Tag Archives: Engineering

IEEE Central Texas Section August Newsletter Posted


I finished putting the August issue of the Central Texas Section newsletter together and you can read it on-line here.

We have several Technical Society Chapter meetings planned for August, all of which are open to the public. If you are interested in technology, please join us.

Professional Engineers Day 2017

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.

I became a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in Texas back in 1980 and have maintained my status since then.  Becoming licensed is not easy. In general the requirements are:

  1. Obtain a Bachelor’s degree from an approved university in engineering
  2. Successfully complete the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  3. Complete four years of qualifying engineering experience
  4. Prepare for, take and pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam for your jurisdiction

On-Line Circuit Simulator

If you are into build-it-yourself electronics kits, you may have heard of LushProjects. In addition to various kits you can buy and assemble, there are also introductory courses to electronics available on the site. The best thing though is their on-line circuit simulator.

This simulator allows you to design DC and AC circuits. Use passive components such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, switches, transformers and relays. You can also simulate electronic circuits that contain diodes and transistors. You can even go a step farther and describe a circuit that contains many of the off-the-shelf ICs available Logic gates, Op Amps, 555 Timers, DACs and many more.

If you are interested in electronics design for home projects, are a student of electronics or engineering, or a professional who wants to do a quick simulation, this simulator may be just what you are looking for.

See my other articles of interest to the Engineer


Does This Suit Come in White?

Science Fiction is becoming reality again with this new combat suit developed by Russia. It includes a powered exoskeleton, ballistic armor and a heads-up display in the helmet. Still just a concept, it may be deployed in the next few years.

Certainly equipment like this will take real Earth bound soldiers of the near future into the realms previously occupied by the Spartans of Halo and the Storm Troopers of Star Wars.

IEEE Central Texas Section Newsletter Posted


I finished putting together the July issue of the CTS newsletter, The Analog, and have posted it on the Section website.

It contains information about the meetings coming up in the next month, as well as some of the conferences that will be held in Central Texas. All of the IEEE technical meetings are open to the public and we welcome your attendance. It is a good way to meet others with similar interests in technology and to build your network.

June Newsletter for IEEE Central Texas Section Posted


I finished putting together the June issue of the IEEE Central Texas Section newsletter, The Analog, earlier this week. It contains information of interest to engineers and those interested in technology in the Central Texas Area. Included are a list of the scheduled technical meetings to be held in the area. All of the IEEE technical meetings are open to the public.

Check out the June issue for yourself.

Repair Cafés

I had never heard of ‘Repair Cafés’ until I read the article “We Need More Repair Cafés“. As the name implies these are locations where people can take items and get assistance to repair them. Some of these are permanent locations, while others are pop-up locations. As their website says:

Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things (together). In the place where a Repair Café is located, you’ll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need. On clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, appliances, toys, et cetera. You’ll also find expert volunteers, with repair skills in all kinds of fields.

Visitors bring their broken items from home. Together with the specialists they start making their repairs in the Repair Café. It’s an ongoing learning process. If you have nothing to repair, you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Or you can lend a hand with someone else’s repair job. You can also get inspired at the reading table – by leafing through books on repairs and DIY.

Most of the existing locations are in Europe which makes sense since this movement began in Amsterdam. You can find out more about them at https://repaircafe.org/en/. You can also find the Repair Café closest to you at https://repaircafe.org/en/visit/. Unfortunately there are not many (around 50 at the time I write this) in the US yet and none in Texas.

You, or your organization, my be in the position to start up a Repair Café in your local community.

More on “Pandora”

Disney – Many, myself included, are looking forward to seeing the new Disney World land of Pandora that will soon open in the Animal Kingdom.

Part of what will make Pandora unique is the environment that has been created. Above is a clip that gives you an idea of the night time experience with the bioluminescence and interactive nature of the engineered environment.

One of the key attractions will be the Na’vi River Journey ride that shows off the flora and fauna of Pandora. The animatronic “Shaman of songs”, which can be viewed in this clip, is a particularly good work of Disney engineering magic.

The other main attraction will be the Flight of Passage ride. This clip doesn’t reveal any of the ride itself, but does show a very detailed and rich sensory experience in the long queue to the ride.

Guests staying in Disney Resort accommodations will have access to special hours in Pandora: for a limited time, May 27 – July 4, 2017, enjoy “Extra” Extra Magic Hours only in Pandora − The World of Avatar from 11 p.m.-1 a.m.

This Disney expansion looks to make a visit an experience not just the opportunity to ride some cool rides. I am hoping that this continues with the Star Wars land that is scheduled to open in 2019.


Austin Maker Faire

The Maker Faire is happening again in Austin this weekend (May 13-14) at the Palmer Event Center. I attended the first two held in Austin, but have missed the past 6 events. I do hope to drop in this weekend.

The article “Austin Is on a Mission to Keep Maker Faire Weird” gives you a little insight to what you might see there. If you have the free time, these are great events to visit. Kids who are interested in STEM careers or just tinkering will find the event fascinating. Likewise, us older ‘kids’ who like to create new gadgets or inventions will find the event equally interesting.