Happy Friday, folks! We’re getting close to Halloween, so I wanted to throw in some scary and funny engineering technology-related pranks and stories. The elevator LED floor that gives way while passengers stand terrified is priceless while EE Times‘ call for engineer horror stories provides a good laugh as well.
- Computer Simulation Confirms It Was Grandma Who Gave Us Longer Lifespans
- Engineering Horror: Shock of a Lifetime
- LG Electronics Terror Elevator Ad Goes Viral
- Control Lights from Afar
- US Engineers Pinpoint Flaws in Bridges by Analyzing Rain Noise
Ever hear of the Grandmother hyphothesis? Well, neither had I until I read this — It essentially suggests that grandmas “subsidize” their daughters’ fertility when they take care of their own grandchildren.
So, where does simulation come into play? University of Utah anthropologist Kristen Hawkes used simulation in an attempt to prove that this theory is mathematically sound. After making a few assumptions like the lifespan of early humans and other variables, Hawkes’ simulation showed that the presence of grandmothers doubled human adult-lifespan over a relatively short period of evolutionary time (about 60,000 years).
Wow — yet another interesting (and rather unique) way that simulation is being used.
A few months ago, EE Times asked their readers for their best engineering horror stories. The request drummed up about 10 comments all together, which the magazine recently published — you know, with it being almost Halloween. Each has story has its own slightly humorous, and occasionally gory, engineering horror aspect.
While most of these stories seem to revolve around getting an electrical shock of some sort (one of my all-time favorite practical jokes) and flying through the air, others are a bit more intense. One commenter revealed that a friend accidentally touched a capacitor terminal with his metal watch band, which subsequently welded the watch band to his arm!
Do any of our readers have any engineering horror stories like these to share?
Good Morning America
LG Electronics Terror Elevator Ad Goes Viral
This is a great video for LG’s new lifelike color monitors — not to mention that the engineers who installed these floors and video cameras seem to be enjoying themselves in the process.
Originally aired in The Netherlands, this ad features LG’s new monitors with ultra-realistic displays that were installed on an elevator floor by their engineers. When passengers get in, the floor appears to collapse under their feet, leaving them grabbing on for dear life.
Who says engineers can’t have some fun on the job?
Check it out:
MicroWaves & RF
Control Lights from Afar
Has this ever happened to you? You’ve just gotten comfortable, ready to turn in for the night, and realized that you left the hallway or bathroom light on? Well, if it has, then hopefully this will provide you with some comfort — affordable remote control lighting for residential homes is closer than you think!
This is an interesting piece from the editors at MicroWaves & RF that looks at the rising demand of remote controlled lighting and how that has affected the shipments of RF-embedded light bulbs and their associated remote controllers.
Currently, most RF-embedded light bulb systems use proprietary technology or a proprietary IEEE software stack. According to one company, their protocol is being made an open one so that other semiconductor firms may use it (thus making the technology more affordable).
Naturally, if the demand for a product goes up the way this article is suggesting, that sense of urgency is going to be passed onto the manufacturers. I sure hope they’ve got engineering simulation technology on their side!
A team from Brigham Young University in Utah have found a way to identify structural flaws in bridges by analyzing the sound the rain makes when it hits the structure. If that’s not engineering coolness, I don’t know what is!
They determined that it was actually a more cost-effective and efficient method than the traditional approach of dragging chains over a bridge to identify spots where a hollow, dull noise is produced. Apparently, using chains can take hours to complete for a single bridge and requires lane closures, but analyzing rain sound can be done much more quickly.
This is said to be particularly good news for the U.S., whose aging infrastructure would benefit if we could rapidly assess bridges and apply treatments at the right time.
Not to mention that the method could also be used to test things beyond bridges, including aircraft composites, which are susceptible to delamination.
Have a great weekend!