Major automakers this fall will begin selling cars that produce at least 70% less pollution than vehicles now in showrooms. Under a plan approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, the new models will be sold in 12 states from Virginia to Maine. And, starting with 2001 models, manufacturers will sell the cleaner cars nationwide. Engineers are lowering the emissions in 1999 models by using new catalytic converters, air and fuel controls, and electronic technology. They will place converters in tail pipes as close as possible to the engine. Sensors in the exhaust stream will monitor continually the ratio in the combustion chamber. An optimum ratio of 14.7 parts air for every one part of fuel will be maintained automatically.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.