Category Archives: Education

An Inside Look at Smart Cities

Bank of America Merrill Lynch – Countless people and technologies keep our cities safe, clean, and efficient; some we interact with in plain sight, and others operate beneath the surface, improving our lives in ways we don’t fully realize.

But for all the richness of cities, urban living can be filled with challenges, from traffic jams to taxed energy systems to overcrowded sidewalks and transit. Many of these difficulties are rooted in dated infrastructure – so as the number of people living in cities continues to rise, investing in and modernizing city infrastructure becomes critical.

The ultimate goal? Creating a “smart city” – one that leverages technology to improve quality of life for its residents, and creates better systems and structures to support it. One that looks ahead to future generations and starts the work now to meet those needs. Investing in the “smartness” of a city not only modernizes it, but creates a stronger, more sustainable place to live and work.

The good news is that the challenge of creating a smart city presents great opportunities. In fact, the smart city market could grow from an estimated US$1 trillion in 20174 to US$3.5 trillion by the mid-2020s. This means opportunities for companies, investors and, of course, the residents themselves. How do you uncover those opportunities?

Step one is imagining what it might be like to live in a “smart city”. more>

Updates from Siemens

Generative Design in Solid Edge: Optimize Shapes to Achieve Design Goals
Siemens – Generative design in Solid Edge integrates advanced topology optimization within the Solid Edge 3D modeling toolkit, helping designers to create lighter components, minimize material waste in downstream manufacturing. Generative design produces an organic, reduced-mass geometric solution of a specific material optimized within a defined space, accounting for permissible loads and constraints.

These highly customized designs are well-suited for casting or high-resolution 3D printing, or they can be modified for traditional manufacturing. more (pdf)>

Game changing technologies: Exploring the impact on production processes and work

Eurofund – The difference between incremental innovation and disruptive innovation can be seen as the difference between improving a candle by adding a wick that burns more slowly (incremental innovation) and inventing the electric light bulb (disruption) (Christensen, 1997).

Technological innovation is permanent and ongoing, but from time to time new discoveries can pave the way for totally new uses and applications.

New technological possibilities and combinations of them can bring disruption not only at a product level, but can also involve the entire process related to its production (Arthur, 2009). This will have consequences for the working conditions of individuals employed on that process and on employment at establishment level, and thereby on the structures that regulate the relationship between the social partners in that particular sector.

Digital technology is changing manufacturing. Such changes, often placed in the heading of Industry 4.0, together describe a set of technologies that are likely to bring about deep transformations of the production process. Advanced robots, networked machines and artificial intelligence will be combined to generate new products and new ways of making products. This project focused on five possible game changing technologies over a time horizon of 10 years (that is, up to 2025).

Industry 4.0 initiatives are spreading not only in Germany but also across Europe; initiatives by EU Member States aimed at promoting advanced manufacturing techniques are being monitored by the European Commission.

IIoT is directly and explicitly an information encoding, communicating and processing technology. By attaching interconnected sensors to potentially all objects within the production process, IIoT transforms the productive process into a system that is both physical and digital (that is, cyber-physical). As well as generating a detailed virtual model of the entire production process that can be optimised with the superior processing power of digital technologies, the technology makes the objects themselves digital devices that can interact and be algorithmically controlled. more> (pdf)

Updates from Adobe

Getting into Travel Photography: Find the Details
By Jordana Wright – Look at a photograph with an interesting texture and it might give you the impulse to touch it.

Examine a photograph filled with pattern, and your brain may start to extrapolate that pattern or perceive movement in it. Both sensations are common and heighten the connection between photograph and viewer. We have an innate level of comfort with what we can touch and visually understand, so images with texture and pattern draw us in and make us pay attention.

When photographing Patterns, gear is probably the least important part of the equation. Patterns as a subject won’t dictate what lens to use—instead you’ll find yourself choosing a lens based on the scale of that particular Pattern. If you wanted to photograph the Pattern of sandpaper, you’d need to use a macro lens or even a microscope to draw out the dimensionality of the grain. more>


Updates from Siemens

Multi-Discipline Data Management for Electronics & Semiconductors
Siemens – Today’s electronic devices are a synthesis of multiple designs—mechanical, electrical, electronics, embedded software and application software.

In addition, because of rapid development, many hardware features remain unexplored and undermanaged resulting in sub-optimal integration between hardware and software. The disadvantages of operating in different single-discipline platforms and the increasing role of global suppliers in early stages of design are driving engineering organizations to invest in multi-domain integration strategies to ensure the system works flawlessly.

Siemens PLM Software offers a multi-disciplinary approach to engineering lifecycle management that leverages integrated requirements management, secure supplier collaboration, and a single harmonized design, verification and testing environment across multiple engineering platforms. more>


Declining Majority of Online Adults Say the Internet Has Been Good for Society

By Aaron Smith and Kenneth Olmstead – Americans tend to view the impact of the internet and other digital technologies on their own lives in largely positive ways, Pew Research Center surveys have shown over the years. A survey of U.S. adults conducted in January 2018 finds continuing evidence of this trend, with the vast majority of internet users (88%) saying the internet has, on balance, been a mostly good thing for them personally.

But even as they view the internet’s personal impact in a positive light, Americans have grown somewhat more ambivalent about the impact of digital connectivity on society as a whole. A sizable majority of online adults (70%) continue to believe the internet has been a good thing for society. Yet the share of online adults saying this has declined by a modest but still significant 6 percentage points since early 2014, when the Center first asked the question. more>


Updates from Chicago Booth

Globalization is close to its ‘holy cow’ moment. Why we must rethink our outdated ideas about international trade.
By Richard Baldwin – Globalization has changed.

The globalization we knew and understood for most of the 20th century resembled more the globalization that emerged from the Industrial Revolution than it did the globalization we experience today.

That globalization was based on the movement of goods across borders—measurable, limited by physical infrastructure, and parried by policies such as tariffs. But globalization today is about more than trading goods; it’s about trading ideas and, increasingly, services.

Our 20th-century paradigms of globalization are ill-equipped to understand what cross-border trade means for the present and near future. Globalization has changed, but the way we think about it hasn’t.

The one thing that hasn’t changed about globalization is that it is a phenomenon with the power to change the world. If you trace the share of world income going to two groups of countries—India and China in one group and the G7 countries in the other group—back to the year 1000, you’ll see that back then, India and China had about half the world’s GDP, and the G7 had less than 10 percent of it.

Starting around the 1820s—the decade economists Kevin H. O’Rourke of Oxford and Jeffrey G. Williamson of Harvard have pegged as the start of modern globalization—the G7 share starts to swell. Over the course of about 170 years, it goes from about one-fifth up to about two-thirds of world income. That’s how powerful globalization—the movement of goods across borders—was.

Globalization is arbitrage. What is arbitrage? It’s taking advantage of a variation in price between two markets. When the relative prices of some goods are cheap in Mexico, that’s what they sell to us, and when other goods are relatively cheap in the US, that’s what we sell to them. A two-way, buy-low/sell-high deal—that’s arbitrage, and trade theory is all about what the direction of arbitrage, and especially arbitrage in goods, is. more>


Crisis Of Globalization: Restoring Social Investment Is Key

By Robert Kuttner – Why is democracy under siege throughout the West? How much of the story is cultural or racial, and how much is economic? And can the slide into authoritarianism be reversed? I think it can.

In the remarkable three decades after World War II, the economy delivered for ordinary people and there was broad support for democracy. That era was unique in two key respects.

First, the economy not only grew at record rates for peacetime, but it also became more equal. Second—and not coincidentally—this was a period when raw capitalism was tightly regulated, on both sides of the Atlantic, economically and politically.

Banking was very limited in what products it could offer, and at what prices. It was almost like a public utility. There were no exotic securities like credit derivatives to deliver exorbitant profits and put the whole economy at risk. Globally, there were fixed exchange rates and capital controls, so bankers could not make bets against currencies and entire economies.

Organized labor was empowered. Unions were accepted as legitimate social partners and had substantial influence. This was true in both Europe and America.

In the years since then, political and financial elites have redefined trade agreements to mean not just reciprocal cuts in tariffs but broader changes in global rules to make it easier for banks and corporations to evade national regulation.

Laissez-faire, discredited and marginalized after 1929, got another turn at bat(ting). Hyper-globalization was a key instrument. And that reversion had economic and ultimately political consequences. more>

How to get more people to support, approve, and act on your ideas.

By Ron Bates – Regardless of your role—from building stakeholder relationships to securing a desired agreement or commitment—we all need to be able to get others to support, approve, or act—based on our ideas.

So how do you get more people to support, approve, and act on your ideas?

It starts with understanding the perception gap you’re trying to close. The only reason someone is going to support, approve, or act on your idea is that they perceive it in a favorable light. What changes someone’s perception? They learn something new.

How often do we consider the other person’s perception and perspective when we attempt to communicate our ideas, insights, or observations? How often do we anticipate the conversation, questions, and objections? Do we practice articulating our message—prior to any conversation?

Are we trying to change someone’s perspective by enrolling them through the questions we ask—or—are we in pure output mode? Are we assuming anything? Have we thought about what the other person’s perspective needs to be to for them to act in our favor? Do we understand the gap we’re trying to close? more>

Updates from Siemens

Consolidating 3D Printing Tool Chains to Mitigate Risk in Medical Device Applications
By J Thompson – Use of 3D Printing technology to create medical devices has been widely publicized over the past several years. Most of these stories illustrate the unique ability for 3D Printing (aka Additive Manufacturing / AM) technology to produce highly complex organic shapes.

Despite past success with AM, and very promising growth opportunities, there are significant risks with the current AM practices for workflows in device design and manufacturing. These risks must be recognized and addressed by device makers to fully realize the potential of AM, and avoid failure modes inherent in current practices.

Today, the biggest risks are caused by software “tool chains” in which different, specialized software applications are used sequentially to yield finished devices. A fundamental problem with serial tool chains is rework. What happens when you get off the “happy path”, and issues are discovered in the fourth, fifth, or tenth tool in the chain, and resolution requires a change in the first or second tool in the chain? That typically means serially reworking the entire workflow from the point of change.

This kind of rework should be viewed as expected, normal, necessary, commonplace, and even desirable since it theoretically leads to an improved final result. However, as AM attempts to enter an “industrial” stage of maturity, there are several risks associated a serial tool chain, especially if rework is manual and requires experts to re-do knowledge-intensive rework. more>