Heard of Maker Faire, a California rite of spring for hackers, inventors, and do-it-yourself creators? A group of engineering and design students, mostly from Stanford, has picked up the idea and taken it on the road. After raising $300,000 to outfit a panel truck with rapid-prototyping tools, including two 3-D printers, a laser cutter, sewing machines, and a clay oven, the students have spent the summer driving their “educational build-mobile” across the country to spread the fun of hands-on learning and show kids how “to find their inner maker.” Aboard the SparkTruck, they park at schools, libraries, and children’s museums to demonstrate what a child’s natural urge to build a tree house, say, can produce with high-tech equipment. Read more here and here and follow the journey on their website.
Fourteen years of civil war has ravaged Liberia and left it in economic ruin and without a stable infrastructure; nothing was spared from the terrors of war. After the war ended in 2003, USAID began working to help Liberia recover and reach its development goals. Through the EHELD Project (Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development), USAID is helping Liberia improve its education, one of the institutions that was devastated by war.
The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, part of the National Institutes of Health, announced the winners in the three categories of the DEBUT Challenge, a biomedical engineering design competition for teams of undergraduate students. The three categories addressed the critical needs in biomedical technology, focusing on devices for diagnostics and therapeutics as well as technology that can aid underserved populations and individuals with disabilities.
In the annals of flight, the brief hover of a human-powered helicopter named Gamera II hardly rivals the 1947 shattering of the sound barrier. But it’s riveting to watch and quite an achievement for University of Maryland, College Park engineering students. The team has spent years designing, building, and ultimately flying the four-rotor chopper. In June, their ungainly craft stayed aloft for an unofficial world record-breaking 50 seconds, thanks to the furious pedaling and cranking of pilot Kyle Gluesenkamp, a mechanical engineering Ph.D. candidate. The feat fell short of the American Helicopter Society’s $250,000 Sikorsky Prize requirement of a full minute in the air. Then in late August, the Gamera stayed in the air for 65 seconds, according to Popular Science, but fell short of the height requirement. “Now if they can hit one minute and get a little higher than 8 feet – to exactly 3 meters, or 9.8 feet – they’ll win the $250,000 32-year-old prize.”
The Maryland craft crashed trying to hit the 3-meter mark during a Labor Day trial. But a Canadian team managed a 15-second hover that same weekend–bringing to five the number of human-propelled helicopters ever to leave the ground, reports Autopia. Continue reading Md. Students Pedal for Glory→