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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics


Get Out and Flex Those Brain Muscles Caroline Storm Westenhover
Oh my goodness, did you see the Robot on Mouser robotics challenge? I have to be honest, I have done many things in software but almost nothing in hardware. I have coded robot brains to do things like clustered object avoidance, but never put it in actual hardware. I have wanted to since my second semester, I just never managed to find the time. Seeing all these robot gets me excited again.

Young Eyes Offer Fresh Perspectives on Science Caroline Storm Westenhover
I thoroughly enjoy going to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. I have gone many times with friends, family and dates. Going by myself is OK. Going with someone interested in STEM (Science, Technology and Math) is enjoyable, but going with someone with lots of energy and not as much scientific knowledge is the best.

On Becoming a Maker Dad: Tinkering with a 9-year old & LED Strips Nathan Christiansen
“Dad, what’s a circuit?” Coming from my nine-year old daughter every question is perilous, but this one was precious because it touches something I love, and even more rare it is a question I can answer. My talking about circuits quickly turned into showing about circuits; in a few minutes we were digging through the electrics bin in the garage for parts. We found some three-color LED strips (leftover from a previous Mouser purchase) and away we ran.

Math: the Language of Engineers, Scientists, and Artists Alike Lynnette Reese
Neil Armstrong’s favorite quote was "Science is about what is, engineering is about what can be.” STEM, and now STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) promote these areas for growth. Some might consider the “Art” in STEAM to be out of place, but I disagree. Engineers need cross-pollination, and have you seen some of the incredible art using open source technology?

How to Crash an Engineering Course at Rice University Lynnette Reese
I never thought that I would be sitting in on an EE class, years after graduating, taught by a Professor Emeritus at Rice University. I snuck in at the tail end of the course when he was in the middle of discussing op amps. I feel so guilty; I haven’t paid the university a dime, but I am excited to be here. I settle in and listen for a while. No one asks any questions; I assume they are all busy taking notes. Then I sped up time a bit so things would go 25% faster, since I had seen most of this before. It’s handy, but you have to have a MOOC to do that.

From a Little STEM Grows an Exciting Future Caroline Storm Westenhover
I got to the end of my last blog and found myself so excited about the possibilities of Radio Frequency Identification that I could not help but sit down and do some thermal engineering to satiate my desire for some math and physics, the foundations of engineering.

FIRST: More Than Meets The Eye Erik Smith
The first robots I recall ever interacting with when I was young were Transformers. I suppose, if you were being REALLY generous, you could refer to them as semi-educational toys since each was a mini-puzzle that only kids younger than 13 could figure out. In fact, if I were this clever at 8-years-old, I might have convinced my parents to want to buy me more. But then, all I would have to show for it would be a box full of forgotten plastic robots that transformed into cars I could now sell on eBay. But there was a different group of transforming robots that I wish I had discovered in my high school days. Instead of buying them, you built them with a group of your peers. Instead of transforming into cars, they would transform your life.

Why Aliens Know Math Lynnette Reese
I spent most of Saturday at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History for Engineer’s Week. I sat at a table with half a dozen kids at a time, showing them how to connect little DC motors to batteries, and exploring and explaining series and parallel connections for the braver ones. We had several DC motors with a glue stick off center on the shaft of the motor so it would wobble, and velcro attached the motor and battery holder with alligator clip leads to a scrub brush. The result was a giant hex bug popping around on the table. Some kids were very interested in how they could take it further, and others had glazed expressions. For the ones that wanted to go further, I showed them how to connect three 9V batteries in series to feed the motor 27 volts… and it really buzzed. Then I told them we were on the Mars Rover team and had to make sure that even if a lead broke, the rover would still go.

Engineer's Week 2014 and the Next Generation of Engineers Erik Smith
It’s Engineer’s Week, and outside of celebrating by reading Col. Chris Hadfield’s new book, “An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth”, I’m also doing some volunteer work, representing Mouser Electronics at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. We have both a display, showing kids various functioning LEDs, chips, speakers and a nifty little robot built from a Parallax kit, and a hands-on table showing young kids how to build their own homopolar motor. This fascination with how things work and being able to build it yourself is a common trait I’ve seen in engineers of all ages.

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