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Engineering

Ground has been broken on the residential component of the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, New York. The first of three residential towers to be constructed on the 22 acre (89,000 sq.mt) site, the B2 building will be 32 floors high and contain 363 units constructed using innovative prefabrication methods, making it the world’s tallest modular building. Read More

The University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Lima, Peru has partnered with advertising agency MAYO-DRAFT FCB to create an advertising billboard that grabs moisture from the desert air and converts it into filtered drinking water. Read More

The White House has officially responded to a petition calling on the US government to "begin a construction of a Death Star by 2016." Though the news for proponents of space fascism wasn't good, Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, did respond in the spirit of the original petition… Read More

A net-zero house project called SunBloc has won the 2012 RIBA President Medals Student Awards, a prestigious architectural competition that takes place annually in the UK. Devised by students from the London Metropolitan University, SunBloc is tailored for the Solar Decathlon Competition, but the students say it can be adapted to other contexts. Read More
Using a 3D printer, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed synthetic "bio-bots" about seven millimeters long that are powered by embedded cardiac cells that give them the ability to "walk" on their own. The researchers say they are just scratching the surface of what is possible, with their work potentially leading to millimeter-scale medical or environmental sensors that that can seek out and neutralize harmful toxins. Read More
Titanium is a tremendously useful metal and very abundant, yet only 186,000 tonnes (205,030 tons) of it are produced a year and it’s not used very much outside of the aerospace field because it’s so expensive and difficult to forge. To correct this, a team led by André Albert at the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering in partnership with Thin Films (IST) in Braunschweig, Germany have developed a new process for hydroforming titanium at high temperatures in a single step that promises to make titanium more of an everyday material. Read More
When an architect is designing a building, they build a scale model to check how their design will work as an actual physical structure. What happens, however, when engineers are designing things that will have to be compatible with the currents in rivers ... things like dams, bridges, or pump stations? Well, that’s where water resources engineering firms like Northwest Hydraulic Consultants (NHC) come into the picture. Their work often includes building exact miniature recreations of waterways, complete with flowing water. We recently caught up with NHC principal Darren Shepherd, who guided us through the production process of one of his more exciting models – a one-twelfth scale Norwegian whitewater kayaking park. Read More
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is best known by the DuPont brand name Teflon. Whatever it is called, PTFE is the third slipperiest solid known – the poster child for non-stick, non-reactive, non-friction, non-conducting, high-temperature, and generally high-performing polymers. Silicone also has a nearly non-bondable surface – if you try to paint a silicone sealant, it simply pops off as the paint dries. In particular, creating a strong bond between PTFE and silicone has never been accomplished, even in the chemical laboratory. Until now. Read More
A hobby is what you do with the rest of your time. It tends to feed a deep-seated need of which you may not even be aware - to be your best self. Some people golf, some swim, some quilt, some travel, some climb mountains ... there's no end to the list. Then there's Szymon Klimek, who makes some of the most incredible miniature electromechanical sculptures imaginable. Read More
From the Jetsons to Back To The Future, hopping onto or into a personal flying vehicle has been on the engineering "To Do" list for a good many years. We've seen a number of noteworthy attempts at defying gravity and taking to the skies here at Gizmag (many of which are featured in this roundup from 2010) and now another possible addition to that growing collection has landed on our desk. Known simply as the Flying Bike (or FBike), this collaborative effort from a bunch of Czech companies and enthusiasts is still very much in the early stages of development, but the proposal is to fit a number of electrically-driven propellers to the custom frame of a two-wheeler that will allow the pilot to rise above the traffic for as long as the batteries hold out. Read More
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