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August 2016 • The PCB Magazine 65 Matties: Which is more powerful than our first rocket ship that went to space, I think. Heltzel: In terms of computing power, yes. Matties: There's something odd about that. Is there anything that circuit board fabricators should know? Heltzel: We rely on them to do their own quali- ty control and we will check and jump in where needed. Also, if they need us or need a bigger expertise, if they don't have resources, we are there to support them. When I say 'we' I am talking about the full supply chain, but in the end it is their responsibility to make sure that the reliability of their product is good and they should have the resources available. Matties: Thinking about the laminate, are you specifying material or do you leave that entirely up to your contractor as well? Heltzel: The original design for the qualified stackup is up to the industry to select, but once it's selected it's cast in stone. It gets written up in the process identification document and that cannot be changed without performing the qualification work. Matties: Thanks for spending time for this inter- view. I appreciate it. PCB THE EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY ON RELIABILITY Centipedes move quickly. When one is coming directly at you, you might not care to spend a moment pondering its agility, so fear has likely been affecting our understanding of why centipedes move with such dexterity. Research- ers at Kyoto University have turned to computer sim- ulations and ultimately robotics to find an answer. What they have uncovered is a surprising insight into the mechanics of locomotion itself, namely that taming instability—a factor that might be a disadvan- tage—is a key to the centipede's success. "During locomotion, many legs are in contact with the ground to support the body against gravity and produce propulsive and decelerating forces," ex- plains lead scientist Shinya Aoi. "These many legs are physically constrained on the ground, and this con- straint can impede their maneuverability." Centipedes overcome these constraints by harnessing instability, producing the creature's character- istic undulating movement. "Our group developed a math- ematical model of centipedes and found that the straight walk becomes unstable and body undula- tions appear through a supercritical Hopf bifurcation by changing the locomotion speed and body axis flexibility," continues Aoi, referring to a mathematical description of the walking system's tipping point from stable to unstable. First with computer models and then with seg- mented, multi-legged robots, the team was able to replicate the centipede's movement, including the wave-like body motion, as described in a paper in the online journal Scientific Reports. Down the line, such knowledge could lead to better motion for robots. Hey Robot, Shimmy Like a Centipede

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