16-Foot Drone Joins Search for Missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370

The Bluefin-21, a small autonomous underwater vehicle, is now the best hope for finding Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. Manufactured by Bluefin Robotics in Quincy, MA, this 16-foot long, 21-inch diameter torpedo-shaped drone went to work on Monday April 14 in the Indian Ocean assisting a massive ongoing air and sea search. The AUV is owned by Phoenix International Holdings, an …

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Caterpillar Inc. Plays Jenga with 8 Tons of Wood

Cat Jenga game

In the first of a series of amazing Built For It Trial videos, Caterpillar Inc. pits some of its machines—including huge excavators and telehandlers—against a mountain of massive wood blocks in the ultimate game of Jenga. The object of the game is for heavy equipment operators to remove and then reposition a stack of 27 blocks—weighing 600 pounds apiece—one at …

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How Company Culture Can Make or Break Performance

Company culture and performance

Steve Denning starts his Seattle ALM Forum presentation with the following disclaimer: “I want to make clear that I am not a developer or technology professional. I’ve spent my entire career in management – the people you love to hate.” So, what is this guy, a former U.S. World Bank chairman, doing at the Seattle ALM Forum addressing a group of …

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Internet of Things, Boon for Manufacturers

Internet of Things Boon for Manufacturers

It’s planting season and a farmer in the Midwest is busy at work, but he’s not in the field – he’s working from a digital operations center on his tablet computer. Meanwhile, one of his tractors is running low on diesel. No problem. The tank has already notified the supplier it needs a refill. In another location, a farm equipment manufacturer …

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Could Drone Ships Become Reality?

Drone ships

It’s a surreal thought: fleets of giant cargo ships sailing in the ocean without actual sailors. Yet with driverless planes, trains, and automobiles already a reality, why not an unmanned boat? Rolls-Royce Blue Ocean development team is working on such a prototype to revolutionize the $375 billion cargo industry. The London-based company is creating a system in which captains would steer ships …

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Manufacturers Face Tougher Product Regulations

Safer consumer product regulation

As part of its push for safer consumer products, California has announced tougher regulation around the chemicals that often make their way into children’s sleeping mats, home insulation, and paint thinners. Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) systems, children’s foam padded sleeping products, paint and varnish strippers, and surface cleaners are all coming under close scrutiny from California’s Department of Toxic Substances …

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Astronauts Try 3D Printing in Space

Made in Space team tests 3D printer in zero-gravity

3D printing is about to take a small step for man and a giant leap for manufacturing. A printer designed by a Silicon Valley-based startup called Made in Space will be carried into orbit aboard SpaceX Five later this summer. There, in microgravity conditions similar to those on the International Space Station, the printer will create a series of objects as part of a proof …

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Rapid Feedback, Why Your Software Team Needs It

Mean time to feedback

Fresh from the ALM Forum in Seattle, Washington, I’m going to share with you the only metrics that matter. It feels a bit like cheating—like ordering apple pie for dinner, or eating shelled pistachios—but I’m going to do it anyway. The ALM Forum is a three-day gathering of software professionals dedicated to the dark arts of software lifecycle management. These are the …

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New UAV Tech Poses Ethical Questions

Pilots operate MQ-9 Reaper from ground

Half a decade ago, the United States Air Force developed a 30-year roadmap for the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), a plan that lays out the future of aircraft from current capabilities to systems that operate fully autonomously. The autonomous part probably doesn’t surprise anyone familiar with current UAV technology. It’s an obvious evolution which is fast approaching. In fact, the Air …

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Driverless Cars: Coming, Ready or Not.

Rinspeed concept car

Manual roll-down windows to embedded entertainment systems and real-time weather reports. Satellite navigation to predictive traffic support, smart parking, and over-the-air upgrades. Cars have come a long way in a relatively short period of time. Increasingly, automobiles are becoming more complex, transformed from the purely mechanical to connected machines that can interact with the environment, other products, and us. Driverless cars, the …

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