Three times this year, we have devoted this column to citing some of the most important engineering developments in each of three fields: aerospace, automotive, and medical. We mentioned, for example, the Model T, Goddard's rockets, and MRI machines. But what has been the single biggest engineering story on the international scene? We would like you to tell us.
There are plenty of accomplishments to consider. There's the invention of television, the airplane, transistors, the microchip, computers, plastics, the Atomic Bomb, and, of course, the World Wide Web, all of which have had enormous international implications.
In recent years, there have been other notable engineering achievements, each of which involved teams from across the globe. Among them:
The International Space Station, now being developed and launched as an international effort. Whether it reaches its full potential is a matter of conjecture right now, but it is an excellent example of international cooperation.
Boeing's 777, which took its first commercial flight in June of 1995. Nearly 25,000 engineers worked on this mammoth project that lasted five years. Of the 545 supplier companies that played a role in the plane's development, 58 were located in 12 countries. Boeing even laid its own cable across the Pacific so it could exchange files with its Japanese partners.
Telescopes to explore the heavens, such as the VLT (Very Large Telescope) being developed by the European Southern Observatory for placement atop a mountain in northern Chile.
Any of a number of new cars developed in the U.S., Europe, or Asia with help from international teams of engineers and suppliers. So, what's the single biggest international achievement this century in engineering? You tell us. Write to me at email@example.com. We'll report your choices in a later issue, and let other readers agree or disagree.
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The increased adoption of wireless technology for mission-critical applications has revved up the global market for dynamic electronic general purpose (GP) test equipment. As the link between cloud networks and devices -- smartphones, tablets, and notebooks -- results in more complex devices under test, the demand for radio frequency test equipment is starting to intensify.
Much of the research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on how to make the batteries charge more quickly and last longer than they currently do, work that would significantly improve the experience of mobile device users, as well EV and hybrid car drivers. Researchers in Singapore have come up with what seems like the best solution so far -- a battery that can recharge itself in mere minutes and has a potential lifespan of 20 years.
Some humanoid walking robots are also good at running, balancing, and coordinated movements in group settings. Several of our sports robots have won regional or worldwide acclaim in the RoboCup soccer World Cup, or FIRST Robotics competitions. Others include the world's first hockey-playing robot and a trash-talking Scrabble player.
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