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February 22, 2013
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Essential news for the global engineering community

  Today's Tech Buzz 
  • Apple "watch" may take form of flexible, bracelet-like device
    Rumors of an Apple wristwatch device have been fleshed out a bit with a patent that Apple filed in 2011 for a flexible device that would be worn something like a slap bracelet. The product would have a touchscreen and would work in conjunction with a separate device, such as an iPhone. ZDNet (2/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Global Window 
  • VW XL1 gets 270 mpg with diesel, battery power, sharp aerodynamics
    Volkswagen claims 270 mpg fuel economy for its new XL1 plug-in hybrid, a limited number of copies of which the company plans to build. The two-seater employs an 800 cc diesel engine and an electric motor while relying on an aerodynamically efficient body design and weight savings to keep fuel consumption down. Meanwhile, Hyundai's 2013 hybrid is finally available. It sports a 47 kW lithium polymer battery pack, and gets about 38 miles per gallon for combined city and highway driving. National Post (Canada) (2/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Advanced machine learning system to help predict water pipe failures
    Australia will use "advanced machine learning techniques" to help find which pipes are at risk of breaking to detect and avoid potential failures in the water system. "All water utilities with buried water pipes are faced with the issue of finding pipes that are at high risk of failure before they fail and result in significant disruptions to the community. To do this we need accurate models to identify high-risk pipes which can cope with the differences in age, pipe material, environmental conditions and urbanization," said Kevin Young, Sydney Water's managing director. (Australia) (2/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Spotlight on Biotechnology 
  • Sensor device helps surgeons judge appropriate pressure
    Surgeons won't have to rely solely on their sense of touch when they use a new instrument attachment from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation. The device, developed with Weber Instrumente, fits most surgical tools and consists of sensors and LEDs that light up when a surgeon has exerted enough pressure in a given procedure, such as installing a screw. EE Times (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Ultimate mechanical heart may be just around the corner
    Pioneering heart surgeon and researcher Dr. Albert Starr believes technology is nearing the stage at which a small, self-contained mechanical heart will allow patients to live nearly normal lives. Starr says one promising candidate is a device being developed by legendary surgeon Alain Carpentier of Paris' Pierre and Marie Curie University. It's a two-pump design with an advanced electronics system that synchronizes pumping action with a patient's exertion. (2/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovations & Trends 
  • Hazards of wind farm noise hard to gauge, difficult to address
    One of the biggest objections of people living near wind farms is the constant noise. Experts believe there are two sources from each turbine: the mechanical noise of gears and the generator housed in the nacelle and, more prominently, the aerodynamic noise of the blades, particularly as they stroke downward. Whether the noise is harmful is another issue, with measurements proving difficult to take given a variety of background sources of interference. Some newer blade designs, however, have reduced the problem. Renewable Energy World (2/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • A look at 5 of the most talked-about smart-city projects
    This piece lists five projects that are using the power of technology to build the "cities of the future now." It includes the $35 billion Songdo city in South Korea; Abu Dhabi's Masdar City; Rio de Janeiro's city-wide operations center; smart street lights and other technologically advanced projects in Barcelona, Spain; and London's various projects, including sensors to monitor air quality, traffic flow and water supply. BBC (2/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Wind-power companies awarded Energy Department grants
    Small businesses working on energy conservation and renewable energy have been awarded 70 grants by the the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Among those receiving a share of the $10.5 million total are: Colorado-based Boulder Nonlinear Systems, which is developing a compact offshore 3-D wind sensor; Ohio-based Hyper Tech Research, which is working on a transportable 5-6 MW superconducting wind turbine generator for land use; and Kansas-based Wetzel Engineering, which will develop field-assembled rotor blades for land-based turbines. North American Windpower online (2/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASME News 
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