South Florida's Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station is an example of crucial infrastructure built near sea level that's now threatened by rising seas. Bridget Mintz Testa looks at the challenging nature of the problem and how engineers are tackling it by either hardening structures to survive higher tides and storms or building a variety of protective barriers.
The University of Maine used its record-setting 70-foot-long 3D printer to print a seaworthy 25-foot, 5,000-pound boat featuring a blend of plastic and wood cellulose. The craft is seen as a demonstration of the potential of 3D printing for prototyping on a large scale as the school plans to expand the printer and experiment with the use of recyclable materials such as bio-based thermoplastic composites.
Amputees often have issues with their prosthetic sockets in part due to weight fluctuations and hydration. Virginia Tech College of Engineering has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study prosthetic socket issues and create a smart socket that is more comfortable and has better performance.
Israeli biotech Aleph Farms is developing technology that aims to produce meat through an approach that grows cow muscle cells into steaks. The company used a 3D bioprinter from 3D Bioprinting Solutions of Russia to grow steaks on board the International Space Station, which will allow astronauts in the future to grow their own meat while conducting space exploration missions.
Electromyography signals powered by artificial intelligence can improve the movement of prosthetic hands, according to researchers at the University of Dallas at Texas. The system uses the personal data of the wearer to retrain the prosthesis to enable faster hand movements.
Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University of Oslo have studied why materials such as concrete becomes stronger under stress and if indicators can be used to predict when a material will fail. "In our computer models we're observing that the elastic energy of the material reaches a peak just before it fails," said researcher Srutarshi Pradhan.
In a decade, cars will still have steering wheels, but they might unlock via fingerprint rather than handheld key, CBInsights forecasts. Greg Nichols outlines the top technologies that will be driving car innovation, including biometric authentication, voice assist, augmented reality and autonomous parking.
Air Liquide will use its advanced separation membrane technology to convert biogas into renewable natural gas, which will then be used to produce liquid hydrogen at a new facility in Las Vegas. The project aligns with Air Liquide's plan to expand hydrogen distribution in the Western US.
Five universities in the Florida Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate will use a $2.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support minority women in doctoral, post-doctoral, and early-career STEM fields. The alliance will conduct research camps in north, central and south Florida and raise awareness among faculty and students.
Augmented reality is changing how engineers bridge the gap of the digital data world and the real hardware world. Read Mechanical Engineering magazine’s cover story as part of its special report on manufacturing.