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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.

Class working on circuit project
September 16, 2016 | Student Opportunities

The ExploraVision competition for K-12 students engages the next generation in real world problem solving with a strong emphasis on STEM. ExploraVision challenges students envision and communicate new technology 20 years in the future through collaborative brainstorming and research of current science and technology.

ExploraVision is a science competition that goes beyond the typical student science competition and into what it takes to bring ideas to reality. A teacher will sponsor and lead his/her students as they work in groups of 2 – 4 to simulate real research and development. A teacher will guide his or her students as they pick a current technology, research it, envision what it might look like in 20 years, and describe the development steps, pros & cons, and obstacles. Past winners have envisioned technologies ranging from a hand-held food allergen detector to a new device to help people who have lost limbs regain movement in real time.

The project deadline is 6 February 2017. 

Learn more and register


graduation caps
September 2, 2016 | Reports

The need for qualified engineers has never been greater. Engineering schools are increasingly under pressure to build young people’s job readiness as the labor market demands better-skilled workers. Top IEEE educators share their views about diversity and declining enrollment... Read more at IEEE The Institutehttp://bit.ly/2bFmZz4

September 2, 2016 | Student Opportunities

The Zoohackathon is a computer coding and technology intensive event that brings together developers, designers, project managers, and subject matter experts to create applications, systems, and tools to help reduce demand for trafficked wildlife products.

Through Zoohackathon, leading conservation technology zoos in the U.S., UK, Asia and the Pacific will welcome coders and programmers for a two-day session aimed at developing usable solutions to problems solicited from wildlife experts around the world on demand reduction. At the end of the hackathons, teams pitch their ideas to an expert panel of judges. Local winners will receive prizes and winners from each site are also eligible to compete for worldwide prizes.

Coders can register for a local Zoohackathon at: http://www.zoohackathon.com/register/

astronaut robot prototype
August 22, 2016 | Student Opportunities

In the not so distant future, robots will work alongside, as well as in advance of, humans to take on some of our workload, and for scientific discoveries and exploration at distant locations.  Tasks such as deploying and preparing habitats and power systems on Mars before humans arrive; and here on Earth, assisting wtih disaster relief and industrial plant maintenance.

The Space Robotics Challenge focuses on developing software to increase the autonomy of dexterous mobile robots in humanoid format - specifically NASA's R5 robot - so they can complete specific tasks during space travel or after landing on other planets (such as Mars), as well as on Earth. 

Competitors will work within the Virtual Challenge scenario that has been created as a backdrop for developing coding advancements that enable the autonomy of humanoid robotics.

The Challenge is now open for teams to pre-register; registration ends September 16, 2016 (5:00pm EDT). Only approved teams will receive the Official Competitor Packet.

To pre-register visit: https://ninesights.ninesigma.com/web/space-robotics-challenge

August 19, 2016 | Announcements

Learn how the Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting our world in the latest issue of IEEE Spark! Meet an Internet of Things innovator, try a hands-on activity exploring the role of technical standards, check out the IEEE Internet of Things initiative, and discover additional IoT online resources and experiences. 

Read this issue!

Aprilia Caponord 1200 Rally
August 4, 2016 | Student Opportunities

Test your skills in numerical analysis, simulation and testing to design the perfect race engine. The winning team will enjoy a job experience with the APRILIA Racing team, which during its young history already counts on several World Championship Awards. Competing teams will enjoy a hands-on experience and learn how to balance the use of cutting edge software technology with their analytical applied mathematics background, in the quest for the optimal design.

The design challenge consists in the design of a 4 stroke single cylinder engine through multidisciplinary optimization, usingmodeFRONTIER and 1-D simulation of the engine system with GT-Suite. Where needed, other software tools can complement the analysis The design team will concentrate on the optimization of the 1-D engine model respecting the overall engine specifications, identifying objectives and constraints to the problem to reach the best engine performances possible.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE > 30th November 2016
SUBMISSION DEADLINE  > 30th April 2017

1st Prize:  
6-month internship at Aprilia Racing 
Visit of the Aprilia RC headquarters and labs  
1 year of ESTECO Academy membership for each team member

2nd Prize: 
Visit of the Aprilia RC headquarters and labs  
1 year of ESTECO Academy membership for each team member

Sensors placed on the insect monitor neural activity while they are freely moving, decoding the odorants present in their environment. (Photo: Baranidharan Raman)
July 27, 2016 | Innovations

Engineers at Washington University in St. Louis are developing a new biorobotic sensing system that will capitalize on locusts' highly advanced sense of smell. In studying locusts, the researchers found that they are able to correctly identify odors across a number of different situations, such as in the presence of other odors or overlapping scents, or in varying environmental conditions. They also found that odors prompt patterns of neural activity in the locusts' brains that can be analyzed. The researchers developed miniature electronic components to monitor the neural activity of the locusts, and gather, record and transmit data. A remote control system will also be developed to enable the researchers to steer the locusts' movement. Biocompatible silk tattoos that generate mild heat will be applied to the locusts' wings enabling them to be guided to particular locations. The researchers hope that locusts might serve as a more robust and cost effective alternative to using canines for homeland security and even medical diagnosis purposes. 

programmer with laptop
July 22, 2016 | Articles

Check out this great article on CNN.com about career opportunities for women with STEM degrees, including some great insights from IEEE Fellow, Karen Panetta. 


Andrew Mullen deploys the BUM during coral reef studies in Maui. Credit: Emily L. A. Kelly/UC San Diego, CC BY-ND
July 14, 2016 | Innovations

Researchers at the University of California have developed an underwater microscope that captures images of the sea floor and its inhabitants as tiny as one-hundredth of a millimeter. The Benthic Underwater Microscope, or BUM, employs miniature cameras and efficient LED lights to provide illuminated, focused, and stable underwater views of marine life.

The microscope has real-time recording capabilities and can be controlled by the diver via a computer interface. A squishy tunable lens allows divers to rapidly focus on objects with three-dimensional relief in focus. The microscope is equipped with one housing system for the camera, lights, and lens and another for the computer which controls the camera, a live diver interface and data storage.

The researchers tested the microscope in California as well as in the Red Sea near Eilat, Israel. During testing, the microscope uncovered never-before-seen views of coral polyps "kissing" to share food.  The microscope also provided a glimpse into how coral colonies work together to wage chemical warfare against their enemies and other species of coral. The researchers were also able to get microscale views of algae colonizing bleached corals in Hawaii.

It is anticipated that the microscope will be used to investigate questions such as how kelp propagate, how corals and algae compete, and how coral diseases progress. Future improvements to the microscope such as better resolution and frame rates and exciting applications in virtual reality are also envisioned. 

June 29, 2016 | Innovations

Frustrated when you can't get that last bit of shampoo out of the bottle? Engineers at Ohio State University have developed a coating that enables soaps and detergents to slide more easily out of their containers. The coating is made up of little y-shaped nanoparticles made of silica or quartz. After being treated, these y-shaped nanoparticles do not allow soap to stick to them. They also prevent the soap droplets from touching the inside of the bottle by holding them atop tiny air pockets. 

Coatings already exist to help food get out of bottles, but soap is trickier. Soaps have very low surface tension, which cause them to stick to plastics easily. To create the coating, the researchers sprayed a mixture of solvent and silica nanoparticles into plastic bottles, causing the inside surface to soften. When the plastic re-hardened, the silica became embedded in the surface of the plastic. Positioning the y-shaped silica structures a few millimeters apart on the inside of the bottle prevents soap from touching the plastic, and causes it to form beads and roll off. 

Although getting all of the product out of a shampoo bottle sounds like a frivolous problem, it has a big environmental impact. Billions of bottles with product still inside them end up discarded in landfills. This innovation will also help with recycling, since plastics must be rinsed clean before they can be recycled. The researchers have already applied the coating on other materials such as smartphone covers and headlights. They also hope that the technology can be used on biomedical devices that need to remain clean such as catheters. 


Photo credit:  Image from video by Philip S. Brown, courtesy of The Ohio State University. 


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