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Industry Update: Analysis & Simulation Software

In our annual poll of executives at leading analysis and simulation software vendors, we found that more widespread use of the cloud, mobile devices, and touchscreen interfaces will be major trends for 2013. These trends will require that vendors take a careful look at their software interfaces to evolve accordingly.

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Create the Future Design Contest 2012

The 2012 Create the Future Design Contest — sponsored by COMSOL, Nordson EFD, and Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of NASA Tech Briefs) — recognized innovation in product design in seven categories: Con sumer Products, Electronics, Machinery & Equipment, Medical, Safety & Security, Sustainable Tech nologies, and Transportation. On the following pages, you’ll meet the Grand Prize Winner, as well as the winners and Honorable Mentions in all seven categories. Congra tulations to this year’s winners, and thanks to the more than 950 entrants from 60 countries who submitted their design ideas. To view the entries online, visit www.createthefuture2012.com.

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Grand Prize Winner

Sensordrone: A Practical, Tricorder-Like Platform for Consumers and Mobile Device Developers Mark Wagner, Ben Madoff, and Mark Rudolph Sensorcon, Buffalo, NY What if sensors, meters, and instruments were just apps instead of single-purpose, bulky, expensive equipment? Sensordrone is a first step towards making this a reality.

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Consumer Products Category Winner (Winner of an HP Workstation)

LumEN: Luminescent Solar Concentrators for Sustainable, On-Demand Electricity Production Gianmarco Griffini, Massimo Micocci, and Francesca Ostuzzi Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy Lum-EN is the first portable device able to harvest solar energy and deliver electrical energy on-demand, employing organic luminescent solar concentrators (OLSCs). High light-to-electricity efficiencies can be attained with little use of conventional solar cells.

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Electronics Category Winner (Winner of an HP Workstation)

Grid-X Cloud and Smartphone Accelerator James Awrach SeaFire Micros, Beverly, MA Supercomputers are linked worldwide, creating ultra-highperformance cloud, utility, and grid computers. The Bandwidth-Delay Product (BWDP), where “delay” is the roundtrip time for data transfer, defines required buffer memory. Grid-X addresses BWDP, and enables faster local and globally distributed supercomputing at lower power and cost. SeaFire also created a variant called Grid-X Mobile for smartphones.

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Machinery & Equipment Category Winner (Winner of an HP Workstation)

Thermal Stir Welding Process Jeff Ding NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama The patented thermal stir welding process is a new solid-state (meaning the weld metal does not melt during welding) welding process invented at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The unique welding process de-couples the heating, stirring, and forging elements of friction stir welding, and allows for the independent control of each element of the weld process. An induction coil first heats the weld joint material to a desired plasticized temperature, at which time the weld joint material moves into a through-thickness stir rod that stirs the already plastic material. The stir rod can be independently controlled to rotate at a desired rotational speed or RPM. Upper and lower non-rotating containment plates, also independently controlled, compress or squeeze the plastic weld zone to consolidate the plasticized material as it is being stirred. The stir rod protrudes through the center of the upper containment plate, through the weld material thickness, and is captured by the lower containment plate.

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Medical Category Winner (Winner of an HP Workstation)

Prosthetic Leg Connector Dave King Synergy Tech, Kelowna, BC Canada This is a device to aid those who wear prosthetic limbs. The current state of the art is a multilayer system that consists of a cotton sock and a silicone rubber sock that fits over the limb. The prosthesis can attach to the silicone sock by means of a rod and ratchet device. In the case of an artificial leg, the user places the rod into a receptacle in the leg and steps into it. The ratchet then holds onto the rod. However, this can cause problems for patients who are physically weak or who suffer from tenderness in the remaining upper leg. That is enough to stop the patient from trying to use the prosthesis. This device replaces the silicone sock and allows for much easier “application” and better comfort.

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