Duke Engineering in the News
Check out the latest media coverage of Duke engineering research and education.
In this op-ed, Vivek Wadhwa touts the Tesla Model S that he drives as the future of all automobiles, predicting lower sticker prices and longer drives on single charges that will drastically change the industry's landscape by 2020.
This blog post features the Duke immersive Virtual Environment (DiVE)--one of the few six-sided immersive virtual environments in the world--describing how students on tours can see complex visualizations of the biomolecular underpinnings of why some people are more prone to alcoholism and why smokers need more cigarettes over time to continue to get their high.
Phys.org posts about Ana Barros' and her team's upcoming field mission in western North Carolina to help calibrate NASA's new Global Precipitation Measurement mission.
This WUNC piece talks about the recent work of Miguel Nicolelis, both in his efforts to create a mind-controlled robotic suit to allow a paralyzed teen to perform the first kick of this year's World Cup and computer-aided mind control with monkeys and rats as well.
This article in the Christian Science Monitor briefly talks about the many emerging technologies seeking to harness "lost" energy such as heat exhaust, our body's natural movement and stray electromagnetic radiation, which is one of Steven Cummer's recent developments.
In a health feature describing the potential medical boon and ethical pitfalls associated with Crispr--a rapidly developing method for altering an organism's DNA--Charles Gersbach is quoted twice as an expert on the subject.
The National Institutes of Health's news site covers the recent paper describing Farshid Guilak's and Charles Gersbach's new technique to grow new cartilage within the human body.
This feature outlines the debate about the increasing use of silver nanoparticles as antimicrobial agents in products ranging from medical instrumentation to clothing. A brief statement is attributed to Mark Wiesner, saying that some studies have found that nanosilver in wastewater tends to be transformed into silver sulfide, a much less toxic substance.
A brief post on the recent release regarding Claudia Gunsch's new test to try to flag potentially harmful chemicals in wastewater biosolids used as fertilizer.
Coverage of the recent press release regarding Charles Gersbach's and Farshid Guilak's recent development in replacement cartilage. The technique involves combining an artificial scaffolding that can temporarily act as a cartilage replacement and viruses that can deliver gene therapy to stem cells so that causes them to grow into cartilage.
Phys.org reports on a new screening method invented by Claudia Gunsch that can quickly and cost-effectively identify chemicals found in wastewater biosolids converted into fertilizer that might cause envrionmental harm.
A similar story appears on News-Medical.net.
In this op-ed piece, Vivek Wadhwa expounds on the growing issue of an increasing gender gap in Silicon Valley and how interviewing technqiues make the problem worse.
In this op-ed, Vivek Wadhwa, Executive-in-Residence at the Pratt School of Engineering, talks about the revolutionary changes that social media has brought to the world and where the future might lead.
In this article that explores Olympic athletes who don't quite fit into the box in terms of physique typically thought of as necessary to excel in their sport, the author references Adrian Bejan's calculations that, "a skater who is 20% taller than her competitor, will spin 10% more slowly, a significant difference for skaters trying to complete three and four airborne revolutions and land on a blade about 3/16 of an inch thick."
Doug Nowacek, who holds a secondary appointment as an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, is quoted as a peer reviewer of a report on assessing the effects of industrial sound on animals in the ocean. It is a timely topic as the oil industry is lobbying to reduce their required time period for measuring the sound levels their activities generate from 24 hours to 3 hours.
In the February/March issue of Working@Duke, Farshid Guilak's role as a raquetball coach is highlighted on page 8. Guilak qualified for the U.S. Open Racquetball Tournament in 2009 and was ranked 154th in the world on the pro tour.
Gizmodo covers Yaroslav Urzhumov's recent wireless power transfer development using metamaterials in this short but sweet, photo-heavy article.
Chemicals supplier Chemtura is suing the state of California over their recent law change regarding flame retardants used in furniture. Rather than having to pass a test where the foam withstands an open flame test, it will only have to pass a "smolder test." Part of the reason for the rule change is that flame retardant chemicals have been shown to accumulate in humans and cause health problems.
"Heather Stapleton, an environmental chemist at Duke University in Durham, US, says some flame retardants can leach out over time when applied to residential furniture, meaning people become exposed to them. She also points to toxicity studies demonstrating that the chemicals can harm human health, and to evidence that – once a fire takes hold – they burn dirtier, producing more smoke, soot and carbon dioxide."
A surveillance drone designed for flight over water malfunctioned and had to be ditched in the water after pilots determined that it could not be brought back to its base. The incident only adds fuel to the growing debate over drone regulations, both private and commercial. Some experts, however, don't get what all the commotion is about.
“I don’t really see this as a big deal,” Mary Cummings, director of Duke University’s Humans and Autonomy Laboratory, said in an e-mail.
Aircraft such as the Predator, which have no humans aboard and were designed for military use, shouldn’t have to meet the same safety standards as a commercial aircraft, she said.
This long-form feature highlights an impending case the FAA has brought against a notable 29-year-old drone pilot for filming he was paid for at the University of Virginia. The case--which should be decided any day--could make or break the FAA's authority to regulate drones for the coming year, as it will take about that long to draw up and finalize new laws governing drones. Missy Cummings was quoted and mentioned several times throughout the piece for her expertise on the subject.
“Ten years ago, the FAA said [unmanned aerial vehicles] were never going to amount to anything, that they’d be a niche market,” says Missy Cummings, a former Navy fighter pilot who runs Duke University’s Humans and Automation Laboratory. “They’ve created a rigid system that can’t tolerate new, disruptive technologies.”
This article summarizes the announcement that Farshid Guilak has received a $500,000 grant spread out over five years from the Arthritis Foundation to investigate the biomechanical factors in the onset and progression of osteoarthritis. He will also research new drug and stem cell therapies for the disease.
In previous studies in mice, Guilak has demonstrated the ability to produce an unlimited number of stem cells that can turn into cartilage, which cannot regenerate on its own. The new grant supports research combining genome editing, gene therapy and synthetic biology.
“By combining these techniques, we now have the ability to modify the genome of the cell in a way that will let us engineer completely new biological therapies for arthritis,” Guilak said in a statement.
David Needham, perhaps best known for developing an anticancer medication known as ThermoDox, has heard the call of the inventor’s muse once again. But instead of targeting cancer, the professor of mechanical engineering and materials science is shooting for the bull’s-eye—literally.
The Manchester Evening News reports that Needham, along with his younger brother Stewart, have invented a ring intended to help darts players perfect their throw. The flexible bottom is designed to fit any finger while a sight that sits atop can adjust for any angle or any target. By lining up each throw through the sight, the idea is to anchor the motion and teach muscle memory to promote accuracy and consistency.
David and Stewart have already sold around 350 devices and have contracted with a manufacturing company to produce more on a large scale and a retail company to help sell them. The company was founded and is based in Europe, as David is currently abroad, holding an appointment as a Danish National Research Foundation Niels Bohr Professorship to establish a Center for Single Particle Science and Engineering at the University of Southern Denmark.
This op-ed penned by Vivek Wadhwa has found its way into numerous news outlets across the country. It uses Silicon Valley luminary Tom Perkins' recent gaff comparing America's progressive war on the one percent to Nazi Germany's persecution of their top one percent--the Jewish people--as a launching point for describing all that is wrong with the top dogs in Silicon Valley.
"It is time for the Silicon Valley elite to smell the coffee and realize that the world has changed — and that they must, too. It is time for tech entrepreneurs to focus on solving big problems and giving back to the world."
In this feature for National Geographic, Carl Zimmer reviews the little that is known about the brain, the efforts being made to understand the brain better and where this research might lead in the future. At the end of the image- and video-heavy piece, the article mentions Miguel Nicolelis's work experimenting with exoskeletons that strap on to the body.
"Already he has gotten monkeys to control full-body exoskeletons. If all goes well, a paraplegic wearing a simpler version of the device will deliver the opening kick at the 2014 World Cup in Nicolelis’s native Brazil.
"Eventually brain implants will become as common as heart implants,” says Nicolelis. “I have no doubt about that.”"
This Nature article reports on a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in which Warren Warren (secondary appointment as professor of biomedical engineering) and his colleagues, "have adapted an optical-microscopy technique used in medicine for imaging cross-sections of tissue to reveal the structure of paint layers, disclosing which pigments were used and where they sit."
A separate story based on the Nature report appears in Yahoo! News (http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/laser-reveal-famous-paintings-secrets-1...)