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

Leading the News

Johnson & Johnson Opens Center For Device Innovation At Texas Medical Center.

Mass Device Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Densford) reports that Johnson & Johnson “opened the doors on the Center for Device Innovation at the Texas Medical Center, which aims to support breakthrough medical device tech development.” The center “includes a new medical device engineering studio at the TMC Innovation Institute, staffed by J&J R&D workers, aimed at rapid prototyping and ‘fast failure’ for early-and mid-stage projects.” It will also offer “broad access” to the preclinical facilities of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Methodist Research Institute, and THI “for testing novel devices with any organ system or disease-based application.”

The Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) reports that Sandi Peterson, Group Worldwide Chair of Johnson & Johnson, said, “CDI @ TMC represents unprecedented collaboration between the scientists, business leaders, academicians and investors required to bring revolutionary medical devices from concept to market. With all these resources in one zip code, medical devices may be developed, tested, moved to clinical trials and regulatory approval, then provided to the doctors and patients around the world who need them faster than ever before.”

Additional coverage is provided by Hospital Healthcare Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9).

Higher Education

ED Officials Suggest They Won’t Ban Mandatory Arbitration.

Politico Morning Education Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) reports, “The Trump administration has signaled to members of an Education Department rulemaking panel that the administration opposes a complete ban on colleges’ use of mandatory arbitration agreements.” The negotiated-rulemaking panel is scheduled to meet “next week for the first time to begin hammering out the Trump administration’s replacement for an Obama-era regulatory package known as borrower defense to repayment.” ED officials “suggested that completely banning arbitration agreements is off the table.”

Study: Nearly All Fraud-Inspired Student Loan Debt Relief Requests From For-Profit Students.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Danilova) reports that according to a new analysis of ED data from the Century Foundation, “students who attended for-profit colleges filed more than 98 percent of the requests for student loan forgiveness alleging fraud by their schools.” The study “represents the most thorough analysis to date of the nearly 100,000 loan forgiveness claims known as borrower defense received by the agency over the past two decades and paints an alarming picture of the state of for-profit higher education in America.” The AP reports that the study comes “as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faces criticism for erasing two Obama-era regulations that would have added protections for students.”

Senate Tax Plan Retains Student Loan Deduction.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Douglas-Gabriel) reports that while the recently introduced House GOP tax reform plan cuts the student loan interest deduction, the Senate’s version released Thursday “spurns” this change. The move “signals that GOP leaders in the Senate may dial back other proposed provisions that have rattled students and universities, including an excise tax on college endowments and taxing graduate student stipends.”

From ASEE
Doctoral Engineering Research Showcase
Registration deadline approaching. The National GEM Consortium (GEM) and ASEE are hosting a Doctoral Engineering Research Showcase for doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and new faculty to display their leading-edge technical research and connect with potential agency sponsors and academic employers. The event is in Washington, DC, January 22-23, 2018. Watch this short video for more details.

Start Smart with “Smart Start”
Researchers and innovators will want to be in this two-week course to improve STEM education at all levels. Courses will be offered in the spring of 2018. Learn more and apply.

 

Research and Development

ONR, Walter Reed Partner With Universities On Smart Prosthesis Research.

MarketWatch Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) reports on the challenges that amputees face regarding discomfort from wearing prosthetic limbs, saying that “to address those problems and provide additional options, primarily for veterans, the Office of Naval Research joined forces with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the Naval Research Laboratory and a group of universities.” The collaboration has yielded technology referred to as MOIP, or Monitoring Osseointegrated Prostheses. “MOIP is a ‘smart’ artificial leg that can monitor gait and the condition of the artificial limb, as well as detect and warn the user about a possible infection risk thanks to a series of sensors embedded in its structure.”

NASA Releases New Video For Earth And Space Air Prize.

SPACE Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Tasoff) reports that NASA released a new video last week in support of its Earth and Space Air Prize, a $100,000 competition to design an aerosol sensor that will potentially help protect astronauts aboard the ISS and on future deep-space missions. In the video, NASA engineer Marit Meyer explained that the agency “cannot put a full-sized aerosol instrument on the space station,” and is seeking input on more compact designs. Registration for the competition closes on December 13, and designs are due by January 31. Three finalists “will be awarded $50,000 each to build a prototype sensor based on their proposals and compete for the $100,000 grand prize.”

IoT Plays Role In Trucking Via ELDs.

FreightWaves Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Hampstead) reports on how the Internet of Things (IoT) will impact the trucking industry. The article notes that the ELD mandate is part of IoT since “ELDs that connect to the truck’s engine, monitor Hours of Service, and automatically report back are by definition part of the IoT.” However, the article adds that some ELDs “go beyond those basic functions and monitor speed, acceleration and deceleration, and can help dispatchers keep the driver on the most optimal route.” Bill Dawson, vice president of maintenance operations and engineering for Ryder Systems explained, “The more efficient we can make our sharing centers, the more we can provide data points to help the owner function more efficiently.”

Boeing, Competitors Race To Develop Small Satellite Delivery Vehicle.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Davenport) reports that “fast and affordable access to space” is a “goal of the Pentagon, the intelligence community and an increasing number of businesses, particularly when it comes to delivering a new generation of satellites over the Earth.” As part of this push, the Boeing Company’s Phantom Express spaceplane, which is designed to “launch satellites into orbit,” may “be able to fly to the stratosphere or beyond 10 times in 10 days” under a test program funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Boeing Phantom Works Director of Launch Steven Johnston said that Boeing is working to use knowledge from its commercial aircraft division to help develop “large, complex machines in a very short amount of time.” However, Bryce Space and Technology analyst Phil Smith pointed out that more than 40 small launch vehicles are currently in development around the world. Smith noted, “There is a rush to address this perceived demand, and only a handful will survive.”

States And Cities Hope To Join In On Frenzy Of Research Into Autonomous Vehicles.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Campo-Flores, Subscription Publication) reports about the race in parts of central Florida to attract investment from companies seeking to test autonomous vehicles in the state, with the construction of a 400-acre test site near Orlando and another close to Kennedy Space Center. What is happening regionally reflects a broader movement nationwide to entice the industry with new proving grounds and permits for tests of autonomous vehicles on public roads. Noting that the Department of Transportation designated 10 different sites as autonomous vehicle proving grounds, the story says that 21 states have also passed legislation addressing regulatory uncertainty over autonomous vehicles.

UPS, UES, NYSERDA Partner To Convert Delivery Trucks From Diesel To Electric.

The Albany (NY) Times Union Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) reports that New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is providing $500,000 to UPS to study the conversion of its delivery trucks in New York City from diesel to electric. The goal is to “deploy the first electric trucks in the city this spring, and have about two-thirds of the company’s city fleet converted by 2022.”

Green Car Congress Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) reports that UPS will work with Unique Electric Solutions (UES) to “design, build, test and make the conversions.” The conversions will be based on UES’s “novel electric vehicle technology,” which includes “a 225 kW Switched Reluctance Motor (SRM) with a high voltage backbone optimized for the duty cycle of UPS delivery trucks.”

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) also reports on the story.

Global Developments

Belgian Researchers Demonstrate Water Intercalation In Graphene.

Nanowerk Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Berger) reports about a new paper published in ACS Applied Materials & Services titled “Controlling Water Intercalation Is Key to a Direct Graphene Transfer Share to FacebookShare to Twitter,” based on research from Belgium, that explains how “interfacial water can insert between graphene and its growth substrate despite the hydrophobic behavior of graphene.” Effectively, by “exposing a platinum/graphene sample for several days to ambient conditions or submerging it in warm ultrapure water,” the researchers “gradually” altered “the graphene surface morphology,” as well as “the chemical composition of the graphene/Pt interface” to achieve “results…consistent with water intercalation, which progressively develops at the interface.”

Mastercard Girls4Tech STEM Program In Kenya.

TechTrends (KEN) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) reports that Mastercard has launched Girls4Tech, a new program “aimed at driving interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) among girls in Kenya aged between 10 and 12.” Mastercard Vice President and Area Business Head for East Africa Chris Bwakira said, “Research from the World Economic Forum has shown that while many traditional occupations may be disrupted by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is expected to create a range of new jobs in fields such as STEM, data analysis, and computer science. This means far more opportunities for Kenyans to develop home-grown solutions to the countries and the continent’s problems.” Business Day (NGA) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) reports that the initiative “was carried out in partnership with Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF), an international non-for-profit organisation.”

Despite Predictions Of Peak Oil Demand, World’s Largest Fossil Fuel Companies Mostly Ignore Renewables.

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/8, Scheyder, Bousso) reports BP CEO Bob Dudley said during an interview with Reuters that “We made very big bets in the past” on renewable fuels, from solar to wind, both of which failed, so “We’re not sure yet what will be commercially acceptable.” Reuters says that BP is among the large oil companies, which also include Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell, that remain skeptical about the idea of peak demand for crude oil coming in the next few decades, even though China and India both have unveiled ambitious plans to wean their countries off of vehicles powered by fossil fuels. Chevron CEO John Watson said, “There is no sign of peak demand right now,” adding, “for the next 10 or 20 years, we expect to see oil demand growth.” The world’s leading oil companies barely invest in renewable fuels, which accounted for around three percent of the $100 billion spent by the five largest corporations, according to Wood Mackenzie.

Engineering and Public Policy

Sen. Murkowski Releases Proposed Legislation On Drilling In Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Alaska Dispatch News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Martinson) reports that on Wednesday Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) “released her legislation to allow oil drilling in part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” (ANWR) “splitting revenues 50-50 with the state of Alaska.” Last month, “a Senate budget resolution passed last month included instructions for Murkowski’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee to draw up a bill that would add $1 billion to the federal Treasury.” The resolution created an opportunity for Murkowski to open the ANWR’s “10-02” area.

Scientists Warn Senators Against Exploration In ANWR.Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Flitter) reports that a group of scientists researching Arctic wildlife wrote a letter to US Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) Thursday over opening “the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration.” The letter to the senators said that such drilling would be “incompatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established.”

TransCanada: Keystone XL Pipeline Has Desired Volume Commitments.

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Paul, Williams, Lou) reports that on Thursday TransCanada Corp announced that the Keystone XL pipeline “received adequate support from crude oil shippers.” On a conference call, TransCanada Liquid Pipelines President Paul Miller said the company has received commitments of roughly 500,000 barrels per day of volume, which was the desired amount. TransCanada also reported an increase in the company’s quarterly earnings.

Turbine Makers’ Quarterly Results Show Challenges Of Wind Power Market.

The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Reed, Subscription Publication) reports that this week saw “disappointing earnings” from wind turbine producers Siemens Gamesa and Vestas Wind Systems, indicating “that even they are struggling to adapt to a fast-changing sector.” Analysts and executives suggested “several factors” were to blame for poor earnings results, including the phasing out of tax credits and price guarantees by some governments in North America and Europe, along with the increasingly-competitive nature of solar power as prices for that technology continue to rapidly decline. Additionally, “countries like Britain, Chile and Germany are using competitive auctions more often to award enormous wind and solar power projects, helping push down costs.”

FERC Chair Says Decision On DOE Grid Proposal Will Be Made By Dec. 11.

The Houston Chronicle Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Osborne) reports speculation that a decision on the Department of Energy’s “controversial” proposal to support coal and nuclear plants will be delayed abated somewhat Thursday after Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chair Neil Chatterjee confirmed that “a decision will be made by Dec. 11, meeting the statutory deadline for such proposals.” He stated, “We remain on that trajectory. … I don’t want to have plants shut down while we do this longer term analysis.” Meanwhile, “members of Congress from both parties have urged FERC to hold off on a decision out of concern it could negatively impact other power generators, namely natural gas plants and wind and solar farms.”

Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Traywick, Kern) reports that the “interim solution” that Chatterjee suggested “echoes a proposal devised by utility FirstEnergy, which has urged the commission to take quick action to secure extra compensation for so-called baseload plants.” In comments to the agency, FirstEnergy said, “‘This issue is too important, too pressing, and too critical to the nation’s security and grid reliability to leave to the never-ending vicissitudes of’ the stakeholder process.” E&E Publishing Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Subscription Publication) and Platts Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) also provide continuing coverage of the proposal.

Elementary/Secondary Education

Maryland Schools Commission Looking To Improve CTE Programs.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9, Slater) reports that a Maryland education commission tasked with improving schools in the state is looking into expanding and improving CTE offerings in the state. “Some commission members said at last month’s meeting they would like to alter the misconception that only students who do not excel in traditional academic subjects should enroll in career and technology programs, and instead that these programs should continue to develop.” Commission members are seeking more funding and expanded private partnerships.

New Jersey Students’ Recycling App Wins Top Honors At STEAM Competition.

The Press of Atlantic City (NJ) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) reports that a pair of fifth-graders from Ocean City Intermediate School in Ocean City, New Jersey “received a first-place award in the statewide STEAM Tank competition Thursday during the annual New Jersey Education Association Convention.” The students “designed a mobile-phone application that mimics the popular game Minecraft, but its players can only use recyclable material to build. This way, they said, students learn what they can and can’t recycle.”

West Virginia Governor Rolling Out Computer Science Workforce Initiative.

The Clarksburg (WV) Exponent-Telegram Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/9) reports West Virginia Gov. Larry Hogan has unveiled “a comprehensive computer science education and workforce development plan.” The plan, accompanied by $5 million in new state funding, is dubbed the ACCESS Initiative (Achieving Computer Science Collaborations for Employing Students Statewide). “Hogan said it fulfills the commitment he made in joining the National Governors Association’s Governors Partnership for K-12 Computer Science in July. The goal is to strengthen computer science education across states for all students in order to meet the demands of a 21st century workforce and prepare students for the jobs of the future.”

Thursday’s Lead Stories

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