Student Designs Interactive 4D Printed Plants


via 3D Printing Industry: Nicole Hone, an industrial design Master’s student at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, has designed several 4D printed interactive plants. The plants react to physical stimulus either contracting or blossoming depending on the situtation. In addition to the 3D printing process used to make the plants, time is thefourth dimension here. The artist calls them “3D printed aquatic plants of the future” or Hydrophytes. Hone explained her creation, “I have always been fascinated with nature, it inspires my design ideas and aesthetic. For this project, I became particularly interested in botany and marine life. I was amazed by the way sea creatures and corals moved, and I wanted to reflect similar qualities in my designs.” The project was part of Hone’s Master’s thesis titled, Designing Organic Performance with Multi-material 3D/4D Printing. It was supported by NZProduct Accelerator, a program promoting additive manufacturing in New Zealand. Interactive 4D plants The Hydrophytes were designed using Rhinoceros 3D (CAD software) and Grasshopper 3D, a visual programming language, and also used 3D sculpting tool, ZBrush. The plants were then 3D printed using an elastopolymer – a combination of rubber and plastic, also known as digital materials, and Stratasys’ Polyjet system. The material is significant for making the plants interactive. Hone explains, “their man-made composite materials behave uncannily similar to living organisms […] with multi-material 3D printing, you can print with a range of rigid and flexible materials blended together in the same object […] you can pump air into… Read more

Careers: What engineering employers are looking for in prospective employees


via Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Steve Auburn, a senior consultant at Heat Recruitment, outlines the five key attributes that engineering firms want to find in prospective employees 1. Hard skills The rise in manufacturing activity in the UK over the past 18 months has seen a real increase in the number of companies looking for technical staff. According to a recent Engineering UK report, 61% of businesses are not confident they’ll be able to find staff with the necessary skills in future. Any candidates with a skill set that’s in demand will be invited to interview at, essentially, any company they choose to apply to. In many cases it’s a rat race for employers to conduct interviews and offer candidates roles quickly. Otherwise they risk losing an experienced candidate to the competition. Candidates should be upfront with companies when interviewing and let them know they have in-demand hard skills. Letting an employer know that you are interviewing for multiple opportunities is a strong negotiating tactic. 2. A range of soft skills While hard skills are the foundation and the walls, soft skills are the insulation. Communication, leadership skills and adaptability are the attributes that set an industry-leading engineer apart from a skilled one. Putting this across in a CV, however, may seem more difficult than listing qualifications. But there is a remarkably simple answer. In short phrases, in relation to specific roles, highlight projects completed where these skills were vital. “Led an integration project with Client X” or “mentored a new… Read more

Can Artificial Intelligence Change Construction


via Builder Online: IBM’s Watson supercomputer has beat Jeopardy champions, reconstituted recipes, and even helped create highlight reels for the World Cup. Now it’s taking on a new tech challenge; changing how the construction industry operates. A new partnership between IBM and Fluor, a global engineering and construction company, will put the supercomputer’s computational skills to work on making building more efficient. The new Watson-based system, in development since 2015 and now in use on select projects, will be able to analyze a job site “like a doctor diagnoses a patient,” according to Leslie Lindgren, Fluor’s vice president of Information Management. That degree of risk analysis, predictive logistics, and comprehension is no small challenge given the complexity of today’s construction megaprojects. “These are multibillion dollar project sites, that are like walking into a city,” says Lindgren. “The sheer volume of data is tremendous.” On especially complicated projects, Fluor will begin using two new tools, the EPC Project Health Diagnostics and the Market Dynamics/Spend Analytics, to make sense of the thousands of data points found on a crowded construction site. Constant analysis will help forecast issues before they show up, and automate how materials and workers are distributed. Eventually, the system will develop natural language functionality. “Think of it as a living and breathing system,” says Sai Yadati, a partner for IBM Global Business Services. “This is truly one-of-a-kind for the marketplace.” It’s a bold bet that reflects the ways in which the $10 trillion global construction industry continues to play catch-up… Read more

Driverless Cars: Levels of Autonomy


via techopedia: There’s a lot of hype about autonomous cars these days. “This is probably the biggest thing to hit the auto industry since the first car came off the assembly line,” said Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, at a 2017 technology conference in Washington. But experts are predicting that the deployment of driverless cars may take longer than many people think. The truth is that many of these technologies will likely be implemented gradually, and that there are varying degrees of vehicle automation. The computers haven’t completely taken over our cars just yet. Artificial Intelligence in Automobiles Is it really the right time to hand over control of our cars to computers? Consider this quote from thinker, author and professor John Haugeland in his book “Artificial Intelligence: The Very Idea”: “AUTOMATION PRINCIPLE: Whenever the legal moves of a formal system are fully determined by algorithms, then that system can be automated.” The latest automobiles are already using computers to control various functions throughout the vehicle. As I wrote in a previous Techopedia article “Your Car, Your Computer: ECUs and the Controller Area Network,” today’s cars may include dozens of computer modules that manage everything from air-fuel ratio to climate control. So how much autonomy are we prepared to give the vehicles that we drive (or don’t drive, as the case may be)? Is it enough to have algorithms in sufficient supply to operate the vehicle without human intervention? These are philosophical questions beyond our current topic. But it is more than… Read more

The Coolest Workspaces To Inspire Your Small Office Design


via startups: Imagine you’re walking into a typical British office space. What do you see? You’d be forgiven for envisaging dull synthetic carpets, plastic-topped desks and tubular fluorescent lighting straight off the bat. After all, this nondescript picture is the typical office design that many of us have grown used to: functional but bland. However, recent years have seen this modern office design trend reverse. In 2018, interest in employee wellbeing is at an all time high – with a sharpening focus on what businesses can do for their employees rather than the other way around – and the correlation between an attractive, stimulating office environment and staff happiness is well-documented. Alongside this, “cool” office spaces also provide an impressive, memorable place to meet with investors and clients, and – if your office design is cool enough – it might even attract publicity and social media attention, meaning more PR for your business. It’s no surprise, then, that an ever-growing number of UK coworking spaces are prioritising modern and fun design – and making it a key tenet of their offering to start-ups and entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, big businesses are increasingly looking to personalise their own offices in unique ways. In this feature, we’ve collated five of the coolest and most unusual office designs to be found across the globe: Crew Collective, Montreal, Canada Inventionland Design Factory, Pittsburgh, US BeacHub, Koh Phangan, Thailand Village Underground Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal Mind Candy HQ, London, UK For each of these amazing workspaces, we’ve explored the… Read more

How Drone Crews Are Helping Restore Power After Hurricane Florence


Via wvxu: Power companies, including Duke Energy, are putting their drones into action to survey damage from Hurricane Florence. The information they get helps develop a plan to get the electricity back on sooner. The problem with Florence is all the flooding and bucket trucks aren’t able to drive through the water. So in the meantime, dozens of drones help work out a plan of action. Duke’s Manager of Unmanned Aerial Systems Jacob Velky says it helps get eyes on the damaged infrastructure. “So when the flooding recedes we have the reconaissance of what that damage is going to look like and we can preposition the tools, materials and the people to get the lights on in those flooded areas as quickly as possible after the water recedes,” he explains. Here is video of a Duke drone inspecting a line in the Wilmington, North Carolina area: In North Carolina, some rivers receded but then crested again. At least 13 rivers were at major flood stage when WVXU interviewed Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Vice President for Security and Preparedness Scott Aaronson. EEI is a power company trade group. “The use cases have just exploded in number,” he says. “We can do this from everything from maintenance to surveillance on our lines to disaster response.” Velky was one of the first to use a drone to restring power lines in Puerto Rico. Duke has been using drones since 2015, testing them in Indiana and North Carolina. Electric companies now have more than three… Read more

WMG to develop lightweight vehicle technology


via FleetNews: The Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), part of the University of Warwick, will contribute to the development of lightweight vehicle structures, in a bid to reduce CO2 emissions. Working as part of a new research project called Tucana, WMG experts will help with the research and development of lightweight vehicle structures using scalable carbon fibre composites. The CO2 benefit of the project between 2023-2032, will be 4.5 million tonnes. As part of the project WMG will manufacture the carbon fibre components, in its new Materials Engineering Centre which will has dedicated facilities for composite and hybrid structures. To gather the material optimisation and characterisation WMG experts, led by Professor Ken Kendall, will trial the manufactured materials on their newly installed composite materials processing equipment (which received £1.3m funding from the WMG centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult). The Government has invested £18.7 million into light weighting projects and WMG will receive £4m. Tucana, brings together a consortium of world-leading academic and industry partners. Led by Jaguar Land Rover, other partners in the project are Expert Tooling & Automation Limited, Broetje-Automation UK Ltd, Toray International U.K. Limited, CCP Gransden Lltd, and Magna Exteriors (Banbury) Limited. Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, chairman and founder of WMG, said: “It is vital that research and development, in the automotive sector, supports the UK’s Industrial Strategy and the move towards increasing the number of electric vehicles. I am delighted that WMG’s contribution to the project will help in establishing a world class UK supply chain for materials and… Read more

Uzbekistan’s Dream To Use Solar Energy May Come True Soon


via Azernews: Uzbekistan, which has long been striving to use its solar energy potential, may finally reach its dream and construct a solar power plant. Currently, Indian company Shapoorji Pallonji is studying the issue of building a solar power plant in Uzbekistan. The company is interested in the implementation of investment projects for the construction of solar power plants in Uzbekistan with a capacity of 50 to 100 MW. At the moment, the Indian company is exploring the possible locations of the solar power plant, the tax and customs benefits provided in this area, the duration of the contract for the sale of electricity, the terms of granting state or sovereign guarantees with respect to attracted financial resources. Potential areas for the construction of the solar power plant are the Samarkand, Bukhara and Kashkadarya regions. Uzbekistan enjoys vast potential in renewable energy, and 98.5 percent is solar energy, 320 sunny days per year. The World Bank estimates that Uzbekistan solar total potential is more than about 51 billion tons of oil energy, which cannot only save a lot of oil resources, but also improve the atmospheric environment. The country adopted the program on the development of alternative energy sources in 2013. In particular, construction of the several solar power plants with total capacity of more than two gigawatts, creation of the International Institute for Solar Energy and the construction of the facility on the photovoltaic panel production is planned within the framework of the program. Uzbekistan announced its plans to build… Read more

Making the world a better place with artificial Intelligence


via The Star: Let’s start with a riddle. What do Florence Nightingale, a city lawyer named ‘RAVN ACE’ and a Japanese cucumber farm have in common? If you thought “the unlikeliest set up to a joke”, you’re not entirely wrong. However, the answer I was looking for, is artificial intelligence (AI). Florence Nightingale, born in 1820, was more than just the ‘lady with a lamp’. She pioneered a statistically driven approach to healthcare that has formed the basis of much modern AI approach and thinking. RAVN ACE isn’t just any old lawyer; it’s an AI system. It is able to do the work of a barrister 2,000 times faster. Recently, RAVN ACE assisted the UK’s Serious Frauds Office in a bribery and corruption investigation that resulted in a GBP 671 million settlement. All around the world and everywhere around us, artificial intelligence is making the world a better, more efficient place. History may show us that AI-related concepts aren’t entirely new. Yet, it is undeniable that AI is growing at an exponential rate in modern times, thanks to faster computer chips (Moore’s law), a data explosion (100 million pictures are posted to Instagram everyday) and cloud computing. AI and UN Sustainable Development Goals I shared these points recently at a talk series hosted by CIMB. The talk was part of the bank’s commendable efforts to develop a better understanding of emerging technological trends and their impact on sustainability. When asked to present on “AI and Sustainability”, I thought of the just-under… Read more

We Can Now Easily 3D Print With Metal


via Futurism: THE NEXT LEVEL. We can now 3D print pretty much anything from seemingly any material. Want to print a house out of concrete, a human cornea out of a bio-ink, or a pizza out of dough, sauce, and cheese? Piece of (3D-printed) cake. The one material that’s proven a bit trickier, though, is metal. Industrial printers are up to the task, but we’ve yet to see a commercial 3D printer that can create objects out of metal with the same ease others print with plastic. However, researchers from Yale University think they’ve found a way to make 3D printing metal objects easier than ever before. They published their study in the journal Materials Today on Tuesday. HOW IT WORKS. The problem with printing objects with metals? Metals aren’t typical found in an easily “printable” state — it’s just not easy to get them soft enough to make into different shapes, something that’s pretty simple to do with plastic. To get around this issue, the researchers turned to bulk metallic glasses (BMGs). A BMG is a type of metallic material that doesn’t exhibit the same rigid atomic structure as most metal alloys. This means BMGs can soften more easily than most other metals, but they are still strong with high elastic limits, fracture toughness, and corrosion resistance — qualities typically associated with metals. For their 3D printing research, the Yale team focused on a readily available BMG containing zirconium, titanium, copper, nickel, and beryllium. Under the same conditions used to… Read more