Engineering Summer Fun

Summer pushes the mercury higher, makes the days longer and because we’re NEF, gives us plenty of reminders about why engineering is awesome. Every four years, the world tunes in to watch the best athletes in the world compete in the Olympic Games. So until the Games in Tokyo in 2020, athletes are training hard and from fluid dynamics to biomechanics, engineering principles are everywhere as the athlete get into top shape and look for every advantage. Check out this amazing video series exploring engineering’s impact on competitive sports. It was put together for the 2012 games, but it’s still relevant – and fascinating. Chances are you’ll be watching most athletic competitions from the comfort of your couch, with the AC keeping you cool. Engineer Willis Haviland Carrier designed the first modern air-conditioning system in 1902.

Head out to your own backyard to help kids to engineer a whole summer’s worth of fun with ideas from this site including how-tos for baking soda powered boats, a Nerf battle zone, and so much more. If you’re looking for something with a little more adrenaline, there are an abundance of scream-worthy roller coasters making their debuts at amusement parks across the country. Of course there’s also LEGOLAND which celebrates the construction toy that’s inspired generations of engineers. When you need to cool off in the nearest pool, take a moment to honor the man who invented the modern diving board in 1949. Ray Rude, an engineer who spent part of his career at Lockheed Aircraft Company, used an airplane wing for his first diving board. And of course you can’t have all that fun without a little sustenance. Summer is the perfect time to engineer the perfect burger, traditional or veggie, followed by some homemade ice cream, perhaps using the recipe from one of our nation’s Founding Fathers and engineer Thomas Jefferson.

THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR HOLIDAY WISH LIST

Hoverboards aren’t just a hot item on wish lists. They’re also a hot topic, from rules about where you can and can’t take one to concerns about safety.

Forget riding your new hoverboard through New York City streets or Quicken Loans Arena where the Cleveland Cavaliers play. And if you’re headed to the airport, be sure you check travel regulations. They vary from airline to airline, and you can bet there will be changes as the travel season heats up.

Then there’s the crash and burn factor – or factors – in this case. Some hoverboarders report spontaneous combustion during use or charging and you can find plenty of videos online showing how easy it is to fall off a hoverboard. We’d link to them, but then we’d have to include an “adult language” warning.

While hoverboards are teaching plenty of people some important lessons in gravity, drones are helping thousands of others defy it. With hundreds of thousands of new Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the air this year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), isn’t so sure about the trend and is reviewing recommendations for keeping track of who’s got what in the air. So before you launch that UAS from Santa, make sure know whether you need to register as a pilot. The proposed registration would be done online and is pretty easy, for those of you who want to dig deeper, here’s the report.

And whether they’re zooming through the skies or zipping down the street, it’s nice to know that as Americans celebrate the season, they’re celebrating engineering, too.

ENGINEERING CHANGES LIVES

Albert Manero is using the power of engineering to make life better for children who need prosthetic limbs. Manero is the keynote speaker at the Nov. 9 NEF Orlando regional dialogue and Executive Director of Limbitless Solutions.

Prosthetic arms can cost about $40,000, and access for children is limited in part because they grow so quickly. For many kids like 7-year-old Alex Pring, that means a prosthesis is out of reach. That’s where groups like Limbitless Solutions come in, with a mission, in part, to “use additive manufacturing to advance personalized bionics and solutions for disabilities. We believe that no family should have to pay for their child to receive an arm.”

Alex got a Limbitless Solutions arm earlier this year, and he got famous, as a viral video showed actor and star of “Iron Man” movies Robert Downey, Jr. delivering the new arm. As Alex grows, his arm can be adjusted for a cost of about $100 to create new 3D-printed parts.

Participants at the Nov. 9 NEF Orlando regional dialogue will hear more about the life-changing power of engineering as Manero, who is a mechanical engineering Ph.D. student at the University of Central Florida, delivers the keynote at the dialogue hosted by UCF.

Stories like this one demonstrate the power of engineering and the importance of the NEF mission to find solutions to the challenges facing American engineering – the 3C’s – how many engineers our country needs (capacity), what skills they require (capabilities), and how they affect our way of life and world leadership (competitiveness). As Manero says on his website, “Let’s show students that engineering is a tool to change the world.”

SPOTLIGHT ON THE 3C’S: COMPETITIVENESS

This month, our series on the 3C’s – capacity, capability, and competitiveness – focuses on competitiveness. The engineering community must work more creatively and collaboratively – alongside political leaders and media – and make the case for the essential role engineering plays in fueling our economy, bolstering national security, and advancing U.S. leadership.

1-Ga Tech Dean May photo for Nov newsletterDr. Gary S. May, dean of the College of Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology

[NEF dialogues] serve as an industry and government affirmation that engineering is key to long-term economic growth.  Innovation requires public and private sector investment operating synergistically. These dialogues ensure we are on the same page as we go forward and foster awareness of social, economic and cultural forces which affect engineering’s future, such as student demographics and global demands. We need to make sure those issues are raised from all who have a vested interest in our nation’s economic well-being, which is directly tied to engineering.

 

Cassidy_5531e[4][2]C. Michael Cassidy, president and CEO of the Georgia Reasearch Alliance

Since engineering is inherent in modern-day problem solving, the NEF dialogues add fuel to a larger conversation about our nation’s future and the well-being of humankind. They also point the way to the action steps we must take. As a result, the collective follow-up to the dialogues is just as important – we have to work to turn conversation into change.

 

Olin Headshots Richard K. MillerDr. Rick Miller, president of the Olin College of Engineering 

There is broad consensus that science- and engineering-based innovation drive economic growth and job creation. The stakes couldn’t be higher: if we can’t figure out new ways to educate technological leaders, America’s prosperity and reputation as an innovation groundbreaker could be called into question. Only through collaboration and dialogue can we form the coalitions among business, academia and government to confront this challenge. I’m optimistic we’ll succeed.

 

 

 

 

FOUR MORE REGIONAL DIALOGUES WILL ADD TO NEF’S COMMUNITY OF ACTION

The next slate of NEF regional dialogues starts this fall in Orlando, Florida, hosted by the University of Central Florida on Nov. 9. UCF’s vision “is to educate the next generation of engineers and scientists and perform impactful research that advances the technologies of the 21st century.”  The keynote speaker will be Albert Manero, a UCF doctoral student in mechanical engineering and executive director of Limbitless Solutions where he “leads the team to develop and distribute new arms, and encourage children to dream big dreams in engineering.” On February 2, Oklahoma State University hosts the Stillwater, Oklahoma regional dialogue. Dean Dr. Paul J. Tikalsky says OSU’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology is focused on ensuring graduates are “to understand the world in its broadest context.” Just a few weeks later, NEF will be in South Carolina where Clemson University will host a regional dialogue. Clemson’s College of Engineering and Science is following a strategic plan for “innovation through translation” meaning “transforming knowledge that creates high impact on society.” A Denver regional dialogue is being planned as well. Hosted by the Colorado School of Mines, where the College of Engineering and Computational Sciences focuses its research on “improving people’s lives by attacking fundamental problems facing society.”

These four dialogues will bring the NEF dialogue count to 20 regional events across the country, focusing on the 3C’s – how many engineers our country needs (capacity), what skills they require (capabilities), and how they affect our way of life and world leadership (competitiveness). These 3C’s — capacity, capability and competitiveness — encourage us to see engineering holistically and the ideas generated at regional events are forming the foundation for a national cornerstone event.

3C’S SPOLIGHT ON CAPABILITY

This month, our series on the 3C’s focuses on capability. The 3C’s are challenges facing American engineering – capacity, capability, and competitiveness. Emerging, multi-disciplinary engineering and technology fields need a workforce trained to solve challenges in sustainability, climate change and evolving areas such as cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, cloud architecture, energy, and healthcare…

 

“Our goal is to graduate students who are well-rounded with a truly global perspective—to accomplish that, we need to provide our engineering students with a menu of academic and co-curricular opportunities…”

Dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering Dr. Ian Robertson

 

“The greatest areas for advancement will be those that fall between traditional disciplines. That is where our greatest challenges lie and where we will need engineers and scientists who can work seamlessly across disciplines.”

Arizona State University President Dr. Michael M. Crow

 

“Universities need to create interdisciplinary education and experiences including project-based learning in a collaborative environment.  That is what will be required to solve tomorrow’s complex technical challenges.  And, to get the best ideas, this collaboration must produce graduates that reflect diverse backgrounds.”

Chairman and CEO of Rockwell Automation Inc. Keith Nosbusch

SPOTLIGHT ON CAPACITY

“We need to demonstrate that engineering is one of the best ways to help people and make a major difference in the world. If we can do that, we can begin to address the diversity problem.”

Olin College of Engineering President Dr. Rick Miller

 

“We need to be thinking of ways to improve a student’s awareness of the wonders of engineering, and create viable opportunities to act on their interests. We need to help them understand how exciting a career in engineering can be and fuel their dreams and aspirations with compelling stories such as self-driving cars, land, air and space robotics, medical devices, and smart urban infrastructure.”

Carnegie Mellon University Dean of Engineering Dr. James H. Garrett 

 

“We need to focus on encouraging students to “stay with it” and provide mentoring and role models. While majoring in a STEM field is rigorous, it is extremely rewarding.”

Georgia Institute of Technology Dean of the College of Engineering Dr. Gary S. May

 

“We live in a big world, with a lot of opportunities, a lot of issues, and a lot of complexity. We need to show students they can make a difference by becoming master learners who are capable of tackling any challenge.”

Arizona State University President Dr. Michael M. Crow

UPCOMING DIALOGUES PROMISE ROBUST DISCUSSIONS

The UW-Madison College of Engineering has eight degree-granting departments where faculty, staff and 11,000 students work to address challenges in energy, healthcare and medicine, sustainability and the environment, security, and transportation infrastructure. Rockwell Automation is a leader in industrial automation and information, and as the largest company of its kind, employs 22,500 people worldwide and serves customers in more than 80 countries.

On November 9, University of Central Florida will host a regional dialogue in Orlando. With a vision to “educate the next generation of engineers and scientists and perform impactful research that advances the technologies of the 21st century,” the university’s College of Engineering and Computer Science includes more than 7,000 undergraduates and almost 1,300 graduate students.

At each of these dialogues, NEF is gathering regional perspectives on solutions to the 3C’s to set the agenda for a national cornerstone event in 2017.

Getting creative with engineering education

With a mission to revolutionize engineering education, Olin College of Engineering President Rick Miller, host of the upcoming Boston regional dialogue, talks about the challenges facing engineering and creating a curriculum and culture that produces graduates with the ability and self-confidence to solve big problems that cross boundaries and disciplines.

 

How does Olin prepare students for a career in engineering?

Our goal is to make engineering education empowering, relevant and exciting to a new generation. We’ve focused on creating a culture that supports innovation in all its dimensions.

Faculty teach in interdisciplinary teams. Students learn by doing hands-on projects in teams, in the context of real people’s problems in the real world.

 

How can we increase diversity in the engineering pipeline?

To help solve engineering’s “image problem” with underrepresented groups, we should concentrate on implementing big changes that make engineering study more creative, adventurous and inspiring to young people. We need to demonstrate that engineering is one of the best ways to help people and make a major difference in the world. If we can do that, we can begin to address the diversity problem.

 

How can gatherings like the NEF dialogues impact the nation’s future?

There is broad consensus that science- and engineering-based innovation drive economic growth and job creation. The stakes couldn’t be higher: if we can’t figure out new ways to educate technological leaders, America’s prosperity and reputation as an innovation groundbreaker could be called into question. Only through collaboration and dialogue can we form the coalitions among business, academia and government to confront this challenge. I’m optimistic we’ll succeed.