Reality meets virtual reality at a Six Flags amusement park in St. Louis, Mo., where a roller-coaster ride coordinates with images on Gear VR headsets provided for riders. The video in the Gear reflects the movement and G forces riders experience to make them feel as if they're flying a jet fighter rather than riding a coaster.
Engineers Dick and Peter Dreissigacker -- oarsmen for decades who have Olympic trial background -- have developed oars using materials and subtle blade shapes to achieve significant weight savings, greater durability and improved efficiency. The next objective is to design a low-cost but still high-performance oar to generate a passion for rowing among the young.
Falls are a leading cause of injury and death among the elderly, so Carnegie Mellon University engineers are developing sensors that measure a wearer's gait and can issue a warning both to the wearer and any nearby caregivers when the gait changes in a way that suggests the danger falling.
A wheelchair that can climb stairs using a double set of powered wheels and also raise its occupants to standing eye level has received backing from Toyota. The iBot chair was developed by New Hampshire-based DEKA Research a few years ago. Toyota will license the technology for other uses and give DEKA the ability to enhance the chair.
If you can't beat 'em, go over 'em. That's the idea behind a novel concept bus under development in China. The massive vehicle would span a couple of traffic lanes with narrow wheels positioned outside the automobiles and the bus' body above them.
The global auto industry this year will roll out vehicles that offer greater safety and a more environmentally friendly footprint. Subhendu Ghosh, an executive vice president at Tata Technologies, reviews the trends in an ASME interview.
Ford Motor will incorporate biomaterials into vehicle seats and under the hood in an effort to reduce carbon emissions. The company is using renewable and sustainable materials such as coconut fiber, soy, tomato peels and wheat straw. "What's really cool is all this technology is enabling solutions that even two or three years ago wasn't possible," Executive Chairman Bill Ford said.
The Colorado School of Mines will create a bachelor's degree with a focus on promoting social responsibility with the support of a $2 million gift. The humanitarian engineering degree program will tackle where communities and the extractive industries intersect, officials say.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has upgraded its track maintenance program to include planned delays during daylight non-rush hours. The Metro's SafeTrack plan includes 15 "safety surges" to address problems that have included a long series of smoke-and-fire incidents that have cost one life.
The Internet of Things is set for tremendous growth in the near term, especially in the biomedical field, says Ken Hansen, CEO and president of Semiconductor Research Corp., in this ASME.org interview. But technical hurdles remain in the form of speed, miniaturization and energy consumption as well as security. Hansen notes that security in particular is being tackled on a number of fronts, including the development of awareness that a cyberattack is underway.
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