ASEE First Bell – Breaking news in the engineering and technology field

Leading the News


GM To Monitor Distracted Driving.

The Entrepreneur Magazine  (9/3) reports that according to the Financial Times, General Motors is planning to install facial recognition machine developed by the Australian company Seeing Machine in about a half-a-million cars, which will “track driver’s eye and head movements to cut down on distracted driving.” The report says that there could be potential concerns about the “sensing technology that will monitor driver’s vital signs.”

GM Investing In Semi-Automated Car Driving Technology. Fortune  (9/2) reports that Japanese manufacturer Takata, who supplies GM with safety parts has signed a deal for 15 years with Seeing Machines to create about 500,000 sensors for making driving a safer experience. The news still await its confirmation from General Motors itself.

CNET: GM’s New Technology Might Intrude Your Personal Space. A CNET News  (9/3) editorial questions the use of the technology developed by Seeing Machine. The article reports that the use of cameras in the cars for safer commuting will be intruding driver’s personal space, as it will be capturing data inputs on so many levels that some portions of consumers might not feel very comfortable with such monitoring and breach of privacy. Moreover, this can give rise to potential “nagging” from insurance companies and others, making the entire driving experience more cumbersome.

Automotive Industry Moving In The Direction Of GM. Fox News  (9/2) reports that though GM might be the first to get the technology to the market, several other automotive companies such as Ford and Volvo are also looking into it. The article reports that “the key to successful software” in this space would be “processing the information” such that data analysis and prompt response by the machine will not make the driver “angry or upset” on the road.

Higher Education


Active Learning Strategy Helps Reduce Learning Gap Among Black Students, First-Generation Students.

The New York Times  (9/3, Pérez-Peña, Subscription Publication) reports on a study published in CBE Life Sciences Education finding that “active learning” in college was most effective for “black students and those whose parents did not go to college.” While “active learning raised average test scores more than 3 percentage points, and significantly reduced the number of students who failed the exams,” it raised scores over six points “for black students and first-generation college students.” The result was a halved scoring gap between white and black students, and no gap “between first-generation students and other students.” The active learning was characterized by “more in-class activities, often done in teams, including sets of online exercises.”


NSF Grant To Aid U Of Albany Researcher In Developing Cyber-Learning Platform.

WTEN-TV  Albany, NY (9/3) reports that researchers at the University of Albany “received $1.34 million from the National Science Foundation to develop a cyber-learning platform.” The effort will include “elementary school teachers and students from Albany, New York; Toronto; Canada; and Singapore.”

The Albany (NY) Times Union  (9/3, Horn) reports on the grant and project.


U Of Alabama Cyber Institute Director Named.

The Tuscaloosa (AL) News  (9/2, Enoch) reports on the Cyber Institute at the University of Alabama which named Reginald D. Hyde as its new director. Hyde was formerly deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security in the US Department of Defense.


Phillips 66 Gives LSU $750K For Interactive Engineering Classroom.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune  (9/2, Hodges) reports that Phillips 66 will give Louisiana State University $750,000 to fund an interactive education classroom aimed as “integrating a progressive model of engineering into the curriculum.”


Baylor Mechanical Engineering Ph. D Candidate Profiled.

The Waco (TX) Tribune-Herald  (9/3, Dennis) reports on Arlington, Texas, native Sarah Stair, who is the sole student in Baylor University’s new mechanical engineering Ph.D. program, after she “wrapped up her master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Baylor in the spring.” Stair’s “research has led to project partnerships with L-3 Communications and technology research firm Birkeland Current LLC.” She has also completed a “competitive research internship this summer at Sandia National Laboratories, which conducts research and development for the U.S. Department of Energy.”


Post-Graduation Success Linked To Scores On Collegiate Learning Assessment.

Kevin Carey, director of the education policy program at the New America Foundation, writes in the New York Times  (9/3, Subscription Publication) “The Upshot” blog on a new report by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, “Aspiring Adults Adrift,” following up on their earlier “Academically Adrift,” that “found that many students experience ‘limited or no learning’ in college.” Their new study finds that in their lives after graduation, those with low scores on the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) “are being hamstrung by their lack of learning.” The study found that those who had scored well on the CLA “were significantly less likely to be unemployed,” while those with low scores were “twice as likely” to have lost a job between 2010 and 2011. An interesting finding is that the low-scoring graduates themselves believe they received a good education, so that, “while employers can tell the difference between those who learned in college and those who were left academically adrift, the students themselves cannot.”

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Research and Development


CMU Gets NSF Grant To Support Information Security Students.

The Pittsburgh Business Times  (9/3, Tascarella, Subscription Publication) reports in its “Innovation” blog that Carnegie Mellon University has received “a $5.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation through the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service.” The grant “has funded full-tuition scholarships and stipends for 157 graduate students in information security” at CMU “for more than a decade through awards totaling more than $21.6 million.”


Google Begins New Quantum Computing Project.

Reuters  (9/2, Patnaik, Sen) reports that Google has launched a new quantum information processor project led by John Martinis from the University of California Santa Barbara. The article notes that the Ames Research Center is one of the partner’s in the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab, which includes Google and the Universities Space Research Association.



Department Of Labor Grant Provides Training For 375 Workers.

The New Orleans CityBusiness  (9/2, Clark) reports in its blog that the Region One Works On-The-Job training program has received a $1.8 million grant from the US Department of Labor. The program will train 375 skilled workers with partial wage reimbursement to employers in a program that targets long-term unemployed and underemployed workers.


What Women In Engineering Are Saying In The South.

In a post on the Huffington Post  (9/2), author Deborah J. Levine writes on a discussion among females in engineering fields that “was recently held in the office of the Interim Dean at the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga,” which “highlighted issues of career choices, work-life balance, and STEM education.” Levine notes that “several panelists had previous jobs with major companies such as Dow Chemical and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA),” and that “all are STEM pioneers in the Southern environment.”


Reich Urges Greater Focus On Workforce Education.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich writes in the Christian Science Monitor  (9/2, Reich), “we need to open other gateways to the middle class” than attending college. Reich writes that four-year degrees are often expensive and urges his readers to take advantage of the growing need for technicians, which America “isn’t educating.” He encourages readers to look at options from community colleges and apprenticeship programs similar to those in Germany. He closes by saying that equal opportunity should mean “an opportunity to learn what’s necessary to get a good job.”

Industry News


Manufacturing Activity Accelerated In August.

Bloomberg News  (9/3, Smialek) reports that the Institute for Supply Management announced on Tuesday that is manufacturing index rose to 59.0 in August from July’s reading of 57.1, indicate faster expansion of the sector. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected the index to come in at 57.0. The results show that factory activity “will help power the economy into the third quarter.”

The Wall Street Journal  (9/3, Madigan, Subscription Publication) reports that the index is now at its highest level since March 2011.

US Manufacturers Relying On Aging Equipment. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal  (9/3, Hagerty, Subscription Publication) reports that capital expenditures by US businesses has remained well below historical levels in recent years, particularly in the manufacturing sector. According to a recent Morgan Stanley report, the average age of US industrial equipment is now above 10 years, its highest level since 1938. The Journal says that this could hinder attempts by US manufacturers to compete in coming years.


General Dynamics Lands $5.8B Order To Supply UK With Armored Vehicles.

Bloomberg News  (9/2, Hutton) reports that the UK is set to approve a $5.8 billion deal with General Dynamics for approximately 600 armored Scout vehicles to be used by the British Army. PM David Cameron noted that the order will be one of the country’s largest armor orders placed by the military “in more than 30 years.” Cameron further explained that the purchase is part of the UK’s continued commitment to NATO. Delivery of GD’s armored vehicles is expected to begin in 2017.

Reuters  (9/2, Srivastava) notes that PM Cameron is expected to sign off on the deal today for 589 new Scout Specialist Vehicles. The deal is expected to create about 1,300 jobs in the UK.

Elementary/Secondary Education


Baker Hughes Hosts Texas Students To Promote STEM Careers.

The Houston Chronicle  (9/3, Kirk) reports that Baker Hughes invited students from area school districts to learn more about STEM careers within the oilfield industry. Students who had demonstrated an aptitude for STEM subject were chosen by administrators from their school to Baker Hughes’ campuses in Tomball and The Woodlands.


Elementary Students Take Advantage Of Mobile STEM Lab.

The Bay Area (TX) Citizen  (9/2) reports students at Ed White Elementary school were able to take part in a mobile Elementary-STEM learning program to “help build excitement for the new” STEM program at the school. The Trailblazer II is a mobile lab with “a variety of engineering and science exhibits targeted to students in grades 3 to 8” that are mapped to the TEKS curriculum the students will using. The mobile lab is made possible by The Boeing Company and is run by a group of industry volunteers.


South Sound Schools Roll Out Technology Initiatives.

The Olympian (WA)  (9/1, Pemberton) reports on a range of new technology initiatives occurring in the South Sound area. Several school districts in the area are adding Chromebooks and new wireless technology systems for students to take advantage of. One middle school has purchased iPads for its 230 students in a 1 to 1 technology initiative. Another district is launching a mobile app “to increase parent engagement and communication.”


Illinois School Uses Grant To Add Technology To Agriculture Program.

The Jacksonville (IL) Journal-Courier  (9/2, Clark) reports Carrolton High School in Illinois will be using a $35,000 grant from Monsanto to add an aquaponics section to its greenhouse. The grant will pay for Chromebooks and sensors that students will use to measure various elements of the aquariums. The grant is part of Monsanto’s America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program and this is the second year in a row the school has won the grant.

Tuesday’s Lead Stories


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