This Week’s Top 5 Engineering Technology Articles

This week’s Top 5 engineering technology features a turbocharged vacuum, an article that reads like a sci-fi plot, and we take another step toward the technology that is the Hoverboard.  Oh, and we’re also using engineering prowess to help save the world and advance the ability to conduct electricity in complex hardware.

Fledgling Startups Provide Power, Light, And Food In East Africa

Often underdeveloped parts of the world struggle to maintain a kind of quality of living in conditions that can range from arid desert to rocks and hills with little space in-between for things like adequate water, electricity, and other basic needs we usually take for granted.

Three startup companies from the startup incubator Fledge are concentrating efforts in Tanzania to help change that.

Juabar, a solar company, has focused on solar powered kiosks for charging electronic devices and having a stable source of electricity.

Karibu Solar Power, also working on stable electricity, has a system that would combine a solar panel, two LED lamps, and a basic recharging system in a package that storekeepers could then use and sell to consumers.

EA Fruits Farm, a small-scale farming company, is focused on reducing food waste in Tanzania mainly due to spoilage. Their company would aggregate harvests from smaller farmers helping to bridge the gap for refrigerated transportation to market

Dyson’s Hand Vacuum Gets Turbocharged

The television show, Home Improvement, would like this entry.  Dyson has taken their newest hand vacuum and given it “more power.”

The DC59 Motorhead boosted their power by 75% over the DC59 Animal which came out earlier this year. The Motorhead, primarily for carpeted areas, has built the extra power into the cleaning head in order to provide the brushes with the power to clean deep into the carpet.

And, if that surge wasn’t enough for you, there’s a special boost mode for “serious” power, but it only works in short bursts.

Interesting Engineering
Humans Will Be Put Into Suspended Animation In Trials Starting Next Month

suspended animationIn an article that I fully expected to be a review for a new sci-fi movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal or Jennifer Lawrence, I found out that Pittsburgh, Pa. is going to play host to some serious science over the summer months.

UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, which I’ve visited many times in my years in the city, will play host to the trials of suspended animation involving humans. Dr. Samuel Tisherman is saying, “We are suspending life, but we don’t like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction…we call it emergency preservation and resuscitation.”

Whatever it is being called, it has been the subject or plot device in movies from The Planet of the Apes to Star Wars to Austin Powers and everything in-between and I’ll be watching the progress of this with “suspended breath.”

The Economic Times
Stronger 3-D Material That Behaves Like Graphene Found

For those that are unaware, graphene is basically an extremely thin sheet of pure carbon approximately one atom thick and due to that, conducts heat and electricity with extreme efficiency in a 2-D form.

Now several groups have found a material similar in nature to graphene, but in a 3-D form giving it the ability to be made into transistors, sensors, and electrodes for use in complex electronic hardware.

The material, cadmium arsenide, is stable when exposed to air which gave it an immediate advantage over exploratory trials with sodium bismuth. Cadmium arsenide being environmentally stable allows it to be studied very systematically and explored thoroughly.

Yulin Chen from the University of Oxford said, “We think this family of materials can be a good candidate for everyday use and we’re working with theorists to see if there are even better materials out there.”
Hovercraft Skateboard Shows Just How Far We Are From Real Hoverboards

Ever since Back to the Future Part II was released in 1989, the world at large has craved only one item, the hoverboard. Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but the hoverboard does create a feeling of longing and each time the technology advances, so does that longing.

A new Kickstarter program shows the HoverSkater and from the looks of the video, traction would seem to be one of the main issues with hover technology.  The HoverSkater certainly has an odd look to it, but if it gets me closer to eventually riding a hoverboard (especially by October of 2015) then I am on board.

That’s it for me this week. Keep your eyes open for interesting tech and the amazing world around you.