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Surf’s Up!

Engineering students Victor Correa Schneider, Trevor Owen, Julia Tsai,
Dan Ferguson, and Benjamin Thompson of UC San Diego

Duuuude, how’s this for a Ph.D. project: Benjamin Thompson, a structural engineering student at UC San Diego, is on a quest to formulate the science of surfboards. He enlisted the help of four undergraduates in the mechanical engineering department to help him out, and together they hit the beach to find out more.

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Human-Powered Car Would Make Fred Flintstone Jealous

You’ve no doubt heard of electric hybrid cars, but a human-powered hybrid? Not only is it real and most likely coveted by the Flintstone family, but you may be able to own one as soon as next year.

With four passengers cranking the handles, the HumanCar can run on kinetic energy alone, and with fewer participants it relies partially on electricity.

How much more fun (and social!) would highway driving be if everyone used a car like this? Can we get a Yabba-Dabba-Doo?!

Video after the jump.

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Contest: Science Video. July 15, 2010

Kavli Foundation Science Video ContestK-12 students are invited to enter the 2010 USA Science & Engineering Festival Kavli Science Video Contest with videos that are creative, surprising, and “contagious,” spreading science enthusiasm to others. Videos might explore a scientific concept, show the wonders of nature, show what scientific discovery has done for us in the past or will do for us in the future, introduce a great scientist or engineer, or simply show why we should care about science and/or engineering. Prizes include a screening on the National Mall, money, and possibly even a trip to the Science Expo in Washington D.C. Deadline: July 15, 2010.

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Electricity Borne on the Shoulders of Giants

Electrical pylons are often seen as a blight to the landscape or, at best, something to be accommodated and ignored. But in Iceland, an award-winning pylon design may soon bring about a new appreciation of these ubiquitous towers.

“The Land of Giants,” a design concept created by the US firm Choi + Shine Architects, would turn Iceland’s electrical infrastructure into something akin to an iconic monument. The 150-foot humanoid pylons would boast not only a surreal and awe-inspiring appearance, but the ability to stand in a variety of positions in order to boost efficiency.

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Engineers Turn Robotic Arm Into Awesome Driving Simulator

Robo-arm-turned-Ferrari-simulator, shown without the
steering wheel and projection screen

Sometimes engineering projects look like they’re just too much fun to even be considered work. Such is the case with this Ferrari F2007 driving simulator that hovers 7 feet off the ground and looks like a stolen set piece from one of the Matrix movies.

A German research team from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics programmed a giant robotic arm to simulate the car’s motion while the driver navigates a projected course, IEEE Spectrum (the news magazine and website of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) reports. Watch a video after the jump.

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