Life on Mars? Must See TV (Plus More Hot Takes from This Week's News)

Written by: Cat McClintock

Some of our favorite product design stories this week.

Ready for your close-up, Red Planet?

So, Mars. By 2020. That’s the game plan. At least the launch of NASA’s Rover. And it’s going to be capturing a lot of images. With a whopping 23 cameras on board, or what NASA calls “eyes,” Rover will create sweeping panoramas, reveal obstacles, study the atmosphere, and assist science instruments. The cameras will provide dramatic views during the rover’s descent to Mars and be the first to capture images of a parachute as it opens on another planet. There will even be a camera inside the rover's body, which will study samples as they’re stored and left on the surface for collection by a future mission.

 Did we mention the photos will be in color? Needless to say, we’re excited.

Mars Rover with multiple cameras

A selection of the 23 cameras on NASA’s 2020 Mars rover.  Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Human tissue is strong tissue

This is a fact: Engineers constantly search for new materials to make more resilient parts for automobiles, aircraft, and machines used in remote or hard-to-reach locations. And, according to the Alliance of Advanced Biomedical Engineering (AABME), researchers have “discovered that the spongy tissue found at the end of long bones and vertebrae could help engineers design materials that bounce back and continue to perform after they are damaged.” The research team discovered that one part of the bone bounced back to almost its original form right after it was damaged and before the healing process begins. What does this mean for engineers?

“This is important mechanically because when you take a whole spongy bone and crush it, the damage is going to the middle of the strut, so it recovers most of its deformation and prevents it from snapping. It makes the structure more tolerant of stress concentrations. That’s something mechanical engineers are always worried about, because that’s where cracks start and grow from.”

Bone tissue may inspire more resilient materials in the future

Parts of the bone bounced back to almost its original form right after it was damaged and right before the healing process. Be excited. Image: Christopher Hernandez

Your next generation of designers and engineers

Young people are the future. Yeah, it’s cliché, but true. And when it comes to engineering and designing, the youngsters are already way ahead of the game. Meet Mechanical Engineering major Cierra Haley class of ‘22 (you know you’re old when that date looks weird), featured in the school’s paper at Kettering University. One. She already has design skills. Two. She’s used those skills to help animals in her community, like creating part of a duck bill for an injured duck and designing a wheelchair for a paralyzed cat using 3D technology. Three. She knows CAD, she’s been hanging around shops since she was a kid, and even quit the dance team in high school —to join the robotics team. You want to hire her, don’t you?

 And in this tweet we found an even younger student from Mashpee CTE next to an augmented reality 3D character (made possible with PTC Creo). Can you guess who that cat is? We can’t. Because we’re old.

The kids are alright, and, apparently, super-duper smart. Thanks for the shout-out on Twitter, @mashpeetech!

The Future of Product Design?

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Tags: CAD Retail and Consumer Products Connected Devices

About the Author

Cat McClintock

Cat McClintock edits the Creo and Mathcad blogs for PTC.  She has been a writer and editor for 15+ years,  working for CAD, PDM, ERP, and CRM software companies. Prior to that, she edited science journals for an academic publisher and aligned optical assemblies for a medical device manufacturer. She holds degrees in Technical Journalism, Classics, and Electro-Optics. She loves talking to PTC customers and learning about the interesting work they're doing and the innovative ways they use the software.