That's part of the reason I like to go see the races in person, to view the race cars up close, as well as the pit stop area. I've already been to the NASCAR Cup race this year at AutoClub Speedway in Fontana, California. I'll probably be going to the IndyCar season finale at the same 2-mile banked-turn oval track this September. A top level professional sports event is an all-day affair since there's so much besides the actual race.
The revolution of race car safety in the last 12 years is very impressive. That's a big part of the engineering since the cars are more than powerful enough and fast. Reliability has also greatly improved, not nearly as many mechanical failures these days.
As an engineer, I am definitely fascinated by the racing world. With NASCAR, who knew? I thought they put big motors in regular cars and raced around. WRONG! These machines are really something else, not only the engines themselves but the chassis, balance, shocks, tires, fuel, safety systems, and so on. Indy cars and Formula One are really outta this world when it comes to electronics and sensors.
You gotta love America's obession with racing. I always find it hard to believe that NASCAR consistently ranks No. 1 in terms of viewer participation compared with other professional sports. The upside is, as this slide show well points out, there are lots of engineering takeways in tuning performance and on-the-fly design.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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