Future-Proofing Your Engineering Career


via Design World: For this year’s Leadership in Engineering profile, I spoke with Jabil CEO Mark Mondello about his company’s culture and vision. With something like 43,000,000 sq-ft of manufacturing footprint spread across the world, Mondello, who’s an ME himself, employs a heck of a lot of engineers. So, knowing how in touch he is with the changing world of manufacturing, I was interested to hear how he’d suggest current engineers and engineering students properly future-proof their careers. Mondello told me that in addition to gaining knowledge around technology, design or various engineering platforms, engineers also need to take time to complement some of their innate strengths with understanding a little bit about how business works—and to develop good written or verbal communication skills. “I see engineers with just fabulous ideas, and yet sometimes they just can’t quite articulate what they’re trying to say in real efficient way,” he said. He also thinks that it’s important for them to realize that there are no more geographic limits in the world when it comes to business or life. “I think geographic bounds are there for politics and religion and all the things that geographic boundaries provide. But in terms of design, in terms of technology, in terms of business, in terms of life, we’re noticing more and more that the geographic boundaries are disappearing,” he said. “I think to be successful, to be fulfilled, the engineering community needs to be open to traveling, to getting out and about and seeing what’s out… Read more

Sygic Launches Voice-Controlled ‘Driving Assistant’ for Ford Sync 3


via THE DRIVE: From Amazon Alexa to in-car voice control, talking to inanimate objects is all the rage these days. Sygic believes voice control can help reduce distracted driving, so it’s introducing a new layer of voice-control features for vehicles equipped with Ford’s current-generation Sync 3 infotainment system. Sygic’s “Driving Assistant” allows the driver to use voice commands to identify nearby points of interests, such as rest stops, restaurants, and hotels. It can also point out nearby traffic jams, Sygic said. It’s activated through the same steering-wheel button as other voice-related features, and responds to relatively straightforward commands like “Find a hotel,” or “How is the traffic ahead?” The feature relies entirely on verbal communication. Once the system generates results, they are read back to the driver, instead of being displayed on the car’s touchscreen. Sygic believes this will reduce distraction by allowing drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road more of the time. Driving Assistant builds on Sygic’s existing navigation app, which also relies heavily on voice commands. Sygic claims it was the first navigation app to be integrated with Ford’s Sync AppLink, a platform that allows third-party apps to interface directly with Sync infotainment systems. Sygic also provides the navigation app to Skoda, Honda, Volkswagen, Citroën, Jaguar Land Rover, Peugeot, and Seat. Sygic faces significant competition between Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allow drivers to import the familiar interfaces and features from their smartphones into a car’s infotainment system. The level… Read more

The Property Management Industry Needs Reinventing


via Property Week: In reality, the introduction of an intermediary results in a disintermediation between owner and occupier, with a managing agent in the middle who, very often, does not have the alignment, motivation or skillset to look after the needs of the occupier or run a building efficiently. With a growing body of legislation covering energy consumption, waste and its reduction, combined with customer experience, there is an increasing burden on managing agents to provide services they are not equipped to offer. The property manager now needs to actively participate in customer service, facilities maintenance and engineering, sustainability and CSR strategic thinking as well as rent collection and ‘changing the light bulbs’. The emergence of these areas as prerequisites for owners shines a spotlight on the existing industry skills gap. The sustainability credentials of a property have become a central feature in the ownership of a building. An occupier wants to know that they can save money on energy consumption while limiting their environmental footprint. They want to know they are only using energy services when they are required and they have the option to monitor their consumption on a regular basis. New approach The integration of sustainable performance is arguably one of the most important changes to property management in recent years. The managing agent would ideally play a critical role in improving a building’s environmental performance. However, many third-party agents do not have the technical skillset, nor the incentive, to ensure sustainability. By way of example, many multi-let… Read more

New Technique Prints Silver Nanowires That Stretch And Flex


via the Engineer: The advance from a group at North Carolina State University (NC State) is said to make it possible to integrate the material into an array of electronic devices. Silver nanowires are flexible, stretchable and conductive. Consequently, they have attracted interest for use in prosthetic devices and wearable sensors but challenges exist. Silver nanoparticles can be used to print circuits, but the nanoparticles produce circuits that are more brittle and less conductive than silver nanowires. Conventional techniques for printing circuits don’t work well with silver nanowires as the nanowires can clog the printing nozzles. “Our approach uses electrohydrodynamic printing, which relies on electrostatic force to eject the ink from the nozzle and draw it to the appropriate site on the substrate,” said Jingyan Dong, co-corresponding author of a paper on the work and an associate professor in NC State’s Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering. “This approach allows us to use a very wide nozzle – which prevents clogging – while retaining very fine printing resolution.” “And because our ‘ink’ consists of a solvent containing silver nanowires that are typically more than 20μm long, the resulting circuits have the desired conductivity, flexibility and stretchability,” said Yong Zhu, a professor of mechanical engineering at NC State and co-corresponding author of the paper. “In addition, the solvent we use is both nontoxic and water-soluble,” said Zheng Cui, a Ph.D. student at NC State and lead author of the paper. “Once the circuit is printed, the solvent can simply… Read more

Matching Architecture to People’s Needs, by Listening to Them First


via New York Times: MEXICO CITY — When the architect Tatiana Bilbao was commissioned to design a house for Mexico’s poorest rural communities, her team was three months into the work before she realized that something was missing. “I said, ‘You know, guys, this sounds good but we really don’t know one single person that will live in a space like this,’” Ms. Bilbao recalled. “We’re figuring out this is what they want — but why don’t we ask them?” And that’s what she did. The group interviewed hundreds of people to guide their model for a structure that would cost less than $8,000, and built two prototypes in the forests of Mexico’s south. They then adapted the plan to build houses for 23 families left homeless by a 2015 tornado in the city of Ciudad Acuña on the Rio Grande. It is that empathy that distinguishes much of Ms. Bilbao’s work, infusing a vision of architecture as a platform that people can use to improve their quality of life according to their own needs, rather than those mapped out for them by planners and developers. “I’m not there,” she acknowledged during an hourlong interview in her office at Tatiana Bilbao Estudio, the firm she founded in 2004. But her hope, she said, is “that I arrive there at some point.” With a portfolio that ranges widely across geography and function, Ms. Bilbao is attracting an international audience. In Mexico, she has designed everything from a house perched on a wooded… Read more

U.K.-developed Radiation-mapping Drone to Monitor Fukushima


via THE DRIVE: The last time we reported on the nexus between drone technology and the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011, it was focused on the Japanese city of Odaka using unmanned aerial vehicles to bring some semblance of peace to the town by bringing drone delivery to the area. More recently, however, we’re seeing drones being implemented into the actual scene of the disaster, as a U.K.-developed quadcopter that can map radiation will soon be deployed to the reactor in Fukushima. According to The Engineer, the Remote Intelligence Survey Equipment for Radiation (RISER) drone was a joint venture in its production, as it uses both software from Createc and drone hardware by Blue Bear. The former—Createc’s N-Visage radiation mapping software—is what will allow scientists to create 3D maps of the contaminated area. Blue Bear’s UAV, meanwhile, is capable of using lasers to autonomously navigate the radiated facility—an area where reliance on GPS is futile. This project was funded in part by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Innovate U.K. “We are thrilled to see RISER put to work in Japan, and delighted that our early-stage support for the N-Visage system enabled Createc to develop its potential further,” said Professor Melanie Brownridge, who heads NDA’s technology division. “The subsequent collaboration with Blue Bear, again funded by the NDA through an initiative with Innovate UK, led to RISER. This shows the importance of funding innovative ideas through their journey from the drawing board to the market – not just for the… Read more

Supercapacitor Research Promises 10 Minute Charging Times For 200+ Mile Range


via Clean Technica: Yes, CT readers, it’s another article about breakthroughs in the laboratory that may dramatically impact our lives — someday. We publish these articles not to proclaim that a technological revolution is knocking on the door but rather to keep you abreast of the latest developments so you are better informed. Sometimes, technology news comes via some unknown source, like Bob’s Science Digest, but when it grabs the attention of a major news source like The Guardian, maybe it’s time to pay attention. Researchers at Bristol University and Surrey University claim to have invented a new material for supercapacitors they claim will allow electric vehicles to travel 200 miles or more after only 10 minutes of charging. If they are correct, that could move the EV revolution along quickly, since one of the ongoing rationales for not driving an electric car is that they take too long to charge. Why spend an hour charging my battery when I can fill my tank with gasoline or diesel fuel in 10 minutes or less and be on my way?” is the refrain we hear all the time. It is the number one reason why so many companies are pushing hydrogen fuel cells. Apparently, convenience is more important to many people than preventing the extinction of every species currently living on Earth with the possible exception of cockroaches. Like most breakthroughs in the lab, this one began with a search for something else — a transparent substrate that could contain electrical circuits… Read more

Soybean Oil Technology Wins Big at German Tech Expo


via IOL: Hanover, Germany – The Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Company recently added a feather to its cap after it won an innovation award at the 2018 Tyre Technology Expo. Goodyear was recently presented with the prestigious Tyre Technology International Award for Innovation and Excellence in the category of “Environmental Achievement of the Year” at the expo in Hanover. Over the past few years, the company worked with the United Soybean Board to develop soy-based technology to enhance tyre performance. Following extensive analysis and road testing, this new technology is now being used in new Goodyear tyres. Goodyear discovered that soybean oil could improve tyre flexibility at low temperatures, helping the rubber to remain pliable in cold weather and enhancing traction in rain and snow. Breakthrough Goodyear also found that soybean oil mixes more easily with rubber compounds and reduces energy consumption, therefore improving tyre manufacturing efficiency. Goodyear chief technology officer Chris Helsel said the award represented a breakthrough by Goodyear in applying soybean oil in the tread compound of tyres, as a replacement for traditional petroleum oil. “Our work with the United Soybean Board presented a unique challenge and opportunity for our material scientists and tyre engineers to employ soybean oil in the development of superior performing tyres,” Helsel said. “It’s exciting to see that work pay off with commercially successful products, and an honour to be recognised by the industry for the environmental achievement.”

Addressing Grand Challenges with Design Engineering


via Eureka: As we approach 2020, there are a number of global trends and technological opportunities ahead. But while UK design engineers are held in the highest regard for their innovative nous, for maximum value we need to expand our definition of, ‘fit-for-purpose’. I’ve yet to meet a design engineer or manager who tells me they’re anything less than frantically busy at work. And, whilst devouring your latest copy of Eureka! over a mid-morning coffee is doubtless an essential part of your professional routine, you could be forgiven for not having read all 129 pages of the Government’s Industrial Strategy white paper. In fact, there’s much of interest between its covers, not least the setting out of four Grand Challenges, intended to position the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future. Responding to transformational global trends, these challenges represent enormous opportunities to improve people’s lives and the country’s productivity. The four grand challenges are: growing the Artificial Intelligence and data driven economy; clean growth; the future of mobility; and the ageing society. In the context of these challenges, and as part of a commitment to increase R&D spending by £4.7 billion over the next four years, a series of ‘Industrial Strategy Challenge Funds’ are being created. These will provide funding and support to UK businesses and researchers tackling specific industrial challenges where: the UK has a world-leading research base and businesses are ready to innovate; there is a large or fast-growing and sustainable global market. A total of… Read more

These Award-Winning Homes Take Tiny Living to the Next Level


via Architectural Digest: A recent micro dwelling competition pushed international architects to the limits of what can be designed in a 270-square-foot space—and the results are spectacular. Designing a home is never easy. But the prospects become significantly easier if the architect is not bound to any required dimensions. Building within an extremely small space of, say, 270 square feet takes real talent. Which makes the winning designs from the fourth annual Ryterna Architectural Challenge Tiny House all the more impressive. Indeed, these three winning designs were able to create a home within the competition’s guidelines: composing a space for two people no larger than 270 square feet that integrated a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and sleeping area into one cohesive unit. The competition—which was produced by Ryterna Modul, a European company that creates modular buildings, containers, and mobile constructions—recorded 150 entries from 88 countries throughout the world. Top prize went to Abdolrahman Kadkhodasalehi, an Iranian-based architect whose design consists of large planes of glass, blurring the line between the interior and exterior of the dwelling. Thanks to this, Wave House (as the structure is called) feels much larger than its 270 square feet. But the curved shaped of the structure also played a role in how people could live in the space more comfortably. “The curved design is organized to provide sufficient space for water supply, such as pumping water and heating water systems more easily,” said Kadkhodasalehi in a statement. The second place design went to Torii House, a… Read more