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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.

April 24, 2015 | Innovations

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, have used a 3D printing technique, know as direct ink writing, to create a new kind of graphene aerogel that has applications ranging from energy storage to electronics. Aerogels, also known as "frozen smoke", are esssentially gels where the liquid has been replaced by a gas. The resulting material is ultra lightweight, compressible, highly conductive, mechanically stiff, and has a high surface area. Previous attempts at creating graphene aerogels resulted in random structures which could not be tailored for specific applications. The graphene aerogel shows much promise for developing  better batteries, sensors, and nanoelectronics. 


April 16, 2015 |

NYC's DOE is seeking companies / organizations in New York City to host high school students students studying software engineering for a six-week job shadow / internship program June 29th – August 7th. The program, "Pathfinders," is an integral part of DOE’s efforts to prepare students for the 21st Century workforce, providing students with valuable exposure to potential career paths and context for their schoolwork. The students are paid thanks to a generous donation from the AT&T Foundation so there’s no cost to host organizations. To apply to be a host organization, please visit http://bit.ly/ApplyPathfinders or contact Richard Robbins at rich@upperweststrategies.com.

NYC DOE needs you!! Sign up to host software engineering HS students for summer internship program. Info at http://bit.ly/ApplyPathfinders

Moley Robotics
April 14, 2015 | Innovations

London-based company Moley Robotics recently unveiled the first robotic kitchen, which can prepare gourmet dishes at the push of a button. The system uses two articulated robotic hands designed by Shadow Robotics, in a specially designed kitchen equipped with a stovetop, dishwasher and sink. Containing 20 motors, 24 joints and 129 sensors, the hands can be programmed to mimic 3D recorded movements of a human chef preparing a meal. The hands can manipulate utensils, cookware, and ingredients; and be taught to mix, stir, chop and even clean up afterwards. During a recent demonstration, the robo-chef prepared Tim Anderson's (2011 winner of the U.K.'s MasterChef) crab bisque recipe from scratch. The company has plans to establish a digital library of 2,000 recipes to which users can record and upload their own creations. The robotic kitchen is anticipated to be sold to the public in 2017 for a cost of about US $15,000.


April 3, 2015 | Student Opportunities

Adventures of the Mind is an achievement-focused mentoring camp for the most promising high school students in the country to meet each other while spending several days meeting, greeting, challenging, conversing, and dining with an accomplished Faculty of Mentors.
Approximately 200 students, age 15-18, are competitively selected to participate in the summit where they explore their potential with ~ 50 mentors representing a diverse group of accomplished innovators: astronauts,  scientists, engineers, MacArthur Fellows, entrepreneurs, inventors, Nobel laureates, programmers, scholars, and tech titans.  There is a ratio of one mentor for every five students that enables significant conversations and interactions that can be life changing for these students. 
Adventures of the Mind seeks exceptional students, going beyond the traditional measures of achievement (grades and test scores) by asking teachers to nominate a teen whom they know to be exceptional, regardless of learning disabilities, socioeconomic factors, or other obstacles that may obscure the students’ true potential.  Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann said of Adventures  “It is like Davos or TED with amazing high school students.”  Since 2003 more than 700 students, from every state in the nation, have joined 113 mentors at Adventures of the Mind programs.
Adventures is proud to be hosting a Google Hackathon during the summit at Rosemont this year. The event will take place on August 4th and will feature Google engineers and designers who will help student Adventurers to bring their ideas to life.
The 2015 Adventures of the Mind summit will be held:
August 2-9 2015
Rosemont College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
$2,975 summit fee (includes food & lodging)
Note: scholarships and travel grants are available to qualifying students.  These scholarships are named after Adventures of the Mind Nobel laureate faculty to include  Gell-Mann (physics) who we served with on PCAST, Chalfie (Chemistry), Greider (medicine), Maskin (economics), Running (peace), and Mullis (chemistry).
Application submission date:  June 15, 2015

Image Credit: University of Twente
March 23, 2015 | Innovations

Spherical gold particles are able to ‘drill’ a nano-diameter tunnel in ceramic material when heated. This is an easy and attractive way to equip chips with nanopores for DNA analysis, for example. Researcher Lennart de Vreede of the University of Twente applied a large number of microscopic discs of gold on a surface of silicon dioxide. When heated up for several hours, the gold is moving into the material, perpendicular to the surface, like nanometer-sized spheres. Nine hours of heating gives a tunnel of 800 nanometers in length, for example, and a diameter of 25 nanometer: these results can normally only be acieved by using complex processes. The gold can even fully move through the material. All nanotunnels together then form a sieve. Leaving the tunnel closed at one end, leaves open the possibility of creating molds for nano structures. Once heated to close to their melting point, the gold discs – diameter one micron -, don’t spread out over the surface, but they form spheres. They push away the siliciumdioxide, causing a circular ‘ridge’, a tiny dam. While moving into the silicondioxide, the ball gets smaller: it evaporates and there is a continuos movement of silicondioxide.

In DNA-sequencing applications, De Vreede sees applications for this new fabrication technology. In that case, a DNA-string is pulled through one of these nano-channels, after which the building blocks of DNA, the nucleotides, can be analysed subsequently. Furthermore, De Vreede expects the ‘gold method’ to be applicable to other ceramic materials as well. His recent experiments on silicium nitride indicate that. Research has been done in the BIOS Lab-on-a-chip group, part of two research institutes of the University of Twente: the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology and the MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine.

March 13, 2015 | Announcements

To expand the IEEE Global History Network, the IEEE History Center launched the Engineering and Technology History Wiki (ETHW). With funding from a grant from the United Engineering Foundation, the IEEE History Center partnered with 6 other engineering societies – the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Institute of Mining Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and the Society of Women Engineers to create this awesome collection of History online. Here's the new site: http://ethw.org

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!


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