In anticipation of the return of Fun with Fundamentals to Motion System Design next month, I thought it would be fitting to write about something fun. So here are “Ten Fun and Exciting Facts About Engineering” as compiled by the National Society of Professional Engineers.

Snowboards - The snowboard was invented by an engineer. With some engineering twists and turns along the way, the snowboard has become a marvel of geometry, chemistry, and biomechanics. Many ski manufacturers have adopted snowboard innovations, enabling skiers to turn with less effort.

Running shoes - Running shoes are designed for protection, performance, and comfort. Engineers understand how much force travels from the ground through the shoe to the foot. Through the work of engineering, weight is distributed uniformly from heel to toe.

Water slides - A civil engineer created the slippery part of the water slide, the pumping system that circulates just the right amount of water to the flume. Without the right flow of water, there is no ride. Engineers design slides to withstand the weight of people, water, and even the force of the wind blowing on it.

Spacecraft - The launch and return of spacecraft, from the Apollo to the Shuttle, is a monumental engineering triumph. The space program has greatly expanded the world's knowledge base. Technological advancements by engineers in energy, communications, materials, structures, and computers have made space travel possible.

Ferris wheels - The Ferris Wheel is considered one of the greatest engineering wonders in the world. The first one was built in 1893 by George W. Ferris, a Pittsburgh engineer. It was supported by two 140-foot steel towers and connected by a 45-foot axle, the largest single piece of forged steel made at the time.

Interactive television - Engineers are involved in all aspects of interactive TV technology, from designing new cables, to creating new film emulsions, to engineering better sound quality. Interactive TV lets viewers select any program, film, or game from more than 500 channels.

Theme parks - Engineers play an instrumental role in the theme park industry. Theme park engineers are involved in designing, building, lighting, and even controlling crowd flow in theme parks around the world.

Virtual reality - The Virtual Reality and Simulation Initiative, a joint industry-university project, is staffed largely by engineers. The technology being developed applies computer simulation and visualization to 3-D modeling projects, such as virtual offices.

Medical technology - Bioengineers are creating new and exciting tools that, for example, will employ virtual reality to help surgeons reconstruct facial birth defects.

Special effects - Computer engineers, in conjunction with animators, have created special effects in movies such as “Jurassic Park,” “Forrest Gump,” and “Interview with the Vampire.” Through “morphing” technology, images are digitally mastered to appear realistic.

For more fun stuff from the NSPE, visit their website at www.nspe.org.