Developments

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In the fast-changing world of engineering, staying afloat in terms of qualifications, credentials and knowledge is a tough business. Luckily, it is becoming easier to remain in an industry, work hard at it, but at the same time gain more knowledge on the side that will further you in your industry. The other scenario is, you may be later on in life and not able to go all the way back to university to gain the credentials that would get you a job in an engineering career right now. What do you...

Sound engineering is not an easy feat. Neither is music engineering. Clarence Adoo is a trumpeter who was paralyzed from the neck down after a car accident two decades ago, rendering his arms unusable, thus playing the trumpet was going to be problematic. Seven years after his accident, an engineer named Rolf Gelhaar built him a breath-controlled instrument named Headspace. As the years passed they attempted to get the Headspace working but have now perfected some of the...

What do you get when you put drone technology and a Russian engineer into the same room? They build something out of a video game, apparently. A Russian YouTuber named Valplushka has shown off a drone resembling that of a city scanner from the game Half Life 2. The city scanners are used by the Orwellian government in the game and is used for the purposes of surveillance and protecting the city. The video shows a prototype the Russians have built that looks precisely like the...

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It's the year of engineering stretchable, wearable electronic devices for the impending future of wearing technology on our bodies, clothing etc. Nanoengineers, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers and computer engineers have never put this heads together quite like this before. Researchers at The University of Wisconsin-Madison are showing off their own flexible, wireless, wearable integrated circuits. Their studies were published on the Wiley Online Library in the Advanced...

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Ikea, the home furnishing store, made a pledge last June that it would be investing in the future of renewable energy. The intention is to only use renewable energy to power the chain of home improvement stores by 2020. According to the Guardian, Ikea enjoyed a comfortable profit of $33 billion in 2015 and will be using some of that to fund solar photovoltaic solutions and wind power. They will be injecting $660 million, on top of the $1.6 billion they have already invested into renewable...

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Researchers from the National University of Singapore have invented a new method of camouflaging sensors to the point where they are considered invisible. Professor Qiu Cheng-Wei from the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at NUS Faculty of Engineering was at the helm of a team that is slamming their flag down on the world's first "multifunctional camouflage shell" that is invisible in thermal and electric environments. This means that anything that produces heat or...

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Dubai is banking on 3D printing in a big way. The country has announced their 3D printing strategy. The strategy is being enforced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President of Dubai, who is confident that additive manufacturing is definitely the way to go when it comes to civil engineering. 

In a statement, Al Maktoum said: "We implement what we plan, and we pursue actions, not theories. The rapidly changing world requires us to accelerate our pace of development, for...

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Are you using intelligent lighting systems in your business or your home? If the answer is no, then the question is, why not? The intelligent lighting systems market will make $5 billion annually by 2026 if recent estimates are to be believed. That would mean by the year 2026, the intelligent lighting systems market would have doubled what it is currently is. The estimations were made by Future Market Insights

Commercial buildings are the customers delivering the most income to the...

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Carnegie Mellon University has been observing machine-learning algorithms due to unclarity of how the machines decide between certain categories. The engineers are looking at how the algorithms decide between: "credit, medical diagnoses, personalized recommendations, advertising and job opportunities." 

"Demands for algorithmic transparency are increasing as the use of algorithmic decision-making systems grows and as people realize the potential of these systems to introduce or...

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At the Congress of Parties 21 in Paris in December 2015, Australia committed to keeping the global temperature from ever reaching 5 degrees centigrade, which meant agreeing to move over to renewable energy. Australia has done well in this regard and has committed to technologies such as solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind power, hydro energy storage (PHES). 

According to The Age, Australia is installing PV and wind energy sources at "20 times the annual rate worldwide". They also confirm...

Coal continues to be a useful resource for reasons unrelated to burning it for fuel and energy. Honeywell, an engineering conglomerate from the United States has updated their manufacturing toolsets to include producing materials that convert methanol from coal to plastic. This, allegedly, would mean China could potentially meet the demand for plastics. 

The technology is called Advanced Methanol-to-Olefins (MTO) technology. It involves using coal and natural gases to create...

Ed Rensi, a former CEO of Mcdonalds has revealed that the company could be cutting humans completely out of the picture very soon. This, whilst protests to push the minimum wage to $15 an hour grow stronger. 

Rensi who was a guest on a show on Fox Business, said: "I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry -- it's cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who's inefficient...

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Who is teaming up with the British government to test out the first energy storage systems that will assist the grid? Renewable Energy Systems (RES) will be working with the UK's National Grid and is expecting that it will be "fully operational" in 18 months. RES will balance the grid by supplying renewable energy in literal seconds, meaning this would be the first real picture of grid balancing, at least for the UK. 

"This is the first time that battery storage will...

It seems this year (2016) is the year that biomedical engineers will show off the most. It's almost June and we've seen dozens of amazing new technologies being developed in the biomedical industry that pertain to wearable technology. The latest piece of gear that could be improving our lives is a device that would listen to the cracks in our knees. A Professor Omer Inan, who graduated from Stanford University and is now at the Georgia Institue of Technology has invented a device that...

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The Ivanpah Solar Power Facility is the world's largest solar plant. It is stationed in the Mojave Desert in California, United States and generates 377 MW of clean solar power that powers up to 140,000 homes in the area. It has 173,500 heliostats that have two mirrors each. It is relatively new, it was opened in 2014, and for the first time has unfortunately caught on fire. The fire was purportedly caused by "misaligned mirrors" which the plant uses to reflect the sun into a boiler...

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India has successfully launched its first mini space shuttle. The shuttle is known as the Reusable Launch Vehicle - Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) which is an unmanned vehicle that the Indian space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully ascended to 41 miles after it had separated from the rocket.  It is a winged body vehicle enabled it to make its way back to earth and attempted a runway landing. The virtual runway was a once off runway specifically cordoned off for the...

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The Hannover Fair 2016 was quite the occasion, as we've reported before, but it seems like a distant memory. We saw industrial automation take the centre stage at the event, however, there were other engineering feats that weren't reported on as much. One eye-catching innovation was from a company called Sorama which concerns itself with visualising sound and vibrations. They have built something that looks like you should be barbecuing on it, but it is the latest, top-of-the-line...

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Wearable technology is slowly making its way into the world of today thanks to the engineers in the research and development centers all around the world. Engineers at the University of California San Diego are now announcing that they have the world's first, flexible, wearable device that can monitor "both biochemical and electric signals" that the human body emits. They're calling it the Chem-Phys patch and it records EKG (electrocardiogram) heart signals and other biochemicals the body...

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What is the next ultra-strong building material the world is going to use in its structures? You've been using it since you were a child, it's been under your nose the entire time. Sand. The stuff sand castles are made out of. However, whenever you've made a sand castle it's usually ended a crumbling mess even if you built it well. This is where geotechnical engineering comes in. The aim is to make regular sand/dirt a stronger material so that we could eventually sturdy structures on the...

What software do you use to make incredible, engaging engineering designs? Are the products you're designing ready to connect to the Internet of Things? Autodesk Fusion 360 looks to be a mechanical engineer's dream software and they have now updated it to include something they call  Fusion Lifecycle and Fusion Connect. Yes, Autodesk is embracing the Internet of Things, which was quite apparent since they bought out a company called SeeControl that specialized in...

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China has just about completed the world's largest radio telescope named the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST). The telescope has been built by the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NOAC) with the assistance of Australian CSIRO engineering. Don't question the rationale behind building it, because you will end up listening to a conspiracy theory of how this dish might actually lead to a conversation with an alien race. However, it is a...

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Mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering are furthering their bosom-buddy status through a world first testing of HER technology. It means Haptically-Enabled Robots and Australia's Deakin University could be bringing them to the world with Telstra quite soon. The robots would be able to conduct ultrasound imaging diagnoses to remote locations where medical help is few and far between. The robots come out of the Deakin University's Institute for Intelligent System Research and...

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Engineers at the University of South Wales have just set a new world efficiency record for solar cells. It's allegedly all about the solar cell configuration that allows sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency to be pushed up to 34.5%. Dr. Mark Keevers and Professor Martin Green work inside the UNSW Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics and have configured the solar cells in such a way that when sunlight hits it, it splits sunrays into four bands that manage to extract more...

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China wants to be in charge of building service robots if the latest bid for a robotics company is any indication. A Chinese group named Midea Group has just put in their bid for Germany's Kuka Robotics. Their offer to the company is around $5 billion, which should show the seriousness of the market of service robotics. Kuka's current focus is how robotics will factor into the Internet of Things and assist the expansion of Industrie 4.0.

Credit: Associated...

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Wearable technology is the current trend that has led to a plethora of engineers that are investing their time into creating incredible innovations. Building batteries for devices that can be worn on a body is a challenge due to the need for a battery that powers wearables without being clunky and getting in the way. Smart watches are getting it right to some degree but what if we want truly skin-tight wearables? Researchers have looked into the flexibility of batteries and have come up with...

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Germany. May 8th, 2016. Renewable energy in the country was utilized more than it had ever been utilized in the past. The country almost operated completely on renewable energy and left fossil fuels wondering what had happened. According to Bloomberg, at 2 p.m. on Sunday renewable energy sources supplied 45.5 gigawatts of the 45.8 gigawatts that were being demanded. 

"Events like this highlight that eventually we may need to start curtailing because of market-wide oversupply. In the...

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Regenerative braking is the winner in the energy storage world, the competition is over, lithium-ion has been destroyed - is a statement you're not going to hear anytime soon. Nonetheless, it is a new energy storage alternative that could assist utilities when they need more energy to continually power the grid. Regenerative braking is a method of taking kinetic energy from moving parts and then storing that energy and reusing it. Electric vehicles have been using the method and trains have as...

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Shell has had a busy week which started on Thursday last week. First of all, the company went to work to try and plug a fault in a flowline that sent 2,000 barrels (approximately 90,000 gallons) of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. The oil slick the leak has caused is reminiscent of the Deepwater Horizon Spill of 2010

The Associated Press put the figures together and concluded that there have been 147 spills and 500,000 gallons spilled into the Gulf of Mexico since 2012. Shell claim to...

Former engineers from Google, Tesla, Apple and Cruise Automation have jumpstarted a new company that will specialize in self-driving trucks called Otto. Engineers who worked on Google's self-driving car have joined hands to create hardware kits that can be installed on pre-existing trucks or can be built into trucks at the manufacturing phase. They are currently using a Volvo VNL 780 truck as a test subject but say they will be trying Class 8 trucks. They say there are 4.3 million...

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Engineers at one of the world's leading elevator companies, ThyssenKrupp, have shown off an elevator system dubbed 'TWIN', that would see two elevators on the same shaft. In some countries, the system has been installed and have been working for quite some time, but for others, two elevators on one shaft is unheard of. Four years ago the company released the report that showed the very first elevator system that had two cabs working on one shaft, minimizing time and costs in a...

Stanford University's engineers are back in the news again for biomedical engineering that would involve using a urine test to determine whether or not a person has a disease or not. Yes, that does sound like the way it has been done for quite some time, however, engineers are trying to revolutionise the testing process and make it as simple as home testing. In the past, almost like the litmus paper test, a paper is dipped into the collected urine sample and the paper changes colour. However...

Bendable phones are getting closer and closer to being a reality. There are hurdles, but nothing engineers cannot eventually work around to bring the smartphone market a phone that can bend without breaking and produce 3D images. Queen's University Human Media Lab have played around with this technology and are saying that they have developed the world's first holographic flexible smartphone. 

They have nicknamed the phone the HoloFlex. The phone uses tiny lenses, planted onto...

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Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) is the newest addition to semiconductors in the optoelectronics field. Optoelectronics is the field of engineering that has produced great, useful machinery like X-rays, infrared and more. Now, engineers from the University of Buffalo's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have discovered a method wherein ultrathin semiconducting materials absorb light at a higher rate. In the abstract to their study, the engineers go a bit more in-depth into what they have...

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Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) have found the right people to shake hands with to ensure that they continue to produce processors to the engineering industry. Due to this, they saw revenue jump up in the biggest increase in the last 35 years for the company and are reportedly expected to see a 15 percent increase in the second quarter of the year. 

The deals made with AMD open a renewed battle for who can create the best x86 processors and system-on-chip technologies. The company...

Who is leading the charge in the 3D printing world? The answer may be revealed at the 3D Manufacturing Event hosted by RAPID, the authority on 3D printing, scanning and additive manufacturing on an industrial level. 

The keynotes that are going to be delivered on the 16th to the 19th of May, 2016, include:

  • Transition to production
  • Next generation manufacturing: Leveraging the digital thread
  • 4D printing in Medicine: Developing medical devices for the growing patient
  • The...

Who said engineering isn't fun? 

Students at the Bringham Young University in Utah, have developed an artificially intelligent robot that not only serves as a partner to play games with when you're lonely but can also beat you at foosball. Nathan Warner, a BYU student in computer engineering, said: "So we're building a robotic vision-controlled foosball table. So, the objective is to defeat a human player." The students programmed how a normal human would play the game and then put that...

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ITU and Cisco have teamed up to release a sixty-one-page document detailing what needs to happen globally to facilitate the operation of the Internet of Things and how it will develop our world in the future. The report was titled: Harnessing the Internet of Things for Global Development

Mr. Houlin Zhao, the ITU secretary-general wrote in his foreword to the report:

"The Internet of Things is not a single, unified network of connected devices, but rather a set of...

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Technavio Research is the leader in technology research that observes a global market and can generate statistics based on their findings. They have recently looked into the impact that global industrial automation is making and watching its trends to predict what it is going to do in the future. The report they have released is called: Global Industrial Automation Market in Life Sciences Industry 2016-2020. Included under the umbrella of life sciences would be things like robots...

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China is among the first countries to begin their implementation of security robots. The robots will be patrolling the Congqing district in China, and was built by the National Defence University. The robot has been named 'AnBot' and weighs in at a staggering 78 kilograms. It can travel at 11 miles per hour and stands at 1.5 meters tall. The university says that the robot also has anti-terrorism and anti-riot measures. It is also allegedly capable of eight hours of "continuous...

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Civil engineers in the United States have observed the current problem Miami has with floods. A new study by Miami-Dade County projected that due to the rising of sea levels, there will be a flood every day by 2045. Currently, Miami experiences 45 floods a year according to Fusion.net, this number would rise to 80. The Union of Concerned Scientists (USC) perused data that the Army Corps of Engineers compiled and as a result are issuing the latest warning for something to be done. 

The...

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Never has electrical engineering and audio engineering come together in quite an innovative way. Sony has announced a new iteration of their LED light bulb speakers. Yes, you read that right...lightbulb speakers. Sony Japan quietly launched the bulbs with Bluetooth speakers embedded into them last year in July. 

Credit: Sony Japan

The only two reviews from customers who bought it from Amazon.com, left unflattering responses as to how the light-speaker fared in quality. The one...

Can Elon Musk proves the critics wrong once again? Could he and a team of engineers successfully show the world that a transport system that could travel 760 miles per hour is viable? Hyperloop Technologies Inc. has now become Hyperloop One in a rebranding announcement, rebranding so they would not be mistaken for another company with 'Hyperloop' in the name. Several other announcements about Elon Musk's dream transportation system were made to the media yesterday. Hyperloop One says...

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Japanese automaker, Nissan, has joined the fight to be the King of the Storage Throne. They have announced their new xStorage system which would be taking the recycled batteries from their Leaf electric vehicles and then repurposing it. The battery would be able to act as an energy source for a house, taking it off the grid, and also perform tasks like charging electric vehicles due to the 12 Nissan Leaf battery modules inside the body. For now, Nissan says the xStorage unit will only be...

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Google has released a preview of what they have been busy with in the world of virtual reality. The video shows two artists using a virtual landscape as their canvas and create with the brush that equips them with the tools to create artworks. 

On the website TiltBrush, there are more detailed views of what the software actually looks like the inside of the VR goggles. There are dynamic brushes that can paint a plethora of weird and wonderful looking things in the virtual world. Saving...

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Good news out of MIT this week. They are actively trying to get rid of our wrinkled skin. 

Daniel Anderson, associate professor at MIT said: "The goal was to really create something that was totally invisible, breathable, could coat the skin, protect it, perhaps deliver drugs to it and also perhaps even make it look better." 

Robert Langer, a chemical engineer, and professor at MIT, involved with the project, said: "What we've been able to do is create a cream, basically, that...

Sir James Dyson with the company's new hairdryer

The next innovations and solutions to the United Kingdom and perhaps even the world's problems could be coming out of Cambridge University thanks to one man, Sir James Dyson. He has provided funds that will see the opening of the Dyson Centre for Engineering Design at Cambridge University. The Dyson company just recently released their brand new design for the re-engineered hair dryer, that might be taking the world by storm quite soon. Now with this announcement, the new engineering center...

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In an unsurprising move, Total, the French oil company, has decided to make a hefty bid to take over a battery maker named Saft Groupe SA. With the assistance of the French Financial Markets Authority, the two companies announced on Monday, that the battery maker would be bought for $1.082 billion. The acquiring of the company happens amidst a brand new branch recently launched by Total that will encourage cleaner practices of energy production. 

Total has offered to pay $41.62 per...

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Earlier in the year the Consumer Electronics Show, 2016 took place in Las Vegas, allowing electronics manufacturers to show off the new innovations they had been building up in their factories. An autonomous passenger drone by the name of EHang was teased as the first autonomous aerial vehicle in history. Since then, more and more engineers have been lending their minds to companies to create autonomous passenger vehicles that could potentially take to the sky.

The company behind EHang is...

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Graphene since its discovery in 2004 has been an investigated by engineers across the globe. Brazil is attempting to commercialize the material by opening a Graphene and Nanomaterials Research Center which will be called MackGraphe. Graphene is the thinnest compound that weighs in at one atom thick and is the lightest known, strongest compound ever discovered. So the desire to capitalize on the material and build into our everyday lives is of heightened interest to engineers and scientists...

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Interesting week for electric vehicles and the companies that are producing them. Tesla Motors Inc. has seen the exit of two top executives whilst they confidently stride forward to releasing the Tesla Model 3. Tesla initially said that they would be delivering the car at the end of 2017 and intend to push out 500,000 units a year by the year 2020. 

Then Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla and SpaceX) decided to supercharge their initial statement in a conference call saying...

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