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Archive for the ‘engineering’ category

Mar 16, 2019

Who invented the dishwasher, windshield wiper, caller ID? Women created these 50 inventions

Posted by in categories: engineering, innovation

On May 5, 1809, Mary Kies became the first woman to receive a patent in the United States. (It was for her technique of weaving straw with silk.)

Of course, women inventors existed before this time, but the property laws in many states made it illegal for women to own property on their own. This led some women to apply for patents in their husbands’ names if they decided to apply at all.

As of last year, only 10 percent of U.S. patent holders were women, although women account for half of doctoral degrees in science and engineering. This disparity is due in part to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office being more likely to reject patents with women as sole applicants.

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Mar 16, 2019

Finding the right “dose” for solar geoengineering

Posted by in category: engineering

Leaving aside my opinion of Steven Pinker, a straight guy who has no clue about how he affects others, mmmm k I’ll give him this one.

Just saying.

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Mar 15, 2019

4D printing multi-metal products with a desktop electrochemical 3D printer

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, 4D printing, engineering

Four-dimensional (4D) printing can create complex 3D geometries that react to environmental stimuli, opening new design opportunities in materials science. A vast majority of 4D printing approaches use polymer materials, which limit the operational temperature during the process of engineering. In a recent study, Xiaolong Chen and co- workers at the Dyson School of Design and Engineering, Department of Earth Science and Engineering and Department of Materials at the Imperial College of London, U.K., developed a new multi-metal electrochemical 3D printer. The device was able to construct bimetallic geometries by selectively depositing different metals with temperature-responsive behavior programmed into the printed structure. In the study, they demonstrated a meniscus confined electrochemical 3D printing approach using a multi-print head design and nickel and copper materials as examples, the ability can be transferred to other deposition solutions. The results are now published in Scientific Reports.

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Mar 12, 2019

Researchers develop ‘acoustic metamaterial’ that cancels sound

Posted by in categories: engineering, media & arts, transportation

Boston University researchers, Xin Zhang, a professor at the College of Engineering, and Reza Ghaffarivardavagh, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, released a paper in Physical Review B demonstrating it’s possible to silence noise using an open, ringlike structure, created to mathematically perfect specifications, for cutting out sounds while maintaining airflow.

“Today’s barriers are literally thick heavy walls,” says Ghaffarivardavagh. Although noise-mitigating barricades, called sound baffles, can help drown out the whoosh of rush hour traffic or contain the symphony of music within concert hall walls, they are a clunky approach not well suited to situations where airflow is also critical. Imagine barricading a jet engine’s exhaust vent—the plane would never leave the ground. Instead, workers on the tarmac wear earplugs to protect their hearing from the deafening roar.

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Mar 12, 2019

Light provides control for 3D printing with multiple materials

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, engineering

3D printing has revolutionized the fields of healthcare, biomedical engineering, manufacturing and art design.

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Mar 11, 2019

A robotic leg, born without prior knowledge, learns to walk

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, information science, robotics/AI

For a newborn giraffe or wildebeest, being born can be a perilous introduction to the world—predators lie in wait for an opportunity to make a meal of the herd’s weakest member. This is why many species have evolved ways for their juveniles to find their footing within minutes of birth.

It’s an astonishing evolutionary feat that has long inspired biologists and roboticists—and now a team of USC researchers at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering believe they have become the first to create an AI-controlled robotic limb driven by animal-like tendons that can even be tripped up and then recover within the time of the next footfall, a task for which the was never explicitly programmed to do.

Francisco J. Valero-Cuevas, a professor of Biomedical Engineering a professor of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy at USC in a project with USC Viterbi School of Engineering doctoral student Ali Marjaninejad and two other doctoral students—Dario Urbina-Melendez and Brian Cohn, have developed a bio-inspired algorithm that can learn a new walking task by itself after only 5 minutes of unstructured play, and then adapt to other tasks without any additional programming.

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Mar 11, 2019

Finding the right ‘dose’ for solar geoengineering

Posted by in categories: climatology, engineering, sustainability

One of the key misconceptions about solar geoengineering—putting aerosols into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight and reduce global warming—is that it could be used as a fix-all to reverse global warming trends and bring temperature back to pre-industrial levels.

It can’t. Applying huge doses of to offset all warming from rising atmospheric C02 levels could worsen the problem—particularly rainfall patterns—in certain regions. But could smaller doses work in tandem with emission cuts to lower the risks of a changing climate?

New research from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), in collaboration with MIT and Princeton University, finds that if solar geoengineering is used to cut global temperature increases in half, there could be worldwide benefits without exacerbating change in any large geographic area.

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Mar 7, 2019

Laser probe detects melanoma instantly using light

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering

Canadian researchers have developed a laser probe that uses changes in light patterns to detect melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The device works on the principle that light waves change as they pass through objects. Cancerous cells have a different physical profile to healthy cells, and the researchers designed a system that can detect these patterns instantly. By determining the optical polarisation of different skin lesions, the team was able to distinguish cancerous from non-cancerous tissues.

“With skin cancer, there’s a saying that if you can spot it you can stop it – and that’s exactly what this probe is designed to do,” said researcher Daniel Louie, a PhD student who constructed the device as part of his studies in biomedical engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

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Mar 6, 2019

Antibiotic resistance is spreading from wastewater treatment plants

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering

The products of wastewater treatment have been found to contain trace amounts of antibiotic resistant DNA. These products are often reintroduced to the environment and water supply, potentially resulting in the spread of antibiotic resistance. As such, researchers at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering have been studying the development of these potentially harmful and dangerous genes in wastewater treatment processes. Their findings, published in Environmental Science & Technology, indicate that even low concentrations of just a single type of antibiotic leads to resistance to multiple classes of antibiotics.

“We’re quickly getting to a scary place that’s called a “post-antibiotic world,” where we can no longer fight infections with antibiotics anymore because microbes have adapted to be resilient against those antibiotics,” said Adam Smith, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at USC and lead investigator of the study. “Unfortunately, engineered water treatment systems end up being sort of a hot-bed for .”

The majority of the antibiotics we consume are metabolized in our bodies. However, small amounts pass through us in our waste, which are then carried to . At these plants, one of the common ways in which the wastewater is treated is with a membrane bioreactor, which uses both a filtration system and a biological process where consume waste products.

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Mar 6, 2019

Goals for collecting and studying samples from Mars

Posted by in categories: engineering, space

A paper, “The potential science and engineering value of samples delivered to Earth by Mars sample return,” authored by 71 scientists is available. According to the summary at Science Daily.


Returning samples from the surface of Mars has been a high-priority goal of the international Mars exploration community for many years. Although randomly collected samples would be potentially interesting, they would not be sufficient to answer the big questions that have motivated Mars exploration for decades. A new paper published in Meteoritics & Planetary Science describes the results of a major collaboration among 71 scientists from throughout the international science community to define specific scientific objectives for a Mars Sample Return campaign, to describe the critical measurements that would need to be done on returned samples to address the objectives, and to identify the kinds of samples that would be most likely to carry the key information.

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