Do Mechanical Engineers Need Programming to Survive?

mechanical_engineers

via machine design : Do mechanical engineers need programming to survive? Education is generally not moving quickly enough to keep up with technology. While materials and processes may not change as quickly, the machines doing the work are evolving very rapidly. Math is a good foundation to stand on for education. However, as electronics evolve, I’m seeing less ladder logic and more programming. If electronics are little black boxes filled with what might only be described as “black magic,” then certainly, code is some form of grimoire (a magic spell book). But wait: Mechanical engineers (MEs) are not programmers. It is important for these designers to understand materials and processes, not code. However, many engineers end up on the factory floor instead of a design office. As movements like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) drive product lines to become more electronic and software driven, should mechanical engineers start learning programming? MEs often take ladder logic. As higher-level script programming starts to integrate with controllers and drives, however, it is becoming increasingly beneficial to have some type of programming understanding. While there can be a mentality opposed to change, new devices are offering higher programming languages that might give the competition a leg up. Educational institutions should consider working basic programming into the curriculum for MEs so they are more comfortable when they get into the field. An ME might work in a factory that runs on ladder logic, but what happens when a manager wants to integrate a robotic arm… Read more

Live In A Small Home? There Are Plenty of Benefits – Here’s How To Make The Most of Yours

small_homes

via I News : Live in a small home? There are plenty of benefits – here’s how to make the most of yours Thanks to rising rents and overcrowded cities, more people are living in smaller places. Emily Jupp finds out how to make the most of petite properties. When searching for a place to live, we quickly learn the real-estate lingo: for “cosy”, “quaint” and “bijou”, read cramped, poky and claustrophobic. But with the threat of rising rents, house price rises and increased population, a tiny bolthole carved out of someone else’s house or a mini-bedsit might be the only way for many young people to own a place of their own. Mimi Zeiger is an architecture critic and columnist at architecture and design magazine Dezeen. Rather than wringing her hands, she sees the challenge of cramped cities as a an opportunity to explore new options. “In cities like London and New York, where housing stock is in short supply and real estate prices and rents keep climbing higher, city governments have an opportunity to experiment with new housing types,” she says. “Adaptive reuse of existing buildings into small homes could also be a solution.” One suggestion for unlocking space in our cities is to loosen planning rules for pre-existing property. According to a study carried out by crowdfunding platform Property Partner, 41 per cent of the lock-up garages owned by local authorities are currently empty, idle or in disrepair. If these were sold, they could potentially be converted into… Read more

Electrical Engineers Create Tiny But Powerful Medical Devices

medical_device

via Phys.org : Electrical engineers create tiny but powerful medical devices Battery-operated medical devices implanted in human bodies have saved countless lives. A common implant, the cardioverter defibrillator, sends a jolt of electricity to the heart when needed, preventing a heart attack or heart failure. While patients’ lives are improved by this technology, if the device causes an infection or the battery needs to be replaced, more invasive procedures are necessary. Mehdi Kiani is seeking a better solution. The assistant professor of electrical engineering in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Penn State is making the implantable devices smaller, which decreases the chances of infection, and more powerful, eliminating the need to replace the battery. “We’re developing novel wireless power transfer techniques and integrated power managements,” said Kiani. “We’re working to power these implantable devices wirelessly while keeping their size fairly small—about a millimeter and below, which is quite challenging.” Kiani’s work, “An adaptive reconfigurable voltage/current-mode power management with self-regulation for extended-range inductive power transmission,” was presented at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco. The conference, which has only a 30 percent acceptance rate from both industry and academia, is the foremost global forum for the presentation of advances in solid-state circuits and systems-on-a-chip. ISSCC offers a unique opportunity for engineers working at the cutting edge of IC (integrated circuit) design and application to maintain technical currency, and to network with leading experts. Hesam Sedeghi Gougheri, a doctoral student… Read more

Italian Architect Spearheads Push For Eco-Sustainable Buildings in PHL

sustainable_buildings

via Business Mirror : Italian architect spearheads push for eco-sustainable buildings in PHL Moving to a new condominium building? Wait a minute. It could be beautiful outside, but could give you hidden costs inside. The builders could pass on to you added burdens because the project is unsustainable on many counts. Simply put, a building that takes too much energy to cool or heat is like a car that guzzles up too much petrol. The analogy is simple. You accept a bad building design, you end up seeing your savings go down the drain because of the builder’s operational costs—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For Italian architect Romolo Nati, designing and building a structure “should be within and beyond the ‘green’ building norms.” The longtime Philippine resident, a sensitive artist who professes to have a liking for the Filipino nipa hut, has seen many climate upheavals in recent years, thus, his work reflects solutions for environmental issues. The creatively woven modern Italian designs and inspirations derived from things Filipino are always present, giving his clients a fusion with added value: living with nature and learning to harmonize with the environment. A devout advocate of sustainability, Nati said a building design must always have a common denominator—while it must basically provide functionality to people, it must have a lower impact on the environment. “At the rate we are abusing the planet, it is simply not sustainable. We are bound to run out of natural resources needed to survive. That… Read more

New Boston Dynamics Robot is Terrifying Science Fiction Brought to Life

bostin_dynamic_robot

via Futurism : New Boston Dynamics robot is terrifying science fiction brought to life Here’s your first official look at Handle, Boston Dynamics’ newest robotic creation. The robot stands a little over six feet tall and has four working “limbs” — two front legs and a pair of hind wheels that allow it to stand upright. It can travel roughly 24 kilometers (15 miles) on a single charge and can carry items up to about 45 kilograms (100 pounds) in weight. Handle applies dynamics similar to those found in its quadruped and biped predecessors from Boston Dynamics. Unlike those, though, it only has 10 actuated joints, which makes it less complex, yet it is also more robust, with the same jointed movement ability as humans. The addition of wheels allows Handle to move very efficiently across virtually all flat surfaces. Because it has both legs and wheels, the robot essentially has the best of both worlds and can go and move anywhere with ease. It can even carry heavier objects with better stability. Earlier, a leaked video from Boston Dynamics gave us a glimpse of what Handle could do by demonstrating its impressive flexibility and balance. But it’s nothing compared to what was just revealed in their official demonstration. While it’s an impressive display of technological advancement, seeing all we have achieved in the field of robotics in the form of this robot may also leave you with unsettling feeling that humans have just created something that is simultaneously cool and… Read more

Dunlop Encouraged After Positive Tyre Debut

tyre

via Speedcafe.com : Dunlop encouraged after positive tyre debut Dunlop has declared the official Supercars tyre test a success but has warned there will be a steep learning curve ahead to understand the full capabilities of the new 2017 rubber. The tyre firm has produced a new construction of tyre for use in this year’s Virgin Australia Supercars Championship which is expected to provide the biggest shake-up for the sport since the introduction of the Car of the Future in 2013. While last year’s compounds have been retained, the new tyres represent the first significant change since the the Dunlop control tyre first emerged in 2002. Supercars teams were issued with four sets of the new soft and super-soft tyres to evaluate at Sydney Motorsport Park on Tuesday ahead of next week’s Clipsal 500 season opener. The rubber had previously undergone extensive laboratory testing by independent engineering firm, Calspan in Buffalo, New York State. Dunlop’s Australian motorsport boss Kevin Fitzsimons says his team has plenty of data to analyse and was encouraged by the performance delivered on a high degradation circuit in hot conditions. Nissan’s Rick Kelly topped the test by clocking the fastest Supercar lap recorded at the venue with a 1:28.77s on the super-soft tyre. “We have experienced no problems whatsoever. Everything we had learned in the testing in America was replicated, so I’m extremely happy,” Fitzsimons told Speedcafe.com. “Considering it was so hot and the surface is pretty poor, I was pretty encouraged that we got down to the… Read more

Green Tea Could Be Used To Make Next Generation Supercapacitors

green_tea_supercapacitors

via Green Optimistic : Green tea could be used to make next generation supercapacitors Seems like people are wearing and carrying more electronic technology all the time. Up to this point people have used batteries to power them, but there are other options for personal electronics. Supercapacitors would be a great way to power a gadget, and they can take a charge very quickly. Apparently, they can be made with polyphenols from green tea as well. In a new report from The American Chemical Society‘s The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, a new supercapacitor technology has been created, and they used green tea to do it. Guruswamy Kumaraswamy, Kothandam Krishnamoorthy and their team have created a supercapacitor by preparing polymer gels in green tea extract. The goal was to infuse the gel with polyphenols, and it worked. The polyphenols converted a silver nitrate solution into a uniform coating of silver nanoparticles. Layers of conducting gold and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) were added, and the product was a supercapacitor that demonstrated power and energy densities of 2,715 watts per kilogram and 22 watt-hours per kilogram. This is more than enough to power LED’s or a Bluetooth module, among other practical applications. The team then tested the new device’s durability and were happy to see that it was able to function after being compressed in excess of 100 times. While this technology is in its infancy, it is great to see such encouraging results.

International Coalition Creates New System For Measuring Construction Costs

construction

via Daily Commercial News : International coalition creates new system for measuring construction costs An international coalition of more than 40 groups from six continents is creating a new system for measuring construction costs that aims to reduce investment barriers caused by differences in professional standards. “For the first time, we have every single professional body in this space saying we believe in this project and we have signed a declaration to create and adopt this standard,” said Ken Creighton, chair of the International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) coalition. “It will involve change, but having consistency is so important in our shared marketplace. The reality is that we have one international marketplace and it is incumbent upon our profession to take a consistent approach.” Quantity surveyors and other cost consultants measure the value of a construction investment from design concept to project completion in the private and public sectors. However, Creighton said the methods used to measure the cost of construction projects vary between geographic regions and countries around the world. As a result, it is difficult to compare the construction cost of any type of infrastructure project between countries, due to differences in standards and a lack of consistency in the way costs are calculated, classified and reported. These differences increase investment risk in construction by reducing project transparency. In response to this problem, the ICMS coalition was established by 46 organizations who represent quantity surveyors, building surveyors, engineers, engineering consultants and architects. These professional organizations of cost consultants are… Read more

Renewable Energy Is Creating Jobs 12 Times Faster Than the Rest of the Economy

Energy Solar Electricity Photovoltaic Renewable

via Fortune : Renewable energy is creating jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy The solar and wind industries are each creating jobs at a rate 12 times faster than that of the rest of the U.S. economy, according to a new report. The study, published by the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) Climate Corps program, says that solar and wind jobs have grown at rates of about 20% annually in recent years, and sustainability now collectively represents four to four and a half million jobs in the U.S., up from 3.4 million in 2011. The renewable energy sector has seen rapid growth over recent years, driven largely by significant reductions in manufacturing and installation costs. Building developers and owners have been fueled by state and local building efficiency policies and incentives, the report explains. But, these gains are in contrast to Trump’s support for fossil fuel production, his climate change denial and his belief that renewable energy is a “bad investment”.”Trump’s current approach is basically ignoring an entire industry that has grown up over the last 10 years or so and is quite robust,” Liz Delaney, program director at EDF Climate Corps, told Business Insider.  

The World’s First Pollinating Drone Could Help Us Survive the Bee-Pocalypse

Pollinating Drone

via Science alert : The world’s first pollinating drone could help us survive the bee-pocalypse Researchers have developed a remote-controlled pollinator using a miniature drone equipped with a sticky gel, in what could be a glimpse of the future as more and more bee species become endangered. With extinction pressures on bees and the world’s other natural pollinators estimated to threaten up to US$577 billion worth of global food production annually, artificial pollinators could be one way of taking the burden off insects and other animals that play a pivotal role in agriculture. But while autonomous bee drones could be an important part of food production in the future, researchers from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan only stumbled upon their artificial pollinator concept by chance. A decade ago, chemist Eijiro Miyako was conducting research on ionic liquids – salts in a liquid state – to see if he could find any solvents that might make good electrical conductors. He ended up developing a gel that was as sticky as hair wax, but no good for conductivity. Considering the liquid a failure, he abandoned it, placing the gel in a storage cabinet in an uncapped bottle. Several years later, Miyako rediscovered the substance, and was amazed to find that despite being lidless for so long, it hadn’t altered or evaporated. “This project is the result of serendipity,” says Miyako. “We were surprised that after eight years, the ionic gel didn’t degrade and was still so viscous. Conventional… Read more