” This Jack Russell terrier is happy to have an engineer for an owner, because that means it is able to play fetch even when no humans are around. This device allows the dog to load the launcher and fire it without human assistance.”
” More than 60 teams competed in the 14th annual FIRST Robotics Los Angeles Regional Competition, considered the “Superbowl of Smarts” that culminated with an alliance of teams from three South Bay high schools taking home the top trophy.
The winners came from Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, Redondo Union High School and West High School in Torrance. They will now go on to the FIRST Championships in St. Louis set for April 23-26.
“ As the competition went on, it just got more and more exciting,” said Michael Tamaki, 17, of West High School in Torrance. This was the first year the school’s team, with about 30 students, competed in the event. “On Wednesday, when we were loading everything for the trip, we weren’t expecting to get any goals in. But we just won, and it’s an incredible feeling.” “
” Pioneering scientists and engineers are often overlooked in popular retrospectives commemorating the year’s departed. In particular, women in such fields tend to be given short shrift. To counter this regrettable circumstance, I present here a selection of 10 notable women in science who left us in 2013. Each of these individuals contributed greatly to her field and should be remembered for her exceptional accomplishments. This, of course, is not a comprehensive list; I’d welcome your thoughts, in the comments below, on any others who may also be deserving of recognition.”
” Check out this animated infographic that shows all the inner working of a 1911 .45 handgun. Thanks to Jacob O’Neal at Animagraffs.com for creating this educational and well-designed animation. “
” More than a year after the Costa Concordia ran aground off the Italian coast, the ship remains where it wrecked. More than 400 workers are attempting one of the largest salvage operations in history, a process that will cost around $400 million and will take at least until this summer to complete. They have a tough slog ahead: Just removing the 2100 tons of fuel took 31 days and 20 vessels. Because the ruined ship is lying on its side, the engineering teams have to hoist it upright—preserving a seabed lush with coral, sea-grass meadows, and giant clams—before towing it to a safe harbor for disassembly.”
” In November, MIT grad student Dhairya Dand blacked out at a party and woke up in the hospital. Some people might use that as a wake-up call to lay off the tequila shots for a few weekends, but Dand, an engineer and former educational toy designer, did one better. Three weeks later, he had created a set of glowing ice cubes called Cheers that let you know when you’re going too hard.
A circuit enmeshed in an edible jelly mold monitors the number of sips taken, using an accelerometer that tracks the drink’s motion, and calculates how drunk you are based on a timer. Using three cubes with different LED lights, your drink changes color from green to orange to red, letting you know when you should take it easy. “
” A group of engineering students have designed what may be the coolest motorcycle ever, if you can even call it a motorcycle.
While at San Jose State University last spring, senior Max Ratner and a team of undergrads invented what they call the Spherical Drive System. Instead of wheels and tires the motorcycle they designed rides on spheres controlled by six motors on top of them. The result is a very radical ride can move in any direction.
The team recently completed the steel frame. This fall, they plan to start building the electrical components and finish the motor design, which is the most unique component. For the drive system to work, complex algorithms control each motor – three on each sphere. With the spheres, the team says they are “reinventing the wheel” because the bike has a new freedom of movement to zig-zag through traffic, park laterally, and even spin in place.
“The spherical design is actively balancing all the time, which is similar to a Segway,” says Henry Li, part of the six-person engineering team. “We chose the form factor of a motorcycle because we know it can handle high-speeds, but the Segway is limited in how fast it can go.” “