Developments

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BMW have finally revealed that they intend to get into the energy storage system market and compete against manufacturers like Tesla, Daimler (Mercedes Benz) and Nissan. BMW will be repurposing their i3 model batteries for home storage systems once the batteries have served their purpose inside the car. Once an electric vehicle has used a percentage of a lithium-ion battery's recharge cycles, it is illegal to keep it inside a car, however, the battery retains enough of its power to act as a...

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The Internet of Things is growing at an exponential rate, faster than some companies can keep up. The Internet of Things also emphasizes the need for faster internet connections. The impending future interconnectivity of 50 billion devices around the world has inspired a slew of 5G network tests in the United States, in attempts to handle the speed necessary to facilitate the Internet of Things. Faster internet speeds will be good for the Internet of Things so data and analytics can be quickly...

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When getting your qualifications in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, it is easy to lose track of skills that could be easily attainable that might assist your job hunt in the future. There are a number of engineering experts that are warning students to further explore entrepreneurial and business skills that might complement their engineering degrees. 

In the United Kingdom, in Newcastle, STEM experts are trying to implement a student-focused course named The Hunter's...

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Photovoltaic cells are not reaching their full potential. Recently, we reported on a method that could lead to more efficient photovoltaic cells from the University of Utah. The revelations included subjecting semiconductors to light sources before the manufacturing process. This reportedly, allowed semiconductors to work more efficiently, especially for applications in solar technology. 

The improvement of solar technology will be important in the photovoltaic cell industry...

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We've all seen them. A video that is sped up by about 2 times its normal rate, showing an industrial robot performing some sort of complicated task. The main issue is the speed at which the robot is actually operating at. Industrial robotics can't be fully implemented if what we're left with are slow robots working at a slow pace. That's where motion planning comes in. Researchers at Duke University explain: "Motion planning is the problem of finding a path to move a robot from its current...

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Researchers from Swansea University could be sitting on a gold mine. The team has just been awarded £25,000 (about $37,000) from the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers. What? Who are we worshipping? The researchers have apparently made breakthroughs in corrosion inhibitors that prevent rust and corrosion, especially on steel products. They have developed this inhibitor to address the issue of a previous inhibitor which will be banned from the EU in 2019. That specific inhibitor...

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Photovoltaic installations are all the rage in 2016 but are they cost-effective and efficient? Right now, getting a storage system could be a little bit of the price range of most consumers. If households want to shave their peak-time energy bills, getting a storage system makes sense, however, if there is no subsidization for storage systems, you could expect to part with $3,000 for a Tesla PowerWall. The price goes higher in other countries due to shipping costs and general installation of...

Industrial automation is growing in popularity as the fourth industrial revolution continues to charge ahead into the future. The Robotics Industries Association has reported that in 2015, the demand for industrial robotics grew by 14% and was valued at $1.8 billion. The International Federation of Robotics also chimed in with their projections. They say that by 2018, there will be 1.3 million industrial robots in use around the world. 

President of Force Robots, Steve Somes, said...

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Cement. Can't live without it...can't live without it. Concrete is important in the civil engineering world, but, sustainable, environmentally non-harmful applications of concrete are becoming even more important. However, how do we make cement cooler? Researchers from the Michoacan University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo have the answer. Glow-in-the-dark cement. The researchers have used phosphorescent materials to make the glow-in-the-dark cement which would be more eco-friendly...

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The world produces a lot of plastic every year. That plastic usually finds it way to landfills. Some of it even lands in our oceans. According to World Watch, the world produces 299 million tons of plastic per year. If you live in Asia, the amount of plastic used by a single person is 20 kilograms per year. Needless to say, there is a lot of polyethylene being used and discarded every day. But once it's discarded, it doesn't serve many purposes. Science fiction kind of changed that when Doc...

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Substation design has changed over the years. Now, with the upcoming push for renewable energy, the technology that operates substations needs to keep up with the times or eventually just call it a day. The issue with old substation design? It tends to leave some people in the dark...for hours. Just ask Michigan. 25,000 people were recently subjected to power outages due to unknown reasons. The Executive Director of Public Affairs at Lansing Board of Water & Light Steve Serkaian indicated...

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Here is one for the PC master race. The University of California, Davis, is in the news for creating a new 1000-core "kilo-core" processor. Say what? Yes. The university's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have created a processing chip that is able to handle 1,000 independent processors. This would be considered the world's first kilo-core processor, the engineers said. Unless there is someone else out there who can take them up on the challenge and prove that something as...

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The University of Michigan knows how important nanotechnology is. Engineers all over the world are actively busy with nanotechnology, that can be worn outside of the body, but also exist inside a body. Biomedical applications of nanotechnology have a long list of advantages if perfected. Now, researchers from the university have begun to work an injectable computer that uses radio frequencies to communicate with machinery outside of the body. Fancy having a WiFi connected body? 

The...

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Efficient, renewable, cost-effective and...did we mention renewable? What are these words? Well, they are words that you hear in almost every single engineering industry in the world today, but these words specifically haunt the engineers who work with light-emitting diode technologies. Scientist and engineering associate professor, Mike Scarpulla has to grapple with these words daily. The professor from the University of Utah is actively involved in creating LED technologies. A recent...

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Potholes are a global problem. Wherever there are roads, it's likely, that you'll eventually see a pothole. Some countries have it worse off than others when it comes to road maintenance, and could see potholes remain unfilled for a long period of time. Civil engineers all around the world are adamant to find a 'one size fits all' approach to ending the problem of potholes in their respective countries. One of the countries that suffer from unrepaired potholes is South Africa. $3.3 billion is...

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Nissan continues to innovate in the automotive industry. The company said they were working on a fuel cell vehicle (FCV) technology that would ethanol as a hydrogen source. The company hopes to have overhauled their entire fleet of vehicles to work on cleaner energy sources by 2020. The company indicated that they would be using sugar cane and corn crops to produce the ethanol. 

Nissan's Executive Vice President Hideyuki Sakamoto said: "The cost and energy required to produce hydrogen...

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Everything's bigger in Texas. Even the engines inside the big pickup trucks. However, petrol heads have become more conscious about how much fuel they consume as prices continue to dance around uneasily. It's all about fuel efficiency in the twenty-first century. However, with gas guzzling cars, getting the most out of your tank had been difficult, until now. An engineer out of Texas has claimed to have developed an engine that would be able to do 100 miles per gallon. 

Cars are...

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Countries like India and Africa have poverty-stricken areas with people who need food just like the rest of the world. In these impoverished areas, the burning of unstable gas stoves is commonplace, which has its own dangers due to shack fires that could occur. Burning charcoal is out of the question indoors, due to carbon monoxide. Burning a wood fire also causes unhealthy amounts of smoke if it were to be burned indoors. However, a group of engineers at a company...

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Fancy living in a 3D printed house? What used to be a far-fetched pipe dream might actually come to fruition sooner than you think. A Chinese company named WinSun had claimed to have printed 10 concrete houses in under 24 hours, in 2014. The company's concrete 3D printer has only been seen by employees. Therefore, there was no concrete evidence that the company factually printed the houses in under 24 hours, or even printed them at all.

As 3D printing technology progressed...

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Data communications just got a bit more interesting thanks to lasers. Visible light communications abbreviated as VLC - no not the video player - is a technology that utilizes visible light to carry data from one device to the other, unlike radio frequencies that are used today. A new paper on the subject has been published in the ACS Photonics journal. The authors are from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). 

VLC technology makes use of lasers or...

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Australia is now powering an entire gold and copper mine with solar energy. The DeGrussa mine in Western Australia is powered by one of the largest off-grid solar and battery storage facilities in Australia. The photovoltaic cells are producing 7MW of electricity and will reach 10MW by the end of summer. The plant will serve as a test for the implementation of clean energy powering of other mines around the world. 

According to Mining Weekly, the project cost the mine $40 million. The...

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Bloomberg has put together a new report named New Energy Finance's New Energy Outlook 2016. In the report, the group estimates that the renewable energy market will have grown to its optimum rate by then and energy storage systems will be available and affordable to all. 

In the report, the group said: "Cheaper coal and cheaper gas will not derail the transformation and decarbonisation of the world's power systems. By 2040, zero-emission energy sources will make up 60% of...

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Battery-less technologies are in our future. It's all about the Internet of Things and interconnecting devices. The thinking is that if  IoT devices didn't have the need for a battery charge they could stay connected forever because the battery wouldn't run out and need to be recharged. The only way this would be possible is with energy harvesting. Instead of getting a charge from a battery, you would get the direct charge from something like solar power or wind energy. Some devices and...

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Engineers have to keep their eyes on what scientists are doing. Why? Because scientists could bring a new compound to the world that engineers have to factor into their designs. You never know what could be coming out of a lab next. One of these 'new-age' materials engineers could be seeing on a daily basis is graphene. Graphene is being researched closely around the world in many labs. The hope is that graphene can be engineered into many industries where strong, highly conductive, bendable...

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Why should you care about the continual engineering of Bluetooth? Because it could be helping your automated factory very soon. Bluetooth is about to have twice the speed it previously did and it will also have four times the range. They're calling it Bluetooth 5. The announcement comes from the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. The group says that the new iteration of the technology would assist in accelerating "industries such as industrial automation, smart infrastructure, smart homes...

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A solar-powered plane prototype flew over New York on Friday night. The aircraft was tested by a company named Luminati Aerospace LLC. The company allegedly wants to build a fleet of drones that would be able to provide internet access for 4 billion people worldwide. A fleet of internet supplying, constantly hovering drones? Interesting. The plane's name is Solar Impulse 2  and is considered to be the largest solar-powered aircraft on the planet. The plane was flown over Long...

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Researchers at the University of Kentucky have unveiled longwall shearers that also have scrubber systems attached to them which minimize the amount of coal exposure to miners. Shearers extract coal from coalfaces and according to the researchers account for 50% of all the coal produced in the world today. 

Thomas Novak and Chad Wedding work with the University of Kentucky Department of Mining Engineering Alliance Coal. Novak said that mining operations, unlike longwall mining...

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The rumor mill is working around the clock when it comes to talking about Apple. The iPhone manufacturer has been named - multiple times - in rumors that indicate that they have scooped up former engineers from Tesla. The media has basically outright confirmed that Apple is building an electric competitor to Tesla and other companies in the electric vehicle industry.

Reuters did their very own investigating and found out the latest on the very behind-the-scenes progress Apple is making. A...

Don't you just hate folding clothes? Yeah, me too. It's something you're either good at or bad at. Don't worry about learning how to fold the perfect shirt - close those YouTube tutorial tabs, young newlywed - a robot is available to solve the problem for you. A group of engineers has released the FoldiMate

All you do is add your favorite fabric softener and then let the machine do its work. Watch the video below and see if you can control the urge of going to their website and...

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Are you an engineer who works with materials that expand upon contact with heat? Well, a new discovery might put you out of your misery soon. If you think about materials that expand when hot, a long list of vehicles, aircraft, roads and even electronics could be compiled. 

However, Oxford University scientists have been testing negative thermal expansion (NTE) materials. So, this would mean when a material comes into contact with heat, it contracts. The study into NTE materials...

Australia is set to conduct the largest trial of combined solar and energy storage in a suburb known as Salisbury. The company behind the endeavor is an energy company known as SA Power Networks . They will be supplying Tesla PowerWall or Samsung batteries for the lucky few who will get to see what the future of sustainable energy during peak hours without the grid's help looks like. The trial will see 100 houses get battery storage systems. SA Power Networks says that the customers can be...

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Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla visited the Pentagon on Wednesday. He met with Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, according to CNN. Allegedly, the two were meeting to chat about "innovation". Musk would be hoping to cement more government ties for SpaceX as a company, they already have upcoming missions with NASA's assistance in 2018. It could also be about the Gigafactory that is soon to open in the Nevada desert that will see some of the most sought after electric cars released from its...

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How do we get wind turbines into deeper water in the ocean? The answer is gravity base foundations. A company named EDF Energy Renewables has awarded a UK company, Royal BAM Group, the engineering design contract to build five gravity base stations that will keep wind turbines in Blyth, Northumberland, England propped up. The turbines would produce clean energy to 33,000 homes. Wind turbines are nothing new, but the gravity base stations are. They will be the first of its kind in...

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the greenlight to a robotics company named Auris Robotics. The company registered the ARES (Auris Robotic Endoscopy System) robot with the FDA, and they have finally been given the go-ahead to use the robot to work in the medical field.

Auris Robotics has their roots in another company named Intuitive Surgical who showed off their Da-Vinci robot surgical system The Da Vinci is a robot that has "tiny-wristed"...

Microsoft's Hololens is one of the more impressive devices being engineered in the augmented reality world. However, Microsoft wants to do one better and integrate more virtual reality into the Hololens than previously advertised. They're now calling the Hololens a  "mixed-reality" device that they hope will thrill consumers all around the world. The engineers have been working to bring an operating system to their Hololens as well. The new video they have released shows how far the...

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There's a new sheriff in town. It seems Dubai is wanting to be the leader in all forms of manufacturing and renewable energy lately. They have 3D printed full business offices and are now looking to build the world's largest solar power plant. This would eclipse the current record holder, Ivanpah Facility in California, that has recently seen a lot of technical difficulties and a tower-destroying fire. 

Credit: DEWA

The announcement came from the Dubai Water and Electricity...

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Engineers are the new pizza delivery guys. Home delivery robots will soon be delivering your pizza straight to your door without you having to talk to a human face, your pizza might even be warmer. Multiple pizza companies are the first to be introducing robotics into their businesses. We've seen the Pepper robot assisting with purchases at Pizza Hut. However, robots delivering pizza is a whole different ballgame. 

A team of engineers in Estonia, who have called themselves Starship...

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United States Navy Engineer Dennis Gallagher has developed an augmented reality (AR) helmet for navy divers. The prototype is sitting at the US Navy's Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) and utilizes the same head-up display principles that aircraft in the US military use today. The helmet has HUD technology embedded into it, says the Navy. 

Credit: U.S. Navy

It is called the Divers Augmented Vision Display (DAVID) and will revolutionise...

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Daimler/Mercedes

Mercedes producer, Daimler, is fresh off of releasing their new home and businesses powering lithium-ion batteries to Germany and have now created a dedicated branch that will assist with further innovation in the energy sector. The new entity's name is Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH. The entity will be leading the charge in the sales of the brand new batteries by Daimler. 

"This now enables us to respond with even greater flexibility to our customers' requirements,"...

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Who has the world's largest battery in the world? The answer will soon be China. A battery that will help with grid stability in what is known as the Dalian peninsula in Norther China. The companies behind the large battery are UniEnergy Technologies and Rongke Power. The battery will be capable of a whopping 800MWh. The battery is not a lithium-ion battery but rather a vanadium flow battery. The battery works differently to lithium-ion due to the liquid tanks that are utilized only when a...

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Lithium-ion batteries are the lifeblood of the energy storage movement, without them the current climate of moving towards renewable energy would be one limb short. However, improving lithium-ion batteries is also something that engineers concern themselves with so that we can utilize batteries to their full potential. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have been working on improving lithium-ion performance. 

Chemical engineers used the energy transfer in lithium...

Researchers at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have announced a new lens that could see improvements to oversized lenses prevalent in cameras and telescopes. They call it an ultra-thin planar "metalens" that would revolutionize the world of optics in lenses. The lens would be able to utilize nanotechnology to enable a heightened access to the spectrum of light. Currently, we utilize round lenses that are exactly flat. 

"This technology is...

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In the last few years, civil engineering practices in African countries such as Kenya and more notably Nigeria have been investigated. Now, some questions of a recent tragedy might finally get some answers. It was September 12th, 2014 when the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Nigeria collapsed, killing 115 people. The investigation into what actually caused the collapse has turned into a court case which is now being conducted at the Ikeja High Court in Nigeria. The engineering...

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The Japanese electronics company, Seiko Epson, have announced that they have technology in their possession that would enable robots to be incredibly precise. Tasks that their robots can perform range from putting a key into a keyhole to knowing how much force is necessary to open that door. The technology could grow to the point where robots thread a needle. The company revealed a piezo force sensor that utilizes technology that they have used in their inkjet printing technology...

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Another week, another wearable. It seems like every week some university shows off its biomedical health trackers off to media outlets. This time is no different, the US National Science Foundation's Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) that operates out of North Carolina University is showing their Health and Environmental Tracker (HET). The researchers propose a patch-like device that a person would wear on...

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Industrial control systems (ICS) will be under threat of being infiltrated by cyber criminals says the Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality group. The company supply companies with insights into risk factors and how that might impact their future business. They have  now released a press release to warn engineers that they might want to put extra security measures into their industrial control systems as Industrie 4.0 continues to grow into an interconnected network of...

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In the recent weeks, we have been following China's takeover of multiple companies in 2016, notably, the takeover of Kuka Robotics. The Midea Group has been trying to make offers to German robotics firm, Kuka, but it seems there is a stalemate occurring. According to the Wall Street Journal, Germany is hoping to buy Kuka before Midea does, and retain the company's European ownership. They would have to provide a counteroffer of more than $5 billion, which Midea was prepared to pay. 

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It's the year 2016 and we are still seeing marvels of engineering being built all around the world. Switzerland has just taken the crown from Japan for having the longest railway line in the world. The previous record was 33,49 miles, a railway tunnel known as the Seikan rail tunnel. The United Kingdom and France Channel tunnel is now the third longest in the world. The new Gotthard tunnel is 35 miles long and cuts under the Swiss Alps connecting north and south Europe. It goes from Erstfeld to...

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Have you ever been out of power for long stretches of time, making you reach for your phone and shout down the municipality's ear?  It might have been a grid fault that took a while to find and repair. Sometimes the equipment at the utility has been damaged as a result. However, thanks to engineers at Binghamton University these faults will soon be found quicker due to SSA (Singular Spectrum Analysis). 

"Theoretically, the SSA algorithm is an optimal approach for accurate and quick...

Telkom is South Africa's premier telecommunications company who supply wireline and more recently wireless communication solutions. The company's latest attempts at supplying telecommunications to the country involve LTE technology and fiber internet solutions. Introducing new technologies has translated into needing more engineers to assist with building an infrastructure that facilitates uninterrupted internet to the greater South African public. Telkom was one of the first companies in South...

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