While engineers have long been at work to improve human life and society, some of the most exciting innovations in the last few decades are in the realm of sustainable solutions. These include e-mobility, new battery technology, alternative energy sources, and robots for sustainable mining technology. Here are a few examples of some of the greatest engineering innovations for the future:
Adaptation of Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press
The mechanized printing press invented by Johannes Gutenberg, also known as the Gutenberg press, was a modification of the wine press. Wine presses were used for crushing grapes, but Gutenberg’s printing press incorporated a screw mechanism. This screw mechanism transferred ink from the movable type to the paper. The press was also capable of mass-producing books in a highly efficient manner. The Gutenberg Bible was the first production book produced using this mechanized printing press. While Gutenberg’s original method was incredibly expensive, the press was a major advance in the world of printing. The first printing press was used in 1431 and produced over 200 copies, although Gutenberg’s methods were considerably more expensive than those of the time.
Sailed ships are an engineering innovation that reduces fuel costs by three percent per year. They also have a large deck area and can induce considerable heeling. The design of these ships required extensive research and analysis to determine the benefits of these new technologies. A prototype of the Sailing Ship is under development by ten PhD students. The project has been delayed due to health restrictions. However, the researchers are optimistic that these ships will be ready for shipping by the end of the year.
Automatic sensing features
In 2018, a bridge in Genoa, Italy, collapsed, killing 43 people. The collapse is still under investigation, and experts have theorized that a variety of factors contributed to its demise. To remedy this problem, the Genoa bridge was rebuilt with automatic sensing features. Two-ton inspection robots travel across the bridge on a carbon composite track, taking 25,000 photos of its undercarriage every eight hours. The bots are equipped with machine vision software to detect abnormalities. Solar panels on the bridge provide 95 percent of the energy it requires for the sensors and lighting.
Advanced driver-assist systems
ADAS technology could revolutionize the automotive industry and save lives. However, it is still in its infancy compared to other automotive systems, such as audio and telematics. The revenues from ADAS technology in 2015 were just $5 billion to $8 billion, which is relatively small compared to the $60 billion in revenues generated by climate control and audio. Despite these modest revenues, many promising ADAS applications are still being developed and tested, with some available only in high-end cars.
Solar and cycle chargers for head lights and cell phones
The bicycle-powered mobile phone charger is an exciting new engineering innovation that can be a conversation starter, and even a potential business opportunity in rural areas with few outlets. A guide by Make magazine explains how to convert a bicycle-powered headlight’s power to DC and scale it down to charge a cell phone or head light safely. But if the bicycle-powered phone charger doesn’t work as you would like, it might not be a viable business.
One of the biggest challenges facing the medical community is finding cancer cures. Fortunately, engineers are becoming increasingly adept at identifying cancer cells and their characteristics. Fortunately, these discoveries can help scientists develop targeted therapies. Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center and the Whiting School of Engineering are working together to overcome this problem. They are developing new systems to analyze data. This approach will replace the silos that have stifled the field of medicine for decades.
In engineering, process innovation refers to the introduction of new technology or methods for a process. This process innovation helps an organization achieve a competitive advantage and meet customer demands. Process innovation happens when an organization solves a problem or performs a process in a new way, thereby creating benefits for the performer and the relying parties. In some cases, process innovation can take the form of introducing a new sequence into an existing production process. Organizations also use new information technology systems, as well as find ways to reuse older systems in new ways.
The Pendulum effect has numerous practical applications and is still widely used today. A pendulum demonstrates the law of conservation of energy. To demonstrate the effect, a heavy object is attached to a string, moved a few inches away from a volunteer’s face, and then allowed to swing back and forth. The weight normally returns to its initial position. The next time a volunteer pushes the pendulum, it will have the same length as when it was released.