Ohio Shoelace Factory Brings Manufacturing Back

You rarely give your shoelaces a second thought, but a bunch of bright blue laces from a small factory in Appalachian, Ohio are a sign manufacturing industries thought to be permanently lost are onshoring production. These laces are just a bit of cotton fiber and a metal tip, but the Bluelace Project offers one more ingredient: American pride. The Bluelace project …

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6 Ways Nature is Inspiring Human Engineering

Biomimetics_spider silk

Biomimetics, or the imitation of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems, has been around for centuries. Examples are everywhere, from aircraft wings and the treads on tires to climbing robots and solar panels, and in recent years biomimicry has led to new breakthroughs in such areas as fabrication, nanotechnology and biomedicine. There are so many examples of …

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Saving Lives: Ambulances Get Connected to the IoT


In a medical emergency, the value of time becomes tangible. Minutes can make the difference between life and death; disability and recovery. By lessening the time it takes to diagnose and treat a patient, smart, internet-connected devices will lead to fundamental improvements in emergency medical care. “Internet connectivity will, among other capabilities, allow previously disparate medical devices to interact with …

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Does The Internet Of Things Need Its Own Network?


As billions of Bluetooth-enabled mattresses, toothbrushes, dog collars, soccer balls—you name it—join the Internet of Things (IoT), the networks that bind them to smartphones, tablets and other devices inevitably will become crowded, leaving current Internet capacity inadequate to handle the influx. French Internet service provider Sigfox says the solution is to build a separate network specifically for “things.” “The issue is that more connected …

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Mass Manufacturers Face Workforce Shortage

Workforce shortage

One in three Massachusetts manufacturers report having a difficult time hiring the production workers they need, according to a UMass Dartmouth survey of 1,350 manufacturing firms conducted for the Advanced Manufacturing Regional Partnership Academy (AMRPA), a key initiative of the Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative (AMC). Sixty percent of these same firms report that they expect to employ more production workers in two years than …

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Internet of Things Faces Security Hurdles

IoT security

Back in April, tech news was rife with stories about the Heartbleed bug, a web certificate vulnerability that made it possible for bad guys to mimic legitimate web sites. Fortunately, widespread publicity and fast reaction led to few, if any, major problems. The Heartbleed situation highlighted once again the vulnerability of our Internet-dependent economy. Manufacturers can learn from these high …

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White House Expands Sanctions against Conflict Minerals Traders

Congo sanctions

Legislative efforts to stop the trade of conflict minerals originating from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and surrounding areas has gotten off to a shaky start, and as manufacturers struggle to meet compliance guidelines, the Obama administration is upping the ante through expanded sanctions. For years, the mining and trade of conflict minerals by African warlords has led to …

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Why Pop Culture Needs More All-American Nerds

Superhero nerd

More nerds. That’s what policymakers say America needs: more people who are good at science, technology, engineering, and math. But a growing chorus of researchers says cultural stereotypes continue to be among the things discouraging Americans from going into these fields, even as young people in rival nations are being prodded into them. And they say people already working in …

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5 Dream Employers for Engineering Grads


Jobs requiring skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are in high demand. According to a recent study by US News and World Report, there were 5.7 million job openings in STEM-related fields in 2013, and 2.3 million of these jobs were entry-level. There is an especially high demand for individuals with engineering skill. A report from McKinsey indicates that by …

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Robots: Are They Creating or Displacing Jobs?


Will Asimo, Baxter, and Watson—and their robotic counterparts—take over the world’s workforce? How many jobs will be replaced, and is this be the beginning of the end for the labor market? Questions such as these, and the debate about technology replacing humans is an old one. In fact, it dates all the way back to 1589 when Queen Elizabeth I …

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