Engineering Mechanics

International Conference

Proceedings Vol. 15 (2009)


May 11 – 14, 2009, Svratka, Czech Republic
Editors: Jiří Náprstek and Cyril Fischer

Copyright © 2009 Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i., Prague

ISBN 978-80-86246-35-2 (printed, Extended Abstracts)
ISSN 1805-8248 (printed)
ISSN 1805-8256 (electronic)

list of papers scientific commitee

Next wave of technology
D. Tesar
pages 39 - 59, full text

The emphasis here is to build on the past breadth of applications for the discipline of mechanical engineering, develop a completely modern science base for intelligent machines (assembled on demand) in order to create a new wave of technology building on the success of the last wave associated with computers (see chart below). This wave will have a greater impact than that provided by computers over the past 40 years by modernizing all our basic systems (aircraft, ships, manufacturing and construction equipment, automobiles, household appliances, etc.) moving into the field of robotics, reducing human drudgery, and enhancing the relationship between man and machine. A strong position on this technical option at this time would position the U.S. to take leadership in a whole new economic activity of enormous magnitude (more so than computers). This new wave will be made of two major components. The hardware component is actuators (just as the computer chip is for computers – Intel Corp.) and the software component operates all machines made up of these actuators (just as Microsoft’s Windows runs all P.C.’s). Electro-Mechanical actuators will drive anything that actively moves on cars, airplanes, ships, manufacturing systems (see chart below), space systems, human orthotics, prostheses, etc. It is more important than computer chips in the future economy. The software component enables intelligent control of these dexterous systems under direct human management and oversight (i.e., the emerging field of robotic surgery). The software for each application domain is universal; it provides for maximum performance (norms and envelopes prioritized by the human operator), condition based maintenance for timely repair (plug-and-play actuator replacement), and fault tolerance (on-line recovery from a fault to prevent loss of life or large economic-loss). Strong technical positions support this new wave argument, there is no uncertainty of purpose, a national resurgence in the core of mechanical engineering is feasible in the near term., etc. As suggested by the chart, we are just entering the new wave based on machine intelligence as described on the next page. In fact, it is claimed that now is the best time to be a young mechanical engineer in the past 100 years.

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