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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.

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: 



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


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?


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





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: 


"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...

June 24, 2015 | Innovations

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a device that can steal laptops' data wirelessly using a radio receiver and a piece of pita bread. The device sends encoded information to a nearby laptop, which is then decoded by that laptop. Changes in the electromagnetic field around the laptop during this process are then monitored and recorded. These changes can then be analyzed to derive the laptop's secret decryption keys, enabling encrypted communications to be read. Known as the Portable Instrument for Trace Acquisition, or PITA, the device can crack passwords in mere seconds without the user even knowing it, and is small enough to be concealed in everyday items such as a pita sandwich.

Photo credit: The Laboratory for Experimental Information Security at Tel Aviv University

June 10, 2015 | Announcements

Although you may not realize it, technical standards have a big impact on our everyday lives. Standards influence virtually everything, including computers, phones, communication systems, power and energy, tools, transportation, medical devices, safety, and even toys. A technical standard is a norm or requirement that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, process and practices. A standard is usually a formal document that spells out a specific set of requirements for an item, material, component or system.

What would happen in a world without technical standards? This short animation video developed by the IEEE Standards Association demonstrates how IEEE 1264-2015, IEEE Guide for Animal Deterrents for Electric Power Supply Substations, helps to keep the lights on.


June 8, 2015 | Innovations

An international group of researchers based at Trinity College Dublin have developed a new highly sensitive graphene biosensor for the detection of diseases such as cholera, tuberculosis, and even cancer. The Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) sensor is an already established optical technique for medical diagnosis. The researchers discovered that adding graphene to the SPR sensor greatly improved its effectiveness by amplifying the sensor signal. This SPR sensor can detect diseases in mere minutes, as opposed to traditional methods, which can often take days. The sensitive nature of the SPR sensor also necessitates a smaller sample from patients, a pinprick instead of a vial of blood. The research team hopes to use this new technique to help detect diseases earlier, which could lead to better prognoses for patients.

May 19, 2015 | Announcements

Discover the possibilities of 3D printing in the latest issue of IEEE Spark! Learn how 3D printing is changing healthcare, meet a doctor who is using 3D printing to save lives, 3D-print a map, and see how libraries are connecting students to 3D printing technology.

Read this issue!


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