Extra Credit Blog 2 – Google maps ‘Time Machine’

freedom-tower-newEver wish you could travel back in time? Google, being an innovator of the internet, has just recently announced their new product integrating with their Maps application. Google has started what they call Time Machine, an application through Maps that will allow the user from today on to view past snapshots of cities and areas around the

Click the picture above for an example of this product

world. The project is a different way of instantly looking at a city or town’s evolution: it’s one thing to hear about the rise of the Williamsburg waterfront or Freedom Tower, but it’s another to see an instant, on-demand before-and-after(1).

Google was inspired by the users of Maps asking for the availability of older images. Users want to see how their old neighborhood looked years ago, the building of iconic landmarks, or cities before and after natural disasters.“For the longest time we’ve had Street View users asking that we either preserve the imagery we had or that we give them the ability to go back in time and look at imagery the way it was before,” said Luc Vincent, the Google Maps Street View director of engineering(2). Luc Vincent later stated, “We like to think we were building a 3-D image of the world, and now the mirror is actually 4-D…You can go back in time (aka, the fourth dimension), look at things the way they were, and sort of get lost in exploration.” This new ‘Time Machine’ is something every person dreamed of doing as a child, being able to look at your favorite things back in time.

The hope, he said, is that users will find the old Street View maps just as useful as the new photos. “This is something educators and scientists could use,” Vincent said. “We want this to be a resource for the world. That’s why we were intent on launching it worldwide all at once(2)”. Google is revolutionizing the world one step at a time and with this new application allowing users to look back in time? Wow that is one incredible step taken into the future of this world.





1 – http://www.popsci.com/article/gadgets/starting-today-google-maps-time-machine?dom=PSC&loc=recent&lnk=4&con=starting-today-google-maps-is-a-time-machine

2 – http://blogs.wsj.com/personal-technology/2014/04/23/google-maps-time-machine-lets-you-stroll-the-streets-of-the-past/

Extra Credit Blog 1 – XStat, new military healing technology

xstat_1In order to save more lives, a group of veterans, scientists, and engineers known as RevMedx have created a pocket-sized device called XStat. XStat is a faster, more effective way that soldiers out in battle will be able to plug wounds to reduce bleeding and infection. The design is comprised of a poly carbonate syringe that slides deep into a wounds, such as a bullet track, in order to deposit dozens of pill-size sponges that expand to stem bleeding(1). These sponges are what stops the bleeding. The small sponges are coated with chitosan which is a substance that clots blood and fights off infection(2). The FDA has recently stated that, “The sponges are safe to leave in the body for up to four hours, allowing enough time for a patient to get to an operating room. To ensure they don’t get left inside a wound, X-shaped markers make each sponge visible on an x-ray image”.

XStat is the first battlefield dressing designed specifically for deep, narrow wounds in areas like the armpit or groin, where medics can’t place a tradition tourniquet(a constructing device, specifically a bandage, used to control venous and arterial circulation to an extremity for a period of time(3)). As for the future of this product, RevMedx is now developing a version of the device that will be able to stop postpartum bleeding(aka Lochia, which is a common experience that a woman will have after having a baby).

The creative inspiration of XStat first originated from looking at a Fix-a-Flat foam which is a tire-repair kit. “That’s what we pictured as the perfect solution – something you could spray in, it would expand and bleeding stops…but we found that blood pressure is so high, blood would was the foam right out,” Mr. Steinbaugh said, in Popular Science(4). The team then brainstormed and decided to turn to sponges in which they injected into an animal injury. “The bleeding stopped…our eyes lit up…we knew we were onto something,” Mr. Steinbaugh said, in the magazine. The Army then provided $5 in funding for the company to take its prototype to final development. Currently each single-use XStat costs about $100 but RevMedx expects the price to decline, as demand escalates. XStat seems to be the next big thing in military health services as it has resolved a forever debated topic.

1 – http://www.popsci.com/article/technology/invention-awards-2014-seal-combat-wounds-15-seconds?dom=PSC&loc=recent&lnk=2&con=IMG

2 – http://www.popsci.com/article/technology/simple-invention-sealing-gunshot-wounds-gets-fda-approval

3 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torniquet

4 – http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/4/xstat-invention-seals-bullet-wounds-15-seconds/

Blog 10 – The Incredible Eiffel Tower

Eiffel_Tower_(72_names)The Eiffel Tower is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. The tower was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Built in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, it was initially criticized by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but has become both a global icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world.

The tower is the tallest structure in Paris. The tower is 324 meters tall, about the same height as an 81 story building. The material used for the design of the tower included a puddle iron structure that weighs 7,300 tons, while the entire structure, including non-metal components is approximately 10,000 tons. One of the considerations when Eiffel began to plan out the design of the structure was wind. Eiffel and his engineers, as experienced bridge builders, understood the importance of wind forces and knew that if they were going to build the tallest structure in the world they had to be certain it would withstand them. Eiffel used empirical and graphical methods accounting for the effects of wind rather than a specific mathematical formula.

The Eiffel tower also was built to accommodate tourists and others in the area. When built, the first level contained three restaurants and an Anglo-American bar which was later converted to a 250 seat theatre. On the third level there were laboratories for various experiments and a small apartment served for Gustave Eiffel to entertain guests. This apartment is now open to the public, complete with period decorations and lifelike models of Gustave and some guests. Being a very tall and well known landmark the maintenance was a large part of the design. Maintence of the tower includes applying 50 to 60 tons of paint every seven years to protect it from rust. An interesting fact is that the height of the Eiffel Tower varies by 15 cm due to temperature. More than 250 million people have visited the tower since its construction in 1889. The Eiffel Tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world and that is why it is incldued as an amazing wonder in our world.




Blog 9 – Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

shutleThe Space Shuttle Challenger disaster was one of the most horrific events in the 1980’s. It took seven astronaut’s lives and left America confused as to what went wrong. The reason for the explosion of the Challenger was a seal, called an O-ring that failed at liftoff. This then let in pressurized hot gas that leaked from within the booster. Because of the high temperatures, it singed strut connecters, which caused pieces of hardware to break down. It only took 72 seconds to absolutely demolish the Challenger. Hydrogen atoms were burning at an accelerating rate in the failed tank section combining with liquid oxygen. Once the demolition happened, pieces of the space shuttle sprinkled across the Atlantic Ocean.

After scientists looked into the disaster, they noticed what exactly went wrong. Cold weather was the sole reason to the destruction of the challenger. NASA then made the conclusion that the shuttle should have never lifted off in cold temperatures. The O-ring does not have the durability to withstand extreme temperatures. There were several delays before the lift-off at 11:38 a.m. on January 28, 1986. The delays made NASA skeptical but they furthered the launch anyways.

This disaster could have been avoided if NASA decided to fully delay the launch for another date. The early morning delays were a warning sign that the Challenger should not have launched. Another alternative to the design is that the O-ring could have been designed better to withstand various temperatures. When there is a billion dollar project and seven people’s lives on the line, it is important that everything is 100% perfect. NASA learned from their mistakes and improved future space ships.



Blog 8 – Tacoma Narrows Bridge

tacoma narrowsThe Tacoma Narrows Bridge is a pair of twin suspension bridges that span the Tacoma Narrows in Pierce County, Washington. These bridges connected the city of Tacoma with the Kitsap Peninsula and carry State Route 16 over the entire strait. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge was a name applied to the original bridge which was nicknamed Galloping Gertie, which opened in July 1940. The bridge unfortunately collapsed because of aeroelastic flutter four months after it was opened.

The damage done on the bridge was crazy. During the collapse the main suspension cables were thrown violently side to side, twisted, and tossed 100 feet into the air. The cables then slipped from their respective positions in the cable saddles atop each tower. The main towers, including the bracing struts, were twisted and bent. Stress beyond the elastic limit of the metal resulted in buckling and permanent distortion. After the disaster the only value of the towers was as scrap metal.

The collapse of the 1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge stunned everyone, especially engineers. People asked how the most modern suspension bridge of its time suffer catastrophic failure in a relatively light wind. The pivotal event in the bridge’s collapse was the change from vertical waves to the destructive twisting, torsional motion. This event was what cause the cable band to slip. When the bands slipped the bridge became imbalanced the bridge slowly began to collapse. The collapse of Galloping Gertie revealed the limitations of the deflection theory. Now, engineers no longer believe that suspension bridges needed to be stiffened only against the stress of moving vehicles and the minor effect of wind.




Blog 7 – Leaning tower of Pisa

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe Tower of Pisa is one of the most magnificent bell towers in Europe. It began construction in 1173 and became an ongoing project for nearly 200 years due to several wars. The circular bell tower constructed of white marble stands at 185 feet tall. The eight story building contains 207 columns that support the outer edges. 15 arches surround the first floor while the next six have 30 arches. A 297 step staircase leads up to the final story that has 16 arches. The bell chamber resides in the apex of the tower. (1)

The Tower of Pisa, or campanile, was never planned to be leaning. It was an unintended consequence that resulted from constant halting of construction and poor soil. After the third story being built, it became noticeable that the tower looked to be leaning. It remained unfinished for 100 years and then resumed construction. Then another halt occurred which delayed the completion process even longer. Eventually it was finished with slight tilt. Each year, the tower tips more and more by about 1.2 millimeters a year. (2) The architect that designed it is unknown to this day. Several engineers and architects try to carefully fix the leaning but have always resulted in a failure. In 1935, engineers tried drilling holes to seal the base because they were worried that excess water would weaken the foundation. (2) It only made the leaning worse.

The tilt of the tower has made Pisa, Italy a universal landmark for its uncanny features. The Tower of Pisa is such a famous tower because of how it possibly can still stand without collapsing. Pisa is now a tourist sight which brings in a substantial amount of income. Overall, what might have been a mistake 840 years ago, ultimately making the tower better off tilted.

1 – http://www.towerofpisa.info/

2 – http://science.howstuffworks.com/engineering/structural/will-leaning-tower-of-pisa-fall.htm

Blog 6 – Safety of the football helmets over the years

football helmetsDue to the dangerous nature of football and concussions, developers of football helmetsincluding Riddell have transformed the helmets to make them as safe as possible.  In the1920’s when football was just getting started, helmets were made out of soft leather and helmets were not even required until 1943.  However, now players wear helmets made out of molded polycarbonate shells, which are used today because of their strength and weight.

Not only has the material used to make the helmets completely changed, the designs have improved to increase safety for all football players from high school to the NFL.  Early football helmets did not include a face mask or a chin strap.  This left a player’s face wide open and the lack of the chinstrap meant that there was nothing keeping the helmet from falling off on a play.  Twenty years after the first football helmet, developers created the first chinstrap for the football helmet.  For facemasks, a single face mask bar was added to helmets in 1955 and seven years later every NFL player was wearing a face mask.  Finally in the 1970’s pads were added to the inside of the helmets and full face masks were added to the helmets.  Therefore, the design of the helmets has become much safer due to the face masks, chin straps, and extra padding.

The future of football helmets will be about limiting concussions and injury as much as possible.  Experts that are researching how to make helmets as safe as possible are looking into how to have less impact on the players head.  One idea that can contribute to increased safety is making the helmets lighter which would decrease the force on impact.  Another idea is to somehow create a helmet that is connected with shoulder pads to redirect the force into the body and not on the head and neck. Football helmets continue to become safer in the future and hopefully one is developed that eliminates the high probability of concussions.




Blog 5 – iPhone

Iphone_Comparison_1-5The iPhone was the first smartphone that introduced multitouch technology. The design of the iPhone was also very simplistic and sleek which users loved when first using this incredible device. “iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone,” said Steve Jobs(1).

When the iPhone was first released, the design of the phone differed from that of other smartphones available. The iPhone was the first of its kind to deviate from the standard physical keyboard and the use of a pen and move on to what is known as multitouch. The iPhone is very user friendly. The front of the iPhone offers one physical button to the user that displays the screen. The left side of the phone offers volume control. And the top of the phone has the power button. The rest of the device consists of a large touch-sensitive screen that lets the user access all of the iPhone’s functions(2).

As you can tell, the iPhone wasn’t your ordinary smart phone. This phone also functioned as a portable media player, game console, and handheld computer, making the device very popular. Since 2007 the iPhone has grown drastically due to its simplistic and sleek design. Year in and year out, the market for the newest iPhone will always be huge. The iPhone was mainly successful because of its design, being so simple, but other reasons may include great customer service(3). As Apple designer Jonathan Ive said, “Our goals are very simple – to design and make better products. If we can’t make something that is better, we won’t do it”(3).

1 – http://www.imore.com/history-iphone-2007

2 – http://smallbusiness.chron.com/iphone-popular-27294.html

3 – http://techland.time.com/2012/05/07/six-reasons-why-apple-is-successful/

Blog 4 – The Great Sphinx

Great_Sphinx_of_Giza_-_20080716aThe Great Sphinx or Sphinx is a limestone statue of a reclining sphinx. What is a Sphinx you might ask? It is a mythical creature with a lion’s body and a human dead. The Great Sphinx of Giza is the largest and oldest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.5 meters long, 19.3 meters wide, and 20.22 meters high (1).

To this day, nobody truly knows who built the Great Sphinx but most egyptologists think that the Sphinx was built by King Khafre. Khafre was the builder of the second of the pyramids at Giza who ruled around 2558-2532 BCE (2). The Great Sphinx was solely build off of man power. The Head of the Sphinx was made out of hard grey limestone while the body was made from soft yellowish limestone. In order to form the body, large stone blocks were quarried from the base rock in order to form the body (3). The excess rock was then used to build the temples surrounding the Sphinx.

This amazing piece of history was recently revealed and dug up in the 20th century revealing its body. In the 1980’s, during a six-year period, more than 2000 limestone blocks were added to the body of the Sphinx and various chemicals were injected in the hopes of preventing its further deterioration (3). Without further exploration and discovery, the mystery of when the Sphinx was created and by whom will further be unsolved.

1 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Sphinx_of_Giza

2 – http://www.howitworksdaily.com/history/who-built-the-great-sphinx/

3 – http://sacredsites.com/africa/egypt/great_sphinx_facts.html

Blog 3 – PortaCaddy

The PortaCaddy is a product for men and women who are always on the go and are very simplistic. My friend and I thought of this idea that would allow consumers to have a tube-like holster for all of his or her shower needs such as shampoo, conditioner, and body wash/soap.

This product allows someone to have all of his or her favorite shampoos and soaps in one place rather than having to carry each bottle around with them. This product is mainly aimed towards men and women who tend to travel a lot, allowing them to bring their own toiletries from home in the same ‘bottle’.

The idea is sort of a spin off of the popular portable shower-caddy that college students tend to use, as well as being influenced by the rules and regulations of an airport which states that for carry-ons, one can only have a 3.4 oz bottle or less(1). Our product follows these rules.

As of now, I believe that there is no product on the market that is similar to what I hope to produce. The PortaCaddy is a very unique product that provides consumers with the freedom of being able to customize their own carry-on for their shower needs. And by the way, it features a spring loaded tooth brush to!

1 – http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/3-1-1-carry-ons