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.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.