Archive for February, 2013

Advanced Building Blocks

As a child you have played with Lego and Mega Blocks and enjoyed constructing unique structures out of them. There was the picture which provided guidance on what you were to make, but there was also more fun to be had when you developed structures out of your own imagination. In science projects based on nano technology you do much the same thing.

You get to build new materials, medicines, or electric wires using the basic building blocks of nature. This means that you play around with atoms and molecules of existing materials in order to produce new combinations resulting in new materials. These new materials often have better resistance, or more strength or improved healing capacities compared to the older materials that they have been derived from.

That is how a constant cycle of improvement is maintained. Eventually the new material is converted into a gadget that is tested by the researchers in the laboratory. After the tests are conducted the model is improved based on the results.Now it is tested again by scientists before it is finally developed into a commercially viable gadget.

Now that gadget can be bought and used everyday by normal people around the world. This is the process that each science project follows, more or less give or take a few more steps, to bring new gadgets to you.


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Engineering the Future

An engineering career is full of choices today that did not exist even a decade ago. You can work in exciting new science projects in new fields of research. Or you can work on developing new gadgets that could be helpful to humans in the future. There is a lot you can do as an engineer.

In the field of micro-systems engineering, you work on miniaturizing existing systems. For example you could develop a compact new airbag that can be used to enhance safety of a car driver. Or you could develop tiny microphones that could be used in spy gadgets. Or even develop a miniature of an internal medication pump which provides medication to a patient from within the body when required.

If that’s not exciting enough for you, consider the emerging field of nano-systems. Here you could develop new materials that make batteries last longer or design artificial fibers that make it possible for clothes to become fire proof. Or develop a material that is light weight and strong and can be used to design improved tennis rackets. The possibilities are endless.

There are a large number of career options in engineering that offer new challenges and interesting science projects. Some of them may challenge you and others may provide great satisfaction when the challenge is successfully met. So how are you going to help in engineering the future?

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Rex – The Bionic Man

Science has a habit of catching up with science fiction. Its happened time and again that a Sci-Fi author has described a futuristic gadget and a couple of decades down the line scientists actually produce the gadget or a very close likeness to it. That’s why the Bi-centennial man of science fiction is now represented by Rex, the very first bionic man.

This humanoid has been the result of the combined effort of more than 18 universities and companies. He’s got state of the art artificial organs like kidneys, pancreas and spleens from University College London. His artificial lungs were provided by Swansea. The┬áprosthetic legs and ankle were contributed by MIT. He even has synthetic blood from Sheffield University.

Rex was introduced to the world at the Science Museum in London in the first week of February. What drew attention were his brown eyes and six and half feet height. The whole scientific project cost more than one million dollars. What the project has proved is that now it is scientifically possible to create an artificial man from scratch.

It may even be possible to improve on human abilities by providing advanced prosthetic limbs to those who have suffered the loss of their natural limbs. Each advancement in the field makes it easier to find treatment for accident victims. Each science project brings more hope.



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Underwater Robots

The robots we see on land are often hampered in their movement. In most science projects the robots often have jerky movements and lack the fluid grace that can characterize underwater robots. Actually underwater robots are vehicles more than robots.

There are essentially two types of underwater vehicles. The first are controlled by remote while the second type can control itself. The remotely operated robotic vehicles are controlled by a human who instructs the robot step by step. While an automated underwater robotic vehicle has its own brain in a computer chip mounted on its body.

Underwater robots need to be made with special care to ensure that their motors and delicate portions are protected from water. Waterproofing plays an important part in building such robots as the minimal amount of water can short circuit the robot and render it useless.

These robots can be used in the oceans and seas to see how the flora and fauna in the sea works. They can stay in the water much longer than human beings and can contribute significantly to science projects dealing with the oceans of the world. There is so much about aquatic life that we still do not know.


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Why do we use robots?

Robots are machines that are intelligent enough to do important tasks for human beings. There are many science projects that depend thoroughly on the abilities of a robot to be successfully completed.

Robots are able to function in areas where human beings may find it difficult to. The best current example would be the Curiosity Rover on Mars. It is working in conditions that are inhospitable to humans and doing a commendable job of gather information from an unknown area.

There are some robots that are made to do dangerous jobs that can put human beings at risk. The R2 astro -robot on the International Space Center is one good example of this type of robot. R2 is being trained to work along with humans in space and to take on minor repairs on the outside of the space station, saving the human element space walks.

Some robots do not have a very inspiring job. They merely do a single task over and over again. The mindless repetition of the task may make it unsuitable for humans beings. Repetitive tasks make humans bored and careless and this can result in flaws that are best avoided. Most scientific experiments use some aspect of robotics.

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