2014 saw a multitude of achievements related to engineering. Here is a tribute to the 10 best of them while hoping that 2015 will prove to be a far better year for engineering and mankind.
10. Form-fitting compression space suit
Dr. Dava Newman is a professor of Aeronautics, Astronautics and Engineering Systems at MIT and was the genius behind compression garments, which were installed with spring-like small coils. They respond to heat by contracting and are a huge improvement as compared to the conventional and bulky suits.
9. Paper test for cancer
MIT research team came up with a paper test that is simple, economic and capable of diagnosing cancer, similar to a pregnancy test.
8. Pocket spectrometer
The pocket friendly gadget came from Israel and makes use of IR spectroscopy that allows for the identification of the object’s materials that is being scanned. It works by pairing with your smartphone via Bluetooth.
7. Daewoo’s exoskeleton
Daewoo came up with an exoskeleton suit that allows the workers to lift up to 30 kg without breaking a sweat. It has a 3 hour battery life and the engineers are working to upgrade it so that it can lift about 100 kg.
6. Working hoverboard
Given that it’s loud and requires a metallic surface before it can hover over, but hey, we do have a working hoverboard that makes use of electromagnetics and reminds us of ‘Back to the Future’.
5. Ridiculous 43 terabits/sec data transfer
Technical University of Denmark’s team of High-Speed Optical Communications managed to set a new record for the data transfer with a speed of over 43 terabits per second using a single optical fiber. Reddit user candiedbug said, “At 43 terabits per second you could download Netflix’s entire 3.14 petabyte library in 9.7 minutes.”
4. Google Cardboard
Google brought VR to our doorstep by introducing Google Cardboard. As per Google, “We want everyone to experience virtual reality in a simple, fun, and inexpensive way. That’s the goal of the Cardboard project.” The only items required include cardboard, Velcro strips, magnets and plastic lenses along with an Android device.
3. Wireless electricity
WiTricity has managed to come up with technology that can charge your devices without using a pad. It is about 90% efficient so far and has options for providing power of 10W to 20kW.
2. SpaceX’s FALCON 9 reusable test vehicle reaches 1000m
Elon Musk and his company had their reusable rocket reach a distance of 1000 meters.
1. Landing on a comet
12th November 2014 saw the ESA managing a landing of spacecraft on a comet that required 20 years of planning and a 10-year flight. The comet was travelling at a speed of 84,000 mph when the spacecraft landed on it.