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Student Invents Projecting Laser Bike Light

While both bicycle and helmet technologies have advanced considerably over the years, cyclists still face many risks on the road. One of the most serious of those risks is simply not being seen by drivers, a phenomenon that causes eighty percent of cycling accidents. Short of riding a tall unicycle dressed as a circus clown, what further precautions can cyclists take to ensure their safety?

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Student Invents Walking Chair

A product-design student in Derby, England, has invented a wheelchair alternative he hopes will give people with mobility issues more freedom, the BBC reported. Martin Harris, 21, noted that current wheelchairs are often restricted to paths. His battery-powered device “can work either indoors or outdoors – a leg can simply pick itself up and step over an obstacle.”

The chair, which can be steered by a joystick in the armrest, has six pairs of legs underneath the seat that consist of 216 pieces bolted together. Two conventional wheelchair motors power the “walking” chair, which can travel at up to 4 mph – the maximum allowed for battery-powered wheelchairs.

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Engineering Icons: A Cross Country Guide

Planning a road trip this summer? Whether en route to a beach, lake, or national park, there are plenty of engineering landmarks to admire along the way — including the interstate highway system along which most travelers must pass. Here are some designated engineering destinations worth braking for:

Hoover Dam: More than a million visitors a year tour this National Landmark (pictured at the top) that towers 725 above the Colorado River 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, NV. Read ASEE’s Prism magazine columnist Henry Petroski on the dam’s 75th anniversary.

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Tired of Waste

We have previously reported on many green initiatives related to building and roadway materials: smog-eating cement, concrete that can heal itself when it detects cracks, and pavement with solar-storing technology.

Now, civil engineers at Purdue University are working to design a cost-effective mixture for road construction and bridge support.

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Human-Powered Helicopter Takes Off

Judy Wexler, 24, is the first woman to pilot a human-powered helicopter

More than 30 years ago, the American Helicopter Society International challenged engineers to create a human-powered helicopter that could reach an altitude of at least three meters and hover for at least 60 seconds. Sikorsky Aircraft promised $20,000 to the winner. Now, they’ve upped the award to $250,000.

In pursuit of the elusive prize, a helicopter designed by a team of students from the University of Maryland has become the third human-powered helicopter to successfully leave the ground, and the first to be piloted by a woman.

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