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.

August 24, 2015 | Student Opportunities

The App Challenge is a nationwide contest for middle- and high-school-aged students that challenges them to develop concepts for mobile apps that solve a problem in their community. It’s a unique, hands-on learning program that teaches collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and entrepreneurship, as well as STEM skills and coding. Its aim is to equip students with skills needed to succeed in the jobs of the future, delivering to students the promise of a brighter future.

Youth in the U.S. in grades 6 through 12, in teams of 5 to 7 members plus an adult advisor can enter. Teams do not have to build an app to enter the Challenge. The Challenge is about the concept only. The concept submission will be evaluated on how well it is researched and presented to the panel of judges. Teams that win at the national level will learn coding from MIT experts who will travel to your location to give in-person training, as well as additional virtual training to get your app ready to launch in the Play store.

Best in State winning teams will receive a $5,000 grant for their school or non-profit sponsored program and mobile tablets for every team member, and the opportunity to compete for the title of Best in Region and Best in Nation. In addition, all Best in State winners will be eligible to be named the People’s Choice winner.  The team that receives the most votes via a crowd voting mechanism on the App Challenge website (or other social media platform TBD) will be selected as the People's Choice Award Winner and will receive all the benefits of the Best in Nation winners.

Best in Nation teams will receive an additional $15,000 grant for their school or out-of-school program, and in-person coding training from MIT experts, plus an all-expenses-paid trip for each team member and a parent/guardian next summer.

The submission deadline is November 24, 2015

Learn more here: http://appchallenge.tsaweb.org/ 

August 14, 2015 | Announcements

Jump on board the latest issue of IEEE Spark to explore the exciting world of smart vehicles. Learn how smart vehicles are revolutionizing transportation, meet a professional who is driving the future of smart cars, design an efficient vehicle, and learn how you can enter competitions to design the smart vehicles of tomorrow.

Read this issue!

August 14, 2015 | Innovations

Researchers at the University of Southern California's USC Institute for Creative Technologies and Imperial College London have created a new method for rendering CGI skin that is almost indistinguishable from the real thing. Current high resolution scanning technologies allow the details of skin such as pores and creases to be captured only at the mesoscale. This new technique captured images of both the appearance and behavior of skin at the microscale, or below one tenth of a millimeter. Using this method, the team observed that skin becomes shinier when stretched and rougher when compressed. This data was used to create displacement maps of the skin at different levels of deformation. The maps were then blurred when stretched and sharpened when compressed to better replicate how skin appears in different states. The team then applied the technique to simulations of different facial expressions, with uncanny results.

 

August 7, 2015 | Innovations

Researchers at the University of Exeter have developed new photography software that converts digital photos into animal vision. The software can be used to analyze colors and patterns, which is useful in the study of plant and animal signaling, camouflage, and predation. The user-friendly software program enables users to calibrate images, incorporate multiple layers (including visible and UV channels), convert to animals' visual color palettes, and easily measure images. Humans see the world in three colors - red, green and blue. Since animals often see differently than humans, the software can be used to adjust an image to reflect how various species might see it. For example, some animals see in only two colors, others can see in up to as many as four colors, and others still can see into the UV range which is invisible to the unaided human eye. The software mimics animal vision by combining images taken with different filters using a camera converted to full spectrum sensitivity, and creating functions to adjust the images. The researchers have already used the software to track color changes in green shore crabs and analyze the protective camouflage attributes of nightjar clutches. The software can be downloaded for free from the University's Web site: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_464544_en.html 

 

 

July 30, 2015 | Innovations

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have demonstrated that blood can be transported successfully by small drone. The researchers collected and then drove over 300 healthy blood samples to a flight site one hour away from the hospital  Half of the samples were packaged for flight and loaded onto a  hand-launched fixed-wing drone. These samples were flown in an unpopulated area for lengths of time ranging from 6 to 38 minutes. The other samples were driven back to the hospital laboratory where they underwent the 33 most common laboratory tests such as glucose, sodium, and red blood count. When the flown vs. non-flown sample results were compared, there was essentially no difference between them. Only one test for carbon dioxide differed, which the researchers are currently investigating. None of the flown samples appear to have been damaged by the acceleration during launch or the impact of the landing, which were initial concerns for the researchers. This study shows great promise for treating patients in rural areas that lack good infrastructure such as passable roads. The researchers next plan to replicate the study in Africa where labs can be as far as 60 miles away from health care clinics. 

July 24, 2015 | Innovations

Stanford University researchers are partnering with LumosTech to develop a sleep mask that could help alleviate jet lag. The mask is outfitted with an Arduino that controls two bright LEDs. The LEDs emit brief flashes of light, about two milliseconds long, at the wearer's eyes. These flashes are capable of shifting the sleep phase of the wearer's circadian rhythm without disturbing sleep. When going on a trip, the mask can help a person prepare for time zone changes before they leave and even on the plane. A smartphone app is simultaneously being developed to customize the wearer's sleep cycle to the destination time zone. This technology can also be used to help shift workers and even teenagers with clinical sleep problems. The researchers are currently working on shrinking the device and experimenting with the intervals between flashes and the colors of the flashes. The team would eventually like to offer the product for purchase within the commercial market. 


July 17, 2015 | Innovations, Announcements

In 2014, Alex Tacescu set out to build an assistive device to improve his grandfather's mobility. The result was a standing wheelchair prototype, named Project Maverick, which earned him the $10,000 IEEE Presidents' Scholarship at the 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. As opposed to a traditional wheelchair, the four wheeled device enables users to stand upright on a platform. Users can control the device with an electronic joystick that incorporates a Linux-based controller to navigate at speeds of up to 5 kilometers per hour. 

To read more about Alex's project, check out this great article in the latest issue of The Institute: 

http://theinstitute.ieee.org/career-and-education/preuniversity-education/high-school-student-designs-a-wheelchair-that-lets-users-stand-up

 

The IEEE Educational Activities Board is delighted to announce the 2015 IEEE Spark Innovation through Animation Competition to excite pre-university students about engineering, computing, and technology! Competition participants are invited to create and record an original animation based on the theme “Smart!” such as “Smart Homes,” “Smart Cars,” or other Smart technologies.

Learn more at http://spark.ieee.org/animation-competition

DO YOU KNOW A BUDDING ENGINEERING INNOVATOR?

At 18, Eesha Khare built a “simple” cell phone battery that has become a breakthrough in energy storage. At age 14, in poverty and famine, William Kamkwamba built a windmill (from spare parts) to power his family's home.  Boyan Slat’s high school science fair project led him to design and build a prototype device to harness the ocean’s own currents, to remove plastic debris from the ocean.
Know a young innovator like Eesha, William or Boyan?

NOMINATE THEM TO BE FEATURED AS A DREAM BIG! YOUNG INNOVATOR!

The Dream Big! project is seeking a diverse group of teenagers who are innovating to solve important problems, and are using engineering training, STEM education, engineer mentors, etc. to pursue these ideas and intend to pursue engineering as a future career path.

NOMINATE A BUDDING INNOVATOR TODAY BY SENDING A BIO, HEADSHOT/ACTION SHOT and why you think they embody a Young Innovator to dreambigpartner@asce.org

www.dreambigfilm.org

 

 

 

Ada Lovelace
July 2, 2015 | Student Opportunities

What would Ada love? Teenage girls with an interest in computing are invited to enter a competition to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Ada Lovelace, generally regarded as the first computer programmer.

The competition, run by The National Museum of Computing and the University of Oxford in conjunction with cs4fn at Queen Mary University of London, is asking girls what they would like to communicate to Ada Lovelace.

Show or tell with any medium from the list below what you think Ada Lovelace would be especially interested in about twenty-first century technology. Entries may be in the form of letters, presentations, dramatized conversations or interactions – anything so long as the focus is communicating to Ada about twenty-first century technology.

The closing date is: 13 October 2015.

The following formats will be accepted:

  • a letter (500 words maximum) - to be scanned, so all entries are electronic
  • an email (500 words maximum)
  • blog post (500 words maximum)
  • social media text (500 words max) (Not available in the under-13s age category.)
  • a video (3 minutes maximum)
  • graphic (up to A3 in size)
  • photos or images on any software platform (maximum 25 photos).

The competition is open to females in three age categories:

  • under 13
  • 13-15
  • 16-18.

Email your entry to ada.lovelace@tnmoc.org

Learn more here: 

http://www.tnmoc.org/ada

"Ada Lovelace portrait" by Alfred Edward Chalon - Science & Society Picture Library. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ada_Lovelace_portrait.jpg#/media...

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