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Engineering & Technology

Issue 16 • Date 26 Sept.-9 Oct. 2009

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Displaying Results 1 - 25 of 31
  • Engineering & Technology - cover

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): c1
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  • Table of contents

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 1
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  • Designed to last [Editorial]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 2
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    "Shame you've got a bus stop right outside," was the comment I got when I moved into my first London flat. Ten years later, it was: "Wow, you've got a Routemaster stop right outside!" That was the year the Routemaster celebrated half a century on the streets of London. View full abstract»

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  • News [Briefing Latest]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 4 - 9
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  • Skills shortages threaten recovery (analysis) [Briefing in Depth]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 10 - 11
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    The recession has hit job vacancies, but several reports show that we still need to nurture engineering skills. A spate of recent research into UK industry's demand for engineers and the future supply of skills offers mixed messages about the profession's prospects. The IET believes the 2009 edition of its annual Skills and Demand in Industry report shows that although the recession has taken its toll on the sector, the end could be in sight. The bad news is that only 31 per cent of employers said that they plan to take on new staff over the next 12 months, compared to 63 per cent last year. The main reason for the freeze, given by a third of those who will not be recruiting this year, was financial constraints. However, only 12 per cent thought that this would be a problem in two to three years, fuelling speculation that the recession is coming to an end. The risk then is that the skills shortages revealed by previous IET surveys will resurface. Forty per cent of companies said they were concerned about losing their skills base. View full abstract»

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  • Letters [Opinion Feedback]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 12 - 13
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  • If you ask me [Opinion First Person]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 14
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    'The next generation of office buildings will need to work harder than ever before to meet the needs of their users' View full abstract»

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  • Four wheels good? [Engineering Design]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 16 - 19
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    The author meets two designers who want manufacturers to think more about what people want their car to do for them. The major manufacturers are dominated by men who were petrol-heads in the 1970s and who still think that horsepower is a selling point. View full abstract»

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  • Missing the bus [Engineering Design]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 20 - 22
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    The Routemaster bus came to symbolise London. The value of symbols is not lost on politicians; one had a pipe, one a hat and another a cigar. The current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, wanted something bigger, bolder, more inclusive - a bright red bus. He thought the current series of London buses lacked glamour and, perhaps being a Conservative, he looked back at the style of the retired Routemaster and wanted it to be brought back - and brought up to date.Lawrie Douglas examines the winning entries for the new Routemaster bus design competition and the issues they present. View full abstract»

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  • Reaching the beauty within [Engineering Design]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 23 - 25
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    If you think of yourself as a 'city mouse', no doubt you relish the fast pace of life, the hum of the streets, and unpredictable interactions with strangers that can leave 'country mice' bemused or horrified. This buzz is a large part of the attraction, and the reason why cities tend to be hotbeds of innovation and creativity. But beware: city-living may not be all good for your brain. Recent studies suggest the very stimulation that helps foster ingenuity can result in a kind of cognitive overload, when the effort required to phase out unwanted distractions reduces our capacity for things such as memory formation, attention and self-control. Being surrounded by nature, on the other hand, appears to be highly beneficial. Researchers have shown, for example, that hospital patients recover more quickly when they can see trees from their windows; that children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder show fewer symptoms when surrounded by animals or trees; and that the degree of domestic violence is reduced in apartments with views of greenery. Findings such as these are encouraging urban architects and planners to design places that reflect the restorative effects of nature. More than that, they have spawned a whole new academic discipline in which neuroscientists and architects are collaborating on ways to influence people's behaviour, mood and health through design. The idea is to improve quality of life by building places that reflect the way our brains work. The approach has already led to revolutionary new designs in neo-natal units for premature babies and care-homes for Alzheimer's patients, and is causing architects to rethink the way they design schools, offices, homes, prisons, museums and urban outdoor spaces. John Zeisel is a visiting professor at the University of Salford who has used insights from neuroscience to design care homes for Alzheimer's patients and is planning to do the same for schools and offices. He calls the influence of neuro- cience "potentially revolutionary" for architecture. "It's a major shift from thinking about the environment as merely the context for behaviour, to environments having a direct influence on people's behaviour, perception and attitudes via the brain". View full abstract»

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  • A tale of two beagles [Engineering Interview]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 26 - 29
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    On 2 June 2003, the Russian Soyuz Fregat rocket was successfully launched from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome, carrying the ESA Mars Express and Beagle 2. The Beagle 2 Mars lander was designed to penetrate Martial soil and collect sub-surface samples which could be indicator of life. However, Beagle 2 disappeared in Martian atmosphere and scientists could not find any reason for it. Thus, Beagle 2 met the same fate as its namesake HMS Beagle. View full abstract»

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  • Gadgets that design forgot [Consumer Tech Design]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 30 - 31
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    The past 30 years have seen many devices become commonplace; the laptop, the portable media player and the compact disc, to name a few. But there have been many that were never going to become iconic. Kris Sangani browses a well-stocked rogues' gallery. View full abstract»

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  • Gadgets [Consumer Technology Kit]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 32 - 33
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  • A massive eye on the universe [Electronics Astronomy]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 34 - 37
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    The Square Kilometer Array is an international initiative to build the most powerful radio astronomy telescope. The first pulsar is discovered in AD 1967 using radio telescope. The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) uses the same core principles, but is to be built on a much larger scale. So the SKA needs to be sited in a remote area, preferably a desert, far from human populations and equipment such as television transmitters, microwave ovens, radar and mobile phones. SKA will be largely controlled from Europe and its observations fed back to the continent, the telescope will be built a long way away. In AD 2006, the field was narrowed down by a panel of experienced astronomers to Australia and South Africa. The international SKA office, is run by the University of Manchester, which operates the Jodrell Bank radio observatory in the UK and is responsible for picking the final location. The SKA Design Studies (SKADS) project focuses on the development of the Aperture Plane Phased Array which uses fast digital technology to make a flexible, multitasking telescope that will be able to perform many different astronomical observations at the same time. The square kilometre refers to the total collecting area of all the dishes and aperture arrays. In practice, the total physical extent of the array is likely to be around 3,OOOkm. This provides better resolution on smaller objects. The main purposes of SKA will be as a discovery and surveying instrument to find a billion galaxies. SKA try's to detect hydrogen, which is the most common element in the universe, and which emits at 1.42GHz. Iniverse is expanding, the further away the object, the faster it recedes and the Doppler Effect serves to reduce the frequency of hydrogen. The upshot is that you can place these galaxies in 3D space. The SKA frequency spectrum covers from 70MHz to 10GHz. For the phased arrays we are concentrating on frequencies below the magic 1.4GHz hydrogen emission. Europe plans to build a phase array whe- e View full abstract»

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  • Monsters, incapacitated [Electronics Design]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 38 - 41
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    The paper discusses the multicore processors. The paper states that multicore processors provide unprecedented compute density, but have wound up being the parts used to scare designers about the future. The arrival of multicore processing in computing and embedded systems has often recalled the marketing for a movie. Indeed, what makes the analogy quite apt is that it may be promised the terrors of the Earth, but reality turns out to be an inoffensive stuntman in a cheaply assembled rubber suit. Consider the two most frequent issues. First, there are those instances where a company wants to consolidate four separate processes that may have each occupied their own printed circuit boards within a system. It wants to bring all these functions onto one piece of silicon for reasons such as power efficiency, size and cost. The second case is that the goals are performance rather than technology driven. Most applications have been coded sequentially, that is they have been written to be executed in a single thread on a single processor or core. In a multicore world, the greatest performance stands to be gained by having a program execute simultaneously across as many cores as are available; the program should be written to be executed in multiple threads in parallel. View full abstract»

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  • A model of good design [Control Design]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 42 - 43
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    Automotive industry is a mature user of model-based design, with the ability now to design practically anything in a virtual environment. But with the growing shift from large vehicles to small ones comes the need to ensure designs match that shift. It's also well known that car makers regularly use each other's components, so companies are increasingly relying on each other. This entails sharing information. View full abstract»

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  • All in the mind [Control Thought/Mind]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 44 - 47
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    This article discusses brain-computer interfaces that are designed initially to help people who have lost control of their limbs but whose neurons responsible for these motor functions are still active, the system includes a silicon-array sensor a few millimetres square containing about 100 electrodes implanted in the brain's motor cortex. The electrodes are wired to a pedestal mounted through the skull, and the pedestal is connected by a cable to a computer.This research falls across the three principal methods of measuring brain activity - noninvasive BCI, using electrodes placed separately on the scalp; partially invasive, via an electrode grid that sits inside the skull but on the surface of the brain; and invasive, where the grid is implanted into the grey matter itself. View full abstract»

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  • Return to rock [Power Geothermal]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 48 - 50
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    This paper studies the prospects of generating electricity from Cornwall's hot granite. View full abstract»

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  • Cuba's power struggle [Power Cuba]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 51 - 53
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    Climate change represents a challenge to all world governments, but this paper finds that in Cuba, the problem is as serious as securing stable and affordable energy supplies for its citizens. View full abstract»

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  • Cloud aloud [IT Applications]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 54 - 56
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    The concept of cloud computing is going to reorganise the tenets of enterprise IT. Cloud computing sounds like traditional IT outsourcing, but the difference is that this is not just about ownership of IT staff and resources, but a new way of organising, acquiring, and paying for IT infrastructures and services, with outsourcing being just part of the mix. Characterised this way, the move towards cloud computing seems certain, even if enterprises are reluctant to move forward too rapidly right now. Only a few enterprises are actually adopting cloud services at the moment, but the fact that any are is notable. This paper discusses cloud computing's progress within the enterprises. View full abstract»

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  • SOA in the shadows [IT Systems Build]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 57 - 59
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    This paper discusses on the status of service-oriented architecture. It is discussed how SOA as a concept has not expired, but its last incarnation as an overweight, over-hyped IT buzz-trend doesn't look too good right now. SOA as the basis for a project is very much on hold and whether it ever wakes from this somewhat vegetative state is a matter of opinion. View full abstract»

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  • Design at the very core [Manufacturing Apple]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 60 - 62
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    WHEN YOU think about design-led products, there is one company that immediately springs to mind as constantly setting the benchmark, whether in hardware or software. That company is California-based Apple Inc. This article is about a industrial designer whose work has made a style icon form more than three decades. View full abstract»

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  • Driven by design [Manufacturing Automotive]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 63 - 65
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    In the automotive industry, design is now becoming an integrated part of the entire production cycle - and even of the factories themselves. View full abstract»

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  • Made in China...and designed there too

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 66 - 69
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    China has established itself as the undisputed manufacturing centre of the world, especially for all things electronic. Consumers have got used to the 'Made in China' label that invariably comes with their new computers and TVs. Yet, deep down, they may suspect that there isn't much Chinese about the core creative and engineering processes that went into the design of these products. This article reports how Chinese telecoms are bringing real innovations. Top Chinese telecoms' success and how these were able to meet the challenges are also discussed. View full abstract»

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  • iMgonnagetrich [Comms Mobile Apps]

    Publication Year: 2009 , Page(s): 70 - 71
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    Operating-system suppliers have realised how important third-party applications are to the success of their platforms.The advantage of the App Store for the lone programmer is that it provides a lot of the sales infrastructure. Apple takes about a third of the selling price as its commission. View full abstract»

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Aims & Scope

Engineering & Technology is the IET's flagship magazine featuring analysis, news, innovation announcements, job advertisements and careers advice.

Full Aims & Scope

Meet Our Editors

Editor-in-Chief
Dickon Ross
IET