Random Samples - News from the World of Engineering

Biomedical engineering

Virtual Instruments in Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Laboratories

Many BME graduates will immediately enter industry, and PC-based virtual instrument training is increasingly seen as a cost effective way to expose students to modern tolls and equipment, and ultimately to prepare them for modern industry. Access to virtual tools can help students make real-world correlations with theory and learn data capture, processing and presentation skills. IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Magazine, Vol. 22 No. 4, July/August 2003.

Civil Engineering

Continuing Education – Is it making the grade”

Almost half of states require professional engineers to take continuing education courses as a condition of their license. Sounds good, right? Helps people stay current in changes to technology and regulations, right? Maybe not. Critics say “course quality and content do little to protect the public or enhance professional skills.” Engineering News-Record, October 27, 2003.

Electrical Engineering

Buildings Take Control

Inside a typical office building are lots of systems that don’t work together. That’s starting to change thanks to two emerging protocols. Air-conditioning and fire alarm systems have started talking to each other and the conversation will save lives and money. And buildings will become more comfortable and efficient too. IEEE Spectrum, August 2003.

Engineering Management

The High Cost of Accurate Information

According to the American Marketing Association, in 2001 U.S. corporations spent $5.5 billion on market research alone–— not counting the cost of software and other information technology. Business academics are lauding the investment. But some wonder how to tell when there’s “too much” information. After all, information alone is seldom obvious in its implications for business decisions, and interpretation is what gives information meaning. Read more in IEEE Engineering Management Review, Vol. 31 No. 3, third quarter, 2003.

Mechanical Engineering

Robots Teachers’ Assistants – Low-Cost Robots for Research and Training Activities

Need a teaching assistant? Maybe you should use a robot instead. Low-cost robots can serve as teaching aids in many engineering courses. For example, ask a student to adapt an available robot and its extremity to a specific manipulative task. This requires the students to have in-depth understanding of the task and action sequence, and programming skills. These types of assignments naturally take time, and lend themselves well to cross-disciplinary training. IEEE Robotics & Automation, Vol. 10, No. 3, Sept. 2003.