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March 22, 2013
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Essential news for the global engineering community

  Today's Tech Buzz 
  • GE test center spins turbines through their frigid paces
    A new $50 million testing center for General Electric jet engines at James A. Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg, Canada, puts the turbines through a series of trials at temperatures as low as -68F. Tests are done to evaluate how well the engines deal with icing and bird strikes, and how well they perform and endure. The facility can accommodate as many as six of the giant engines that GE is currently developing. Gizmodo Australia (3/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Darpa project targets computers that learn on their own
    Having abandoned the task of reproducing human intelligence in computers, the Defense Department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, is now taking on the simpler -- but still daunting challenge -- of developing computers that can teach themselves. "Probabilistic programming" is the key as scientists are tasked with nothing short of enabling "new applications that are impossible to conceive of using today's technology" as well as making computers much easier to control for ordinary users. (U.K.) (3/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Global Window 
  • Robots toiling in Chinese kitchens mark a larger trend
    They may not look the part, but robots are increasingly cooking up specialties in restaurant kitchens across China, replacing their human-chef counterparts and saving money for their owners. The culinary application highlights a broader trend in China to robotics in a variety of industrial environments. The Economic Times (India) (3/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Skin implant can monitor, transmit glucose levels
    Swiss researchers have developed a small, implantable device that can analyze chemical and protein levels and transmit wireless updates. A patch located on top of the skin powers the implant, which can monitor glucose levels in patients with diabetes, warn of impending heart attacks and help determine optimal chemotherapy doses. Research on the device was to be presented at the Design, Automation, and Test in Europe conference. Medical News Today (3/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Spotlight on Biotechnology 
  • Wireless implant brings us closer to thought-controlled prostheses
    Scientists have developed a wireless device that can be implanted in the brain, where it changes electrical impulses and converts them into digital signals, says the National Institutes of Health. Researchers say the technology may be used to control prostheses, since the digital signals can be sent to a receiving device that translates them into movement. The NIH says it has developed and tested the device over the past year on pigs and rhesus monkeys. "The use of this new implantable neural interface technology can provide insight into how to advance human neuro-prostheses beyond the present early clinical trials," writes David Borton in the April issue of the Journal of Neural Engineering. Navy Times (3/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Wearable device gives lung patients mobility
    A wearable lung device is designed to provide mobility -- a key to better health -- for patients awaiting lung transplants, with prototypes about to undergo testing with a variety of medical plastics. "This is a wearable, fully integrated blood pump and lung designed to provide longer-term respiratory support up to one to three months while maintaining excellent blood compatibility," said William Federspiel, professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, where research on the device complements previous work done at the University of Maryland. (3/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovations & Trends 
  • NSF sees a future in which we print our own robots
    Another frontier in 3-D printing -- printable robots -- is about to be explored with funding from the National Science Foundation under its Expeditions in Computing Program. If such robotic creations are forthcoming, "it would remove barriers and allow the average person to create and customize his or her own robot to meet his or her specific needs," said Ralph Wachter, a program director in the NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. "This opens the door to great possibilities in diverse fields spanning health care, energy and transportation." (3/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • The advantages of modular control buildings
    Modular process control buildings allow for flexible process automation and power distribution to remote sites and help save space, Principal Technology CEO Matthew S. Hodson writes. He adds that the modular buildings offer advantages over standard control panels because they are more secure and can include climate-control functions. Manufacturing Business Technology (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Leadership & Development 
  • Infographic: STEM education offers multiple benefits
    Building strong education programs that focus on science, technology, engineering and math makes good sense, especially since data indicate U.S. students are falling behind their international counterparts in math and science. This article's infographic highlights the important role STEM can play in opening doors to jobs in a sector expected to grow three times faster than other fields over the next decade. EdTech magazine (3/2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Innovation plus sustainability also equals better risk management
    Trailblazing companies including SodaStream, General Electric and IBM have coupled the concepts of innovation and sustainability to create strong products and growing marketshare, writes Scott Showalter. Another benefit is that this process is a good risk-management tool. Such an investment, he writes, "comes along with an increased identification of risks and reduced costs." AICPA Insights (3/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASME News 
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If we were all given by magic the power to read each other's thoughts, I suppose the first effect would be to dissolve all friendships."
--Bertrand Russell,
British philosopher, mathematician and historian

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