Letters 06/04/09

June 2, 2009
A reader comments on Rinspeed concept car covered in a recent issue. It should be remembered that few concept cars make it into production without massive changes to accommodate manufacturing realities and public tastes.

Concepts and cardiac arrest
A reader comments on Rinspeed concept car covered in a recent issue. It should be remembered that few concept cars make it into production without massive changes to accommodate manufacturing realities and public tastes. In a more serious vein, readers pose some good points in regards to automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) covered by our safety expert Lanny Berke.

A concept with holes
I read the article about the iChange concept car (“Time for iChange?” April 23), and have a number of comments.

The first thing that struck me was the use of an iPhone as a control in a motor vehicle. Here in the U.S., at least, there has been much legislation against using any handheld or hand-operated digital communication device while driving a vehicle. So reaching for your phone to signal a turn seems like an awfully risky thing to do in traffic.

The article also said it had “emission- free” power. Unless the car is charged from a dedicated wind, hydro, or solar source, there’s likely some fossil fuel or uranium involved in making that electricity, at least here in America.

I would also like to know the trade-off between the weight of the solar panels on the car’s roof and the amount of charge you could expect on a typical sunny day. At some point, those cells and their associated circuitry are going to cost more in power to move them than they will save in topping off the batteries.

The vehicle also has 10 cm of ground clearance, which would result in a destroyed vehicle if one of these ever makes it to Chicago or the backroads of Wisconsin. Real roads have potholes and heaved expansion joints from time to time.

Chuck Kuecker

Bear in mind the iChange is just a concept vehicle, a way for its designers to explore new approaches and technologies while getting some public feedback. — Editor

Getting kids interested
I read your answer to William Barry about his eight-year-old daughter who wants to be an inventor engineer (Letters, April 23). Another way to get his daughter involved is by joining a Legos group. Legos is a great learning tool and you can see what it can do by looking up Tony Grift at the College of Agriculture, University of Illinois Urbana, Ill. I have also used a Legos Group to make a display for The Adventures In Agriculture at a Mall in Easton, Pa. The group constructed a display that featured a weed wacker with a sensor that detected the color brown. They had blocks of all different colors on the table and when the device sensed brown, it stopped. An arm then came down and knocked the block away as if it was a weed. The youngsters that built the device are all home schooled and they did a great job.

Charles F. Lear, Jr.

Be the first to identify this device from a past issue of MACHINE DESIGN and win a fabulous prize, along with the honor of seeing your name in an upcoming issue. E-mail entries to [email protected] and put “Gadget” in the subject line.

No one came close to identifying this device from 1952. One reader thought it was a grinding swarf remover; another thought it was a frame straightener used in auto-body shops; while a third thought it was a skimmer for removing oil from water. In fact, it was a coal-mine-roof driller built by the Cleveland Rock Drill Div. of the Le Roi Co., in Cleveland, Ohio.

Survey confusion
In your salary survey article (“Engineers turned entrepreneurs,” April 23) a caption says: “Engineers with MBA’s only earn an average of $7,000 more than engineers with Bachelor’s degrees” although the corresponding chart shows Bachelors (engineering) at $85,100, and Masters (engineering) at $100,600 here. So if I have a Bachelors degree in Engineering, why would I change course and get an Masters in Business Ad ministration instead of a Masters in Engineering? That’s almost like comparing the salary of a Brain Surgeon to a Hospital Administrator.

And in another chart, it continually points out that it does not pay to work for the same company more than 20 years? Crazy comparisons at best.

Ken Moyer

As far as the data goes, it says what it says. In the first instance, you are confusing Masters of Engineering with MBA. The Engineering Masters gets you higher pay. And one interpretation of why those working for a company for 21 to 25 years earn less than those working for the same company for 16 to 20 years might be that it pays to go where opportunity leads you rather than stay with one employer where, eventually, your skills may be taken for granted and undervalued. — Leland Teschler

AEDs and CPR
The article on AEDs (Berke on Safety: Back from the dead, thanks to an AED,” April 23) talked about the benefits of automatic defibrillators. But don’t get hung up on the technology.

As a registered Professional Engineer and Emergency Medical Technician, I have often come upon a scene where every one is waiting for the “magic box” to arrive and no one is doing CPR. People, even highly educated professionals, forget what the heart is designed to do. It is a simple pump. It is the fluid (blood) flow you should be concerned about. No flow means no life. It is the fluid movement and its exchange of O2 and CO2 that are critical. Not the pump itself. The brain and organs start to die after several minutes if blood stops moving. Even without an AED, I have kept people alive for hours by moving blood when the heart’s not working.

You should be thinking about blood flow, not electronic boxes first. Chest compressions that move blood are critical. People should be taught to keep blood flowing first, then think about restarting the heart. Otherwise you will likely revive a vegetable, to put it bluntly. Besides, unlike Hollywood, few people come back fully normal after an AED.

Russell D. Potter

I saw the article regarding AEDs. I live in a condo in Arlington, Va., and I am having a running disagreement with our legal counsel, insurance agent, and office manager with regard to purchasing and installing an AED in our fitness room. The question of liability seems to be clouding their logic in terms of what happens if something goes wrong. I am on the board of directors and have suggested we purchase an AED for the fitness room. When asked what our experts say, I am stymied since they are all very negative toward its application at our condo.

Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated.

David Mueller

I do not know the law in Virginia, but in Minnesota a person cannot be sued when responding to an emergency. As far as the AED is concerned, it tells users what to do and how to do it, stepby- step. If a person does not need an electrical shock by an AED, the unit will not deliver an electrical shock. If the AED does not work properly it is the AED manufacturer that is liable. And if a person dies or suffers brain damage because there was not a device at your site, you may want to check into your liability.

If your condo does bring in an AED, I would suggest bringing in a trainer to teach people first aid, including CPR and the use of the AED. You can ask your fire department or police department who they would recommend as an instructor. — Lanny Berke

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