Science & Technology

Drishti Magazine

LATEST INVENTIONS IN CIVIL ENGINEERING

5 Advanced Technologies Used in Civil Engineering There are many observers and academics who regard the construction industry as being slow to innovate and inefficient at applying new innovations to the industry. When you think about it, the core principles of construction today, as well as many of the techniques, technology, and much of the knowledge have been used since Roman times. However, behind the scenes, there is now a great deal of technology and innovation in the industry. When we talk about advanced construction technologies, we are referring to a wide range of modern techniques and practices. These techniques and practices represent the latest innovations in fields as diverse as materials physics, design and planning procedures, and facility management. The use of technology in civil engineering, which encompasses the planning, design, and construction of urban environments and infrastructure projects, has been a game changer in many respects. The technologies on this list are among the most important advanced construction technologies that are making their way into the field of civil engineering. 3D Printing Sometimes known as 'additive manufacturing', 3D printing uses a printer to build objects layer by layer. 3D printers are being designed to work with increasingly complex materials; the latest models are capable of combining different materials together in a single object. This development has opened up entirely new possibilities for the construction industry. 3D printing can be used to construct either a small component or even an entire building. Material Physics Met materials are materials which have been custom designed in order to have specific properties as a result of their molecular make up. The versatility of materials that civil engineers have at their disposal is allowing them to design and execute more innovative and adventurous projects than ever before. The most well known of these new materials is graphene, a material which can be made to have a number of different properties under different conditions. This gives it an almost limitless range of uses in the field of construction. Modular Construction Modular buildings, sometimes known as 'prefabricated buildings' are buildings which are constructed from different components, each of which is produced on an assembly line to ensure that they are all produced exactly the same. This makes this type of building much easier and cheaper to construct. Smart Technologies Smart technologies are making their way into every sector of life. Many people now have voice assistants in their homes which can be used to control lights, order items online, and even read the news and play music. Smart technologies also allow civil engineers to plan and design in considerably more detail than before. Online Degrees Because of the rise of online degrees, offered by renowned educational institutions such as Ohio University, anyone who wants to can learn about civil engineering from the comfort of their own home. Ohio University's Masters in Civil Engineering course is cheaper than the campus equivalent. Another advantage of studying with Ohio University Online is that you can study part-time, allowing you to work while you earn your degree. Civil engineering relies on new technologies and innovations in order to thrive. As with the rest of the construction industry, these are just some of the key technologies that are driving progress.

Drishti Magazine

RECENT INVENTIONS IN THE ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING INDUSTRY

High-sensitivity microsensors on the horizon Design breakthrough will improve data gathering from hard-to-monitor environments Wireless microsensors have enabled new ways to monitor our environment by allowing users to measure spaces previously off limits to research, such as toxic areas, vehicle components, or remote areas in the human body. Researchers,however, have been stymied by limited improvements in the quality of data and sensitivity of these devices stemming from challenges associated with the environments they operate in and the need for sensors with extremely small footprints. "In the push to miniaturize the sensors to improve their resolution and enable large-scale networks of sensing devices, improving the sensitivity of microsensors is crucial," Alù said.
"Our approach addresses this need by introducing a generalized symmetry condition that enables high-quality readings in a miniaturized footprint." The work builds on recent advances in the area of quantum mechanics and optics, which have shown that systems symmetric under space and time inversion, or parity-time (PT) symmetric, may offer advantages for sensor design. The paper generalizes this property to a wider class of devices that satisfy a more general form of symmetry -- PTX-symmetry. This type of symmetry, is particularly well-suited to maintain high sensitivity, while drastically reducing the footprint. The researchers were able to show this phenomenon in a telemetric sensor system based on a radio-frequency electronic circuit, which exhibited drastically improved resolution and sensitivity compared to conventional sensors. The microelectromechanical (MEMS)-based wireless pressure sensors share the sensitivity advantages of previous PT-symmetric devices, but crucially the generalized symmetry condition allows both for device miniaturization and enables an efficient realization at low frequencies within a compact electronic circuit. This new approach may allow researchers to overcome the current challenges in deploying ubiquitous networks of long-lasting, unobtrusive microsensors to monitor large areas. In the age of the internet of things and big data, such networks are useful for wireless health, smart cities, and cyber-physical systems that dynamically gather and store large amounts of information for eventual analysis.
Electrical engineers are at the forefront of some of today's most important innovations. Whether working for the private sector, government, or major research institutes, electrical engineers are always pushing the boundaries of the possible. Recently, they've contributed to huge strides in energy efficiency, mobile technology, accessibility, transportation, telecommunication, and much more. Let's take a look at some of the most exciting new ideas in the field. High Efficiency Photovoltaic Cells One of the enduring challenges of modern electrical engineering is to find an implementation of photovoltaic technology that is efficient, effective under varying operating conditions, and highly resistant to damage - while not being cost-prohibitive. Different engineering approaches have been used to raise collection and distribution efficiency, though perovskite-based cells have recently captured the most attention at major research facilities.
Green Energy Electrical Power Converter Once you collect energy, converting it for use in the electrical system is an essential next step. A new power converter developed in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Arkansas will now make it easier for users of renewable energy to shunt excess energy into the power grid. This has the potential to make rooftop solar initiatives much easier and to further incentivize homeowners to pursue energy efficient technology. Smart Electrical Grids As energy systems become more complex and energy sources become more diverse, smart grids are growing in importance worldwide. Smart grids integrate innovative electrical technology at multiple levels to improve flow control, detect malfunctions, and automate service delivery. With end-to-end communication between power plants, distribution sites, and the end user's electrical point-of-presence, it becomes possible to raise efficiency and reduce costs. Virtual Reality Virtual reality draws on multiple disciplines, but in terms of providing a sensory experience that maps effectively to "real life," electrical engineering is crucial. The earliest VR technologies consisted of a headset with gloves as an input device, rendering the user mostly stationary. Positional tracking is now making VR more interactive, but the market has yet to develop a solution using a complete array of sensors. Eye Tracking Technology As many consumers develop an adversarial relationship to conventional digital advertising, eye tracking becomes essential - not only to deliver commercial messages, but to better understand what information is of greatest interest. As it has matured, eye tracking technology has grown into an important frontier in accessibility for the disabled, allowing technology access through eye movement. Sensitive electronic sensors are the basis of virtually all eye tracking. Wireless Wearable Tech The idea of the "Personal Area Network" has been around in computing science for a long time, but it's only now becoming a practical reality.
Devices can now operate on a smaller scale than ever and interface seamlessly with the wider environment. Wearable devices have been developed to authenticate access to vehicles and machinery, improve reading comprehension while engaged in exercise, and provide communications information without the use of a phone. Graphene As electrical engineers reach the performance constraints caused by the fundamental properties of matter, advances in materials science become essential. Graphene is perhaps the most important recent innovation. Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms one million times thinner than paper. It's so thin that it is actually considered twodimensional. Graphene's unique characteristics make it the strongest known material on Earth. It can stretch by 20%, making it as pliable as rubber. It will provide immense gains in battery life for portable devices and is uniquely well-suited for wearable technology that collects biometric information from the user.
In short, it may be essential to the future of electrical engineering. Ion Thruster Energy It comes as no surprise Star Trek was a defining force in inspiring thousands of people around the world to develop and pursue an interest in engineering. One of the engineering challenges presented by that vision of the future was this: What kind of novel propulsion technology would be necessary to allow manned spaceflight to distant worlds? NASA and others have been working on the prototype ion engine for years, envisioning a way to carry large amounts of supplies and equipment through space. It uses solar power as a charging mechanism and expels xenon gas. Electrons from the solar panel will be trapped in a magnetic field and then used to ionize the xenon propellant for total thrust of 13kW. Personal Flying Cars People - engineers and others - have been thinking about flying cars since The Jetsons.
Now, a private U.S. firm called Terrafugia is tackling the engineering challenges necessary to deliver a personal flying craft that offers the control and safety required for regular civilian use. It calls its flagship product The Transition, which combines driving and flying in a single vehicle. To create a commercially viable dual-use vehicle, Terrafugia has had to combine best practices in automotive technology and aeronautics. This includes a number of innovations of keen interest to electrical engineers, including an engine that successfully powers both the rear wheels and the propeller using unleaded gasoline. It also incorporates advanced carbon fiber construction. 40GB Wi-Fi The maximum speed of Internet connectivity, whether wired or wireless, has always been defined by foundational challenges in electrical engineering - semiconductor size and composition, for example. Each advance in speed represents a fundamental shift in engineering processes, whether from applying novel materials, new transmission media, or other technology. Back in 2013, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany broke the speed limit for Wi-Fi by delivering 40 gigabytes of data per second over a distance of more than half a mile. The key innovation was a new set of chips capable of processing signals at higher-than-usual frequencies. The shorter the wavelength, the more powerful Wi-Fi can theoretically be.

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