Machine Design

Looking Back 11/05/2009

Shock monitor tracks jolts and jiggles: Mini Shock, an electronic impact recorder from the French company, Sensorex, measures shocks and jolts and stores the 128 largest incidents, along with their date and time. Temperature, humidity, and external events, such as the opening and closing of doors, can also be recorded. The device lets engineers and managers know how cargo is being handled along the entire logistic chain from transport to storage. The programmable unit downloads data via an RS-232 port in any Windows-compatible PC. The palm-sized device operates on a standard 1.5-V lithium battery for six months.

30 YEARS AGO — NOVEMBER 12, 1979
Super Sentry: Rotating “Boxcar” antenna is designed for a heavyweight radar that uses enough electrical power to light several thousand homes. Developed by Raytheon Co., Waltham, Mass., the 104-ft-long, 50-ton antenna is intended for the new Sage system that will feed advanced warning information to a central combat and computer center. It will be tower-mounted on a three-story transmitter-receiver structure. The 800-ton structure will house 262 separate units.

Super satellites promise practical payoff: Massive man-made satellites will provide communication links, beam solar energy to Earth, and orbit industrial parks if NASA’s space-platform program goes ahead as planned. The goal is to carry huge quantities of building material into orbit on a fleet of space shuttles, then assemble massive platforms in orbit. Engineers are already deeply involved in deciding how best to manufacture these far-out plant sites.

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