Developments

Pyrotechnic engineering is an important job and also a risky one due to the health and safety measures that must be taken to ensure that pyrotechnics do not put humans at direct risk of being harmed. Mike Tockstein is a pyrotechnician with his M.S. and B.S. in Electrical Engineering. He spoke to Payscale.com back in 2007 and said, "Pyrotechnicians are considered 'independent contractors' in most cases. So there is no set pyrotechnician salary." Tockstein also said, "I consider this a hobby that...

It was just the other day we reported on SpaceX's mission to deliver inflatable rooms to the International Space Station. The mission held, even more, significance because of SpaceX's constant mission to land a spacecraft after it had launched it. The Falcon 9 - the rocket in question - took off on April 8th, 2016 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and with it, the Dragon cargo spacecraft that had the supplies, experiment material and new hardware. The program that delivers...

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A company named Wohlers Associates Inc. that specialized in additive manufacturing/3D printing has published their 2016 Wohlers Report. The report is respected in the engineering industry as a clear picture of what is happening in the industry and how well it is performing. According to, 3Ders, Wohlers looked into 51 industrial system manufacturers, 98 service providers, 15 third-party material producers, various desktop 3D printer manufacturers, and 80 3D printing experts from...

When you think of mushrooms and the most sought after ones, of course, you think about truffles. Pardue University isn't looking for truffles to eat, but rather a wild mushroom that could aid in the future of lithium-ion batteries for energy storage. Allegedly, the university is taking the carbon fibers from the wild mushroom and altered it with nanoparticles, which has resulted in interesting observations.

Vilas Pol, an associate professor in the School of Chemical Engineering and the...

Copper prices have fallen, according to news agency Reuters, causing engineering and technology companies to reassess what's happening in the industry and attempt to rectify the situation. The annual World Copper Conference conference (named Cesco/CRU) that took place in Chile this week, found that copper prices will remain low for the next three to five years. 

The price of copper is almost at a six-and-a-half-year low due to Chinese growth slowdown which is forcing the...

China  is prioritizing their focus on smart buildings, smart homes and everything of the sort with their annual Smart Home and Intelligent Building Expo. The focus of automated components of homes and how they interact with each other and with the vehicles we drive and the cell phones we use is a particular interest of engineers from China. 

Elsewhere in the world, the need to sufficiently prepare for the oncoming change of homes, offices and buildings a whole is being...

Very soon you could be sending your own satellite into space. Researchers at Arizona State University are, in their own words, "making the price of conducting a space mission radically cheaper."  It sounds too good to be true right? 

The work has been done in a lab called the Space and Terrestrial Robotic Exploration Laboratory. Jeken Thanga, assistant professor and head of SpaceTREx said, "With a spacecraft this size, any university can do it, any lab can do it, any hobbyist can...

Software engineers are the mighty guardians of keeping Google up and running 24/7. In a report written on Wired, Google uses three words in explaining how it stays up: Site Reliability Engineering. According to the report and Google's own numbers, in 2015, Google's App Suite - which includes Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive et al - were up 99.97 percent of the year. 

The Vice President of Engineering at Google, Ben Treynor Sloss, said, "The result of our approach is that we end up with...

"I think robotics is a new manufacturing and it can help people to do some high-risk work and go to top of the mountain and deep ocean to realize our world adventure," said Scarlett Johansson. 

Okay...maybe she didn't say it. However, an artificial intelligence replying to the question of what she thinks about the future did. An engineering student by the name of Ricky Ma decided to build his own humanoid from scratch and modeled it after Scarlett Johansson. According to...

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Construction is fluctuating globally if new reports are to be believed. Australian reports indicate that construction work has fallen to a 13-month low in the country, however, Germany is reporting a rise in construction activity. The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) is a global survey that observes the construction activity over the world in a space of one month. 

According to BusinessInsider, Australian residential, commercial and engineering industries have all experienced a slump in...

The world's leading industrial showcase will be taking place on the 25th to the 29th of April, 2016. Hannover Messe is celebrated worldwide as a significant event that sees heads of state and top-level engineers make their way through the event. The event will also take a look at the latest trends in multiple engineering industries. According to their brochure, the event sees 200,000 visitors per year of which 30% of them are from abroad. Some of the talking points include industrial...

An annual survey by MHI and Deloitte shows that 51% of 900 different supply chain companies agree that robotics and automation have changed the way their companies operate. The Wall Street Journal reports that the technologies have added new fields of network management, cloud computing, and sensors. 

Deloitte -  on their website -  says that people sometimes confuse robots with walking, talking, Transformer-looking helper bots, but in actual fact the robots that supply...

Self-aware WiFi. You read that right. A WiFi system that instead of being searched for, does the searching and connecting to a WiFi enabled device. 

That is the future of WiFi according to researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). They say that they have developed software called Chronos that, according to RoboticTrends.com, "enables a single WiFi access point to locate users to within tens of centimeters." In their video, the...

Should self-driving cars get their own lane? That is the question left in everyone's minds after Volvo's CEO, Lex Kerssemakers, saw that one of their autonomous vehicles couldn't see the lane it was supposed to be driving in due to how shoddily the lanes looked due to wear and tear. Something that should interest civil engineers all over the world. 

Kerssemakers was at the LA Auto Show with the mayor of Los Angeles. Things got heated when the car wouldn't drive to which Kerssemakers...

Engineers at Iowa State University have been hard at work at creating something that might pique the military's interest. It is a translucent material that would make whatever it covers invisible to radar. In a recent report published in Scientific Reports, the engineers said: "It is believed that the present meta-skin technology will find many applications in electromagnetic frequency tuning, shielding and scattering suppression."

According to TheEngineer.com

The cloaking...

Weather forecasts seem to be a hot topic amongst engineers these days. Everyone is trying to invent the next weather measurement tool that will change the game. Hey, people love knowing what the weather is going to be, what can we say? Scientists over at Oklahoma State University are working with something vastly different to weather balloons. Drones. 

Meteorologists who are working with the team say they are going to be able to produce forecasts more accurately with the new method of...

Are lightweight lithium-sulfur batteries the solution to the uncertainty that some associate with lithium batteries? Whether critics like it or not, lithium batteries are here to stay due to them being the operative force of current energy storage batteries like Tesla and Redflow's house powering cells and of course, in our cell phones and the driving force of the latest electric cars. 

Now, the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) is saying lightweight lithium-sulfur...

The United Arab Emirates cannot put up with the number of graduates looking for jobs, but the one industry they cannot seem to place anyone in is the engineering industry. The construction industry was the first one named in the report by GulfNews. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) say that those with degrees in architecture, civil engineering and post-graduate degrees in finance, international business, and real estate are among the more difficult qualifications to find jobs for in the...

Engineering experts are delivering opinions on a flyover railway bridge that collapsed, killing fourteen, in Kolkata, India. Panduranga Rao, of the IVRCL Construction Company in charge of the flyover, said to media, "It is nothing but God's act. About 70% of the construction work was completed properly. The experts regularly monitored the progress of the project...It is a total act of God. This has never happened before, we are also in shock.

Details have emerged that say the tender was...

Nanoscale technology is quickly becoming the most fantasized answer to the future in the engineering world. The University of Alberta's mineral engineering researchers might have just saved the manufacturing processes of electronics industries some money. The researchers have been working with 'Atomic layer deposition' (ALD) which sees slim films covered in molecule materials like "zinc, silicon and nitrogen" which would assist with the manufacturing of electronic chips and how efficiently...

Singtel, a Singapore-based service provider is joining hands with Perth in Australia in the form of a subsea cable. The new link will ensure that customers growing want for bandwidth-heavy applications like unified communications, enterprise data exchange, internet and online gaming will be efficiently run. Along with Australia's Telstra and SubPartners, Singtel signed a Memorandum of Understanding on March 31st, 2016. 

The cable goes by the name...

Man-made earthquakes will now feature in the U.S. Geological Survey's (UGSG) seismic risk maps. This would assist civil engineers and design companies in their contemplation of where to build buildings and how strong those buildings should be. 

The Daily Mail writes that these measurements will be included in the survey due to, "temblors linked to wastewater disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma." The UGSG recently reported that 7 million people reside in zones...

Environmental scientists, engineers, and meteorologists have been working together to improve the efficiency of warnings for heat waves. This according to Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Science. 

The new study from Harvard University in collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has been researching sea surface temperature patterns that could enable meteorologists to give 50-day warnings, prior to the heat wave hitting land. 

The...

 

What will factories look like in the near future? We've seen car production and assembly lines revolutionized by robotics in the last decade. Industrial production is changing as 'smart factory' devices become available to the world of industrial automation. New skills are needed for engineers to run these newly invented machines all over the world. 

"In the factory of the future, all individual steps included in the production process will be fully connected and...

BEAM inflation on the ISS / Image courtesy of NASA

The aerospace engineers over at SpaceX and NASA have been innovating again. Along with Bigelow Aerospace, on April 8th, 2016, a resupply mission along with a new module named The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) will be sent to the International Space Station. Once docked on to the space station it will create another room for the astronauts to use. 

According to TechCrunch, the Dragon capsule - as it is being called - will be connected to Node 3 on the...

A game of cyber security chess has been playing out in the United States between the FBI and Apple Inc. The FBI had the San Bernadino shooter's (Syed Farook) iPhone and asked for Apple's assistance to unlock it so that they could view the contents of the folders inside the phone. Engineers at Apple admitted that software would need to be invented to introduce the 'back door' that the FBI required, and that it would go against their values of privacy that they hold dear for every iPhone/Apple...

Printable magnets are the new buzz word around engineering circles when the topic of magnets is brought up. A group called Correlated Magnetics  are conducting research on how magnets will continue to form part of our world in engineering. The end result of this research is an invention they call 'polymagnets'. 

Jason Morgan, head of engineering at Correlated Magnetics has indicated that what they are trying to do is reprogram magnets from the normal north/south magnet...

Biomedical engineering scientists at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have observed the effects of microneedle technology in the assistance of immunotherapy for melanomas on human bodies. Dermatologists' ears should perk up at the new findings because it directly affects their practices. The new findings could mean more efficient methods of ridding a person of skin cancer in the future - perhaps even circumnavigating the need for cutting out...

Two companies are bringing construction and drone technology together. 3D Robotics (3DR) has announced that they will work in tandem with Autodesk's Forge Platform. This would lead to the drones using cloud services, developed apps and SDKs with the Forge Platform, opening up the world of construction.

"Capturing site data today is costly, time-consuming, and often dangerous. Drones can easily go where it's inefficient or unsafe for field personnel, making it easier to...

Stanford University, California, United States. The university is conducting research that would lead to more comfortable contact lenses, or so the researchers claim. This would come as welcoming news to people who genuinely struggle to either get the contact lenses in to start with or the ones who can't wear them for long. 

Why on earth did this research suddenly pop up at Stanford University? 

The culprit was a graduate student named Saad Bhamla. He said: "As a student, I had...

Griffith University is taking one giant leap into the future of clean energy. According to EurekaAlert, the university is using carbon as a method of delivering energy using hydrogen. The specific team is Griffith's Queensland Micro and Nanotechnology Centre. They have produced hydrogen from water. This would replace platinum as an electrocatalyst of producing hydrogen from water. The team is venturing to say that this is the first proof that power can be generated at a low cost and at no harm...

The Airlander 10 is here. It looks like a mix between something the Thunderbirds would operate and the futuristic looking blimp from the Golden Compass movie. The airship was built by an automotive engineering firm called Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV)

The ship is 302-feet long. That is 60-feet longer than a jumbo jet, says Gizmodo in their report. HAV has slapped a $35 million price on the vehicle and say that they have interested parties, wanting to purchase the ship. Standing at 26...

It's the stuff of science fiction, however, it is already here. The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) has purchased a '3-D printer' that would be able to theoretically print human organs. Biomedical engineering has been revolutionizing the medicine field in a big way in the last few years and it continues to be a field that is most influenced by automation. 

The assistant professor of biomedical engineering at UTSA, Teja Guda, acquired the equipment and intends to put it to good...

The fast food industry in America is becoming more automated year by year. The New American has reported that companies would be interested in automation hardware and software for the future of delivering food, due to heightened employee wages in the United States.

Eatsa, a restaurant in San Francisco, has a human kitchen staff that make the food but the process of ordering food is completely automated. There is no front-of-house liaison that takes the orders and delivers it to the...

It just seems that Australia has their priorities straight when it comes to engineering projects.

Australia is making 10 million Australian Dollars ($7.6 million) available to local councils to repurpose materials from construction and demolition waste, according to WasteManagementWorld. 

These materials would assist in projects being conducted by civil engineers, such as the building of roads, drains and car parks. This would form part of a strategy called Creating the...

The University of Michigan's engineers and biologists have been bird watching. They have been doing this with the intention of designing aircraft according to how birds fly, fantasizing about ditching the stiff-winged airplane. 

The team was given $6 million from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to create what is being called the "most detailed analysis of bird flight ever" by Product Design & Development. The leader of the researchers is a gentleman named...

A junior in biomedical engineering, a graduate in biotechnology and a second-year biomedical sciences student are working on a project that would help people determine whether they are diabetic or not. Guarav Agrawal, Christlin Ponraj and Angelin Ponraj have created Integrated Latrine Technology for Early Diseases Detection according to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. And it has something to do with...toilets. 

The idea is that the water in the toilet bowl will change...

Limestone, CO2 and 3-D printing. Those are the ingredients that researchers at the University of California are using and reusing to create concrete cement that could be more environmentally friendly than current cement. The team says that this is a brand new method of creating building material and has the chance to minimize the amount of CO2 emissions in the world today.The team's findings were published in the Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research journal. The title of...

The University of Washington's computer science and electrical engineering researchers are putting sonar into smartwatches and the likes in the latest attempt to improve smart device technology and how we interact with it. The researchers indicate that with the new sonar technology a person would be able to interact with mobile devices by "writing or gesturing on any nearby surface."

They have called it 'FingerIO'. The technology will track finger movements. They do this by turning...

Like something out of Ant-Man, engineers from Stanford University have put their worker ant-robots to work. They have built six small robots that have mustered up the strength to pull a two-ton car. 

In their paper, Let's All Pull Together: Principles for Sharing Large Loads in Microrobot Teamsthe researchers debut the MicroTug robots. 

The lab responsible for the bots is Stanford's Biometrics and Dexterous Manipulation Laboratory. 

The...

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is about to give the thumbs up for releasing mosquitoes that have been genetically engineered. The intention behind this is to cause a reduction of the spread of the Zika virus. 

According to Forbes, the mosquitoes will have a "specially inserted gene" that will kill their offspring and that this method has been successfully practiced in Brazil - a country where the Zika virus has been affecting populations the most.

The mosquito carrying the...

Biomedical and chemical engineers from the University of Cambridge have made progress in the search for the answer to the question of how a person gets Parkinson's disease. As a result, the engineers hope the research could lead to an eventual treatment of the disease.

The Parkinson's Disease foundation has indicated that 10 million people are living with Parkinson's in the world today. They also state that the amount of money spent on Parkinson's in the United States is $25 billion per...

Just imagine having the job title: 'Toy Engineer'. Beneath the surface, everyone knows you are a mechanical engineer, however, 'toy engineer' just sounds better. Mario Morello and Peter Spence, co-founder and inventor of Tio, wear the badges of 'toy engineers' with pride. 

They have launched an app called Tio that uses a programmable square block that is the "first motorized building block that makes anything smart." Showing off the practical use of this block (which you...

Manufacturing fabric is always an interesting industry for engineers to experiment in. There used to be an advertisement on TV from Sasol (seriously watch it, it's a good ad) that asked the question of whether or not there could be a futuristic fabric that could regulate a human's body temperature. Fabric that knew when it was hot and when it was cold and change the body temperature of the wearer accordingly. 

MIT have taken it upon themselves to test out the manufacturing of...

Energy storage is a topic on the lips of engineers all over the world, including the ones with the big money like Elon Musk and Bill Gates. Everyone is looking for the next energy breakthrough and the notoriety of redesigning electricity consumption. The United States' Department of Energy claims they have the answer to the question mark of energy storage. The department says it has acquired the 'holy grail' of energy. 

A subsidiary company of the Department of Energy, Advanced...

What do mechanical, aerospace and biomedical engineering have in common at Cornell University? A team of researchers have answered that question with their studies leading to a discovery which could equal sturdier surface treatments on structures for cars, airplanes and more. 

In the scientific journal, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team published findings that looked at cancellous bones as a potential answer for surface treatments for engineers to...

Fruit harvesters beware! Robots could be taking your jobs soon. High labour costs are the leading reason given for considering the move to robotics in the horticulture industry. Harvesting with automated, mechanical devices that do the job better than a human hand are becoming the preferred method of harvesting in the world today. 

In Australia, labour costs are quickly convincing land owners to make - what they would consider - the smart decision of moving to robotic harvesters. John...

The bottom of any vessel that is submerged in seawater is capable of collecting bacteria and marine organisms that have extremely negative effects on the vessels due to corrossion. The process of corrosion on the underbelly of these boats is called 'marine fouling'. It causes costly damages and equals hefty repairs. Those days could be over thanks to the engineers from the A*STAR Insititue of Chemical Engineering Sciences and Institute of Materials Research and Engineering. 

According...

Russian automotive engineering company SHERP has shown off its amphibious ATV vehicle in a new video. 

According to Top Gear, the ATV has self-inflating tyres that can dominate obstacles of 70cm or more. They also say it has a "Kubota four-pot (so four cylinders) 1.5-litre turbodiesel" inside the beast but only gets a max speed of 27 mph. When driving over water it does 3.7 mph.

The consensus amongst the public is that this is basically a tank. 

Weighing in at 2866lbs...

A new study conducted by body-language expert Dr Harry Witchel, Discipline Leader in Physiology at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) believes that computers are able to read a person's body language to tell whether they are bored or interested in what they see on the screen based on the movements on the computer – such as scrolling and clicking.

The research states that it is possible to judge a person’s level of interest by monitoring whether they display the tiny movements that...

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