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March 20, 2013
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Essential news for the global engineering community

  Today's Tech Buzz 
  • Domed recumbent tricycle keeps riders protected
    It's a big, LED-lighted transparent fabric dome attached to a recumbent tricycle. The Firefly is designed to keep the rider dry in the rain, warmer in the wind and visible in the dark. Designed by GeoSpace Studio, the fancy trike is not yet being marketed. Gizmag (3/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Cummins plots more efficient engines
    With fuel at a premium, Cummins is unveiling engine technology -- almost ready for the market -- that holds the promise of boosting diesel efficiency by a minimum of 6%. Among the innovations is a waste-heat turbine expander that captures heat emitted from a number of vehicle sources and converts it into useful power, and an inverse impeller that incorporates flow-optimization software to increase compressor stage efficiency. Fleet Owner (3/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Global Window 
  • Robot keeps solar panels clean and efficient cost-effectively
    Solar panels can lose as much as a third of their efficiency if they're dirty, but a new robotic device is designed to keep them clean in a cost-effective way. The Solarbrush, the product of aspiring German engineer Ridha Azaiz, efficiently brushes away sand and dust, improving on previous methods that used vacuuming and detergents. (3/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Spotlight on Transportation 
  • Engineering students go hands-on in SAE car-design competition
    The auto industry is benefiting from student engineers who participate in the Formula SAE Series car-design competition. The event draws teams, usually with six to 40 members, from around the country for a hands-on racing event that emphasizes design from the ground up and, sometimes, quick thinking to solve unexpected problems. "You may not be making your own tires or microchips but just about everything else is you," said Steve Daum, collegiate projects manager for SAE International. (3/2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Coffee chaff fuels a truck
    A byproduct of coffee production has been used to fuel a modified Ford pickup. Coffee chaff was heated, breaking it down into carbon monoxide and hydrogen, with the latter used to power the truck's conventional engine in a demonstration carried out at the U.K.'s Woodford Airfield in Stockport, Greater Manchester, last month. (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Obama targets $2 billion for gasoline-free vehicles
    President Barack Obama is calling for $2 billion to drive research that will lead to cars powered entirely by biofuels and electricity. Obama said the proposed push is part of a broader technological strategy. "I want the next great job-creating breakthroughs, whether it's in energy or nanotechnology or bioengineering, I want those breakthroughs to be right here in the United States of America, creating American jobs and maintaining our technological lead," the president said. San Francisco Chronicle/The Associated Press (3/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovations & Trends 
  • Mars rover is back in action after computer glitch
    The Mars Curiosity rover is active again after being sidelined by a computer glitch this week, NASA officials announced. The robot, which has not yet resumed normal operations, is also still recovering from its first computer error from late February. Officials expect the robot to be able to perform more analytical and sampling work by the end of the week. (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Dune Medical's breast cancer device debuts in U.S.
    Dune Medical Devices has announced the U.S. release of its MarginProbe System, which was approved by the FDA in January. The University of California, Irvine Medical Center was the first in the U.S. to deploy the system, which is used for tissue evaluation during early-stage breast cancer procedures. Boston Herald (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Swiss researchers create advanced flash memory
    Researchers in Switzerland have developed a flash memory device using layers of graphene and molybdenum disulfide that are only one atom or one molecule in thickness. Additional work on the devices must be done, however, before they are ready for commercial production, according to this article. Ars Technica (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASME News 
  • Next ASME Energy Forum webinar on March 28
    "Catching the Sun," a one-hour webinar on Thursday, March 28 -- featuring Binyamin Koretz of BrightSource Energy, Robert Cable of ACCIONA Energy North America, and Sarah Fafard from AREVA Solar Inc. -- will give viewers insights into advances in concentrating solar power, which focuses sunlight to provide high-temperature thermal energy. Mechanical Engineering magazine Associate Editor Alan Brown will moderate. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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