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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.

cochlear implant
February 10, 2014 | Innovations

Cochlear implants are medical breakthroughs that have provided the sense of sound to those who would otherwise be deaf or severely hard of hearing. These devices, which electrically stimulate the auditory nerve, rely on external components including a transmitter, microphone and power source, that are wired from around the ear to the wearer's skull. Researchers at MIT have developed a low-power signal-processing chip that could be used to create a cochlear implant that no longer requires external components. The new cochlear implant would utilize a sensor that detects vibrations from bones in the middle ear and transmits them to a microchip implanted in the ear. These vibrations would then be converted into an electrical signal and sent to an electrode in the cochlea. To lower the power requirements of the converter chip, the researchers optimized the arrangement of low-power filters and amplifiers, and developed a more power-efficient signal-generating circuit. This new cochlear implant could even be charged wirelessly in only two minutes using a device that plugs into a smart phone, for a charge that would last up to eight hours. 

origami crane
January 28, 2014 | Innovations

Engineers at Florida International University are designing the next generation of antennas using origami. The principles of origami enable the antennas to be folded to only a few centimeters, and in a variety of shapes, but still possess ultra-broadband capabilities. The antennas are typically made from paper, but the researchers are also exploring using plastics and other materials. Advanced inkjet printing techniques are used to apply the conductive elements of the antennas that enable signal reception. These folding antennas possess a wide range of applications ranging from space, to medicine, to the military. 

To try your hand at folded engineering design, check out the Folding Matters lesson plan! 

January 17, 2014 |

Computing and engineering students from the University of Southampton won the Thales Project Arduino Competion, which challenged students to design something using the Thales Arduino open-source electronic microprocessor platform. Projects needed to be in the areas of transport, aerospace, defense or security, and students were invited to film the progress of their efforts. The Southampton students designed a soldier-monitoring smart helmet which was fabricated using a 3D printer. The helmet was programmed using the Arduino platform to record the wearer's heart rate, body position and body temperature. Check out a video of the students' project below:


The Science Play and Research Kit (SPARK) competition challenges participants to reimagine the chemistry set for the 21st century and generate a new set of experiences and activities that encourage imagination and interest in science and engineering. The competition is not limited to chemistry, but is looking for ideas that can engage kids as young as 8 and inspire people who are 88; that encourage kids to explore, create, build and question; and honor kids’ curiosity about how things work.

Apply by 7 January 2014 at reimaginechemset.org to win prizes up to US$5,000!

December 12, 2013 | Student Opportunties

Celebrate Computer Science Education Week by trying your hand at an hour of code! Visit the Computer Science Education Week Web site for some great tutorials, or watch the video below to get started. 

December 10, 2013 | Announcements

Lesson plans on TryEngineering.org are now aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (where applicable). These are in addition to current alignments to the U.S. National Science Education Standards, International Technology and Engineering Educators Association's Standards for Technological Literacy, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' Principles and Standards for School Mathematics and the Computer Science Teachers Association's K-12 Computer Science Standards

Search TryEngineering's database of 115 free engineering, computing and technology lesson plans.

December 4, 2013 | Innovations

IBM researchers have found a novel application for polymers that are used in semiconductor manufacturing to etch silicon wafers on a very small scale. By manipulating the materials at the nanoscale, the researchers created what they have dubbed "ninja polymers" that can be used to kill bacteria such as MRSA. Essentially, the ninjas target bacteria based on electrostatic charge, attach to and destroy their cell membranes and the harmful content within, and then stealthily disappear into the body by biodegrading. This is all accomplished without any harmful effects on healthy tissue and with little chance of developing resistance to the polymers.  Additional future applications of the ninja polymers might be the targeted delivery of drugs within the body, or as bacteria-fighting agents in household cleaners. 

November 26, 2013 | Announcements

Interested in finding information on accredited computing degree programs? You can search for accredited computing degree programs around the world on IEEE TryComputing.org. The portal lists accredited computing degrees at over 1800 universities in 68 countries globally.  Search for computer engineering, computer science, information systems, information technology, software engineering, and specialty degrees.  Find information about each degree including career options, skills needed, preparation tips, and what to expect during university studies. 

Search now...

November 11, 2013 | Innovations

Engineers at the University of Washington have designed a system that enables wireless devices to be operated without the use of batteries. The system works by making use of what is known as "ambient backscatter"; or the TV and cellular transmissions that surround us every day. The engineers equipped pairs of small devices about the size of  credit cards with antennas, enabling them to detect TV signals, convert them to electrical power, and then reflect them to one another to communicate in a manner somewhat akin to Morse code. The engineers were able to get the devices to successfully communicate even when 6.5 miles away from a TV tower; and with a transmission rate large enough to send and receive data such as a sensor reading, text, or contact information when 2.5 feet apart outdoors. Examples of applications of this technology might include monitoring bridge integrity, wearable devices, smart homes, or autonomous sensor networks. 


October 22, 2013 | Student Opportunities

To coincide with the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, Valeo is inviting students from engineering, technical and science schools and universities from around the world to take an active role in automotive innovation by designing equipment that will help build smarter and more intuitive cars by 2030. Students from engineering, technical and science schools and universities will have the opportunity to develop daring and revolutionary solutions for the future.

Up for grabs: €100,000 for the winning team. And 2nd and 3rd place teams will also get €10,000 each!

Complete information about the contest as well as the online application form can be found at: www.valeo.com in the valeo-innovation-challenge section: https://valeoinnovationchallenge.valeo.com

Entries may be submitted beginning Wednesday, September 11, 2013 and must be received by 8:00 pm CET on Friday, February 14, 2014. 


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