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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

'Watson' Begins Robot Dystopia At Jeopardy

January 19, 2011 8:45 am | Videos

Watson, which IBM claims as a profound advance in artificial intelligence, went up against  Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter last week in its television debut. Watson held its own in a short practice round, and it will appear on  Jeopardy! as part of a million-dollar tournament that will be televised next month.

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Bet You Can't Build A Toaster

January 19, 2011 8:38 am | Videos

It wouldn't be that hard to build a toaster from scratch, right? It's no surprise that even the simplest of toasters is the result of a pretty complex process, but as Thomas Thwaites proves, creating something from raw elements to finished product in the modern era is simply not possible for the layman.

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Make Anything 3D By Just Blinking

January 19, 2011 8:36 am | Videos

If you heard anything about CES this year, or just like following information on the newest TV technology, you know that the big issue with 3-D technology is that it generally requires those clunky glasses to work properly. Well, one French engineer has solved that problem completely! I won't spoil the surprise, but I will say that it involves blinking.

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A Tiny Tuning Fork On Your Wrist

January 12, 2011 8:48 am | Videos

Let’ be honest — while we might understand the complexities of a complicated manufacturing process, learning about the technology behind a cheap wristwatch might not have ever crossed our minds. Luckily, Bill Hammack — from the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Illinois - Urbana — is here to explain how it all works, thanks to a tiny tuning fork and something called the piezoelectric effect.

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Watch Those Fingers

January 12, 2011 8:47 am | Videos

We've always held a great deal of respect for people who are impeccably good at building or crafting an item — anything, really — with their hands, and this video is no different. We won't spoil the surprise, but we'll just say that this woodworker is making all of those seemingly-random cuts for a good reason.

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Electronics Suiting Up For Plant Floor Mayhem

January 12, 2011 8:42 am | Videos

More and more, mobile devices are being used to handle transactional applications in manufacturing facilities. In many cases, that means they are being used on shop floors. If manufacturers are being asked to purchase mobile devices and put them in harm's way, they're going to have to be durable (like these tech products).

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Defying Physics In A Ford Fiesta

January 12, 2011 8:41 am | Videos

With banks as steep as 51 degrees, the Montlhéry track in France is the ultimate playground for driving enthusiasts. Rally racer and stunt driver Ken Block gets behind the wheel of a souped-up, turbo-charged Ford Fiesta, capable of launching from 0 to 60mph in 1.9 seconds, to show us the joys of defying physics.

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Why OSHA Was Created

December 21, 2010 5:00 am | Videos

Considering how long ago the U.S. went through its industrial revolution, it's surprising that OSHA wasn't formed and ratified until 1971. The organization, which is now a staple in any workplace, was formulated because in the two preceding years, some 28,000 workers died from workplace hazards. Every year, another two million were disabled or harmed.

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Who Said Biofuels Are Boring?

December 21, 2010 4:56 am | Videos

While much of the world's attention is currently focused on electric cars, the development of 2nd generation biofuels is moving ahead significantly as well. Researchers of the University of Twente, in cooperation with BTG (as part of the Biocoup consortium) have reached a breakthrough in the conversion of biomass into liquid biofuel.

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Turning Bombs Into Robots

December 21, 2010 4:55 am | Videos

CNN reports on an old weapons factory in Baghdad that now makes robots that will help Iraqi police and military in the disposal of bombs. The most incredible thing about the story is what the factory — and its manager — used to make under the Hussein regime: bombs. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

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Thought Ink Was Boring? Think Again

December 15, 2010 9:19 am | Videos

Peter Welfare, president and head inkmaker of The Printing Ink Company, proves that making high-quality ink is anything but boring. Like most processes that we take for granted, it starts with an incredible artistry that expands into a massive scale. While the music helps a little bit, it's easy to find yourself a little mesmerized simply by the rich visuals.

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Hackers Push Toward Sign Language Computing

December 15, 2010 6:48 am | Videos

Microsoft recently released the Kinect for its Xbox 360 gaming console, which is a camera-based device that can see and understand human movement without the use of controllers. While the device was meant to help regular people play games, researchers from MIT's Media Lab have hacked it to demonstrate hands-free web browsing, Minority Report -style.

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Painting A Plane In 4 Minutes

December 15, 2010 6:33 am | Videos

The production company Vivid Photo Visual set up a variety of time-lapse cameras to take in the 13-day operation of repainting a Boeing 747 for recommission with Virgin Atlantic. The end result is a sort of peaceful ballet, with a great-looking plane to boot. Virgin Atlantic plane livery time-lapse movie from johnson banks on Vimeo .

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Myth Confirmed: Rail Guns Are Terrifying

December 15, 2010 6:31 am | Videos

The rail gun has long been a pipe dream for the military, but those hopes are slowly becoming a reality. According to Popular Science , this latest test has launched a projectile with 33 megajoules of energy, which equates to speeds at Mach 7 and a range of 100 miles—all without explosives.

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SpaceX World's First Company To Orbit Earth

December 8, 2010 9:48 am | Videos

SpaceX, the private-sector space transport company owned by Tesla founder Elon Musk, successfully launched its Falcon 9 test rocket into Earth's orbit and recovered it successfully, a first for a non-government entity. The test's success brightens the future for NASA, who will someday hire companies like SpaceX to shuttle materials and astronauts from Earth to the International Space Station.

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Wozniak: Rebels Of Today Are Future Successes

December 8, 2010 9:46 am | Videos

Steve Wozniak, best known for being a co-founder of Apple alongside Steve Jobs, now spends his time as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. He says that Apple's success, and the success of many other innovators in the electronics world, emerges from people doing risky and unconventional work. The "rebels" of today are no different.

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The World's Most Expensive 'Crap'puccino

December 8, 2010 9:45 am | Videos

The most expensive coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak, is popular throughout the world, despite its unique method of production and a price tag upwards of $50 a cup. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

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Beware The Ammonia Cloud

December 8, 2010 9:44 am | Videos

These ominous videos show two different angles of workers fleeing from a 2007 ammonia leak. The YouTube user who posted these videos says the leak neared 40,000 pounds of ammonia. That would be enough to get me running, too. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

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Is The Economy Recovering?

December 1, 2010 9:35 am | Videos

David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan's Budget Director, says the U.S. economy is not in a state of recovery. Massive debt creation in the public and household sectors has resulted in the United States 'living beyond (its) means," says Stockman. As a result, Stockman states, the United States has not fully recovered from the Great Recession.

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How Do Flight Recorders Survive Crashes?

December 1, 2010 9:34 am | Videos

Ever wonder how flight data recorders manage to survive plane crashes? For decades, engineers used Inconel, a super-tough alloy, in order to etch data without the fear of it being erased later by fire or crash damage. And while modern recorders have gone digital, like most everything else, it doesn't mean we can't appreciate the innovations that brought us to where we are now.

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