See my other STEM related posts – I have been involved with STEM efforts for many years, introducing K-12 students to careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. I recently read a short article on the IEEE website for Try Engineering that I thought was very interesting.
The Map of Engineering is an animated overview of engineering by physicist and science writer Dominic Walliman. The 22 minute video covers the major fields of engineering such as mechanical and electrical, as well as their many sub categories. It shows how engineering touches on almost everything in some way.
If you know a student interested in science and technology, this video will introduce them to how they can apply that interest through engineering.
(See my other Robot related posts) – I came across the article “Autonomous Robots Are Helping Kill Coronavirus in Hospitals” a few days ago. It was published on the IEEE Spectrum website. Concern runs high with many that robots will take their jobs. The Coronavirus outbreak has emphasized the need to prevent the spread of the virus. In hospitals, keeping surfaces disinfected is incredibly important. This can take up manpower and time as well as exposing more people to the virus. Robots have stepped in to fill this need.
Exposing a surface to the UV light for a couple of minutes will disinfect it. Since the UV light can cause damage to human skin and eyes, they must avoid exposure. A room exposed to the UV light for about 15 minutes will disinfect it. This process kills 99.99% of the germs. The robots are better at this tedious process.
The robots consist of a mobile base with an array of UV lights mounted on top. The light array emits 20 joules per square meter per second of 254-nanometer light. Operators use a computer to teach the robot the route they should follow. The on-board Lidar sensors map the route. The route is then edited with detailed operational instructions. After that, the robots operate autonomously.
Robots leave their charging station to follow their programmed route. They will even use elevators if necessary before returning to their charging station. While traveling their route, onboard sensors detect the presence of people. The lights are shut down until the area is clear. The robots cost between US $80,000 and $90,000 each.
UVD spent years developing these robots and began sales in 2018. The robots are already in use in Chinese hospitals.
Robots – I read an article about this robot that was shown at CES 2019 this morning. It is the UBTECH Walker. UBTECH Robotics is a Chinese company which has a variety of robots from hobbyist kits to real service robots. Per their website UBTECH;
Founded in 2012, UBTECH is a global leading AI and humanoid robotic company. UBTECH has successfully developed consumer humanoid robots, robots for business use, and JIMU Robot building kits following breakthroughs made in digital servos, the core part of humanoid robots. In 2018, UBTECH achieved a valuation of USD$5 billion following the single largest funding round ever for an artificial intelligence company, underscoring the company’s technological leadership.
The Walker was first demonstrated at CES 2018 and has undergone significant improvements since then. Their press release for the Walker says:
Walker is your agile smart companion—an intelligent, bipedal humanoid robot that aims to one day be an indispensable part of your family. Standing 4.75 feet (1.45 m) tall and weighing 170 lbs (77 kg), the new version of Walker is more advanced than ever, including arms and hands with the ability to grasp and manipulate objects, a refined torso with improved self-balancing, smooth and stable walking in difficult environments, and multi-modal interaction including voice, vision, and touch. Walker has 36 high-performance actuators and a full range of sensing systems that work together to insure smooth and fast walking.
UBTECH seems to have great plans for the Walker. I wonder how long it will be before we see robots in common usage as depicted in the video above? This isn’t science fiction anymore. Robots like these are coming, it is just a matter of how soon.
Wi-Fi, otherwise officially known as IEEE 802.11, is the communications standard by which we can be wirelessly connected to the Internet. Per Wikipedia:
IEEE 802.11 is a set of media access control (MAC) and physical layer (PHY) specifications for implementing wireless local area network (WLAN) computer communication in the 900 MHz and 2.4, 3.6, 5, and 60 GHz frequency bands.
The IEEE 802.11 standard was created and is maintained by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) LAN/MAN Standards Committee (IEEE 802). This committee is made up of interested volunteers from both the academic and corporate space.
600 Mbps 
3460 Mbps 
target of 4 x version 5 
We have been using IEEE 802.11 or Wi-Fi for many years now (since 1999), but the standard has evolved as the technology has matured. Subsequent versions of the standard have steadily increased the data access speeds . (NOTE: the table above shows thearetical maximum speed and is not necessarily what you will achieve) The result is that while we have devices that claim Wi-Fi compatibility, and many locations that offer Wi-Fi access, those ‘Wi-Fi’ are not necessarily the same .
Fortunately, each subsequent release of the 802 standard is backwards-compatible with the prior versions. That means if you walk into a coffee shop with an older Wi-Fi access point that is still only 802.11n compatible, your iPhone X with 802.11ac will automatically downgrade its connection to match the access point. Likewise if you have an iPhone 5 that is only 802.11n compatible and you are in a location with an 802.11ac rated access point, the communication will be limited to 802.11n speeds. You can check this site to see what you iPhone is capable of.
The Wi-Fi Alliance is behind the “Wi-Fi Certified” logo that we see on basically every Wi-Fi enabled device . Up until now, Wi-Fi implementations have been certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit that manages the implementation of Wi-Fi, by numbers and letters associated with the corresponding IEEE standard. It has now simplified the naming scheme by adopting more user comprehensible version numbers, such as Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6 . While the Alliance will be certifying devices, there is nothing to force vendors to comply with the new branding .
As vendors adapt their device software to the new naming convention, users should see a visual indication, such as those shown above, to indicate which type of Wi-fi network they are connected to .
Try your hand at our weekly engineering- and technology-themed crossword puzzles. Every Wednesday, we will post a new puzzle — authored by renowned crossword puzzle writer Myles Mellor — to test your skill and knowledge.
Crossword puzzles are not one of my interests, but I know they are for many. If you are one of those and you are interested in technology and engineering, these may be just what you are looking for.
I wrapped up the November issue of the IEEE Central Texas Section newsletter, The Analog. If you are interested in Tech and live in Central Texas, you may be interested in some of the events. IEEE Technical meetings are always open to the public.
IEEE – I finished putting together the October issue of the IEEE Central Texas Section newsletter, The Analog, and posted it to the Section web site where you can read it now.
Included in the newsletter is items of interest to area engineers and others interested in technology. Technical meetings for the various Chapters are open to the public. Please join us to learn and network.
Attendance at technical meetings qualifies as Continuing Education credit required for the annual renewal of the Professional Engineer License.
Today is Professional Engineers Day. Licensing of engineers began in the US in 1907. Today is the second annual Licensed Professional Engineer day recognizing PEs in the various engineering disciplines.
Licensing began as a means to protect the public health, safety and welfare. In most countries around the world, a licensed engineer is required to oversee and be responsible for any construction project of significance. Before 1907, anyone could claim to be an engineer and perform work whether or not they were competent to do so.