The National Science Foundation has announced the formation of the Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems (ICIS). The effort, which involves New York University, Cornell University, Polytechnic University of New York, and the University of Southern California, links professional activities related to what Richard E. Schuler, director of the Cornell Institute of Public Affairs, calls a fragmented industry. "The institute will link engineering and the applied social sciences to develop better solutions for the myriad of infrastructure problems facing the nation," Schuler adds. Institute projects include: expanded use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) by the electric, gas, and water utility industries, workshops and white papers on improved public and private cooperation, use of art to develop community participation in local projects, telecommunications to educate K-6 graders about the infrastructure, and programs to reduce the institutional barrier to new technology. E-mail bpf2@. edu.
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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