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  • Jul 8, 2014
    Commentary

    Taking the window seats (and windows) from pilots and co-pilots

    Who would’ve thought that the glass-cockpit concept – the use of programmable displays to replace radar screens, dials, and navigational instruments – would lead to airline cockpits with no windows? It seems it has as Airbus, the European consortium that designs and builds airliners, filed last year for a patent on its windowless-cockpit concept....More
  • Jul 8, 2014
    News

    3D Printing for Hire: The Case of the Persnickety Prop 2

    Metrology and 3D-printing distributor Burton Precision helped University of Michigan researchers solve three major CAD problems, so they could make a plastic propeller for a human-powered submarine....More
  • Jul 8, 2014
    Commentary

    When a liberal arts degree isn't enough, bring on “experiential learning”

    There are unavoidable constants in life that usually are said to include death and taxes. To this list we should add old people complaining about younger generations. But when the complainers are business executives, a few entrepreneurial-minded educators sense an opportunity....More
  • Jul 3, 2014
    Commentary

    More automakers going with fiberglass springs 1

    Audi is in the news this week because it plans to start using suspension springs made of glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) in one of its cars before the end of the year. Audi says it developed the spring in collaboration with an Italian supplier....More
  • Jun 27, 2014
    Commentary

    Ten for STEM - Ten developments promoting science & technology learning

    Education in the area of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has been in the headlines as employers find it tough to uncover potential employees having STEM backgrounds. Efforts are underway to rectify perceived shortages in STEM fields. Notice of several such initiatives recently crossed our desk. Here is a quick update on what's going on:...More
  • Jun 24, 2014
    Commentary

    6 engineering challenge web sites 3

    Global collaboration is now in full swing as open innovation network challenges appear all over the web. Have you stepped up to solve an online engineering challenge?...More
  • Jun 23, 2014
    Commentary

    In a world ... without harnessed electricity ... TESLA

    Nikola Tesla was the greatest inventor of the 19th and 20th centuries, and some aim to give him his due credit at last....More
  • Jun 17, 2014
    Commentary

    Why more investors aren't millionaires and more engineers aren't innovators

    Every once in a while you'll find commentary in the finanical community that has insights applying equally well to other areas. That is the case for a recent essay in Barron's. Stephen Mauzy, an equity analyst at Wyatt Investment Research, was trying to explain why many professional investors have lousy track records making investments. He claims that most explanations of this phenomenon miss a key point: that investing is entrepreneurial....More
  • Jun 16, 2014
    Commentary

    Engineering Dropouts: Another Myth 7

    Many high-tech-industry observers have theorized that engineering schools struggle to keep students, especially women, in the engineering pipeline. Some observers go so far as to blame an engineering shortage in the U.S. on this poor retention rate. Recent research, some of which appeared in the Journal of Engineering Education and The Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Education, seems to refute this theory....More
  • Jun 13, 2014
    Commentary

    Mainstreaming alert: 3D-printed parts in GE engines and X-ray machines

    When General Electric puts metal 3D-printed parts in its X-ray machines, you know it's gone mainstream. That's what the research summarized in this year's Wohler’s Report on 3D printing also suggests. Here, I explain one application that proves how far 3D printing has come....More
  • Jun 12, 2014
    blog

    A lot of industrial networks have a big hole in their cyber security

    Despite the fact that the Stuxnet virus made headlines when it attacked programmable logic controllers running Iran's nuclear centrifuges,  a similar attack on industrial facilities in the U.S. would be remarkably easy to pull off....More
  • Jun 10, 2014
    News

    RAPID 2014 takes the 3D printing world to Detroit

    This year's RAPID show will be the largest in over 24 years....More
  • Jun 9, 2014
    Commentary

    Sights at the National Nuke Museum

    If you’re ever in Albuquerque, be sure to make time for the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. It’s one of those museums engineers should ge a kick ougt of....More
  • solar roadways panel
    Jun 3, 2014
    blog

    .....Solar roadways? Only one way to find out if they are a pipe dream 10

    An outfit called Solar Roadways wants to replace asphalt roads and parking lots with solar cells and claims this idea is practical based on the tests it has run so far. The company has received some SBIR money and has given a TEDx talk on the subject which is viewable on its web site. ...More
  • May 30, 2014
    Commentary

    $1,500 Foodini 3D prints food with normal kitchen ingredients

    Over the past several months, we’ve seen machines that 3D print food go from silly to intriguingly promising. One of the best we’ve seen so far is Foodini, a kitchen appliance made by ironically named Natural Machines, Barcelona. It will go on sale soon for about $1,400....More
  • May 29, 2014
    Commentary

    Wind turbines for low wind speeds defy Betz limit efficiency 14

    Many designers of utility scale wind turbines dismiss the idea of using turbines to capture energy from light breezes and in areas where there isn't a lot of wind. Their argument comes from Betz's law which calculates the maximum power available from the wind. The law uses principles of conservation of mass and momentum of the air stream flowing through an idealized cylinder that extracts energy from the wind stream. Importantly, it assumes the use of aerodynamic propeller blades in the turbine....More
  • May 28, 2014
    Commentary

    Rant: Spray and gascan nozzles equally idiotic

    Last weekend, in a bizarre burst of energy that had me motivated me enough to spraypaint a rusty old Charmglow grill that had become a certifiable eyesore, I dug up an old can of barbecue black Rustoleum spraypaint from our garage. In a development that added insult to injury, I'd soon discover that the nozzle on this spraycan is a Contraption of Infuriation that rivals the Grand Champion of Horrible Designs, the nefarious late-model Blitz nozzle. I'd soon discover that the nozzle on this spraycan is a Contraption of Infuriation that rivals the Grand Champion of Horrible Designs, the nefarious late-model Blitz nozzle....More
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