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

Leading the News

High School Student Creates 3-D Printed Prosthetic Hand for His Little Brother.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/28, Balingit) reports Sterling, Virginia high school student Gabriel Filippini and his technology teacher Kurt O’Connor used a 3-D printer to construct a prosthetic hand for Filippini’s little brother, Lucas, who was born without a left hand. They signed up to receive a donated hand from Enabling the Future, “an organization that enlists volunteers to use 3-D printers to build hands,” but later decided to use the group’s free blueprints to make the hand. O’Connor was “privately skeptical” about the task, but “welcomed the challenge and was moved by Gabriel’s dedication to his little brother.” He spent 40 hours designing the hand, and had to scrap two models that were too large for Lucas. On Lucas’ sixth birthday, his family fitted him with the hand for the first time in O’Connor’s classroom.

WRC-TV Share to FacebookShare to Twitter Washington (6/28, Carey. Hartleb) reports on its website that O’Connor said he “plans to incorporate new projects such as the one he and Fillppini took on this year, into his engineering classes.”

The Loudoun (VA) Times-Mirror Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/28, Dellinger) reports Lucas says he is still becoming familiar with his new “robot hand,” and he “looks forward to learning to tie his shoes in the near future”

Higher Education

Education Department To Revise Financial Aid Application For Homeless Students.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/28, Douglas-Gabriel) reports that in response to requests from Sen. Patty Murray, who has urged the Education Department to revise the federal financial aid application “to make it easier for homeless college students to access loans and grants,” Education Secretary King said Monday that the department would “clarify the language in the application and streamline the process for determining the status of some 22- and 23-year-old applicants who indicate that they are homeless.” Murray hailed the move as “a strong step forward to tackle some of the barriers that unaccompanied homeless students face in accessing higher education.”


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Research and Development

Researchers Examining Locust Olfactory System To Design Biorobotic Sensing Devices.

Science Daily Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/28) reports a group of engineers from Washington University in St. Louis, led by Baranidharan Raman, associate professor of biomedical engineering, received a three-year, $750,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to “use the highly sensitive locust olfactory system as the basis to develop a bio-hybrid nose” that could be used in homeland security applications. Raman explained biological sensing systems are more complicated than engineered ones and that “understanding the fundamental olfactory processing principle is necessary to engineer solutions inspired by biology.”


Cybersecurity Leaders Discuss Growing Need For Educated Workers.

The San Antonio Express-News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/28, Petersen) reports on the cybersecurity conference co-hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce in San Antonio this week. Security experts warned cyber attacks against US businesses will continue occurring “and there’s no end in sight.” Texas Representative Will Hurd, chair of the Information Technology Subcommittee of the Committee of Oversight and Government Reform, discussed the importance of communication between the federal government, law enforcement, and small business to counter cyber crime. Hurd also touched on the need for educated workers to fill cybersecurity jobs. He pointed out there is an abundance of cyber jobs in San Antonio, and “The Every Student Succeeds Act would allow these school districts to adjust their teachings as they see fit to meet the needs of their community.”

Industry News

Newest U.S. Refinery Sold To Tesoro At Loss, Hurt By Low Oil Prices.

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/28, Scheyder) reports North Dakota’s Dickinson refinery was sold to Tesoro at a loss, “as low oil prices took a toll on the region’s energy industry, crimping the appetite for diesel.” MDU Resources Group and Calumet Specialty Product Partners LP, which were equal partners, built the refinery in 2013, and the sale to Tesoro “makes it unlikely” another refinery will be constructed in the U.S. anytime soon, “despite the glut of cheap crude due to shale oil production.” The sale price was undisclosed, but Tesoro “assumed the refinery’s $66 million in debt and said it would invest $10 million.” The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/28, Nicholson) reports the refinery had struggled to generate a profit due to “a dramatic fall in demand” and “low diesel prices.” Calumet CEO Tim Go described the sale as “an optimal outcome for all parties involved.” In a brief, Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/28) reports Tesoro says it expects to “generate more than $20 million in annual operating income” from the refinery

Automakers Group Says Regulators Underestimate Cost Of Fuel Economy, Emission Targets.

Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/28, Lippert) reports that the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said in a report posted on its website Monday that the federal government has underestimated the cost and difficulty of achieving their vehicle fuel-economy and greenhouse-gas targets for 2025. Even with the current government estimate of $1,800 a vehicle in added costs, “the payback period for alternative technologies extends beyond the timeframe most consumers consider; it is likely to remain that way,” according to the report. The industry alliance is seeking to influence the upcoming midterm evaluation of a the 2011 plan by the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board. “The actual cost of the program depends on this projected technology mix,” the alliance said.

Engineering and Public Policy

Bipartisan Career And Technical Education Bill Introduced In House.

Education Week Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/28, Ujifusa) reports Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Katherine Clark (D-MA) have introduced the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, the latest reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. It is intended to offer “more flexibility” to states so as to “allow them to better align programs with current economic needs.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

Massachusetts Approves K-12 Technology Education Standards.

On its website WBUR-FM Share to FacebookShare to Twitter Boston (6/28, Kennedy) reports Massachusetts has approved “new digital literacy and computer science standards” that may be implemented by schools “as soon as this fall.” The Massachusetts Department of Education has collaborated with MIT, leading technology companies, and the Education Development Center to create four “topics” that students will learn about from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Much of the curriculum development needed for these “topics” will be funded by a “three-year National Science Foundation grant.”

Los Angeles Schools Welcome New Technology Standards.

Education Week Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/28, Herold) reports that after a failed technology project in 2013 and 2014, Los Angeles schools are welcoming “‘refreshed’ student technology standards” created by the International Society for Technology in Education. The standards do not include “any specific technologies or tools,” but instead give seven “identities” that students should fulfill. Los Angeles Schools are “still providing devices” to individuals, but “its focus is” now “on being student-centered and flexible.”

Arkansas School District Finds Disparities In Technology Distribution.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/28, Perozek) reports that Bentonville Schools found inequality in “student-to-computer ratios” across schools despite recent improvements. A report finds that ratios vary between “.06 students per device” and “2.5 students per device” due to disparities in funding. Although all schools receive the same state funding, the individual schools have discretion over spending, and some schools receive federal Title I funding they can use towards devices.

Fort Bend To Expand CTE.

The Houston Chronicle Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/28, Kadifa) reports Fort Bend Independent School District is planning to build a new center that will be the hub of “career and technical education” to open in 2018. The new building will be open to the “public at night and on weekends” and will offer courses in “education, culinary arts, cosmetology, transportation and advanced construction” for all the district’s high school students. The building plan is being voted on by trustees in July.

University Of Texas At Arlington Hosts Summer Science Program.

The Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Smith) reports the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) is hosting the Bernard Harris Mars Lander Challenge, a “hands-on class in a two-week summer science program.” Approximately 40 North Texas middle school students engaged in STEM activities during the camp, such as designing a model spacecraft that can safely land. Since 2006, the program, which takes place on 10 university campuses nationwide, “has reached more than 19,000 students,” and allows “students from low-income or working-class families to be exposed to STEM learning in a college setting.” Greg Hale, an assistant dean at UTA, said, “This is the most fun two weeks of my year,” and noted this year’s theme is water quality.

KDFW-TV Dallas (6/28, 9:43 a.m. CDT) reports Bernard Harris, the first African-American in space, spoke to children at the camp. He said, “If we provide the right environment, the nurturing environment that says its okay to take those skills to another level, they will.”KUVN-TV Dallas (6/27, 10:34 p.m. CDT) provided Spanish-language coverage of the science program.

Kentucky Teacher Selected To Work With PBS, NASA For STEM Curriculum.

The Bowling Green (KY) Daily News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/28, Frint) reports Jody Richards Elementary School first grade teacher Kara Northern has been chosen as “one of 50 advisers” from a pool of more than 650 applicants to serve as a teacher adviser for the national “Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms” STEM education program. The program aims to “create new instructional models and digital media tools to teach” STEM subjects, featuring “a diverse group” of teachers from across the US. PBS station WGBH will produce the new program in collaboration with NASA and distribute it “free of charge” to schools across the country through PBS LearningMedia. Participants will get “prototypes of the digital learning resources in either August or September of this year” to test in classrooms starting in the fall of 2016, with results to be posted by November, according to the WGBH website.

Also in the News

West Virginia’s Heritage Farm Museum And Village Hosts Arts And Bots Camp.

The Huntington (WV) Herald-Dispatch Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/29, Mendez) reports on the Heritage Arts and Bots Camp at the Heritage Farm Museum and Village in Huntington, West Virginia. The camp, for students in grades 4-6, offers the chance for students “to create their own robot using recycled materials and a Hummingbird Robotics Kit.” The camp is supported by the Marshall University June Harless Center for Rural Education, “which provides teachers, computers, Hummingbird Robotics Kits and computer programming software for the robots.”

Tuesday’s Lead Stories

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