Sandia National Laboratories (www.sandia.gov) has designed a microdevice that can easily collect and release proteins in aqueous solution in less than one second. The device is a series of gold-coated lines, each line apart by a thickness of one-third of a human hair. It separates proteins from the solution and from each other by electrically heating the metal lines which warms a 4 nm-thick polymer film. The film then changes from a hydrophilic to a hydrophobic state, which enables the film to absorb proteins passing over it. The proteins now separated from the water molecules, are released in a natural cleansing action in the hydrophilic state.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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