Archive for April, 2010

Undergraduate Research and Design Symposium

You are invited to attend the 23rd Annual Undergraduate Research and Design Symposium in the Dome Room of the Rotunda on Wednesday, May 5th from 11:30 am-3:00 pm.  The Symposium will be divided into individual and team presentations.   A total of 10 finalists were selected (4 individuals and 6 teams).  We have an outstanding group of 4th year students who would very much appreciate your attendance even if just for a portion of the Symposium.

Immediately following the Symposium will be a Reception and Poster Session, taking place from 3:15-4:30 pm in the Wilsdorf Hall Upper Atrium.  Winners of Symposium will be announced.  Refreshments provided.

A Fly on the Wall

Fixed-Wing Drone Lands Vertically On Walls.

Popular Science (4/27, Hsu) reports that researchers at Stanford University’s Biomimetics Laboratory have developed “a fixed-wing, non-transforming drone” that can land vertically on walls. “Their drone approaches the wall at full speed,” and “then pitches sharply upward to angle its belly toward the wall and slows its approach speed to just under 7 mph.” The drone uses carbon-fiber and balsa landing legs “tipped with steel spines” in order to make a vertical landing. “The researchers still face engineering challenges such as tuning the suspension system so that the drone doesn’t simply rebound upon landing approach.” They will be presenting “an update on their work at next month’s 2010 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Anchorage, Alaska.”

Reposted from the April 27, 2010 ASEE First Bell

Humanoid Robot

Students Unveil Full-Sized, Walking Humanoid Robot.

Popular Science (4/27, Ngo) reports, “A group of undergraduate and graduate students at the Virginia Tech College of Engineering’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) have unveiled” the Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence (CHARLI), “which they are calling the first full-sized, walking, untethered, humanoid robot, complete with four moving limbs and a head, to be built in the United States.” Dennis Hong, an associate professor who is leading the research, explained that “the environment we live in is designed for humans.” Therefore, the researchers “focused on making a humanoid robot with motor skills that can handle human tasks.” Popular Science noted, “There are two version of CHARLI in development: CHARLI-L, for Lightweight, and CHARLI-H, for Heavy.” The former “will debut in Singapore’s RoboCup tournament later this year.”

Reposted from April 28, 2010 ASEE First Bell

Engineering Articles from USC

A new issue of Illumin has been released. Illumin now contains over 200 articles written by USC engineers! Check out the articles below, and be sure to share them with your friends!

Biomimetics: Engineering Spider Silk (
By: Soyoung Kang

Engineering the Heart-Lung Machine (
By: Julie Woodburn

The Impact of Orbital Debris (
By: Jordan Olliges

The Power of Pond Scum: Algae Biofuels (
By: Melissa Owens

Green Energy Portal Launched

Green Energy Portal Launched for Quick Public Access to Renewable Energy Research

Oak Ridge, TN Green energy-related research and development (R&D) results are now more easily accessible through a new online portal, DOE Green Energy.  The free public portal was launched on the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) within the Office of Science.  The site is designed to ease access to green energy R&D information for use by researchers, scientists, educators, students and the general public.  Researchers can use the DOE Green Energy portal to speed scientific discovery and innovation; business and industry can use the R&D to stimulate economic growth related to renewable energy.  Educators, students, and the public can discover applications of renewable energy science and energy efficiency best practices.  The portal provides technical documents from thousands of R&D projects conducted at DOE National Laboratories and by DOE-funded awards at universities.

DOE Green Energy contains both current and historical research, including bibliographic citations, technical reports and patent information on different types of renewable energy resources and energy conservation.  Subject areas include but are not limited to solar, wind, bioenergy, hydroelectric, geothermal, tidal and wave power, and energy storage.

An easy-to-use search box allows users to selectively download, at no cost, DOE bibliographic citations and associated detailed full-text research reports and patents focusing on renewable energy and energy efficiency science and technology.  The website also includes a news feed provided by the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program.


Tim Byrne
DOE/Office of Scientific and Technical Information
P.O. Box 62
Oak Ridge,TN 37831
Phone: 865-241-2358

Pig Poop Pavement

Missouri Company Converts Hog Manure Into Asphalt.

The AP (4/16) reports, “The outer road along Interstate 44 near Six Flags St. Louis is freshly paved – with asphalt made from recycled swine manure.” Two local companies, “road contractor Pace Construction Co. and the engineering firm Innoventor, joined together on the project,” which “is believed to be the first” of its kind. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Innoventor perfected the process of converting the animal waste into a bio-oil used in asphalt binder.”

Reposted from ASEE First Bell, April 16, 2010

The Honorable Justice Mr./Ms Engineer…

Trade Group Suggests Lawmaker With Tech Background For Supreme Court.

IDG (4/15, Gross) reports the Computer and Communications Industry Association is calling on President Barack Obama to “appoint a justice with a background in technology issues to fill an upcoming opening at the Supreme Court.” According to the CCIA, the Supreme Court “may face a number of tech-related issues in the coming years, including cases involving privacy, free speech, net neutrality and antitrust.” In his letter to President Obama, CCIA President and CEO Ed Black wrote that “US Representative Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat who represents part of Silicon Valley in California, would make a strong nominee,” as she “understands where the law and technology intersect,” and “has also acted as a watchdog when the government or others infringed on the privacy of Internet users.”

Reposted from ASEE First Bell, April 15, 2010

Ceramic Printing and Folding

New Ceramic Printing, Folding Process Could Lead To Lightweight Parts.

Technology Review (4/15, Bourzac) reports, “A new way of printing and folding ceramic and metal lattices into miniature structures could lead to novel lightweight engineering structures. The technique involves making latticed sheets from ceramic ink, then folding and heating these sheets to create intricate shapes.” The researchers, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University, say the method “fills a need for a way to fabricate complex structures on the centimeter scale–too small for conventional molding or machining, and too big for lithography or similar techniques.” Among the noted potential applications for the process are aerospace, tissue engineering and industrial chemical production.

Reposted from ASEE First Bell, April 15, 2010

Beware the Law of Unintended Consequences…

Lawn-Watering Rules Tough On Los Angeles Water Mains

The Los Angeles Times (4/14, Zahniser, Garrison) reports, “A blue-ribbon panel of scientists said Tuesday that the high-volume water main breaks that bedeviled Los Angeles last summer and fall were caused in part by the city’s restrictions on lawn watering, and their findings could force the city to remake its strict water conservation policy.” The city’s “restrictions have proved highly successful,” dropping the city’s water use to a 31-year low, but the “policy was too much for the city’s aging network of cast-iron pipes, causing fluctuations in water pressure that strained them to the bursting point, the panel’s long-awaited report found.” The report’s “conclusions appear to put to rest other theories about the cause of the mystery, including increased seismic activity.”

Reposted from ASEE First Bell, April 14, 2010.

GIS Workshop: Spatial Statistics

GIS Workshop

Spatial Statistics

So now that you have your data mapped, what does it all mean?  Participants will learn the basics of geospatial statistics and the ArcGIS geospatial tools.
Thursday, April 15 at 2:00 p.m.
in the Alderman Library Electronic Classroom.

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April 2010