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February 12, 2013
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Essential news for the global engineering community

  Today's Tech Buzz 
  • Advance in bionic muscle mimics toughness of heart tissue
    Living cardiac cells are combined with a special gel and conductive carbon nanotubes to produce a bionic muscle that can approximate the tough, steady rhythms produced by the human heart. The new bionic tissue, developed by Ali Khademhosseini, a professor at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, holds the potential to take synthetic biology to a new level, serving as muscle tissue to animate biological machines. MIT Technology Review online (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.K. vibration energy harvesting project funded
    A new center at the U.K.'s University of Bath is set up to explore the creation of piezoelectric and ferroelectric energy harvesting systems that turn mechanical vibrations and thermal fluctuations into electrical energy, sunlight into chemical and electrical energy and vibrations into chemical energy. The center has just received $3 million in funding for the project, dubbed Nemesis, from the European Research Council Executive Agency. EE Times Europe (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Biosensor device can diagnose diseases better than doctors
    A universal biosensor could take all the guesswork out of a visit to the doctor, leading to more accurate diagnoses and better treatments for illnesses. The PLEX-ID biosensor isolates microbes from saliva or blood to analyze a person's DNA and identify any existing diseases. The device is being used for research purposes, though researchers are hopeful a smaller version could be rolled out for use in doctor's offices. New Scientist (2/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 3D printing key to highly efficient car
    The technology of 3D printing may come into its own with production of body parts for a super-efficient three-wheeled car called the Urbee. The car's developer, Jim Kor, says 3D is the only way to achieve the intricate body shapes needed to keep the Urbee's weight down to specification and provide the needed strength. "The process has the potential to put the material exactly where you want it and not put it where you don’t want it. Conventional cars carry around a lot of extra weight," Kor said. St. Cloud Times (Minn.) (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Slideshow: How to build the world’s longest floating bridge
    The longest floating bridge in the world, Seattle’s Route 520 bridge that spans Lake Washington, is being rebuilt. This slideshow aims to demonstrate how "advanced construction methods and new technologies, including electrified rebar and hundreds of moisture sensors, will play prominent roles in building the 116-foot-wide, 20-foot-high, six-lane structure." (2/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovations & Trends 
  • Robots coming to the fore in wake of mega-storms
    The mega-storm that hammered the U.S. East Coast late last year has proved to be a testing ground for robots in hazardous situations. One sea-borne robot rode out rough seas to send continuous weather information back to onshore controllers as Hurricane Sandy developed. And in the storm's aftermath, efforts are being stepped up to develop robots that can perform various rescue functions. (12/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Global Window 
  • Engineers, scientists collaborate on design of underwater hotel
    The planned Water Discus Underwater Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, has been designed by Deep Ocean Technology with the help of a team of engineers and scientists from the Faculty of Ocean Engineering and Ship Technology in Poland with a background in designing underwater vehicles and equipment for seabed exploration. The hotel, which will be made up of two discs, one above the water and one below the surface, has a modular-based design that enables it to be expanded or even moved to a new location. (Australia) (2/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Leadership & Development 
  • Planning and strategy aren't the same thing
    Creating a "strategic plan" isn't the same thing as crafting a meaningful strategy, writes Roger Martin. A strategic plan is often simply a souped-up budget, while a strategy "is the making of an integrated set of choices that collectively position the firm in its industry so as to create sustainable advantage relative to competition," Martin argues. Harvard Business Review online/HBR Blog Network (2/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Middle-schoolers explore engineering through reservoir project
    Students in the science, technology, engineering and math -- or STEM -- club at Evergreen Middle School in Hillsboro, Ore., are learning about engineering by observing the construction of a $26 million drinking water reservoir project and conducting interactive water projects with their teacher. The students take regular field trips to the construction site and ask questions of engineers overseeing the project. "Some of the questions they ask are so advanced that it catches me off guard," said Brad Phelps, an engineer on the project. The Oregonian (Portland) (2/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASME News 
  • ASME launches Energy Forum
    The Society has launched a new year-long multimedia series -- ASME Energy Forum -- to explore the technical aspects and workings of energy sources and related technologies. Hydrokinetics is the focus of the first ASME Energy Forum installment, which consists of a webinar on Thursday, Feb. 14, plus related content on and in Mechanical Engineering magazine. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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