3D Printing, Robotics, Woz, and More Take Spotlight at Atlantic Design & Manufacturing

From vintage cell phones to groundbreaking robots, show offers an entertaining look at high-tech.
  • More than 9,000 engineers and executives descended on the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City this week to attend six contiguous engineering shows, including Atlantic Design & Manufacturing. The shows, kicked off by a live question-and-answer session with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, spotlighted industry's biggest mega-trends, including 3D printing and smart manufacturing.

    Here we offer a peek at some of the shows’ most innovative and unusual displays, ranging from a vintage Thomas Edison phonograph to a 250-lb, smoke-belching battlebot. Flip through the following slides to see what happened in New York last week.   

  • Hungry attendees were treated to free 3D-printed pancakes from PancakeBot. PancakeBot automatically dispensed the batter directly onto a griddle, allowing users to make their own pancake designs via an SD card. “You can create your own image, or you can grab any image online using Pancake Painter software,” noted Elise Baker of PancakeBot.com. Now sold on Amazon.com, the PancakeBot was originally the creation of an engineer who built the robot for his kids using Lego parts. (Image source: Design News)

  • UBM kicked off the show with a question-and-answer session featuring Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Design News Chief Editor Suzanne Deffree. During the hour-long interview, Wozniak described how he unknowingly launched his career by designing “paper computers” while he was still in high school. “I would sit down with my knowledge of logic gates and chips from when I was in elementary school, doing science fair projects. And I would hook them together on paper. I could never afford a single part to build a computer, but I got to a point where I could design any computer in the world while I was still in high school. I didn’t think it was valuable. I didn’t think I would have a job designing computers. I didn’t even think there were jobs for computer designers. But I knew what I was good at, and I liked doing what I was good at.” Read this story for more of what Woz said. (Image source: Design News/Jennifer Campbell)

  • Local Motors showed off the 3-D printed Strati, recognized as the world’s first 3D-printed car. Strati is 131 inches long, 67 inches wide and features a curb weight of 2,119 lbs. It’s a product of 44 hours of 3D printing, ten hours of subtractive milling on a CNC, and rapid assembly of 50 components onto the vehicle structure. (Image source: Design News)

  • The Museum of Interesting Things demonstrated a century-old Edison Cylinder Phonograph Record Player. Originally designed by Thomas Edison as a dictaphone, the device stored sound in a cylinder called a “record” at the time. The device played a song by Ada Jones, who is now unofficially recognized as the first female recording artist. (Imag source: Design News)

  • Engineer Jerry Clarkin designed and built the SubZero battlebot for televised competitions on ABC TV. The 250-lb SubZero bot is powered by four brush-type DC motors, each about 3 HP, and a 9 A-hr lithium-ion battery. Using pressurized nitrogen, it can generate from 1,200 to 1,500 psi for the rams that serve as its weapons. “It can chuck a 250-lb bot ten feet into the air,” Clarkin told us. (Image source: Design News)

  • Universal Robots showed off the UR10, UR5, and UR3 collaborative robots that can be deployed on a factory floor. The UR10 (foreground in photo) offers a reach radius of 1,300 mm and can perform automated tasks with payloads up to 10 kg (22 lbs). All three mobile robots use software to monitor the electrical current at each joint, enabling them to “know” if they’ve encountered an obstacle. The robots operate on 110V single phase current, so they can be plugged in virtually anywhere on the shop floor. (Image source: Design News)

  • The Museum of Interesting Things displayed a pair of vintage cell phones: The Canyon Mark 900 (left) from the 1970s used a rotary dial and was designed to fit inside an attaché case, James Bond-style. On the right, the legendary Motorola “brick phone” was priced at $3,995 in 1984. Charging took roughly ten hours for 30 minutes of talk time. (Image source: Design News)

  • Grad students from New York University showed off the TotBot – a robot designed for infants who have physical disabilities. By using an iPad and pointing at an item on its display, the infant can drive the powered TotBot toward the object. By doing so, it allows for greater cognitive development in children who might otherwise be deprived of such development. (Image source: Design News)

  • At the Onshape Agile Design Pavilion, attendees got a first-hand look at the latest CAD, CAM, simulation and topology optimization tools. Onshape, based in Cambridge, MA, offers cloud-based 3D CAD software for agile design teams.  (Image source: Onshape via Twitter)

  • Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak dropped by the Agile Design Pavilion to visit with members of the Onshape team. (Image source: Onshape via Twitter)

  • Another item from the Museum of Interesting Things, the century-old PlayaSax was a little-known variation of the player piano. During operation, the player roll covered prescribed holes in the “saxophone,” while the user spun it by turning a hand crank. (Image source: Design News)

  • Rotor Clip announced winners of a design contest that called on engineering students to develop a unique device incorporating a set of retaining rings as a fastening method. The winners, from East Carolina University, created a model railroad hand cart. Purdue University and East Carolina University were second and third prize winners, respectively. (Image source: Rotor Clip)

  • A 90-minute workshop at the show allowed attendees to work with colleagues to build a 3D-printed prosthetic hand for the Hands of Gratitude Program. (Image source: Etratech via Twitter)

  • In honor of Steve Wozniak’s visit to the show, the Museum of Interesting Things displayed a Macintosh SE. The SE, manufactured by Apple between 1987 and 1990, was notable for its use of an expansion slot (SE stood for System Expansion) and the addition of a cooling fan. For its CPU, the SE employed a Motorola 68000 operating at 7.8 MHz. (Image source: Design News)

  • The Atlantic Design & Manufacturing Show at the Javits Center in New York City this week drew approximately 9,000 engineers and hundreds of exhibitors. Other shows at the convention center included Plastec East, MD&M East, EastPack, ATX East and Quality Expo East. (Source: Design News)  

Senior technical editor Chuck Murray has been writing about technology for 33 years. He joined Design News in 1987, and has covered electronics, automation, fluid power, and autos.


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