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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.

May 2, 2013 | Student Opportunities

Entries are now being accepted for the Imagine Mobile Concept Video Competition. Teams of girl_with_video_cameramiddle and high school students are invited to submit a short video describing their vision of the future of mobile apps and devices. Two winning teams will receive US$1,000 scholarships.

Entries can be submitted here by 20 May 2013.

Learn more about the Imagine Mobile Concept Video Competition…

April 19, 2013 | Innovations

Engineers at the Germany company Festo have developed a flying robot inspired by the dragonfly. Like the dragonfly, the BionicOpter can maneuver in all directions, glide, hover, make sharp turns, accelerate and decelerate quickly, and fly backwards.

April 5, 2013 | Innovations

fiber opticsEngineers at Purdue University are researching †the use of ultra-fast light pulses to increase the speed and bandwidth of technology. As technology gets smaller and smaller, there will come a point where the components cannot be reduced any further. The advantage of using ultra-fast light pulses, is that they operate at the atomic scale. The team is working to reduce the pulses of light waves down to the size of the photons themselves. †Short pulses of light are preferred because they allow for greater optical bandwidth. A main focus of the team’s research is on micro-ring resonators, where light is passed through a †ring only a few hundred nanometers wide. As the light continues around the ring, its intensity grows exponentially producing several frequencies of light at one time. †The use of ultra-fast light pulses in communication may someday enable technology smaller than ever dreamed possible.

March 27, 2013 | Innovations

For the people of Lima, Peru access to reliably clean water is a challenge. To address this water in pailissue, some innovative engineers at†Peru’s University for Engineering and Technology have developed a novel solution.†They created a potable water generator that can produce 100
liters of clean water per day. †The machine is sandwiched between two billboards advertising that the water is available for free to anyone who wants it.†The water generator pulls moisture from the air, filters and condenses it, and then stores it in a large tank at the base of the billboard. Residents can then access the clean water dispensed at the bottom of the structure. †A humid environment is required for the†machine’s operation, which isn’t usually a problem in a city whose humidity averages over 80 percent. The water generator has already produced 9,450 liters of water in just three months — enough to provide clean water to hundreds of families per month.

March 11, 2013 | Innovations

computer chipsEver had to bring a smartphone or computer in for repair due to a faulty chip? Inconveniences like this could be a thing of the past thanks to some engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The research team developed an integrated circuit that can self-diagnose and develop solutions to problems that previously would have meant total failure. These “smart chips” are equipped with sensors that monitor current, voltage, power, and temperature. This data is analyzed by an application-specific integrated-circuit (ASIC), which develops a workaround solution when a problem arises. The chips are designed to find the optimum state for all of their actuators, so they don’t require algorithms for every possible thing that could go wrong. Even after the researchers blasted the chips with a laser, they were still able to function. Someday these chips could be put into consumer electronics, like phones to create virtually indestructible technology.

February 25, 2013 | Innovations

Smart fishing nets being tested at Denmark’s North Sea Centre are aimed at reducing wasteful fishing practices. Nets currently used in the fishing industry are inefficient, causing many small fish and sea creatures to be killed unnecessarily. They also disturb seabeds, create pollution, and require a lot of fuel to drag across the ocean floor.The new net designs being tested employ wheels, making them less costly to pull, and less damaging to the environment. A built-in sorting mechanism enables only the largest fish to be caught while smaller organisms are released back into the ocean. These new fishing technologies may help to address widespread fish shortages occurring across Europe.

February 15, 2013 | Events

father and daughter using telescopeFamily Day, celebrating its 20th†anniversary this year, draws 7,000-10,000 children, parents, teachers, engineers and technologists each year. It is designed to introduce children – mostly in the 4- to 12-year-old range – to the wonder of engineering and promote technological literacy. Guests will learn how engineers are creative problem-solvers who help make the world a safer, more enjoyable place to live.

Family Day (http://www.engineeringfamilyday.org/) is a program of the National Engineers Week Foundation and kicks off EWeek activities in the nation’s capital.

PR Newswire†(http://s.tt/1zQpq)

February 7, 2013 | Innovations

Engineers at Duke University have developed a new material that when applied to a ship’s barnacles on shippaint, can literally shake off bacteria. When stimulated by stretching, pressure, or electrical impulse, the coating moves at the molecular level causing it to crinkle.† This wrinkling knocks off any unwanted biofilms or hitchhikers such as barnacles that tend to accumulate on a ship’s exterior. This not only saves the ship’s paint, but also avoids reductions in performance or clogged sensors that can occur when these creatures build up. It also reduces the need for bacteria-killing paints, which are harmful to the environment. The coating could have additional applications where bacteria is a problem such as on artificial joints or water purification membranes.

February 1, 2013 | Innovations

Engineers at the Department of Defense and NASA have developed a blimp-like airship forgrain sacks carrying cargo. The airship is comprised of a lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum frame wrapped in a shiny Mylar skin. Helium filled balloons inside the craft keep it afloat, and it rises and descends by taking in and releasing air like a submarine. Although the aircraft has only been able to stay airborne for a few minutes, it represents a feat that technology has not been able to accomplish before. It is envisioned that the airship could be used to load and unload cargo at disaster sites where there is no infrastructure or landing pad. The engineers are now conducting more tests to ensure the craft can withstand high winds and extreme weather.

February 1, 2013 | Student Opportunities

3/4 moonRegistration is open for the 20th Annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race. High school and college students are challenged to design and build a vehicle that addresses a series of engineering problems similar to those faced by the original lunar-roving vehicle team. Each school may enter up to two teams. The race will take place April 25-27, 2013, in Huntsville, Ala., at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

U.S. teams must register by Feb. 4, 2013.

For more information about the competition and to register online, visit†http://moonbuggy.msfc.nasa.gov/index.html.

Teams with questions should contact Diedra Williams at†Diedra.A.Williams@nasa.gov.

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