I think we all have a little Geek in us, oh yes everyone!   I know people in their 90s who bang away at the computer night and day staying in touch with their kids, grandkids, friends, penpals, etc etc.  You name it, we all like to stay in touch and the Internet gives us a marvelous method for doing just that.   To some extent, we all speak GEEK.  Let’s take a look.

Geeks are getting even cooler!

•Both self-professed geeks and non-geeks alike rated “geeks” to be extremely intelligent (54 percent in 2012 v. 45 percent in 2011) and the go-to people for technology advice (71 percent v. 56 percent). More than half of Americans (51 percent) define geeks as professionally successful, a significant jump from 2011’s 31 percent.

•Majority of respondents defined a “geek” as someone who is addicted to technology (68 percent), or spends more time online than offline (66 percent).

•When given a list of items and asked which they would have a very difficult time living without, old fashioned pen and paper topped the list of items geeks admitted would be the most difficult to live without (71 percent), over technological devices such as computer (58 percent), smartphone (41 percent), or MP3 player (25 percent). Even non-geeks didn’t rank pen and paper first, instead going with car as the No. 1 item they would have a very difficult time living without (61 percent).

Lose your hard drive data or go through a relationship breakup? Geeks say break up, of course!

•More than 60 percent of geeks said they would be very stressed out by losing the files on their computer’s hard drive, such as photos, music files, or documents. In comparison only 49 percent of them would feel the same about going through a relationship break up and only 28 percent of geeks would consider getting the flu to be stressful.

•Losing Internet connection seems to be a universal stressor. People who don’t even consider themselves a geek would be almost as stressed by losing their Internet connection (17 percent) as self-identified geeks (19 percent).

Geeks AND non-geeks attached to their tech

•70 percent of Americans (geeks and non-geeks alike) said they would have a difficult time living without at least one tech accessory for a day (when selecting from a list of eight technological devices such as a smartphone, computer or MP3 player).

•Two-thirds (67 percent) of those who do not even consider themselves a geek would have a difficult time living without at least one technological device for a day.

•Almost three in five (57 percent) Americans – again, geek and non-geek alike – have been told that they use a specific technological device too often, with TV being the biggest culprit (34 percent).

•Perhaps not all that surprising, men are more likely than women to be told that they use the following technological devices too often:

•Desktop (17 percent v. 9 percent)

•Portable music player (10 percent v. 5 percent)

•Gaming console (16 percent v. 2 percent)

Technology creeping into socially inappropriate places

•Many Americans (not only the geeks!) are using technology in inappropriate places / at inappropriate times (66 percent of geeks and non-geeks).

•5 percent of people – both geeks and non-geeks combined – confessed to having used a device like their smartphone during a funeral.

•9 percent admitted to having used a device during a religious service.

•Almost one-fifth of people have used a device during a date (19 percent).

•18 percent of people have used a device during a business meeting.

•And despite state laws prohibiting it for safety reasons, one-third (32 percent) of people admit to using their personal devices while driving a car. Geeks are the biggest culprits on this one with a full 45 percent of geeks admitting to using their device while driving, compared to 30 percent of non-geeks.

•Men are more likely than women to use a personal technology device at the dinner table (36 percent v. 27 percent).

Prepare to be judged – tech savvy millennials are watching

•Nearly one in five Americans (17 percent) judge others on which types of technology they choose to use, such as their computer operating system, cell phone, or gaming console.

•Millennials are quickest to judge. Americans age 18-34 (34 percent) are more likely than their older counterparts to be judgmental about personal technology choices.

•Not surprisingly, the youngest adult Americans, geeks and non-geeks alike, are more attached to their mobile device than others. Americans age 18-34 (40 percent) would have a more difficult time than their older counterparts living without their smartphone for one day.

•35-44 – 25 percent

•45-54 – 27 percent

•55-64 – 14 percent

•65+ – 8 percent

Jacob Beningo – May 21, 2013

NOTE:  Jacob Beningo is a lecturer and consultant on embedded system design. He works with companies to develop quality and robust products and overcome their embedded design challenges.

The following article was written by Mr. Jacob Beningo for EDN Network Today.  Even though this is a “reblog” I certainly feel it is worth posting through Cielotech and Word Press.  The information is extremely valuable, not only for engineering graduates, but should have application for individuals seeking employment in other professions.   I have modified Mr. Beningo’s post to some degree adding my comments as I feel necessary.

It’s that time of the year again where spring is in full force, the sun is shining, birds are chirping and this year’s college graduates are spreading their wings and sending out resumes. Despite at least four years of schooling and tens of thousands of dollars spent on tuition, it’s unfortunate that their curriculum doesn’t include a resume 101 course or at least require students to attend a seminar on resume writing. Awkwardly crafted and abysmal resumes aren’t constrained to recent graduates but also reach into the general engineering population. This leaves the perfect opportunity to review some basic tips for handling resumes and establishing an online presence, after all, resumes are no longer limited to simple paper versions.

Tip #1 – Ignore the one page rule
For some reason, since the beginning of time there has been this notion that a resume should only be one page. It should be short and simple and provide very basic information. This is great if the plan is to be a professional job seeker. A single page, in a readable font, provides enough space to put a name, a few companies and education before there is no more room left on the page. It doesn’t provide enough space to really sell or distinguish the applicant from anyone else. Single page resumes are often looked at and quickly discarded because there is nothing on them that really catches attention. Don’t allow this outdated rule to dictate the length of a resume.   I don’t think droning on and on is advisable to telling your story is important—very important.

Tip #2 – Explicitly show experience
A potential employer is not going to take the time to read between the lines as to whether an individual has a certain type of experience or skill. Experience needs to be explicitly declared and not implied. This can be done by listing each project that was performed at a company and then providing details as to what was involved. Demonstration of problem identification and the ability to come up with a solution is critical.   I would show this experience as well as the company and dates worked by the employee.

Tip #3 – Use bullet points to improve readability
Instead of writing paragraphs about the work performed at a company or on a project, the use of bullet points is highly recommended because they can drastically improve the readability of a resume. Bullet points are a quick way to break down skills and efforts that were put into a project. They allow the potential employer to quickly skim through and catch the highlights or experience.  You do this with other presentations so why not with resume writing?
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Tip #4 – List professional experience first
College degrees always hold a special place in everyone’s heart especially after paying the enormous tuition rates that have become known to students in modern times. Unfortunately, on a resume they hold less weight than professional experience. This means that while having a degree may be necessary, they should be listed after professional experience. It seems unfair but the fact of the matter is that the first few years of one’s career are spent learning what should have been taught in higher educational institutions. Please note that professional experience was noted earlier in the paragraph. This means that coffee shops and a stint at McDonalds are not going to be of interest to your next engineering employer, so it can be removed from the experience list.

Tip #5 – If project experience is lacking, use a DIY project
Sometimes inexplicable things happen and a college student never has an internship, or an experienced engineer finds themselves on the unemployment list for a while. This can result in an employer having a hard time justifying even taking the time to talk with the candidate. This is why these gaps should be filled with learning experiences from do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. Create something and go through the design process of gathering requirements, block diagramming and prototyping and put that experience and maybe even some lessons learned on the resume! This will show the prospective employer that the individual is self-motivated, passionate and a number of other things. The best part is that when they call for an interview, the candidate can bring what was designed and talk about the process, the hardware design, the software etc. It might just give that edge needed to even beat out the competition.

Tip #6 – List useful skills
Forcing an employer to read between the lines is a dangerous game. Listing project details is one thing but an employer also wants to know in general the types of skills the candidate has. Having a technical expertise section that lists various items such as hardware, software and programming language and provide a quick overview summary of what an individual brings to the table can be very beneficial.

Tip #7 – Identify industry buzz words and use a few
At different times there are certain buzz words that take an industry by storm. They may indicate a certain type of design paradigm such as model driven design or event driven design or perhaps a new field of device such as internet-of-things or machine-to-machine. The whole point is that while the resume is being dusted off and updated, spending a little bit of time learning the current buzz words can do a lot to increase the likely hood of the resume being discovered. Of course if the buzz word doesn’t apply it should be over-looked but there will most likely be buzz words that do apply and that greatly raise the resumes visibility.

Tip #8 – Use action words
Companies like to have leaders on their teams or up and coming leaders. Leaders are action driven and employers like to look for candidates that take initiative and are on their way to becoming leaders. For this reason it is always nice to include action words that grab extra attention. Mention leading the team or managed the team or were conducting investigations to list a few. While investigating resume action words, a website with “100 Great Resume Words” popped up and after a quick review there was little argument about it.     I highly recommended you take a look.
Tip #9 – Use social media to enhance your resume
Paper is out, electronic is in. The resume in general hasn’t changed a whole lot but with social media outlets such as Linkedin and Twitter, the opportunity to enhance a resume is astounding. Linkedin can be used as an enhanced resume by duplicating the information on a resume and then filling in the extras that Linkedin allows. In today’s society there seems to be more chance of being found on a social media website first and then only after connecting with someone does a request for a resume occur. This means that social media profiles need to be just as good at attracting attention as a resume but that is an entirely different article for another day.

A few examples of some enhancements that can be made through social media are getting colleagues to verify your skills, getting recommendations and then also cross linking colleagues on projects. This provides employers with the ability to cross reference what they are being told and verify that the material is in fact real.

There has been some buzz about something called Klout that is supposed to analyze social media interactions and then rank a user based on those interactions. A value of 1 to 99 is then assigned to them. Despite all the authors’ interactions on social media sites, posting baby pictures on Facebook seems to raise the score the most. This leads the author to believe that Klout is an interesting sidebar that will most likely not be taken seriously by employers in the near future.

Be very careful when using Social Medial and make sure what you show is what you want a prospective employer to see.  Pictures of your latest binge drinking episode just might not get you the interview or the job.

Tip #10 – Review and update quarterly
The worst time to update a resume is when an individual is looking for a job. Going for long periods of time without updates usually results in gaps of information or misrepresentation from just forgetting what was done. That is why it is useful to set a periodic time, whether it is every quarter or twice a year to sit down and update the resume with new projects, skills, etc. Sometimes employers will include employee resumes in proposals in order to show a potential client that their team has the skills necessary to get the job done. If a resume isn’t kept up to date then the team could quickly look like they are not up-to-date with the latest and greatest techniques and cause the employer to lose business.  In my opinion, this is a big one.  DO THIS.

I am sure there are other recommendations that could be added but telling YOUR story is what this is about.  The jury is out relative to references.  I would indicate they are available upon request.  Also, MAKE SURE YOUR RESUME HAS UPDATED INFORMATION FOR ADDRESS, TELEPHONE NUMBERS and E-MAIL ADDRESS.

 One reference for this post comes from the book “Adversity Quotient’ by Dr. Paul G. Stoltz, PhD; published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Ever wonder what it really takes to succeed?    What is the “right stuff” for today’s world?    Must we learn to thrive on chaos, even absolute chaos?    When things don’t go our way do we pack up and leave—give up—survive to fight another day?     Does that bring success even if it’s eventual success?  I think Dr. Paul Stoltz rings the bell with his book “Adversity Quotient”.  He puts it all in perspective—most of which I definitely agree with.  I will be using his subtitles but, in most cases, my comments.   OK, with that in mind, let’s take a look at what he feels to be the key elements.  These are as follows:

  • Competitiveness—There is absolutely no doubt that people who respond constructively to adversity are more prone to maintain energy, focus, vigor and optimism required to successfully compete.  Competition is largely about hope, agility, and resilience which greatly determine how we deal with life’s setbacks and challenges.  One of my favorite people in history is Yogi BerraYogi said: “It ain’t over until it’s over.”  Until the bell rings-until the gun sounds—until the clock ticks down to the last second—YOU ARE STILL IN THE GAME.   Do Not Quit!
  •  Productivity–  If you want to leave your footprints on the sands of time, you have to wear work shoes.   Woody Allen, another one of my favorite people, said 90 percent of success is just showing up.  We have an entire nation of people who do not show up.  They simply do not engage work and life, and they miss out on the best things our country has to offer.    Giving up and not withstanding adversity will sap your productivity.
  • Creativity —  Those not able to withstand adversity become incapable of sustained creativity.  If you believe that what you do does not make a difference, how can you be creative?   If you simply do the 9 to 5 bit while watching the clock every minute, you will lose your creativity.  Doing what you love is far better than marking time.  We all have obligations but it is possible to plan for the future, set a course, and endure what you have to until you can do what you love.  With planning, that day can and will come.   Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water—PLAN for the future IF the present is not exactly what you want!  KEEP IN MIND; if you do this properly, there is “the thing”, then the next thing, then the next thing.  Life is a marathon and not a sprint.  Be creative.  Kick the tires!
  • Motivation–  My buddy Frank Weiss always says:  “Bobby, a man has to have the ‘want to’ in life to succeed. “ People with the highest tolerance to adversity have the greatest motivation to succeed.
  •  Risk Taking This is a tricky one because we are talking about calculated risks.  If we do not perceive we have control over a situation, there is no need to take a risk.  By the way, we are talking about calculated risk—not the high wire type.  Not the barrel over Niagara Falls type.  Cold, calculating, I got the numbers risk.  In other words, the good kind.
  •  Improvement–   There is an axiom of consistency that says—“the future will be like the past, because in the past, the future was like the past”. OK, in this age of communication, this is total garbage.  Today, you improve or you perish.  Just that simple. You must keep on keeping on.
  •  Persistence—President Calvin Coolidge said it better than anyone I have ever heard. “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.   Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.  The slogan “Press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.  Calvin really knew what he was talking about.
  • Learning—You must continue to learn your entire life if you are to succeed.  “Nuff said.”
  • Embracing Change– Change can become a welcome part of life.  I know it seems difficult to some but change is as much as part of life as birth and eventual death.  Change happens—get used to it.   Change can and will strengthen our resolve to succeed. 

ONE MORE TH ING Duke Ellington said, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing”.  Truer words were never spoken.  In life—YOU REALLY NEED TO ADD A GOOD MEASURE OF FUN.   Have fun.  Difficulties will always arise and we need to deal with difficult issues BUT, life is what you make—sprinkle in generous measures of good old fashion fun.

Trust me on this one—you can handle it.   As my DI (drill instructor) once told me, “put a little dirt on it-get back in the game.”


May 18, 2013

The following jpegs were furnished by Charles Murray, Senior Technical Editor for Design News Daily.

I don’t know about you but I’m absolutely disgusted by the political spectacle displayed daily by the crowd in Washington D.C.   It’s really embarrassing to “we the people” who pay the bills in this country.   Makes you wonder  if any honesty exists within the D.C. “beltway “and makes  you very interested finding  anyone with “the right stuff”.    Do they even exist anymore?   Remember honesty?  Remember the call to accept a challenge?  Remember when obtaining and keeping political power was not the sole reason for waking up?  Remember when good solid boring facts were much more important than being politically correct– just to appease someone’s “base”?  Remember when having a “brand” referenced the mark on a cow’s butt?

Let’s now take a look at several people who had the “right stuff”.  By the way, they were all engineers.

Origional 7


At least five of the seven famed Mercury 7 astronauts of the 1960s were engineers and the sixth and seventh were graduates of the Naval Academy, which offered technical degrees but didn’t specify an area of concentration at the time. Portrayed in Tom Wolfe’s book and in the subsequent movie The Right Stuff, the Mercury 7 crew were considered national heroes for their contributions to the “space race.”

BACK ROW, left to right: Alan Sheppard, B.S. from the US Naval Academy, which did not at the time specify an area of concentration; Gus Grissom, B.S. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University; Gordon Cooper, B.S. in aeronautical engineering from Air Force Institute of Technology. FRONT ROW: Walter Schirra, B.S. Newark College of Engineering and US Naval Academy; Deke Slayton, B.S. in aeronautical engineering from the University of Minnesota; John Glenn, B.S. in engineering from Muskingum College; Scott Carpenter; B.S. in aeronautical engineering from the University of Colorado. Carpenter is said to have missed the final exam for his heat transfer class, leaving him a credit short of a degree, but the university granted him the final credit after his Mercury flight.   (Source: Kennedy Space Center)

Neil Armstrong


Neil Armstrong’s name was forever etched in history after he became the first man to set foot on the moon in 1969. Armstrong earned a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University and an M.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California.  (Source: Johnson Space Center)

Norman Swartzcroft


Commander in Chief of the US Forces in Operation Desert Shield, Norman Schwarzkopf earned a B.S. in engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Southern California with a specialty of guided missile engineering. At West Point, Schwarzkopf also played on the football team, wrestled, sang, conducted the chapel choir, and later served as an instructor of engineering mechanics.  (Source: Wikipedia)

Bonie Dunbar


A veteran of five space flights, Bonnie Dunbar has logged more than 50 days in space. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in ceramics engineering from the University of Washington and has a doctorate in mechanical/biomedical engineering from the University of Houston. Dunbar was also the Design News Engineer of the Year in 1993.

Judith Resnick


NASA astronaut Judith Resnick was a mission specialist who logged more than 144 hours in space. She earned a BS in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland. She was one of seven crew members who died on January 28, 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after launch.   (Source: Johnson Space Center)

Elan Ochoa


Ellen Ochoa served on approximately 40 days of space missions in 1993, ’94, ’99, and 2002. She holds a B.S. in physics from the San Diego State University, as well as M.S. and PhD degrees from Stanford in electrical engineering.  (Source: Johnson Space Center)

NOW–THESE FOLKS HAD AND HAVE THE RIGHT STUFF.  That’s what we are looking for in today’s leaders.

The  paragraph headers were written by Mark Manson in a previous transmission.  My comments (written in blue) are given below his paragraphs and represent MY  responses to his statements.  As you can see, in some cases I do not agree.

I suppose there has been and always be the argument as to what country is the best on the planet. Several factors would and should be considered in making that judgement.  Factors such as 1.) education, 2.) health care, 3.) freedom of expression, 4.) poverty level, 5.) level of private giving to worthy organizations, etc.    I do agree with Mr. Manson that the United States is not the only great country on earth but I still consider the US to be the very best country, all things considered.  I welcome  your comments on this one.

  1. Few People Are Impressed By Us

I think many people in other countries ARE impressed with the fact that we are basically free to express our opinions regarding all subjects and seemingly have no impediments in doing so.  Our level of freedom is unparalleled, although most western countries enjoy the same freedom we seem to protect those vigorously.    Our laws against slander are designed to protect others from malicious information broadcast for the sole purpose of hurting reputations.   The execution of these laws are rare but they do exist.   I can certainly tell you most people in other countries are NOT impressed by our government and actions taken over the past eight years but, they do like American people.

         2.       Few People Hate Us

Absolutely agree with this one.  I have had the great pleasure of traveling to several countries and have always been able to interact with citizens happy to strike  up a conversation.  Mostly, they are very curious and have questions regarding life in the United States, especially if they have not traveled to the US.  I really enjoy their openness and direct conversation.  This is very strange to most Americans because we are so very PC in our approach to life and conversation.  It’s just not that way in other countries.  WE ARE NOT, FOR THE MOST PART, HATED!

3.       We Know Nothing About The Rest Of The World

Unfortunately this is generally true.  We are very  much out of tune with the geography and culture of other countries.  I won’t go into the language barriers we face.  We, for whatever reason, seem to shy away from learning any language but English.  This is a real problem for most Americans.    Also, I have become aware that many, if not most, of our elected political leaders on a the national level know little about other countries.  To me, this is really disturbing and extremely embarrassing.

  1. We Are Poor At Expressing Gratitude And Affection

Having traveled to many  Latin American countries, I can tell you they are very good at expressing affection.  I supported a company called DAKO in Brazil for about eight (8) years.  In the morning after arriving, I got a handshake and a hug from the guys and a kiss on the cheek from the ladies.  That’s just the way they do it and it’s refreshing to know they are happy to see you once again.   Now, I have also spent time in the Middle-East.  The culture is considerably different.  You would never express affection to a lady in the same fashion as Latin America.  It’s not done.  In our country, affection seems to be implied to some degree if a person is a neighbor or coworker.  This is not always the case but generally so.  We simply do not  know how to adequately express gratitude and affection in this country.

  1. The Quality of Life For The Average American Is Not That Great

We do have the freedom to maximize life’s experiences if talented and energetic enough.   I will say the average American definitely works more hours, sometimes for things that do not insure  happiness or even comfort.   Our standard of living is generally the envy of many nations and others would love to live here.  We do pay for that standard of living.  When I retired from GE I had 18 days of vacation remaining.  Very rarely would an employee in the engineering ranks take their full vacation time.  They were actually afraid of losing their job.  Not only that, I am always amazed at the number of individuals who work a second job, generally part time.

  1. The Rest Of The World Is Not A Slum-Ridden Shithole Compared To Us

There are undoubtedly  many places in the world that equal the very nicest places in the United States.  I’ve been to Dubai and was absolutely blown away.    I have  children who have visited Bangkok, Ho  ng Kong  and Singapore.  They tell me these cities are new from the ground up AND remarkably clean for urban areas.  Now, I personally have seen the slums of Cairo, Sao Paulo and Aman, Jordan and they are much much worse than the slums of Detroit, Atlanta and San Francisco.   I would have to agree with Mr. Mason in that we sometimes feel ours is better than theirs.  That is not the case, at least not always.

  1. We’re Paranoid

In all of my travels, I have never been threatened nor felt in danger BUT, due to 911 and incidents such as Boston, we have every right to be vigilant and remain aware.  My second granddaughter’s boyfriend was murdered on the streets of Atlanta; broad daylight, five o’clock in the afternoon.  If that does not make you a little ( or a lot ) paranoid, think again.

  1. We’re Status-Obsessed And Seek Attention

This is a definite.  Look at all of the reality shows, Hollywood and Country and Western award programs, Miss America, Mrs. America, Miss Teenage America, talk shows, etc etc.  Ever watch the news?  It’s not about news, it’s about giving the anchor his face-time.  Admit it we are status-obsessed to a great degree.  We sometimes wish we were in their shoes when ours are just an interesting.

  1. We Are Very Unhealthy

AGREE !  The United States is number one in per capita expenditure for health care yet number thirty-eight in the work when considering the total health of our population.   We are number three in the world for the fattest population.    The administration of health care is horrible and there is no real evidence this will change in the upcoming years.   If  you, like me, are on social security, try to find a doctor.

  1. We Mistake Comfort For Happiness

Mr. Mason states that our country is built on the exaltation of economic growth and personal ingenuity.  Comfort sells.  Bigger TVs, more movies, take-out, etc.  We are into comfort.  Depression and anxiety disorders are soaring.  Suicides are at an all-time high.  Relationships fall apart seemingly every minute.  Divorce is approaching the fifty percent figure.   Throughout history, every dominant civilization eventually collapsed because it  became TOO successful.  They got TOO comfortable and TOO unhappy.  We are definitely on that path.

I certainly welcome your comments.  Please feel  free to express them.



May 5, 2013

I’m admittedly spoiled, jaded, snake bit.   When I think of robotic systems I think of automated work cells, moving conveyor belts controlled by PLCs (programmable logic controllers) pick and place robots, SCARA (Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm) or Cartesian robotic systems.  I have previously never thought about underwater robotic systems doing work hazardous or impossible for man.   As it turns out, these underwater systems are remarkably useful and utilitarian.   If we look at the various benefits, we see the following possible uses:

  • Examination of “Texas Towers” in the Gulf of Mexico. (NOTE: Robotic systems were used extensively during the BP spill in the Gulf to estimate flow rate and devise a plan to make the necessary repairs.)
  • Examination of underwater cable and electrical supplies.
  • Examination of ship hulls both private and Federal.
  • Deep water diving to investigate underwater surfaces for minerals.
  • Investigation of sunken ships, the most notable—the Titanic.
  •  Search for new underwater species.
  • Better definition of geology found underwater.  Primarily pertaining to underwater investigations of earthquakes.

The slide show given below was originally presented by Ann R. Thryft, Senior Technical Editor, Materials & Assembly for Design News Daily.  A great publication by the way.  Let’s now take a look at those robotic systems presently operating and performing remarkable tasks.



The Serpent remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from Seaview Systems is designed for exploring very small-diameter pipelines. It can investigate conduits as small as 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter, and fit around bends with a radius as narrow as 27 inches (68.5 cm). Measuring 9 inch x 9 inch x 57 inch (23 cm x 23 cm x 145 cm) and weighing 70 lb (32 kg), the Serpent runs on two 300W brushless DC motors that give it a total forward thrust of 18 lb (8 kg). With a 0.5 inch (1.3 cm) diameter fiber-optic tether, it can explore as far as 6,000 ft (1,830 m) down a pipe or tunnel. A 360-degree pan/orbit/zoom color camera and two color cameras are included, along with two 70W high-intensity LEDs. The robot also has heading, pitch and roll, and depth sensors, as well as sonar. A fiber-optic telemetry system provides up to three video channels, four RS232 channels, and two RS485 channels.   (Source: Seaview Systems)

Saab's Seaeye Falcon DR


Saab’s Seaeye Falcon DR remotely operated vehicle (ROV) is used in a wide variety of applications, including oil & gas exploration, scientific exploration and data-gathering and environmental monitoring. Its depth rating is 1,000 m (3,280 ft), and its maximum tether length is 1,100 m (3,608.9 ft) with a 14 mm (0.55 inch) diameter umbilical, although longer options can be achieved with custom umbilicals. It runs on a single-phase, universal auto-sensing, self-selecting input of 100-270V AC at 2.8 kW. The polypropylene chassis, measuring 635 mm x 600 mm x 1,055 mm (25 inch x 23.6 inch x 41.5 inch) is robust and lightweight for buoyancy and lack of corrosion. The robot’s launch weight is 100 kg (220.5 lb), payload is up to 15 kg (33 lb), and top speed is more than 3 knots. 6,400 lumens of LED lights with variable density can be tilted to vary intensity, linked to the video camera’s 180-degree tilting mechanism. Data and video are transmitted via F2 fiber optics. Powered by five magnetically coupled thruster units with a combined forward thrust of 50 kgf, the Seaeye Falcon DR has a 1:1 power to weight ratio. Standard sensors include auto depth and heading, pitch and roll, and compass.  (Source: Saab)



The Seaview Systems long-distance remotely operated vehicle (LDROV) can travel up to 10,000 ft (3,000 m) on its 0.6 inch (1.5 cm) fiber-optic umbilical tether, and fit through a manhole only 20 inch (50.8 cm) in diameter. Measuring 17 inch x 18 inch x 41 inch (43 cm x 46 cm x 104 cm), the LDROV weighs 100 lb (45 kg). The top surface of its plastic frame has freewheeling wheels to make it easy for the robot to move smoothly and quickly through pipelines and tunnels. It’s driven by four 300W brushless DC motors that give the LDROV a total forward thrust of 72 lb (32.6 kgf). A 360-degree pan/orbit/zoom color camera and two 530-line color CCD cameras are included, as well as sonar, and sensors for heading, pitch and roll, and depth. A fiber-optic telemetry system provides up to three video channels, four RS232 channels, and two RS485 channels.   (Source: Seaview Systems)

Jelly Fish, Virginia Tech


This second-generation jellyfish robot prototype, Cyro, built by engineers at Virginia Tech, is about the size of an adult man, weighing 170 lbs. Cyro’s 5 ft 7 inch diameter is a lot bigger than its little brother, the earlier RoboJelly, a tethered robot about the size of a man’s hand. Both can propel themselves through water and refuel themselves, but Cyro is autonomous, operating on a rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery. Both are part of a larger project to develop autonomous naval robots, funded by the Office of Naval Research and the US Naval Undersea Warfare Center. Cyro’s applications include making maps of the ocean’s floors, performing military surveillance, studying aquatic life, and monitoring environmental conditions and ocean currents. Jellyfish have a lower metabolic rate than other aquatic animals and consume less energy, and can withstand a wide range of temperatures, which is why the engineers chose them as energy-efficient biological models. The robots must last for months at a time at sea without human attention for maintenance or refueling.  (Source: Virginia Tech)



DARPA is developing a robotic submarine to track human-staffed submarines, specifically quiet diesel electric subs. The Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) is being designed to operate entirely without onboard human presence. Although it might seem that this could complicate the vessel’s design, the program expects to simplify sub design considerably by eliminating the systems that humans use and need. Those add a lot of constraints due to requirements for accessibility, crew support, and layout, as well as affecting the vehicle’s dynamic stability and reserve buoyancy. The autonomous ACTUV will operate for two or three months over thousands of kilometers while requiring only minimal supervision via remote control. This will require some unusual sensor technologies, as well as laser detectors, radar and sonar, for tracking what are some of the quietest submarines on the seas. Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) will build and test the robotic sub.  (Source: DARPA)



A prototype unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), funded by DARPA and developed by a team of companies, will contribute to DARPA’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) surveillance effort. The UUV, called the Submarine Hold at RisK (SHARK), has demonstrated the ability to perform communications and sonar functions at great depths. Submarines will be detected using the Transformational Reliable Acoustic Path System (TRAPS), a fixed passive sonar node also operating on the deep seafloor. Next, SHARK will provide a mobile active sonar platform to track the subs. SHARK was built by Bluefin Robotics, a well-known manufacturer of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and member of the team headed by Applied Physical Systems (APS). Bluefin previously tested the UUV in February during two 4,450-m dives that totaled 11 hours. New capabilities that Bluefin has added to the specialized UUV include advanced pressure vessel design, a new power system, a high-powered acoustics transducer system, an extended operational depth rating, and a transportable docking head launch and recovery system. Next steps are to completely integrate the deep-sea sonar function into SHARK. Eventually, a second vehicle will be built with integrated sonar for networked operations. TRAPS and SHARK are both part of DARPA’s Distributed Agile Submarine Hunting (DASH) program.  (Source: DARPA)



iRobot, maker of housecleaning and bomb-sniffing robots, also makes autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for scientific research and offshore oil & gas data collection. After the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, iRobot sent in its 1KA Seaglider robot to monitor underwater conditions, including the presence of oil, at depths as low as 1,000 m (3,280 ft). The autonomous long-range high-endurance robot is designed for missions that range over thousands of miles and last many months. It’s designed for persistent surveillance, marine environmental monitoring, current profiling, seep detection, and data gathering for physical, chemical, and biological oceanography. The Seaglider is 1.8 m to 2 m (5.9 ft to 6.5 ft) long, depending on configuration, has a diameter of 30 cm (11.8 inch) and a wingspan of 1 m (3.3 ft), and weighs 52 kg (114.6 lb). It can be configured to operate at depths of 50 m to 1,000 m (164 ft to 3,280 ft), has a maximum travel range of 4,600 km (2,858.3 miles), and typical speed is 1/2 knot. It uses lithium sulfuric chloride batteries that last up to 10 months. Guidance systems include GPS, an Iridium modem, a 3-axis compass, an acoustic transponder, and an altimeter. The choice of sensors may include a truly enormous variety.  (Source: iRobot)

University of Arizona


An autonomous robotic vehicle for exploring lakes on other planets has been developed by researchers in the University of Arizona’s department of electrical and computer engineering. Something like a nautical version of a planetary rover, the lake lander, also called the Tucson Explorer II (TEX II), could be used to investigate the liquid hydrocarbon lakes on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Although it will be a while before TEX II goes on a mission to Titan, it can be used on Earth to clean up littoral munitions dumps and mines, as well as harbor surveillance, environmental research, and search and rescue operations in oceans, lakes, and hazardous environments. Controllable via an Internet connection, TEX II has cameras and sonar operational up to 100 m. Its catamaran design provides stability, with two 6-ft long fortified Styrofoam hulls about 5 ft apart. The Styrofoam lets the lake lander withstand hull damage while maintaining buoyancy of its 100-lb weight and 150-lb payload. The hulls’ shallow draft also keeps water perturbation low, for better telemetry of the onboard sensors measuring surface and subsurface liquid conditions. TEX II can also move forward or backward depending on the rotational direction of the electric motors that power its air propellers, mounted at the back of each hull.  (Source: University of Arizona)



The Nereus hybrid remotely operated vehicle (HROV) has been designed to go into the deepest ocean trenches on the planet, where it must withstand extraordinary pressures. Instead of glass and steel, it’s made with an aluminum frame and a ceramic housing that protects electronics from that pressure, as well as gives it buoyancy. Nereus can work either on a tether, like an ROV, or it can operate autonomously as an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). The two modes are for accomplishing different tasks. In AUV mode, it can map the seafloor and survey large areas using its LED lights, cameras and sonar, traveling at speeds up to 3 knots. Once the robot locates an object or region of interest, it can be brought back to the support ship, tethered with a fiber-optic cable, and sent back to the area of interest. The cable is then used to receive commands and transmit video while it conducts experiments or collects samples with its manipulator arm. Nereus operates on rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs, each containing about 2,000 batteries like the ones used for laptop computers. It weighs 2,800 kg (6,172.9 lb) and has a payload of 25 kg (55 lb).
(Source: Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Hope you enjoyed this post and it provided value-added.  Please send any comments you have. I would love to hear from you.

Fact Sheet — Office of the Spokesperson; Washington, DC, May 2, 2013

Most times we really don’t know and/or understand what our government is doing.  They simply don’t tell us in a fashion that makes the news exciting, glamorous, entertaining, etc.    This is really what it takes (regrettably) to get our attention.  Let’s face it, if it bleeds it leads.  Blood, sex, betrayal, scandal will always get the attention of the media and that’s what they choose to let us look at night after night.  The following post is NOT sexy, not entertaining nor is it glamorous but, it is news and could very well mean a great deal “down the road” especially if you are thinking about working with a company in Mexico or locating a manufacturing site in Mexico.  Also, Mexico is a great customer of the United States so any agreement affects us as suppliers.   Take a look and make your own judgment.

In 2012, the United States and Mexico signed an agreement concerning the development of oil and gas reservoirs that cross the international maritime boundary between the two countries in the Gulf of Mexico. The Agreement is designed to enhance energy security in North America and support our shared interest to exercise responsible stewardship of the Gulf of Mexico. It is built on a commitment to the safe, efficient, and equitable development of trans-boundary reservoirs with the highest degree of safety and environmental standards.

  •  Mexico is consistently one of the top three exporters of petroleum to the United States.
  • The United States is Mexico’s largest supplier of refined oil products, mostly coming from U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.
  • Former Secretary Clinton and then Mexican Foreign Secretary Espinosa signed the Agreement in Los Cabos in February, 2012. Mexico ratified the agreement in April 2012
  • The Agreement establishes a framework that promotes unitization of maritime trans-boundary reservoirs. Upon entry into force, the current moratorium on oil exploration and production along the boundary in the Western Gap portion of the Gulf of Mexico will end.
  • Mexican law currently prohibits Petroleos   Mexicanos (PEMEX) from jointly developing resources with leaseholders on the U.S. side of the boundary. Mexico opened the door to such cooperation in a 2008 energy reform law, but only if the cooperation takes place pursuant to an international agreement governing trans-boundary reservoirs. The Agreement takes advantage of this opportunity.
  • The Agreement facilitates the formation of voluntary arrangements – unitization agreements – between U.S. leaseholders and Pemex for the joint exploration and development of trans-boundary reservoirs. It also provides appropriate incentives to encourage the formation of such arrangements if a reservoir is proven to be trans-boundary and a unitization agreement is not formed. Ultimately, the Agreement provides that development may proceed in an equitable manner that protects each nation’s interests.
  • The Agreement provides for ongoing cooperation between the two governments related to safety and the environment, and also provides for joint inspection teams to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Both governments will review and approve all unitization agreements governing the exploration and development of trans-boundary reservoirs under the Agreement, providing for approval of all safety and environmental measures.
  • Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have introduced bills that would approve the Trans-boundary Agreement and give the Secretary of the Interior the necessary authorization to implement the agreement. The Administration looks forward to speedy passage of the authorizing legislation.

Effect of the Agreement

  • The Agreement will enable U.S. companies to explore new business opportunities and carry out collaborative projects with the Mexican national oil company PEMEX.
  • It is expected the Agreement will unlock areas for exploration and exploitation along the boundary within U.S. jurisdiction by providing the legal certainty companies need to invest, potentially providing increased revenues and energy security benefits that would result from increases in production.
  • This agreement will make nearly 1.5 million acres of the Outer Continental Shelf more attractive to U.S. operators. The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) estimates that this area contains as much as 172 million barrels of oil and 304 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
  • The Trans-boundary Agreement will also help mitigate the safety and environmental risks that would result from unilateral exploration and exploitation along the boundary.


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