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Getting that Last Ounce of Performance

How Calgary Racing Uses Linear Position Sensors (automationdirect.com)

And the connection to NZEI (My thanks to Ross Muir)

We used to have a member (now deceased) Rodger Freeth. Was one of our very early members,  probably joined around 1970 and was a member until he was killed in 1993.

He was a committee member of the Auckland Branch for many years (Secretary most of the time).

He was a serious motor cycle racer. While studying at Auckland University, he was awarded New Zealand’s only ever ‘University Blue’ in recognition of his winning the NZ Road Race Championship on a Suzuki TR500.   Won many championships and titles with big name sponsors after that.



Why I mention this is because Roger (who lived just around the corner from me and worked with me – we lectured in the same Department) used the same techniques as Calgary Racing even back then – started about FIFTY years ago.

His various motorcycles were smothered in strain gauges etc etc that were connected to a recording device behind Roger.   After every practice lap he would spend hours looking at every readout to see if he could make the bike frame, suspension, even the motor mounting better to give a tiny bit more edge – and it paid off with an impressive collection of titles etc.

He had a nasty accident off the track whilst helping a friend, which put paid to his bike racing, so he became a rally co-driver. Unfortunately he was killed in a Rally accident in Australia.


Canon Pivots to Chip Tooling?

A photographic firm enters the race for miniaturisation

Canon said its latest machine, called the FPA-1200NZ2C, will be able to make semiconductors equivalent to a 5 nanometer process, and go as small as 2nm.



Tesla Optimus


Walkman, a 12.7-cm (5-in) tall robot, was built from the remains of a Sony Walkman costing  US$1.75 (£;1.15) at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, USA, in 1996 (the cheapest robot ever !!).   Tesla is thought to be targeting a price point of around $20,000 for Optimus but it could look to reduce that price as production ramps up. A launch date has not yet been announced which is a good thing as Tesla would probably miss it anyway. They are looking at being available to the public sometime between 2025 and 2027 at a lower price. 

At the other end of the scale, we have more pricey ones



Online Shopping Survey

An interesting exercise with a twist in the tail (at the end)



Read about this MANY years ago - had always thought of Hollywood actresses as just pretty faces (etc !!), but some were extremely intelligent people.

On August 11, 1942, actress Hedy Lamarr and musician George Antheil received a patent for a frequency-hopping system to prevent interception and jamming of radio communications.

Lamarr’s path to inventing the cornerstone of Wi-Fi began when she heard about the Navy’s difficulties with radio-controlled torpedoes. She recruited Antheil, a composer she met through MGM Studios, to create what was known as a Secret Communication System.

The idea behind the invention was to create a system that constantly changed frequencies, making it difficult for the Axis powers to decode radio messages. The invention would help the Navy make their torpedo systems become more stealthy and make it less likely for the torpedoes to be rendered useless by enemies.

Lamarr was the brains behind the invention, with her background knowledge in ammunition, and Antheil was the artist that brought it to life, using the piano for inspiration.

In 1942, under her then-married name, Hedy Kiesler Markey, she filed for a patent for the Secret Communication System, patent case file 2,292,387, and proposed it to the Navy.

The Navy refused to accept the new technology during WWII. Not only did the invention come from a civilian, but it was complex and ahead of its time.

As the invention sat unused, Lamarr continued on in Hollywood and found other ways to help with the war effort, such as working with the USO. It wasn’t until Lamarr’s Hollywood career ended that her invention started gaining notice.

Around the time Lamarr filmed her last scene with the 1958 film The Female Animal, her patented invention caught the attention of other technological innovators. The Secret Communication System saw use in the 1950s during the development of CDMA network technology in the private sector, while the Navy officially adopted the technology in the 1960s around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The methods described in the patent assisted greatly in developing Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

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