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68 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2020 In the case of low-standoff devices, is- sues can be caused by material penetrating beneath the component package, leading to stress due to CTE mismatch (and potential- ly early failures) or displacing air, which can lead to the formation of open bubbles and can be an initiation site for corrosion or other types of failure. Typical best practices would entail using gel versions of coating materials to seal the base of connectors switches and so forth be- fore the application of the liquid coating. Masking materials can be used to achieve the same effect, although the application, curing, and subsequent removal of masking materi- als are all wasted processes. New materials are available, which inherently minimise the extent to which the materials are affected by capillary flow, potentially eliminating the re- quirement for masking or sealing before ap- plication. Conclusion Understanding the major enemies of con- formal coatings will go a long way in imple- menting a successful conformal coating pro- cess. I hope I have heightened your awareness of some of the potential pitfalls you might face so that you can hopefully avoid any coating disasters. Look out for my next column, where I will explore more conformal coating issues. In the meantime, please stay safe and well. DESIGN007 Phil Kinner is the global business and technical director of conformal coatings at Electrolube. To read past columns or contact Kinner, click here. Download your free copy of Electrolube's book, The Printed Circuit Assembler's Guide to… Conformal Coatings for Harsh Environments, and watch the micro webinar series "Coatings Uncoated!" CSAIL's Conduct-A-Bot system uses muscle signals to cue a drone's movement, enabling more natural human- robot communication. Albert Einstein famously postulated that "the only real valuable thing is intuition," arguably one of the most important keys to understanding intention and communi- cation. But intuitiveness is hard to teach—especially to a ma- chine. Looking to improve this, a team from MIT's Comput- er Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) came up with a method that dials us closer to more seam- less human-robot collaboration. The system, called "Con- duct-A-Bot," uses human muscle signals from wearable sensors to pilot a robot's movement. "We envision a world in which machines help peo- ple with cognitive and physical work, and to do so, they adapt to people rather than the other way around," says Professor Daniela Rus, director of CSAIL, deputy dean of research for the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, and co-author on a paper about the system. Muscle signals can often provide information about states that are hard to observe from vision, such as joint stiffness or fatigue. For example, if you watch a video of someone holding a large box, you might have difficulty guessing how much effort or force was needed—and a machine would also have difficulty gauging that from vision alone. Using mus- cle sensors opens up possibilities to estimate not only motion, but also the force and torque required to execute that physical trajectory. (Source: MIT News Office) Muscle Signals Can Pilot a Robot

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