NASA is using the Internet to show students and the general public what airplane designers do. The agency has created an electronic site, called Aero Design Team Online, at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/ano/index-new.html. There NASA demonstrates how aeronautical engineers use airplane models, wind tunnels, supercomputers, simulators, and other tools during the airplane design cycle. The project continues through May, although plans are underway to extend it into summer. "We're teaching about airplane design through the lives of people who are doing the work," says Susan Lee of NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA. "For example, we're following a wind tunnel test of a model of a future supersonic airliner," she explains. Students can ask questions through e-mail and participate in Internet chats with engineers from teams that design and test airplanes. An aim of Aero Design Team Online is to inspire students to pursue high-tech careers.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
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