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TryEngineering Today!

TryEngineering Today! is dedicated to providing the latest news and information for students, parents, teachers, and counselors interested in engineering, computing technology and related topics.

January 30, 2015 | Announcements

From illuminating our homes, to growing our food, to connecting us with technology, light plays a huge role in our everyday lives. The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health. 

The goal of IYL 2015 is to highlight to the citizens of the world the importance of light and optical technologies in their lives, for their futures and for the development of society. IYL 2015 programs will promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015—from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today. IYL 2015 is endorsed by a number of international scientific unions and the International Council of Science, and has more than 100 partners from more than 85 countries. Founding Sponsors of IYL 2015 are the 1001 Inventions, American Physical Society (APS); The American Institute of Physics (AIP); Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG); the European Physical Society (EPS); the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS); SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics; the Lightsources.org International Network; the Institute of Physics (IOP); and The Optical Society (OSA).




January 23, 2015 | Student Opportunities

Throughout history, engineering has advanced civilization from the way we connect with each other, to the way we heal, to how we get around, and simply have fun. But society still faces major obstacles. The National Academy of Engineering has outlined 14 game-changing opportunities for the 21st century called the Grand Challenges for Engineering. We want you to review the 14 Grand Challenges, and then create and submit a 1 to 2 minute video that shows how achieving one or more of the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering will lead to a more sustainable, healthy, secure, and/or joyous world!

The Grand Prize of $25,000 will go to the most inspiring 1-2 minute video. We hope that you will participate in the contest and also encourage those in your communities to enter as well!

The E4U2 Video Contest is open for video submissions from January 5, 2015 to March 2, 2015.

Visit www.e4uvideocontest.org to learn more!

For any additional questions, please email E4Uvideocontest@nae.edu.

January 15, 2015 | Student Opportunities

Forty percent of seniors don’t use the Internet. That can leave many feeling depressed or isolated from loved ones. So, teach an older adult the basics -- and wonders! -- of technology!

Teach tech to an older adult, send a pic of the two of you in action, and you'll enter to win a $10,000 scholarship.

AND, for each senior you teach, you earn another entry to win. So teach one senior and send a photo = one chance to win. Teach 12 seniors and send 12 photos = 12 chances to win. (And so on!)

Check out the Official Scholarship Rules for more details. 

Entries must be received by 20 January 2015. 

Go to https://www.dosomething.org/volunteer/grandparents-gone-wired for more details.

January 5, 2015 | Innovations

MIT chemists have devised a new way to wirelessly detect hazardous gases and environmental pollutants, using a simple sensor that can be read by a smartphone. These inexpensive sensors could be widely deployed, making it easier to monitor public spaces or detect food spoilage in warehouses. Using this system, the researchers have demonstrated that they can detect gaseous ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and cyclohexanone, among other gases. “The beauty of these sensors is that they are really cheap. You put them up, they sit there, and then you come around and read them. There’s no wiring involved. There’s no power,” says Timothy Swager, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry at MIT. For several years, Swager’s lab has been developing gas-detecting sensors based on devices known as chemiresistors, which consist of simple electrical circuits modified so that their resistance changes when exposed to a particular chemical. Measuring that change in resistance reveals whether the target gas is present. The new sensors are made from modified near-field communication (NFC) tags. These tags, which receive the little power they need from the device reading them, function as wirelessly addressable barcodes and are mainly used for tracking products such as cars or pharmaceuticals as they move through a supply chain, such as in a manufacturing plant or warehouse.

NFC tags can be read by any smartphone that has near-field communication capability, which is included in many newer smartphone models. These phones can send out short pulses of magnetic fields at radio frequency (13.56 megahertz), inducing an electric current in the circuit on the tag, which relays information to the phone. To adapt these tags for their own purposes, the MIT team first disrupted the electronic circuit by punching a hole in it. Then, they reconnected the circuit with a linker made of carbon nanotubes that are specialized to detect a particular gas. In this case, the researchers added the carbon nanotubes by “drawing” them onto the tag with a mechanical pencil they first created in 2012, in which the usual pencil lead is replaced with a compressed powder of carbon nanotubes. The team refers to the modified tags as CARDs: chemically actuated resonant devices.

Image Credit: MIT; Photo: Melanie Gonick

December 17, 2014 |

Check out the latest issue of IEEE Spark entitled: Engineering Inside... AnimationIn this issue of IEEE Spark, learn how technology is applied to the art of animation. Get an inside look at the technology behind your favorite animated features, see how animators use technology to bring animations to life, create an animated illusion, and explore tools to set your creativity in motion. Also see the results of the IEEE Spark Innovation through Animation Competition

December 11, 2014 |

Did you know that IEEE TryComputing.org is a free online resource to inform and engage pre-university students, their teachers, school counselors and parents about computing and associated careers? Visitors can learn how to prepare for undergraduate computing studies and search for accredited computing degree programs around the world. They can also explore how computing careers can make a difference and meet computing professionals, students, and heroes. IEEE TryComputing.org features a variety of lesson plans on computing topics as well as tools and opportunities to support and encourage students in computing.

To discover the amazing things you can do with computing visit www.trycomputing.org today!

Norbert von der Groeben/Stanford
December 8, 2014 | Innovations

Engineers at Stanford University have created a material that can radiate heat away from buildings and send it directly into space. Composed of layers of silicon dioxide and hafnium oxide atop of a layer of silver, the material is only 1.8 microns thick, which is 50 times thinner than a sheet of paper. The material can reflect sunlight back into space like a mirror and direct heat-bearing infrared rays away from the source and into the cosmos. The material, when applied to a surface, can cool it by 5 degrees Celsius through a process dubbed by the Stanford team as "photonic radiative cooling". The team has been able to use this technique to passively cool structures even during the day, which is typically challenging due to the warming presence of the sun. The material accomplishes this feat by combining high reflectivity with simultaneous radiating into space. The team has currently developed a small prototype, but will need to devise a way to scale the material up to potentially cover the roof of a building. The material can hopefully be used in this manner to help cool homes and businesses, reducing the need for air conditioning. 

December 1, 2014 | Student Opportunities

Are you a girl aged 11-18 in the UK with a passion for Engineering or Manufacturing? Talent 2030′s National Engineering Competition for Girls is a FREE competition offering you the chance to win £500 for yourself and £500 for your school.

The competition invites you to solve the major challenges of the 21st century, get creative, get thinking and most of all – have fun!

Want to apply? Submit your entry here. For more information on the competition visit: http://www.talent2030.org/competition/ 

Entries are due at  4pm on 19 December 2014

November 19, 2014 | Announcements

Vote for your favorite pre-university student-created animation in the IEEE Spark Innovation through Animation Competition by liking it on the IEEE EAD Facebook page. Like as many animations as you choose through 1 December 2014. The animation with the most likes will win the people's choice award in the competition.

Official competition rules can be found at: http://spark.ieee.org/animation-competition/

Visit IEEE Spark at http://spark.ieee.org/



origami boat
November 19, 2014 | Innovations

Scientists at New York University and the University of Melbourne have developed a method using DNA origami to turn one-dimensional nano materials into two dimensions. Their breakthrough offers the potential to enhance fiber optics and electronic devices by reducing their size and increasing their speed. “We can now take linear nano-materials and direct how they are organized in two dimensions, using a DNA origami platform to create any number of shapes,” explains NYU Chemistry Professor Nadrian Seeman, the paper’s senior author, who founded and developed the field of DNA nanotechnology, now pursued by laboratories around the globe, three decades ago.

Seeman’s collaborator, Sally Gras, an associate professor at the University of Melbourne, says, “We brought together two of life’s building blocks, DNA and protein, in an exciting new way. We are growing protein fibers within a DNA origami structure.” DNA origami employs approximately two hundred short DNA strands to direct longer strands in forming specific shapes. In their work, the scientists sought to create, and then manipulate the shape of, amyloid fibrils—rods of aggregated proteins, or peptides, that match the strength of spider’s silk. To do so, they engineered a collection of 20 DNA double helices to form a nanotube big enough (15 to 20 nanometers—just over one-billionth of a meter—in diameter) to house the fibrils.


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