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March 14, 2013
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Essential news for the global engineering community

  Today's Tech Buzz 
  • Aerospace technologies to help Lockheed Martin mine the seabed
    Technologies developed for aerospace and related applications are increasingly useful for undersea mining, a factor that helped a Lockheed Martin unit win a license to prospect for minerals in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Mexico. UK Seabed Resources, a subsidiary of a British arm of Lockheed Martin, will be looking for nodules of copper, nickel, cobalt, manganese and rare-earth minerals on the seabed about 2.5 miles deep. The company plans to use "remotely operated or autonomous underwater vehicles, pumps, suction and riser pipes to extract the minerals." Defense News (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Tankless systems eliminate heating unneeded volumes of water
    Tankless water heaters provide hot water in homes instantly and in unlimited supply but also save money, replacing traditional tank systems in which large quantities of water are kept hot even if the water isn't being used. "A tankless water heater is designed so that, if you wanted to, you could take a shower from 8 a.m. until midnight at 115 degrees and it won't move one degree. It's truly endless hot water," said Kyle Whelpley, operations manager for J.F. Denney Plumbing and Heating in Leavenworth, Kan. The Miami Herald (free registration) (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Global Window 
  • Budding engineers are audience for soccer-playing robot
    Japanese elementary school students are getting an early introduction to research in engineering with a customizable soccer-playing robot they can assemble. Toru Ishida, whose IAI Corp. developed the robot, said he was responding to children who he believed were too absorbed in video games. "I thought I wanted to make something that would help the development of those children in whose hands Japan's future lies," Ishida said. The Asahi Shimbun (Japan) (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovations & Trends 
  • Nanotech poised for wider application
    Between now and 2020, nanotechnology is expected to break out of its current mold of simply providing stronger and lighter materials and move into new fields on a larger, more affordable scale. Among the fields likely to benefit are sustainability and energy conservation and medicine, where nanotech will play a role in diagnostics and better delivery of cancer-fighting therapies. ASME.org (3/2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Engineer envisions Google Glass enabling control of wheelchairs
    The much-touted but yet-to-be-introduced Google Glass has inspired many developers, including engineer Steve McHugh, who says the device could be used to allow the physically disabled to control their powered wheelchairs using only eye movements. McHugh says he came up with the idea after a robotics class at Tufts University in which one team used eye-tracking software and an eye-tracking apparatus to control a small robotic car. BostInno (Boston) (3/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Drillers increase R&D spending to speed up U.S. production boom
    Baker Hughes, Halliburton and other oilfield services companies are increasing their spending on research and development in an effort to speed up the U.S. energy production boom, observers say. "From 2004 to 2012, the development of shales was basically, hit it with a big sledgehammer and see what comes out," said Richard Spears, vice president of Spears & Associates. "Now the question is who can do it the best and optimize the process. Shales aren't tube socks, a one-size-fits-all thing." The Wall Street Journal (3/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Hitachi device delivers its human cargo as passive passengers
    A robotic vehicle from Hitachi can navigate across sidewalks and around pedestrians and safely traverse uneven surfaces, taking passengers to their chosen destinations without human input. The Robot for Personal Intelligent Transport System, or Ropits, is a one-person vehicle that operates with GPS, gyroscopes and laser distance sensors to handle most environments -- although there's a joystick onboard in case the going gets too complicated. CNET (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Dairy devises complex waste-treatment system that harvests energy
    A closed-loop scaled system that incorporates waste-treatment, nutrient-management and energy-recovery strategies allows Vermont's Jasper Hill Farm to manage its dairy waste in an environmentally sound way. Among other things, the Green Machine setup captures methane gas from its anaerobic digestion tanks to fuel the creamery's boiler, and composting energy heats the entire waste treatment system. "The Green Machine gives us greater control over the elements that assure quality soil, grass and cows so that we can continue to produce the best milk possible for our award-winning cheeses," said Jasper Hill project manager James Coe. Food Processing (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Leadership & Development 
  • Building a pressure suit provides valuable lessons in engineering
    When Kristian von Bengtson, a former NASA contractor, set about building his own pressure suit, he made it a learning process. And what he learned, Bengtson writes, is a fundamental lesson of engineering: "that if you want to build a complex thing, you have to understand that it is a system, an assemblage of items that are meant to work together." Wired.com/Rocket Shop blog (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASME News 
  • Nominations deadline for DiscoverE Educator Award extended
    The deadline to nominate a deserving pre-college teacher for a 2013 DiscoverE Educator Award has been extended. Applications are now due on March 29. Last year, engineers and engineering students nominated more than 180 teachers for the inaugural DiscoverE Educator Awards. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  SmartQuote 
Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose."
--Bill Gates,
American businessman


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