Material science revisited

Engineers: Learn about the fundamental makeup of plastics, metals, glass, and papers used for packaging — and how their physics and chemistry impact performance. A Packaging Materials seminar taught through Sensor Products Inc. will be held September 23-24 in Philadelphia. Sensor Products makes thin-film force sensors that show pressure between mating surfaces. Visit www.sensorprod.com for more information.

This is you on TV

After the great success of the Nintendo Wii video game system, Microsoft Corp., Redmond, Wash., is working to release its own Xbox motion-sensing controller in 2010. Here's the catch: Microsoft's controller isn't a physical object. Instead, console depth sensor, camera, and microphones work with a processor and software to collect human motion, face, and voice information as input for interactive gaming. Recently revealed is that the motion-tracking technology includes the ZCam camera from 3DV Systems, Yokne'am, Israel — which is also under technical investigation by Sony. For more information, visit www.3dvsystems.com.

Safety goes Euro

A 15-year-old Dutch manufacturer of industrial safety products is now selling in the U.S. Netherlocks Safety Systems USA, Houston, specializes in interlocking safety to replace improvised lockout/tagouts and other systems. Interlocking uses a “trapped-key” system through which valves, actuators, switches, doors, and processes are physically locked in a state until the right key is used.

By using this system, the next step in any process can only be unlocked and started once the previous step has been completed. Visit www.netherlocks.com for details.