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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.

February 26, 2015 | Student Opportunities

Thirty years ago, the original MacGyver created enormous interest around engineering with the exploits of Angus MacGyver, a spy who used his powers of engineering in every episode to solve problems. According to Lee Zlotoff, the show’s creator: “I literally could not tell you how many times people have come up to me and said, ‘I became an engineer, or I went into the sciences because of MacGyver.’” In the spirit of that show, in 2015, we are looking for TV ideas that will feature female engineers or female protagonists who will use their powers of engineering to solve problems.

1.  Entrants must submit the following items by the deadline of April 17, 2015:

  • Title and genre of proposed TV series
  •  Logline (2-3 sentence “elevator pitch” summary). See examples here.
  •  Synopsis of pilot episode (one paragraph)
  • Name and brief description of female protagonist(s)
  • One-liners on future episodes
  • Contact information

2.  Must be at least eighteen (18) years of age at time of entry. Qualified entrants must not have sold or optioned any film screenplay to any entity or individual for an amount greater than $50,000.

3.  All proposed ideas must meet these requirements:

  • Must be a good story, well told. Entertainment is the highest priority. As Walt Disney famously said: “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.
  • Show must feature an engineer or engineers as the main protagonist OR engineering as a central element to the show (MacGyver, for example, was a spy who used engineering in every episode).
  • Show must be compelling to a middle or high school audience (from which we will get the next generation of engineers).

4. Each entrant may submit a maximum of three ideas. Only one idea per individual entrant will qualify among top 12 finalists. TV ideas only.

5.  Top 12 entrants will be notified by May 18, 2015. Each will be asked to prepare the following items for our capstone event pitch competition:

  • Three-minute verbal pitch to judges.
  • 10-15 page “mini show bible,” chronicling arc of season one, main characters and sense of tone

6.  The competition’s top 12 finalists will compete at our capstone event in summer 2015 (date and location TBD). Up to $1,500 in hotel and airfare reimbursement will be provided to the top 12 finalists.

7.  Teams are allowed. However, each team must nominate a designated representative for on-line submissions. Prize funds will be distributed to an individual winner or to the designated representative of the winning team or to an organization designated by the team representative. Any federal, state, and local taxes, and all similar fees and assessments, are the sole responsibility of the prize recipient.  

8.  Five winners will be selected from final judging round. Each winner will receive a $5,000 award and be paired with two mentors: an experienced Hollywood producer and a distinguished engineer (specific to the topic area of submission).

9.  All expenses associated with participants’ development of their ideas is at their own expense.

10.  Five winners’ expected deliverables include:

  • Meeting with assigned industry mentors to break story, develop outline
  • Produce a first draft (due September 14, 2015)
  • Produce a final, polished draft, inclusive of mentor notes (due November 13, 2015)

February 23, 2015 | Announcements

Engineers Week 2015, 22-28 February, is a weeklong celebration of the positive contributions engineers make to our world. Explore the highlights: 

Celebrate with the crew of the International Space Station with this inspirational video: 

 

limpet shells
February 18, 2015 | Innovations

Slide over spider, there's a new heavyweight in town - the limpet. Researchers from the University of Portsmouth believe that the tiny teeth of these snail-like creatures may be the strongest biological material in the world; even stronger than spider's silk. Made up of a super-hard material known as goethite, the teeth cover the limpet's tongue, and are used to scrape algae from the surface of rocks. The researchers examined the strength of the teeth with atomic force microscopy, which can be used to pull apart materials at the atomic level. They also found that the teeth, which are less than 1 millimeter in length, are the same strength regardless of their size. This is an unusual property, as larger structures tend to have more flaws and weaknesses. By studying the composition and structure of limpet teeth, engineers can once again find inspiration in nature. The structures found in these teeth may be replicated to develop strong composite materials that could be used in everything from spacecraft to race cars. 

 

 

 

February 13, 2015 |

Dive into the wide world of sports in the latest issue of IEEE Spark! Learn how technology helps athletes stay on the cutting edge, meet a sports technology pro, design a tennis racquet, and check out sports apps that can help you perfect your game.
Read this issue!

student coding
February 13, 2015 | Student Opportunities

Have a great app concept you would like to pitch to some of the world's top executives in the tech industry? Now is your chance! Enter the “Dream it. Code it. Win it.” contest for your chance to win cash prizes, with judges from Google Ventures, Yahoo!, and Forbes.

  • Dream it: Come up with an idea that solves a problem. Tell us a story about how you solved the problem. 
     
  • Code it: Write up the code and keep it simple. You can work individually or in a team of up to eight people. You can even submit a class project, a previous hackathon, or create something completely new. 
     
  • Win it: Fill out the entry form, and upload a slideshow or video demo of your application. Provide an explanation of your solution. WIN!

*Entrants are to code a creative application, using any generally available programming language, API, engine, or framework, to solve a problem current alternative solutions do not.

How can students participate?

  • All College Teams submitting entries for the monetary prizes must be 18 years or older, and enrolled as full time students at an accredited institution.
  • All High School students submitting for the TradingScreen Excellence in Creative Computer Science Award will need to be represented by a sponsor that is 18 years or older. The sponsor can be a parent, teacher, or mentor who is authorized to represent the student. Signed Parental or Guardian consent forms will be required from each team member. Click here to download the consent form.
  • Students can enter individually or as a team of up to eight people, and submit already existing applications as long as they have not been previously entered into another competition. Students can also create something entirely new!
  • Submissions must be made through the submission page, which is available at:Facebook.com/dreamitcodeitwinit, anytime before March 31, 2015.
 

Girl at Computer
February 6, 2015 | Student Opportunities

The challenge is simple. Build something using computer science and technology that can help solve an imminent social problem under one of three themes - global health, a safer world, and intelligent technology. You can think of it as a virtual hackathon for middle school girls. We're looking for projects that are powerful in their ability to change and disrupt the present in a positive way. You must register before you begin working on your project. After you register, you will receive an email from us within a few weeks asking if you would like to request a mentor. This mentorship opportunity will only be provided to participants who register before February 10th. For information about awards, please see here

To learn more visit: http://www.projectcsgirls.com/competition-details.html

For information about the International ProjectCSGIRLS Competition visit: http://www.projectcsgirls.com/register-for-the-international-projectcsgi...

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).

Read more...

 

 

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

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