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February 13, 2013
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Essential news for the global engineering community

  Today's Tech Buzz 
  • Carbon-fiber the focus on McLaren's P1
    The driver of McLaren's P1 supercar won't "slosh" around as drivers might in regular cars, writes Angus MacKenzie. That's because engineers have incorporated "cocooning, similar to a fighter jet’s seating package." However, there are aesthetics to consider as well, and the engineers have made liberal use of carbon fiber throughout. It's on the floor, doors, rocker panels and dash. As to the steering wheel? "Modeled and scanned on a CAD system using past McLaren champions grips, the P1’s wheel is as close as you’ll get to an F1 without marrying Lewis Hamilton," Mackenzie asserts. Gizmag (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Invisibility sphere originator reflects on uses, implications
    The potential uses of an invisibility sphere are a source of worry for the man who conceived the idea, Janos Perczel. Perczel was a 22-year-old undergraduate at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland when he hit upon the key concept, a transmutation technique that could render a rigid object invisible. Though it might be used by militaries to hide weapons, "my hope is that the invisible sphere would be used in more peaceful ways," Perczel says in an interview. "One of them might be shielding people from hazardous forms of radiation." Voice of Russia (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • UMass Lowell center takes on task of testing robots
    UMass Lowell's NERVE Center is gaining a reputation as a cutting-edge facility for the development of robotics systems. The center's goal is to be a leader in devising new methods for evaluating robots, serving the more than "100 companies in Massachusetts doing robotics research," said NERVE Center Director Holly Yanco. The Sun (Lowell, Mass.) (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Spotlight on Transportation 
  • Orion capsule could take astronauts to Mars, NASA says
    NASA said its new deep-space capsule could eventually ferry astronauts to Mars. The agency showcased a prototype of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, which is scheduled for its first unmanned test flight in 2014. Orion, built by Lockheed Martin, could carry out its first manned flight as early as 2021. (2/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovations & Trends 
  • Arizona students shoot for stars in rocketry challenge
    Students at a middle school in San Luis, Ariz., are aiming to compete in the finals of the Team America Rocketry Challenge. "The kids are putting to the test their knowledge, but above all they are using something basic in science and technology -- that is, persistence and teamwork," said Francisco Vasquez, team adviser and science teacher. The Yuma Daily Sun (Ariz.) (2/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • BP showcases Texas well monitoring facility
    A small group of reporters got a first-hand look at BP's well monitoring facility at its West Houston campus. The facility allows BP to analyze and respond to well data from its nine Gulf of Mexico rigs. "We want to be the Harvard of well control," said Mark Venettozzi, a global training manager at BP. (2/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Caterpillar opts for hydraulic over electric with new excavator
    Hydraulic proved superior to electric as the answer for Caterpillar's latest hydraulic-hybrid excavator. Besides simplicity and lower cost, considerable energy savings are possible with hydraulics as the arm swings between two points, according to this article. Some of the energy that would be lost can be captured as pressure in an accumulator and used to aid the swinging arm. Fast Company online (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Economical nanoprecision imaging advances
    Using an inexpensive microfluidic device, University of Maryland researchers have found a way to produce images below the 400 nanometer threshold of the best conventional microscopes. The technique, accurate down to a spatial accuracy of 12 nanometers, uses a particle much smaller than the wavelength of light as an optical probe. Nanowerk/University of Maryland (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Leadership & Development 
  • What executives can learn from Pope Benedict XVI quitting
    Pope Benedict XVI's resignation is a reminder of just how tough leadership really is, says Nancy F. Koehn, a professor and historian. Neither CEOs nor spiritual leaders are supermen, and it's important that they admit that to themselves. "I don't think this is primarily about age. I think it's really about energy and enthusiasm and a kind of physical, moral, intellectual, and emotional verve -- an appetite," she says. "It's something that every leader is responsible for maintaining and feeding." Harvard Business Review online/HBR Blog Network/Our Editors (2/11) , Forbes (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASME News 
  • DiscoverE Educator Awards seeks nominations
    Nominations are being accepted for the 2013 DiscoverE Educator Awards. The program, launched by ASME last year as part of Engineers Week, honors pre-college STEM educators for introducing young people to engineering concepts. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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