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February 14, 2013
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Essential news for the global engineering community

  Today's Tech Buzz 
  • Companies join in bid to provide printable human organs
    Hoping to move up from bits of cartilage and arteries to complete, transplant-ready human organs, bioprinting firm Organovo is partnering with 3-D modeling company Autodesk. Software from Autodesk could theoretically use images provided by MRIs or X-rays to produce custom organs. Said Autodesk's Carlos Olguin, "Life is becoming a nascent design space in an engineering sense. It's subject to specs, subject to QA, it's repeatable." (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Folding wingtips still part of Boeing's 777X
    Boeing said it plans to maintain its launch date for the 777X jet, which is expected to feature folding wingtips made of longer carbon-composite. "We're focused on these airplanes coming to the market late in the decade," said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Reuters (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Researchers develop a self-healing computer
    Researchers at the University College London have created a computer that can avoid crashes and repair itself, a technology that could be useful for mission-critical systems. The "systemic" computer pairs data with sets of instructions, dividing up the results into different "systems." Because the computer has many copies of its work, if one becomes corrupt, the computer can recover by accessing a clean copy. New Scientist (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Tiny shapes take form in new variety of materials
    Shapes smaller than the width of a human hair that normally might be made out of silicon can now be fashioned from other materials such as nanotubes of carbon, metals and ceramics, thanks to new processes developed by Brigham Young University professors and students. The development could lead to less costly and wider availability of cell phones and navigation devices, and provide stability control for vehicles, said BYU physics professor Robert Davis. For now, though, the researchers have used the process to produce a tiny cupid for Valentine's Day. The Deseret News (Salt Lake City) (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovations & Trends 
  • Chance at building a robot to ride proves popular
    Makerspaces are community-operated engineering collectives that are gaining popularity. For instance, three engineers in Massachusetts worked together to offer a robotics class, to give participants a chance to build a six-legged robot that one could ride. "All of our hardware and software designs will be released under an open source, MIT-style license at the conclusion of the project," says Dan Cody, one of the organizers. The class sold out almost immediately and work on the bot continues. "What we hope to give back to the community is an example of how to use hydraulics in a project like this; inspiring more interesting projects down the road." (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Nanostructures reassemble themselves
    Origami is the inspiration behind a Johns Hopkins University project that prompts nano structures to reassemble themselves in response to stimuli. The fabrication process lends itself to numerous applications, "ranging from drug delivery to mechanical sensing, bio-sensing technologies applicable to threat detection, surveillance and in non-invasive surgery or biopsies," said David Gracias, an associate professor at the Whiting School of Engineerings at Johns Hopkins. Nanowerk (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Technology of remote touch advances from WWII origins
    Haptics, a user interface that imparts a sense of touch, grew out of the necessity of handling deadly radioactive materials remotely as nuclear technology developed during World War II. Now computer augmentation of the mechanical linkages typically used in haptics are making possible such things as robotic surgery and advanced prosthetics. (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Experience the rat's view of the world
    Human beings and rats can interact with each other at rat level thanks to a project from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the U.K.'s University College, London. A human can don a virtual reality rig and watch as a mechanical rat is dropped into a box with a real rat. Then the real rat and the human being can see and respond to each other in the form of avatars. Eventually, a real rat with implanted electrodes may be incorporated into the setup, said Mandayam A. Srinivasan, a senior research scientist at MIT's department of mechanical engineering. (1/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Global Window 
  • Bio-scaffold may allow for regrowth of broken bones
    Researchers from the U.K. used a method called "solvent blending" to create a degradable, plastic bio-scaffold that can be inserted into broken bones to induce them to regrow. Stem cells from the bone marrow are carried by the blood through the scaffold, where they can attach and generate new bone tissue. The researchers are preparing for human trials. The findings were published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials. Medical News Today (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Leadership & Development 
  ASME News 
  • "Advanced manufacturing" is the focus of this fall’s ASME Congress
    ASME and the organizers of the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition have selected the topic of advanced manufacturing -- the use of technology to improve products and processes -- as the overall theme for this fall’s annual event. Abstracts are now being accepted for a special advanced manufacturing track featuring special events, speakers, and technical programming centered on this topic. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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