William Grill had a periodic problem with backed-up water in his laundry room. The laundry tub has a shallow drain that is shared with the kitchen plumbing. The drain would regularly get clogged with refuse from kitchen disposal debris or laundry “goop.” When the drain clogged, water backed up onto the floor, creating a “rather unpleasant laundry room crises.”
Grill considered a water monitor, but he wanted a bit more warning so he could avert flooding. He wanted to know when the drain was getting clogged before “water was all over the place.”
He created a sensor that is set for two points — 1 and 5 inches of water in the laundry tub. The sensor sends an alarm before the water crests the tub and splatters all over the floor — all for less than $12 in components.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
The word “smart” is becoming the dumbest word around. It has been applied to almost every device and system in our homes. In addition to smartphones and smart meters, we now hear about smart clothing and smart shoes, smart lights, smart homes, smart buildings, and every trendy city today has its smart city project. Just because it has a computer inside and is connected to the Web, does not mean it is smart.
Are you being paid enough? Do you want a better job? According to a recent survey Manpower released just before Engineers Week, employers and engineers don't see eye-to-eye about the state of US engineers' skills and experience.
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