Submitted by Richard Smith on July 29, 2008 - 08:02
To many observers the rivalry between wind tunnels and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a zero-sum game - as CFD matures it simply replaces wind tunnels. However, this is far from the truth. Often you'll find wind tunnels and CFD used together in a symbiotic process where one technique fills in knowledge gaps left by the other.
Submitted by Richard Smith on July 21, 2008 - 12:49
What do you do after setting world records for the furthest distance traveled by a pedal boat (4660 miles across the Pacific Ocean, from Hawaii to Okinawa) and the fastest Pacific crossing in a solar-powered boat? If you are Kenichi Horie you try to cross the Pacific in a wave-powered boat in pursuit of another world record.
Submitted by Richard Smith on July 15, 2008 - 10:01
Not to be outdone by virtual engineering, the latest racing car video games, or more correctly simulators, incorporate exceptionally realistic real-time virtual physics (kinematics and aerodynamics), 3D graphics and even 3D sound. Online racing simulators pit virtual drivers from around the globe in hot pursuit of virtual titles. With all these advances you'd think there's little more that can be done to improve virtual racing - but you'd be wrong. What if you could virtually drive, on a game console, in a Formula 1 (F1) race mimicking the actual live action in the race?
Submitted by Richard Smith on June 30, 2008 - 13:25
The GEN H-4 is a device that fulfills the promise of a personal jetpack, although it's technically a helicopter. In fact the GEN H-4 is officially recognized as the world's smallest piloted helicopter and it's available for purchase now.
Submitted by Richard Smith on June 23, 2008 - 19:01
Imagine 3.8 billion years of slow but steady research and development (otherwise known as evolution), covering everything we need to survive and thrive here on Earth, freely available for everyone. You just need to know where and (more importantly) how to look for it, because the evidence of this massive R+D effort is everywhere. The study and exploitation of naturally evolved solutions for engineering systems is variously known as bionics, biomimetics, biomimicry, biognosis, bionical creativity engineering, bioinspired engineering, and maybe others. While there’s no single agreed name, there is consensus on the fact that nature is a great source for engineering inspiration.
Submitted by Richard Smith on June 16, 2008 - 08:18
Due to the massive distances men (Uwe Hohn in particular) were throwing javelins in 1984 (over 100m), there was a danger that a javelin would clear the throwing area. To reduce the javelin's flight time it was redesigned to put its center of gravity in front of its center of pressure, so its nose pitched downwards in flight. This is an unusual example of a sport's governing body using engineering to justify a rule change, in contrast to the more usual rule change in response to an engineering innovation by a competitor.
Submitted by Richard Smith on June 9, 2008 - 08:58
In some sports, such as motor racing and yachting, the equipment is the dominant factor in deciding a winner. Such sports have embraced engineering, especially mechanical and electronics engineering. In the case of Formula 1 (F1) the engineering skills of the leading teams rival those of the best aerospace companies.
Submitted by Richard Smith on June 2, 2008 - 07:03
The current debate as to whether a specially engineered Speedo LZR Racer swimsuit provides an unfair advantage to its wearer is analogous to the debate concerning the 1 hour cycling world record back in 1993. Starting in 1993, cycling faced an arms race of sorts with the prospect of continuous aerodynamic innovation significantly improving the 1 hour world record. This caused people inside and outside cycling to question whether human performance really mattered.
Submitted by Richard Smith on May 27, 2008 - 17:08
Engineering plays an important role in most sports. Whether it's a seemingly simple sport, such as running (take a look at the latest running shoes to see advanced engineering in action), or an obviously engineering-dominated sport, such as Formula 1 motor racing, it is difficult to find a sport untouched by engineering innovation. Over the next few weeks I'll explore to what extent engineering influences sports and how sports influence engineering.