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Mechanical engineering

Harvard University labs are offering a downloadable toolkit to design, create, and control...

Harvard University labs, working in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin, are offering a comprehensive online toolkit to help in the design, creation, and control of soft robots made from flexible materials. Aimed at skilled and novice researchers alike, the Soft Robotics Toolkit provides a veritable cornucopia of downloadable, open-source plans, step-by-step tutorial videos, and real world studies for users to apply to their own soft robot project.  Read More

The water runs through a piece of piping, which rests in a trench-shaped structure coated ...

Armed with plywood, a glass tube and some empty chip packets, mechanical engineering students from the University of Adelaide have developed a low-cost water purification system capable of killing off harmful bacteria. The solution is designed for remote communities in Papua New Guinea (PNG), an area where water is particularly susceptible to pathogen infestation.  Read More

MIT researchers are developing extra robot limbs that can help out humans where an extra h...

Featured in comic books since 1963, Dr. Octopus, or "Doc Ock" is an enemy of Spiderman with four extra robotic arms attached to his back that assist him in his nefarious plans. That vision of humans with extra limbs – minus the supervillain part – is taking shape at MIT with researchers adding "supernumerary robotic arms" to assist with tasks that ordinary two-armed humans would find difficult.  Read More

The winner of the 2013 Dyson Award competition, the Titan Arm

A US team from the University of Pennsylvania has taken out the 2013 James Dyson Award with the Titan Arm, an upper body exoskeleton that augments human strength. The team will receive the £30,000 (US$48,260) first prize, with an additional £10,000 (US$16,100) going to the University Of Pennsylvania Engineering department. Competing against 650 international entries, which were whittled down to 20 finalists, the Titan Arm shared the limelight with two runners up, who will each take home £10,000.  Read More

When a paddle tries to return a supersonic ping-pong ball -- the paddle loses! (Photo: Mar...

The fastest serve ever recorded by a ping-pong player moved at about 70 mph (113 km/h). Professor Mark French of Purdue University's Mechanical Engineering Technology department and his graduate students, Craig Zehrung and Jim Stratton, have built an air gun for classroom demonstrations that fires a ping-pong ball at over Mach 1.2 (900 mph or 1,448 km/h). As the picture above shows, that's fast enough for the hollow celluloid balls to blow a hole through a standard paddle.  Read More

The students developed a prototype of a technically simple yet ingenuous IV drip system to...

In the most economically excluded regions of the world about 1.5 million children die of dehydration every year. When patients get to hospital for IV therapy, there may not be enough staff to monitor the drip, and the child may die from receiving the wrong amount of fluid, which is also potentially fatal in cases of over-hydration. In order to help health care workers in those places, engineering students at Rice University have developed a prototype of a technically simple yet ingenuous IV drip system that adds an element of automation to the process.  Read More

Graduate student Brent Carey, positioning a piece of the nanocomposite material for dynami...

If someone does a lot of arm curls at the gym, the typical result is that the bones and muscles in their arms will get stronger. Recently, researchers at Houston’s Rice University inadvertently created a nanocomposite that behaves in the same way. Although the material doesn’t respond to static stress, repeated mechanical stress will cause it to become stiffer.  Read More

The science-of-surfboards team, left-to-right: Mechanical engineering undergraduates Victo...

Four mechanical engineering undergraduates from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), have installed a computer and eight velocity sensors on a surfboard, in effort to create the ultimate surfing experience. While the students ride the board across the waves, the sensors register the speed at which the board skims along the water, then send that data to the computer, which proceeds to transmit it wirelessly to a laptop on the beach. The computer also saves the data on an internal memory card. The students built the board for their senior design project, but also as a part of Ph.D. student Benjamin Thompson’s science-of-surfboards project, in which he hopes to design the "perfect" board.  Read More

Jon Leary and friends, with his mobile bicycle-powered pump

University of Sheffield student Jon Leary was required to “make something useful out of rubbish” as part of his dissertation. What he ended up doing was transforming lives. As part of his studies as a Mechanical Engineering major, Jon spent four months in Guatemala. There, he introduced the locals to his bicibomba movil, a mobile bicycle-powered water pump. Now, using cast-off bicycles and discarded pumps, Guatemalan farmers can irrigate their land much more easily and effectively than ever before.  Read More

Prof Jeffrey Rhoads and graduate student Venkata Bharadwaj Chivukula have created a new ME...

Researchers are developing a new class of tiny mechanical devices, made up of vibrating structures the thickness of a human hair, that could be used to filter electronic signals in cell phones and other applications. Only the size of a grain of sand, these microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) will, nonetheless, improve performance and reduce power usage.  Read More

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