Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Good-bye Mr. Armstrong

I was greatly saddened to hear of the death of Neil Armstrong over the weekend.  He was 82 years old.

I was ten years old when he and Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins flew to the moon.  I remember walking outside, looking up at the sky and thinking, "Wow!  They are there right now!".  I didn't know much about politics or science or even life at that age, but I knew I was witnessing an historic event.  Although, honestly, I couldn't figure out WHY they didn't wait until the moon was full before making the trip.  Wouldn't it have been easier to land? 

He was a childhood hero of mine.  Unbeknownst to him, he and others like him played a part in my decision to go into the field of engineering so many years ago. 

I will miss him, and the comfort of knowing he walks among us. 

Bluetooth Controlled Lightbulbs

Speaking of light bulbs, there is a new light bulb coming to market within the next few months.  It can be controlled via an app on your smart phone, or tablet and has a range of 164 ft.  You can control the color, brightness, turn them on or off, or time them.  Think of the possibilities! 

Check out the video.

Specifications:
Blue tooth 4.0
Compatible with E27, E14 GU10, MR16, and MR11 socket types
3.-5.-7 W.

While it doesn't have much to do with high voltage diodes or power supplies, it IS innovative and fun.  In the long run, it may even be cost effective and efficient.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Curiosity and Space Projects

The recent landing of the Mars rover, Curiosity, is such a great feat of engineering!  Folks here at VMI came asking if there are any VMI products on the rover. 

They were asking because we have done space projects in the past.  Alas, this time the answer was "no". 

Past projects that VMI has participated in by supplying diodes or multipliers, for instance, include the Mars Exploration Rover (MER), the Cassini probe to Saturn, the Huygens probe to Titan, and more.


Mars photo credit - NASA

There's something about space projects that brings out the best in people.  It seems to transcend the little, day-to-day stuff.  We pull together; we work as a team towards a common goal - a successful project that's bigger than all of us!  No doubt there is a lot of hard work and heart break involved, but it's totally worth it.  We're all better engineers, managers, and production people for it. 

VMI has product on the mission due to launch Nov. 18, 2013 to Mars.  We're very proud of that fact.  You know we'll be following the launch.  We hope you'll do the same!