Developments

BATLESS

Battery life. If we could figure out how to lengthen it exponentially, the world would be a better place. And that seems to be what the researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have - almost –achieved. They have invented a smart microchip that can continue powering a device even when the battery of the said device has been depleted.

In the not-so-distant future the technologies associated with the Internet of Things (IoT) will demand connectivity around the clock; to assure...

In the 22 March edition of the Nature Partner journal of Flexible Electronics, a report was published that might just redefine our clothing of the future.

The Swedish School of Textiles and research institute, Swerea IVF, conducted studies on how electrostatic power can be generated from textiles. Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology put those studies to the test.

The researchers used what is known as a piezoelectric material. These are materials that generate an electric charge...

Imagine for a second the kinds of innovation that could occur if MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and BMW joined forces. Well, stop imagining. The two have joined forces. But, not necessarily in the way you might have thought. The university and the car manufacturer have linked arms, and are ready to harvest their latest obsession: air.

The engineers from MIT’s Self Assembly Lab and BMW have created a new 3D printed structure utilizing a process known as ‘Liquid Printed...

Last month we took a look at the (new) tallest building in the world which belongs to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is The Jeddah Tower, which is set to trump the previous record holder for the tallest building in the world - the Burj Khalifa. But, this isn’t the only impressive feat of civil engineering currently solidifying its place in the history books.

The projects detailed here are all projects that are utilizing new technologies, using new design philosophies, or simply becoming the...

The world’s first driverless ferry is set to replace footbridges in the Norwegian city of Trondheim. Soon pedestrians will be able to cross the canal that separates the Ravnkloa fish market and the Vestre Kanalhavn dock much quicker than they’ve ever been able to before.

With the population growing steadily, engineers have been faced with the challenge of creating more river and canal crossings — however bridges can be costly to build and obstruct the flow of boat traffic. A team at the...

The Tottenham Hotspur Football Club has recently announced their new stadium has been “future-proofed” to accommodate safe standing, should the legislation in the UK change.

Standing during games has been banned at in the top two divisions of English football since 1989, when 96 Liverpool fans were killed in the Hillsborough disaster. However, a 2016 inquest into the tragedy found the crush was not caused by standing.

As a result, the Football Supporters’ Federation launched a petition to...

Some highways (and most sidewalks) in the United States are made out of concrete. Mark Weaver, a Professional Engineer in California, writing on website Quora, explains:

“The main reason is that highways have much higher volumes of traffic than surface streets. Highways also have much heavier vehicles traveling on them than surface streets. The combination of higher volumes and higher weights of vehicles causes serious durability issues for asphalt concrete pavement.”

The problem with...

With population numbers expected to rise exponentially, and the global growth of the middle class to continue, the topic of the sustainability of resources becomes more pertinent. More cities are needed, functioning infrastructure must be available, and it must all reflect the hallmarks of modern civilization.

However, it has become apparent that populations are growing faster than cities can be constructed.

Some philosophers and thinkers have started looking to the sea to solve some of...

As Vladimir Putin gets another six years in the seat as the Russian President, Russian engineers tow something through the Baltic Sea, something the world has never seen before.

The metal giant in tow has the symbol of an atom tattooed to its exterior, which onlookers know can only mean one thing; it’s nuclear. The Russians correctly assert that it will be the world’s only functioning floating nuclear power plant. Floating nuclear technologies are not new, but this is an impressive feat of...

1969 was a big year for the engineers and scientists at NASA; the year they enabled humans to reach the Moon. Next year, it will be 50 years since Apollo 11 touched down on that lunar surface.

This year the goal is Mars, although the players look a little different to 50 years ago. Now it seems that billion dollar private companies and government agencies are all competing in the space race.

SpaceX, the aerospace engineering company headed up by Elon Musk, is soon to launch their BFR (Big...

Euro Tunnel

Engineers wait with bated breath for a call they may never get. Earlier this year, the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, proposed a 22-mile bridge to span the English Channel.            

Eleven tunnel boring machines and engineering expertise created the 50.45 kilometer (31.35 mile) Channel Tunnel link between England and France.The tunnel took five years to build with a total of 13,000 workers from both England and France. If the building of a bridge is announced it would...

Lithium Batteries

The speed at which a lithium-ion battery charges, remains a unique scientific and engineering challenge. Historically, slow charging has been responsible for limiting the development of vehicles and technologies that need to constantly recharge. This is, however, changing as technology advances.

The safety of lithium-ion batteries has also been a sore point in the history of battery technology. But with new sensor technology these batteries are becoming less risky.

Ensuring no thermal...

AIRhub

It is difficult to train for outdoor sports indoors. We can try to replicate naturally occurring factors such as hills, valleys, wind and rain; but nothing can adequately imitate what the outdoors is capable of producing (even when training outdoors). Cycling is no exception. Training is regularly conducted indoors, to control things such as resistance and drag when slopes are sparse. Or, when practise riding into a headwind is required and there’s not a breath of wind outside.

Previously, an...

Solar panels

Electricity, seemingly abundant in our world today, is something that we take for granted. The reality, however, is very different in the world.

Source: Foter.com

It is estimated that 1.3 billion people still do not have access to electricity.

 

Electricity can mean many things for communities. Once electricity is established within a community, the access to power can lead to better health care, education, and self-determination. And prosperity soon follows.

Powering rural areas is...

Building Facia

If you don’t have steel you don’t have a country - so says the President of the United States Donald Trump. And, based on an investigation conducted by the American government, their country had drawn the short straw when it came to steel imports and exports. To ensure it did not impact the elusive ‘American Dream’l import tariffs were back on the table.

President Donald Trump has announced a 25 percent tariff on steel articles exported to the United States. In an official proclamation, he...

Boat

Victorien Erussard, an offshore racer and Merchant Navy officer has taken to the seas aboard the latest marvel of engineering. He has set aside six years of his life to travel around the world in a boat that will not generate any carbon.

Source: https://www.energy-observer.org

50 engineers, designers and naval architects worked on the interdisciplinary, multifaceted ‘Energy Observer’ boat. The racing boat is powered by an assortment of renewable sources such as: a hydrogen fuel cell...

President Cyril Ramaphosa

More engineering industry jobs are coming to South Africa. That is, if the country’s brand new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is to be believed. Much like in the United States, the new sitting president is promising the renewed strengthening of manufacturing and mining jobs - whilst promising that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be a focus as well.

Source: Historymag.co.za

President Cyril Ramaphosa has given his State of the Nation Address a day after being sworn in as president...

Nothing

Students and professors in research and development teams in the United States are setting the standard for nature-inspired engineering designs. Using nature as an influence for design, and using engineering design to better understand nature, may produce fruitful outcomes for engineering and nature alike.

A mechanical engineering team at the University of Illinois is using butterflies and snake scales as a blueprint for creating a new surface that will be used for ‘fluid and light...

Star Wars - OB1

“Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope”. - Princess Leia

In 1977, science fiction fans were treated to the very first Star Wars film. Years later, the series has branched off into comics, novels, more films, animation shows, and more. But back in ‘77 when Princess Leia spoke her very first words in the series, R2-D2, the robot relaying Leia’s three-dimensional recorded message, showed the world what the future of holograms could be.

Source: YouTube

A team of engineers at...

There is nothing quite as spectacular as a successful rocket launch; it is a wonderment of aerospace engineering. We have also now as a species become accustomed to seeing rockets landing after being fired - and then being reused again. This is all thanks to the aerospace engineering company known as SpaceX. They have just made engineering history with their spacecraft, the Falcon Heavy.

Their engineering prowess has sent the most powerful rocket in history up into lower earth orbit. SpaceX...

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The Chinese may be on their way to setting a new world record...for a railway construction job in the Fujian Province in Southern China.

On the 19th of January 2018 something quite remarkable happened when 1,500 workers were tasked with constructing a railway designed to connect the city of Longyan to three other pre-existing railways.

It was successfully completed in nine hours! From the evening of the 19th of January to the early hours of the 20th the teams worked through the night -...

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Nikola Tesla was an electrical engineer, a master of invention, and a technological giant far beyond his years. An electric engineer for the ages. His influence on the engineering industry is continually being recognized in a world where alternative energy is becoming the status quo.
 
As his career matured, Tesla would turn into a polarizing figure; many were very skeptical about his belief in what humanity could achieve with electricity.

However, nothing immortalizes Tesla, and...

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China’s solar highway shut down by thieves

A highway built out of robust solar panels that generate energy throughout the day has actually become a reality thanks to Chinese engineers. The engineers have dubbed it the very first photovoltaic highway the world has ever seen. (Although France opened one of their own back in 2016.)

 

Regardless, the Chinese opened the highway on the 28th of December 2017, in Shandong, a province in China. The highway involves a 2 kilometer stretch...

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The fourth industrial revolution is here, making us a part of the Internet of Things (IoT), whether we like it or not.

Artificial intelligence, big data, data generating sensors, robotics and automation are the kinds of innovations that are currently disrupting and indeed benefiting industry. One issue which is facing increasingly interconnected and intelligent enterprises (filled as they are with complex technology), is the shortage of employees skilled enough to use and manipulate these...

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Singapore’s Changi Airport recently unveiled the airport terminal of the future; their brand new Terminal 4 with a fully automated check-in system.

 

ICM Airport Technics, a global leader in airport technology solutions, are at the forefront of transforming airport terminals and their hybrid technology was installed in the new Changi terminal. Their Group Chief Executive Officer, Richard Dinkelmann, was the very first passenger at the  Singapore Airport to utilize the check-in...

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Henry Petroski, an engineer who has specialized in failure analysis, and has written a dozen or so books on the subject, once said:

“Failure is central to engineering. Every single calculation that an engineer makes is a failure calculation. Successful engineering is all about understanding how things break or fail.”

 

Engineers are not only inundated with the potential mathematical design failure of their work, but also the organizational failures that could eliminate the chance...

Leading Australian artificial intelligence scientist Professor Toby Walsh is warning that we are "sleepwalking" into an AI future in which billions of machines and computers will be able to think.
Professor Walsh, from the University of New South Wales, is calling for a national discussion about whether society needs to adopt clear boundaries and guidelines around how AI is developed and how it's used in our lives.
In his book It's Alive: Artificial Intelligence From The Logic Piano to Killer...

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The fight against cancer continues.  Biomedical engineers have announced a new skin cancer diagnosis tool that will identify cancers in up to 30 seconds.

Presently, a dermatologist needs to remove potentially malignant skin from a patient and send it away for testing to assess whether or not the skin is cancerous. This can cause unnecessary scarring for some and dangerous delays for others. The key to stopping cancer in its tracks is quick diagnosis.

 

Non-melanoma skin...

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There are more than enough photographs of abandoned buildings on the internet to fill tome, but the history behind them is often overlooked. Oftentimes abandoned buildings speak of a troublesome past - a past where engineers, among others, were involved in constructing the next great thing which did not stand the test of time for various reasons. Engineers from a subsequent generation are then employed to take the abandoned husk of past infrastructure, and turn it into something...

In-ear EEG devices have become increasingly more popular in the later stages of the last decade. Carel Wessels, the top student of Electronic Engineering at the University of Pretoria for 2016, has now taken on a new challenge. He is designing and developing an in-ear EEG device that will revolutionize industries such as the truck driving industry and the infant care industry.

 

What follows is an in-depth conversation about how electronic engineering and biomedical engineering meet...

Your engineering qualifications could take you anywhere around the globe. Even to the southernmost continent. 

This week we talk to a South African electrical engineer who overwintered in Antarctica. From December 2015 to February 2017, Paddy Riley, a graduate of the University of Cape Town, tells us how he spent 14 months in Antarctica, assisting with the operating electrical equipment at space weather research base, SANAE IV. 

The South African National Space Agency sends...

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) state that 66% of Australians are university graduates or have completed an apprenticeship.

 

In Australia, getting a job without a degree in certain industries was once commonplace, however, employers are now requiring that all important piece of paper; the degree. Joshua Krook, a Doctoral Candidate in Law at the University of Adelaide, writing for The Conversation, alludes to the fact that the goalposts are continually being moved when it...

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The breakthroughs in the biomedical engineering industry are staggering. For instance, the world has moved closer to a system of wearable diagnostic tools that are designed to continually monitor human health – consider the Fitbit for instance.  And ideas that had previously been designated to the realm of science fiction are becoming reality.

 

One such advanced study involves ingestible robots, used for retrieving swallowed button batteries and also for the treatment of the...

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The United Arab Emirates have continually shown how deep pocketed they are when it comes to funding engineering endeavor.

 

In the last year, they impressively printed the world’s very first 3D office, and announced plans to build the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world.

Now, they’re moving on to their mobility engineering strategies. They seem convinced that flying taxis are the future. The country unveiled their intention to use EHang 184 drones as...

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The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has signed an executive order which stipulates that a wall along the US-Mexico border is to be constructed. The initial promise was that it would be 50-foot high and 2,000 miles long. The President is determined that a wall will be built, and that Mexico will pay for it. Needless to say, it has left civil engineers wide-eyed.

 

As envisaged the wall will span four states: California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

 

Trump’s...

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Smart cities are much more than solar-powered street lights triggered when pedestrians walk beneath them.

Smart cities refer to cities that use the latest in technological innovation in infrastructure and IT systems, and the Internet of Things, interspersed with environmentally-friendly nature-inspired elements.

 However, to design a smart city, a sizeable redesign to old infrastructure is usually required. Architecture needs rethinking and reforming, the traditional disciplines of...

A recent article (detailed below) in Engineering.com titled Engineering Implantable Devices for the Brain, caught our eye. It looks at the collaboration of a Paediatric Neurosurgeon and an Electrical Engineer determined to help eliminate brain disease by building brain implants. Biomedical engineering is in growing demand with shortages of both biomedical engineers and technicians in every part of the world. EIT's Advanced Diploma of Biomedical Engineering starting the week of June 06, 2016 is...

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By Edwina Ross

“The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.” These are the words of Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943) physicist, engineer and inventor.

Elon Musk, another scientist, engineer and inventor, may have recently set up his desk at the end of the Model X production line at the Tesla Motor factory in California (with his sleeping bag not too far away), but I don’t believe for a minute...

The Queen of England has already spent £600,000 ($748,932) of taxpayer money with trusted engineers and architectural designers that have compiled blueprints for what is being called a 'reservicing' of Buckingham Palace. The taxpayers have been informed that they will be expected to foot the bill of £369 million ($459 million) for a full update of the Palace. All of the bells and whistles! The main engineering company attached to the project is WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff. There are six Buckingham...

Researchers in Columbia University Cochlear Implant Center are investigating a way to engineer music so that people who have cochlear implants might actually be able to enjoy music.

Cochlear implants are engineered to make speech sound clearer to people who are past the point of utilizing an amplifying hearing aid, however, it is reported by implantees that they have lost the ability to enjoy music. 

The researchers from Columbia University intend to, "test the hypothesis that...

Working with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive - already established names in the VR market - VR4CAD gives engineers the ability to walk through a virtual world and see a hypothetical example of what a design might eventually look like in a real world. It is a system that brings designs to life. Virtalis believes that there is a future for virtual reality in engineering. 

Through an agreement with the University of Liverpool, Virtalis is showing how Continuing Professional Development...

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South Africa is celebrating their Wind Energy Week, this week. A week that will focus the minds of business leaders and engineers, all over the country, on the positive effect more wind energy infrastructure could have in the country. Most notably, a two-day conference is being held in Cape Town that will focus on the theme: Towards 100% Renewables. Three other events are also being held, all in the name of renewable energy with the specific focus on wind energy. 

A report by...

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When Tesla bought solar panel manufacturing giant Solar City in August - for the cool sum of $2.6 billion - the benefits were clear. Tesla, who had been working on electric vehicles and the house and business-powering Powerwall and Powerpack needed the solar panels that would keep their batteries charged. The Chief Financial Officer of Tesla, Jason Wheeler, told Reuters, that the companies would save at least $150 million a year by merging. He also stated that Tesla and Solar City would be...

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General Electric is considered to be one of the world's leading industrial companies, who have played a leading role in building energy infrastructure. They do this through their Power department, formally known as GE Power. They are one of the world leaders in power generation and water technologies, supplying utilities around the world. With the recent advancement of renewable energy technology, the company has made a big investment into what they think would further the renewable energy...

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Additive manufacturing is the process of manufacturing a material object through layer-by-layer technology enabled by computer-aided design technology. Or at least it used to be. A new kind of rapid prototyping is on the rise. Rapid prototyping is a useful process for scientists and engineers alike, who use 3D printing technology to rapidly manufacture objects for both theoretical and practical uses. Rapid prototyping allows for the creation of models and parts that could be used in engineering...

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Engineers in North Dakota, in the United States, are embroiled in a stop-start construction build of what would be the Dakota Access Pipeline. Due to citizen pressures in the form of protesting, the project has been halted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Meaning, that a federal court under the Obama administration has stopped the pipeline progressing, for now. Obama previously completely canceled a pipeline that was meant to run from Canada to Texas, named the...

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What do nanotechnology, polyethylene (plastic), and clothing have in common? Well, they can all be combined to make clothing that helps the person wearing it stay cool, especially in hotter climates. Listen up, engineers who work in high-temperature workplaces! Engineers at Stanford University have created a plastic-based material that can be "woven" into items of clothing. The researchers published their findings in the Science journal, under the title: Radiative human body...

Internet-less African towns will have to wait for their internet connections a little longer. A satellite belonging to Facebook - for the purposes of supplying the internet to sub-Saharan Africa - was destroyed by an exploding SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Thursday. There were no injuries reported, however, there were reports of the ground rumbling in areas miles away from the blast site. The estimated losses were said to be $200 million. 

 

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