Electricity from Traffic


Hťctor Ricardo MacŪas HernŠndez, a††Mexican entrepreneur, came up with the idea of generating electricity from the force of gravity. His system consists of small ramps, made from a material that is much like the polymer used in manufacturing tires, being †placed about 2 inches above the street. When passing cars compress the small ramps, air flows into a tank that moves air into an electricity generating turbine. The system generates a huge amount of electricity that could supply a house using the weight of only one car. Not only does this apply to cars, but it can also be designed to generate electricity from pedestrians walking down the street.


Even though the idea of generating electricity from moving cars is not new, it is more efficient the earlier proposals. One of the earlier systems suggest the use of†piezoelectric materials, which converts stress caused by vehicles to electricity. This system is way too expensive compared to Hector’s system. It is also hard to implement in developing countries that will benefit greatly from such a system. Therefore,†Hťctor Ricardo MacŪas HernŠndez provided the world with an easy to apply system of generating electricity. However, we still have not seen it being tested and still do not know what kind of flaws that may show up.



A functional Lung out of Human Stem Cells

A medical research group at Columbia university in the city of New York has successfully been able to convert human stem cells to a functional lung. This comes as a medical and engineering breakthrough to the world. The idea stands out because scientist and engineers have been trying to develop a fictional organ out of stem cells and were able to create†cells such as†nerve,†retina,†and†blood†cells. However, not only was the research group at Columbia coming up with something new, they actually faced a great deal of challenges until reaching a result. Hans-Willem Snoeck,†professor of medicine (in microbiology & immunology) and affiliated with the†Columbia Center for Transnlational Immunology†and the†Columbia Stem Cell Initiative says,††”When an embryo develops, it first makes three layers of cells, or germ layers Ė ectoderm, which will become the skin and nervous system, mesoderm, which will become the heart, muscle, connective tissues, blood vessels, blood and kidney, and endoderm, which will become the intestine, liver, pancreas, stomach, esophagus, thyroid, thymus parathyroids, and lung,” “The endoderm forms last which is probably one reason why it is harder to specify from stem cells,” he continues.


This research has set a foundation for a new method of dealing with issues concerning †lung†diseases and transplants. Even though the research has not come up with anything that is 100% usable, it still offered the possibility of something significant developing in the future. “Now, we are finally able to make lung and airway cells. This is important because lung transplants have a particularly poor prognosis. Although any clinical application is still many years away, we can begin thinking about making autologous lung transplantsóthat is, transplants that use a patientís own skin cells to generate functional lung tissue,” asserts†Hans-Willem Snoeck.

One may argue that this research is still young and still needs pursuing. I believe that is is still a great approach to solving many medical issues we face,not only in the respiratory system, but also in various parts of the body that may benefit from this type of research. That is why making these kind of approaches in science and engineering is what makes us come closer to bigger discoveries in the future.



Recycling Rare Earth Elements From Wastewater


In a recent research presented by the†Chinese Academy of Sciences the possibility of recycling rare earth metals was proposed. Rare earth metals are a vital component in producing numerous devices in modern technology such as magnets and superconductors. It was know that nano magnesium hydroxide is able to extract rare earth metals from wastewater. However, due to rare metals being extremely diluted in wastewater, the process of eliminating them was a kind of a challenge. Nonetheless, after excessive research done in the†Chinese Academy of Sciences labs, a method of extracting rare metals was made possible using (nano-MgOH2). During research, scientists used a flower-shaped nano particle of †(nano-MgOH2) to extract rare metals that were 99% diluted in wastewater. Experiments showed that 85% of the diluted metals were extracted from wastewater.

am-2013-027967_0009† † † † † † ††rare_earth_metals_china_0

This new technology provides great benefits both in an environmental and economic point of view. Rare earth metals are rare and expensive. Therefore, being able to extract rare metals from wastewater acts as a new source for earth metals other than mining. It also provides a method of sustaining, or should I say increasing the amount of earth metals present for manufacturing. These two reasons are crucial to the industrial world. Nonetheless, are the materials being extracted 100% pure and 100% reusable? No one can say for sure until the material has been reused over and over again to know if the quality changes or not.



The AIRO wristband


This new wristband produced by†AIRO Health is considered the first of its kind according to the company. Not only does it monitor one’s stress level and heart rate, it actually able to track calorie intake, monitor sleep patterns, display work intensity, †and provide instruction for its user. It does that through a embedded spectrometer that reads the bodies vital signs. What is impressive about this wrist band is the fact that t uses light to read the type of food that is consumed by a the body.†Abhilash Jayakumar, co-founder and CEO of Airo Heath, says: “As your body breaks the food down, the sensor can detect the amount of light that passes through the blood based on green, red and infrared patterns.” However, the sensor does not distinguish between specific types of foods such as: saturated fat and unsaturated fat or high fiber carbohydrates and high sugar carbohydrates. Jayakumar asserts:”†”We might be able to see a difference in waveform, that would show you whether something is better or worse for the body.” †The AIRO wristband also uses heart rate detector to track †sleeping hours and patterns as well as stress levels.

maxresdefault† † † ††AIRO wristband is latest real-time health monitor

The product it self essentially provides useful data for consumers and may act as a companion for people who are trying to loose weight or just like to keep track of their nutrition and health habits. Nonetheless, AIRO claims that they have figured a way to keep track of calorie intake during the day. How accurate is the nutrition value provided if the wrist band cannot tell the exact type of food. In this part I am not sure if I want to trust the wristband. The CEO of AIR said that this application is still under experiment and that we might figure out a way to make the calorie intake calculator more accurate. I guess we will just have to wait and see when the product is released in 2014.



NASA’s Z Series Space Suit


The new Z series space suit is among NASA’s projects in creating a more efficient space suit for both micro gravity and EVA, ¬†extra-vehicular activity. NASA displayed their first prototype, Z-1 space suit, that has an efficient¬†¬†rear-entry hatch. The¬†¬†rear-entry hatch allows astronauts to slide in the suit as if they are entering another space craft. Not only does sliding into the suit using ¬†rear-entry hatch save time, but also allows the space suit to hang on the surface of the spaceship without having to store it inside. As for mobility, the Z-1 features a greater flexibility in the shoulder joints and it is considered a soft suit that is appropriate for both space and planet surfaces.

z1-next-generation-nasa-space-suit-121220g-02 (1)

Another fascinating feature of the Z-1 space suit is the Portable Life Support System (PLSS). The system relies on both the¬†Variable Oxygen Regulator (VOR) and the Rapid Cycle Amine (RCA) swing bed. First we have the VOR that essentially provides 84 pressure settings that range between¬†0 and 8.4 psid (A measure of the difference between two pressures) as opposed to earlier suit models that had only two pressure options. This variation in pressure could be really helpful in space and increase exploration efficiency in,¬†decompression sickness treatment, freedom to interact with different vehicles, and¬†allows astronauts ¬†to begin with a higher internal pressure that will result in a shorter pre-breathe time. Second we have the RCA which is a system designed to get rid off the excess CO2 in the astronaut’s suit. The RCA is really a good replacement for the formally lithium hydroxide that was used in older suits to eliminate CO2 because lithium hydroxide can only be used once and when it is over one would need a whole crew to get more.


NASA have really outdone themselves in their design of the Z series space suits or extra-vehicular unit (EMU). The fact that crews that actually go to space will have more time and freedom to explore space and planets will open the door for new findings and results from outer space missions. Nonetheless, the Z series have not yet been tested and one could never predict the type and intensity of failures that could happen. Therefore, if the Z series proved itself of being actually real not just a prototype, then we might understand a little more about the universe that we know nothing about.




Solidworks 2013


SolidWorks have been coming up with easier more user friendly versions of their software. If one is familiar with the SolidWorks 2012 and switch to the 2013 update, he/she would know that something is somewhat different. First we have the new view manipulator that did not exists in the older versions. This feature allows users to view the object from a very distinct and specific angle (1). Another facilitating feature is the SolidWorks Forum tab which is located in the task pan and allows users to both access the discussion forum instantly and keep track of the ongoing discussion (2). Not to mention the other modeling improvements such as: Copy & Paste From DraftSight to SolidWorks, Conic sketch tool (3), Hole Wizard Dowel Holes & Dowel Annotations in Drawings, thin extrudes of open and closed objects, and finally the intersect feature that is used in creating complex forms (4).

SolidWorks-2013-view_manipulator_FW(1)              SD forum(2)

conic(3)               intersect(4)

SolidWorks have made great improvements to their old version of the software that serves many people. However, does the path they are heading towards clear? Or are they just trying to satisfy users?  The way I look at it is that the company itself is considered about customer and developer satisfaction more than innovation. Although these new features serve as a step ahead, they most of them can be achieved with longer time using previous versions of SolidWorks. It is only a matter of time when consumers find other flaws in the 2013 SolidWorks.



Monsieur’s Android-Powered Bartender: Get Your Drink On


This new device powered by android is a peace of work. It functions as a bartender with many facilitating features. The idea was initiated by a mechanical engineer right outside Georgia tech, Barry Givens, the CEO of †the Monsieur company of Atlanta, Georgia. The design went through many prototypes until its final one “The Monsieur,” that has a touch interface screen and has space and refrigerators to store drinks and bottles in eight containers. It has a list of cocktails that are organized in terms of themes and moods up to 300 cocktails and drinks. ” Over time its intelligent machine will learn an individual’s taste to automatically per-adjust their drinks, as well as making them to order,” says the Monsieur company.††So if one is having a formal dinner the Monsieur would act like a robotic bartender for the gathering. Not only does the Monsieur preform tasks one asks it to, but also has some artificial intelligence in it. It notifies its user when drinks are about to finish and capable of providing a local grocery and liquor store a list of the ingredients that are missing. It also †has an application that allows its user to order drinks remotely through their cell phone with the desired strength, double or single. What about safety? Well it has a feature that alerts the consumer when †their current alcohol blood level is high and provides taxi company numbers if needed. That is done through entering gender and weight before ordering.

c51cd8f5c0efc8533a88dfb7631649f3_large 00fecc3336548dc854cbb8909f8861cf_large monsieur-22

The Monsieur is worth$ 2700 and will be available for purchase on November 15th, 2013. However, is it worth it? The idea of a robotic bartender facilitates numerous people who are extremely socially active and especially benefits venues and restaurants. On the other hand, ordinary people would not benefit much from of this product. The idea itself is highly marketable †for people who are interested in luxurious facilities or just find a need in having a bartender at home.. Nonetheless, the product does not provide anything that is needed or solves any real problem except maybe for the fact that it notifies consumers of their current alcohol blood level.






2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive



Mercedes Benz AMG‚Äôs new SLS electric drive 2014 is considered the first car of its kind. The car operates on strictly electric power generated from 12 batteries giving an outcome of 400 Volts, 60 KWH. Since the car has no engine, engineers at AMG had to locate the batteries that weigh 548 Kg low down where the transmission tunnel is supposed to be, giving the car a low center of gravity. Surprisingly, the new SLS electric drive is considered the most powerful Mercedes AMG ever created. It produces 740 hours powers¬†, 552 KW, and 100 Nm of torque. All of that with zero CO2 omission. Jeremy Clarkson, the host of BBC’s TopGear says:’¬†¬†I can’t think of anything other than perhaps the Veyron that has this tsunami-surge of torque.”


dataCTA_expanded_chart dataCTA_expanded_car  (Electric motor, Batteries)             Powertrain SLS AMG E-CELL


The design of the car is impressive yet something that The designers at AMG are known for. They maximized the power output of the car and increased its stability. Stability control was increased by specifying an individual motor for each wheel giving the wheels proper torque on sharp corners to help keep traction. Not to mention the break disks that are made of carbon fiber-strengthened ceramic the help control breaking responses and give the car a greater grip.



That being said, The 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive sounds like a dream came true. It has remarkable features in terms of carbon print, power, and performance. However, it is not practical at all. It has a range of 155 miles only. The batries need to be charged for twenty hours in order to restore full energy. Therefore, if you are leaving in a road trip you will need to stop for twenty hours every 155 miles.


Dan Phillips; Designing With Sustainability



Dan Phillips is an American builder and designer from Texas with a different approach to building homes. He is the founder of a nonprofit construction company called ¬†Phoenix Commotion. One might ask what is so special about this construction company, however, after watching this video the reasons are obvious. Phoenix Commotion focuses on designing houses using recyclable materials and applying creative techniques in constructions. Dan Phillips asserts that, ” We can‚Äôt continue to live this way. We throw away and buy new rather than repair and re-use,‚ÄĚ he adds. ‚ÄúWe need to use renewable resources and use non-renewables carefully.‚Ä̬†The main beneficiaries of this company are usually people with low income who cannot afford conventional houses such as people living on minimum wages. Therefore, Phoenix Commotion is considered to look at building houses from a humanitarian and environmental point of views. However, there is no conclusion of weather these environmentally friendly houses can be as reliable as conventional houses in terms of insulation and safety.

Moving to the designs, 70 to 80 percent of the material Phillips uses in building the houses are materials that have been recovered from other construction sites that are usually thrown away to waist or random materials that people throw away such as:¬†Plywood,¬†Mismatched bricks,¬†Ceramic Tiles,¬†Shattered mirrors,¬†Bottle butts,¬†Wine corks,¬†Old DVDs,¬†Bones,¬†License plates,¬†Crystal platters, and¬†Cans. ‚ÄúA frame shop was getting rid of old samples, and I was there waiting,” said Dan Phillips.¬†Phillips uses creative methods in utilizing the material that usually goes to waist. For example, to¬†resolve designs,¬†he¬†uses discipline, orderly design, ¬†and the concept of¬†repetition¬†to create¬†pattern¬†and unity. In his ted talk Phillips pointed out that people are used to patterns and if one maintains a certain pattern in any design it would not make a difference what material is used or what it looks like. Therefore, he tries to maintain a strong and fashionable design in every house he of his most admirable projects include:

– The Tree House:

Dan-Phillips-Turns-Trash-into-Recycled-Homes-2     Dan-Phillips-Turns-Trash-into-Recycled-Homes-3     Dan-Phillips-Turns-Trash-into-Recycled-Homes-1   Dan-Phillips-Turns-Trash-into-Recycled-Homes-5 Dan-Phillips-Turns-Trash-into-Recycled-Homes-7






Deepwater Horizon oil spill



Deepwater horizon oil spill, also know as gulf of mexico oil spill, is considered the largest accidental oil spill in the history of petroleum industry. It is 8% to 31% larger than the previous largest oil spill, the Ixtoc I oil spill, causing 11 deaths, 17 injuries, and 4.9 million barrels (780,000 cubed meters) of oil spilled into the gulf.  It began on April 20th, 2010 in the Deepwater horizon oil rig that was located in the Gulf of mexico and lasted for 87 days until July 15th, 2010 despite  numerous efforts of stopping the spill.


The causes of the catastrophe can be brought down to a lack of suitable approach for managing the inherent risk, uncertainties, failure to learn from ” near misses,” asserted the ¬†interim¬†report¬†of preliminary findings from a committee of the National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council. Donald Winter, former secretary of the Navy, professor of engineering practice at the University¬†of¬†Michigan, and chair of the study committee says:”Important decisions made to proceed toward well abandonment despite several indications of potential hazard suggest an insufficient consideration of risks.”

From an engineering point of view one could describe what happened as follows: Six-Steps-Oil-Spill-Animation

1-   Fewer barriers to gas flow at the bottom of the well:

There was only one long string of casing in the middle of the drill hole.

2- Insufficient centralizers to keep cement even:

The rig was built with only six devices for keeping tubes centered, ignoring models that have the casing centered in the well hole for cement to set evenly.

3- Bond log test was ignored:

bond log tests are used to measure cement integrity. However in the process of designing the Deepwater Horizon this test was ignored.

4- Misinterpretation of pressure test:

This test measures well stability and in the process workers reported confusion over the negative test that measured upward pressure from the shut-in well.

5- Mud barrier removed early:

The removal of heavy mud while drilling 3000 ft below the normal point caused gas to move freely without any barriers.

6- Failure of the Blowout Preventer:

The combination of increased pressure and a stuck drilling pipe caused a section of the pipe to bend and jam the blowout preventor.

Disaster in The Gulf

Skip to toolbar