman Lectures

Applications for pressure technologies exist both on and off the planet. In space, however, pressure is so low that it may almost be considered as non-existent. That’s why engineers often talk about vacuum rather than pressure in space applications. A vacuum is any pressure less than the local atmospheric pressure. It is defined as the difference between the local atmospheric pressure and the point of a measurement. 

While space has a very low pressure, it is not a perfect vacuum. It is an approximation, a place where the gaseous pressure is much, MUCH less than the Earth’s atmospheric pressure.

The extremely low pressure in the vacuum of space is why humans need space suits to provide a pressurized environment. A space suit provides air pressure to keep the fluids in our body in a liquid state, i.e., to prevent our bodily fluids from boiling due to low pressure (via PV = nRT). Like a tire, a space suit is essentially an inflated balloon that is restricted by some rubberized fabric.

Homework question: Why didn’t’ the wheels on the Space Shuttle bust while in space, i.e., in the presence of a vacuum? Look for the answer in the comments section. 

In summary, force, torque, pressure and vacuum are important physical concepts that – thanks to advances in material sciences and MEMS devices – cross all of the major disciplines. Further, these fundamental concepts continue to have relevance in applications like space systems among many others.

the-15-most-influential-technologies-of-the-decade

From breakthroughs and new innovations to established technologies, these are the inventions, gadgets, and trends that shaped the last decade.

  • It’s been a busy decade in the tech space. New innovations emerged and older ones finally matured in ways that have had a major impact. The 2010s brought us the rise of 3D printing, the rebirth of VR, and an explosion in AI technologies. The health industry was all about wearables. And a digital currency gold rush made us rethink encryption.

    As we prepare to enter the 2020s, let’s take a look back at how far we’ve come.

    Here are the 15 technologies, gadgets, and trends that had the biggest impact on the industry, and our lives, in the last decade.

    (Image source: Pete Linforth from Pixabay  )

  • 3D Printing

    A technology first developed in the 60s has become as common a phrase in manufacturing as injection molding or CNC machining. 3D printing has grown from a novel way to create tchotchkes and plastic parts into a serious technology with applications ranging from automotive and aerospace to even medical. 3D printing has become a serious option for prototyping and small-scale production. And rise of new materials and even metal 3D printing has expanded its applications. We may only be a generation or two away from seeing patients with 3D-printed organs in their bodies.

    (Image source: Airwolf 3D)

  • Artificial Intelligence

    You couldn’t open a newspaper in the 2010s without some sort of AI-related headlines. Whether it was IBM Watson winning at Jeopardy, fears of robots taking jobs, or the rise of autonomous vehicles, the last 10 years have put AI on everyone’s mind like never before. AI has potential to transform nearly every industry on the planet and already has in many cases. And the growing ethical and moral concerns around the technology only further demonstrate that it’s here to stay.

    (Image source: Gordon Johnson from Pixabay  )

  • Blockchain

    Bitcoin went from the currency of choice for Internet drug dealers to sparking a full on gold rush as investors looked to cash in on Bitcoin’s skyrocketing value. But the best thing Bitcoin did this decade was bring new attention to the technology underneath it – blockchain. Increased interest in blockchain has found the technology finding implementations in cybersecurity, manufacturing, fintech, and even video games. Blockchain made us rethink security, automation, and accountability and is going to be a key component in the ever-expanding Internet of Things going forward.

    (Image source: Pixabay)

  • Collaborative Robots

    Robots have worked alongside humans for a long time, but never like they have in recent years. The rise of collaborative robots (cobots) brought machines into factories that can work right next to human workers without the need for safety cages. The now defunct Rethink Robotics created arguably the most memorable cobot with Baxter (shown), but several major robotics companies including Boston Dynamics, Fanuc, and Universal Robots have all gotten into the game.

    Cobots also sparked a lot of debate as to their impact on jobs and the economy. But concerns haven’t slowed their growth. You’d be hard pressed to find an industrial robotics company today without at least one cobot offering in its portfolio.

    (Image source: Rethink Robotics)

  • digital twin, VR, AR headsets, machine developers, B&R

    Digital Twins

    The rise of the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 has brought with it new ways of thinking of the design and manufacturing process. None of these has been more praised than the digital twin. Consumer electronics, automobiles, even factories themselves can be modeled in virtual space, providing real-time insights into design and production workflows without the costly expense of physical prototyping. Add VR and AR to the mix and engineers get an added layer of immersion and visualization.

     (Image source: B&R)

  • GPUs

    Chip technology overall has come a long way in the last decade, but none further than the GPU. Spearheaded by chipmakers including Nvidia (especially Nvidia), AMD, Intel, and Asus, GPUs grew from their specialized role as graphics processors into a key enabler behind the high-end computing needed for AI. Even autonomous cars have leveraged GPUs to handle their computing needs.

    It used to be that only serious video gamers cared about the quality of their GPU. Now any company, engineer, or even hobbyist developing hardware that leverages AI has to take a serious look at GPUs as a solution.

    (Image source: Nvidia)

  • The Internet of Things / Industry 4.0

    There was a time when going on about how, “everything is connected,” might have made you sound like a conspiracy theorist. Now, it makes you sound more like an IT professional. From factory automation; to devices in our homes like thermostats, locks, and cameras; even to our cars – pretty much anything that could have wireless or Internet connectivity added to it got it.

    Sure some use cases were certainly more valuable than others, but the rapid growth of the IoT made one thing certain – the future is connected. And whether you prefer cloud-based solutions or handling things on the edge, no device is ever going to be an island ever again. As staggering as it may sound, the march toward 1 trillion connected devices is far from an exaggeration.

    (Image source: jeferrb from Pixabay )

  • LiDAR

    You need a lot of technologies to create an autonomous vehicle – AI, radar, even thermal sensors – but LiDAR is what really put self-driving cars on the road. It’s not enough on its own, and needs to work alongside other sensors, but engineers have found the technology – traditionally used in meteorology and GPS – to be absolutely crucial in allowing autonomous vehicles to recognize their surroundings – including humans and animals in the road.

    (Image source: Innoviz)

  • Lithium-Ion Batteries

    The key innovators behind lithium-ion batteries received a long-overdue Nobel Prize in 2019. That’s likely because there’s no avoiding just how significant an impact lithium-ion has had – particularly in recent years. New battery technologies have made electric vehicles an attractive option for any consumer, and new battery chemistries and configurations are making our devices lighter and thinner with every generation. Researchers are always looking for better alternatives, but lithium-ion established itself as the heavyweight king of batteries in the last 10 years and it doesn’t look ready to relinquish that title anytime soon.

    (Image source: Johan Jarnestad/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences)

  • The Mars Rovers

    We learned more about the Red Planet than ever before thanks to NASA’s Mars exploration rovers. The rovers, Spirit and Opportunity (shown), first landed on Mars in 2004 and since then have brought scientists incredible insights about our neighboring planet – including that Mars was once wetter and had conditions that could have sustained microbial life. The knowledge gained from both will surely be carried on as NASA continues to plot a manned mission to Mars in the coming decades. Spirit ended its mission in 2011, while Opportunity operated for an unprecedented 15 years, finally ending its mission in 2018. And we’ll always remember Opportunity’s last communication to NASA – poetically interpreted as, “”My battery is low and it’s getting dark.”

    (Image source: NASA)

  • Open Source

    Open source used to be a dirty word for developers and consumers. The perception was that RISC-Vanything open source was likely to be insecure, shoddily put together, and lacking any long term support. But open source has proven to be a viable option for developers, and a valuable tool. Microsoft and IBM both made big investments in open source with the acquisitions of Github and Red Hat respectively.

    We’ve even seen the growth of open-source hardware for the first time. The open-source chip architecture has seen an ever-growing ecosystem of companies emerge around it in recent years – all aimed at changing the way we build and use processors.

    (Image source: Markus Spiske on Unsplash)

  • Raspberry Pi

    You can’t mention DIY electronics without thinking of the Raspberry Pi. Since its introduction in 2012, the single board computer has gone from a go-to platform for hobbyists and makers to a serious development platform for engineers working in IoT and even AI. Even if you use another single board computer, or even a microcontroller like the Arduino, for your projects, we all owe a debt to Raspberry Pi for bringing electric engineering a bit closer to home.

    (Image source: Raspberry Pi Foundation)

  • Smartphones

    enormous impact smartphones have had on our lives. Smartphones have grown into full-It doesn’t matter whether you prefer iOS, Android, or another option, there’s no denying the fledged computing platforms – enabling entirely new business models ranging from digital health to mobile VR. The gaming market in particular has enjoyed huge returns thanks to the computing power offered by today’s smartphones.

    (Image source: Apple)

  • VR, AR, MR, and XR (The new realities)

    Virtual reality has had a lot of starts and stops over the decades. But thanks to the Oculus Rift and other headsets such as the HTC Vive – VR is finally delivering on its promise. Ten years ago if you had asked anyone if they used VR in their workflow they might have laughed. Today, it’s become more and more commonplace.

    The rise of augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and extended reality (XR) have sparked even more use cases in both the consumer and enterprise space. Pokemon Go showed us consumers will value AR for entertainment, but plenty of big names including Microsoft, Google, and HP brought the technology into the enterprise space as well.

    (Image source: HP)

  • Wearables

    The 2010s saw technology grow from something we carry to an actual accessory that we can wear. From consumer focused products like the Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Gear, and even the FitBit, to serious medical devices like the AlivCor EEG, intended to track and help diagnose diseases, wearables found their way onto millions of bodies. There was certainly a wearables bubble that has since burst, but the digital health sector owes much of its success to wearables. And Google’s recent major acquisition of Fitbit shows that the tech industry believes there’s more to wearables than being a high-tech fashion statement.

    (Image source: Fitbit)

Chris Wiltz is a Senior Editor at   Design News  covering emerging technologies including AI, VR/AR, blockchain, and robotics.

how-wi-fi-6-and-5g-will-transform-factory-automation

A key technology trend for automation and control in 2020 and beyond is the emergence of wireless communications including 5G, Wi-Fi 6, LoRaWAN and more. An obvious benefit for factory automation is the use of wireless communication for remote monitoring and remote operation of physical assets but an equally important benefit is an ability to replace cables, unreliable WiFi and the many industrial standards in use today.

Many experts are predicting that 5G will make an outsized impact for Internet of Things (IoT) applications driven by higher performance, increased reliability and robustness along with lower latency but other wireless technologies and new WiFi 6 are also bringing new capabilities expect to make an impact as well.

certification mark, 5G, Wi-Fi 6

New WiFi 6 CERTIFIED mark will denote products implementing this new technology. (Image source: WiFi Alliance)

Certification of Wi-Fi 6

One major step forward for wireless technologies in industrial communications is the recent certification of Wi-Fi 6. The announcement by the WiFi Alliance moves this technology ahead by enabling vendors to move toward the release of certified products, in advance of IEEE ratification process of IEEE 802.11ax expected to be completed in 2020.

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 delivers advanced security protocols and requires the latest generation of Wi-Fi security, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WPA3. 

Here is a short listing of new advanced capabilities:

  • Orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA): shared channels increases network efficiency and lowers latency for uplink and downlink traffic in high demand environments
  • Multi-user multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO): allows more downlink data to be transferred at once and enables an access point to transmit data to a larger number of devices concurrently
  • 160 MHz channels: increased bandwidth delivers greater performance with low latency
  • Target wake time (TWT): improves battery life in Wi-Fi and IoT devices
  • 1024 quadrature amplitude modulation mode (1024-QAM): increased throughput by encoding more data in the same amount of spectrum
  • Transmit beamforming: higher data rates at a given range produces greater network capacity

Synergy of 5G and Wi-Fi 6

Wireless vendors are anticipating that 5G and Wi-Fi 6 will be deployed together in smart manufacturing applications. They share technology that makes wireless solutions more deterministic, especially important for mission-critical IoT devices used in factory automation. The anticipated tiered release and extended timeline for 5G deployment is expected to result in Wi-Fi 6 rolling out more quickly than 5G.

A Cisco blog article,  “Comparing Wi-Fi 6 and 5G—it’s more than a good connection” provides more information on the synergy between these two technologies.

Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN

Another interesting development is potential new IoT use cases incorporating WiFi and LoRaWAN technologies. According to a new white paper from the LoRa Alliance, new opportunities are being created when Wi-Fi networks that are traditionally built to support critical IoT are merged with LoRaWAN networks that are traditionally built to support low data rate massive IoT applications.

Wi-Fi & LoRaWAN®, 5G, wireless

Massive IoT versus critical IoT applications illustrates the wide variety of potential wireless solutions, and specific technology requirements for each area. (Image source: LoRa Alliance)

The argument is that there is a growing set of IoT use cases that rely on connectivity spanning large areas that are also able to handle a large number of connections. LoRaWAN as a technology covers long-range use cases at low data rates. This includes hard-to-reach locations such as temperature sensors in a manufacturing setting or vibration sensors in concrete.

Application areas include smart buildings, residential connectivity along with automotive and smart transportation. Hybrid use cases identified in the paper include location and video streaming.

Tthe full white paper on this topic is available at the LoRa Alliance website.

Al Presher is a veteran contributing writer for Design News, covering automation and control, motion control, power transmission, robotics, and fluid power.

DesignCon 2020 25th anniversary Logo

January 28-30: North America’s largest chip, board, and systems event, DesignCon, returns to Silicon Valley for its 25th year! The premier educational conference and technology exhibition, this three-day event brings together the brightest minds across the high-speed communications and semiconductor industries, who are looking to engineer the technology of tomorrow. DesignCon is your rocket to the future. Ready to come aboard? Register to attend!