Culture eats strategy AND technology for breakfast

We all understand the importance of collaboration. We know, at least intuitively, that by collaborating people can accomplish more than they could as separate individuals. Yet, product companies that try to achieve effective team collaboration often find that collaboration, like corporate brand, is not well-defined and frequently discounted as too touchy-feely for structured engineering work. Read more

Capturing wind power with unconventional methods

Ben Glass, Altaeros CEO, is the inventor of the Buoyant Airborne Turbine system (BAT), which he developed at MIT as a student in the aerospace engineering department. After his stint at SpaceX, and time spent at MIT’s Gas Turbine Lab, Glass began developing the concept of lifting a wind turbine with an inflatable shell. The tower-less design significantly reduces the time and logistical cost of installation. At the same time it allows the turbine to harness a stronger, more consistent, wind resource that is out of reach of conventional wind turbines. I had the opportunity to talk to him and ask about his invention. Read more

3D paintball ninja

Featuring all the basic elements of human survival, including taxing physical struggles in the woods, harrowing split-second tactical decisions, and danger at every corner, paintball is both a popular sport and a thrilling way to spend the afternoon. You might be inclined to think it is the domain of adrenaline-charged brutes, but what happens when an engineer crosses into this realm? Read more

Don’t know anything about rapid prototyping? Start here.

With modern software, you can create a part in 3D CAD, perform digital analyses, and then send it directly to manufacturing for tooling and production. So why does anyone prototype anymore? It’s not that they’re old fashioned or just enjoy throwing away money. It’s that there are still things you can’t know just by looking at a model on a screen—like how it feels in your hands, how potential customers will respond, and whether it will do the job it was built to do in a world full of inexact measurements. Read more

The world’s definitely going mechatronic

The products we design, produce, and ultimately consume are getting smarter, more versatile, and undoubtedly more complex. You need only pick up your phone to witness a marvel of carefully integrated mechanical, electrical, and software design. But tightly integrating multi-disciplinary design across so many tools, processes, and data management methods has always been especially challenging. That's starting to change dramatically. The world's finally going mechatronic. Read more