Please click the following link or the above picture to redirect to our new website: Engineering A Future !
Be sure to subscribe to our new website & follow it please!
Please click the following link or the above picture to redirect to our new website: Engineering A Future !
Be sure to subscribe to our new website & follow it please!
Well, it appears that it has become time at last for Team UV to end its journey. Today marks the 345th day that TeamUV.org has been active and I can guarantee you that every one of us here at Team UV has throughly enjoyed and cherished the 29,676,840 seconds that this blog has been running (at the time of publishing this post). During this time we have had the incredible opportunity to share some of our own research and, far more importantly, help to inspire interest in the STEM fields amongst the general public with visitors from 115 countries for a total of nearly 8,300 views and well over 200 likes from 114 WordPress followers, our email followers, and many others.
This blog has far exceeded our expectations and for that we have all of our family, friends, supporters, and readers to thank. Without all of you, we would have never been able to accomplish what we have over the past year. I have been honored to lead this team and to have the chance to interact with all of you on a daily basis, all-the-while growing with my teammates and watching them progress through the challenges of the last 15+ months of our senior project. I believe that I can speak for all of us when I say that the experience of writing to all of you here at Team UV is not one that any of us will soon forget. These are the kinds of memories that stick with you.
The experience afforded to all of Team UV by sharing with you all over the past year will serve us well in the future as we push onwards and upwards in life and face new challenges, and I sincerely hope that our time here will serve all of you in the same way. From compressible flow regimes to programming Arduinos to biomedical diagnostic tests to 3D-printing makeup to insects with gear-like rear legs, we truly have covered a whole lot of incredibly diverse topics here at Team UV, but we have not even begun to scratch the surface of what the world of engineering has to offer. Part of the beauty of the world of engineering is that it truly is limitless. Boundaries to the engineering mindset do not exist and physical barriers to what engineers can do simply serve as challenges for scientists and engineers alike to accept. We hope that we have begun to shed some light on this reality and on the opportunities available within the STEM fields.
We set out hoping to reach just one person out there and help to inspire them to go on to pursue STEM-related careers or simply just to spend some time everyday thinking scientifically. I personally have heard from numerous people over the past year about how we have made a difference within their lives or the lives of their friends or families. I have also heard similar stories from my teammates, and that is the golden metric.
I am beyond proud of my team and what we have been able to accomplish and look forwards to continue to share with our readers about STEM over at our next project: EAF. For those that do not know, Engineering A Future (EAF) is a website that I originally intended to launch back in December 2012 with the goal of inspiring interest in the STEM fields amongst the general public…sound familiar? After preparing and stockpiling posts for a few short weeks, my Winter Break ended and the Winter 2012 quarter started in at Cal Poly Pomona (CPP) and my plans fell apart. I had become far too busy, did not have any help, and simply put had never done anything like EAF (or TeamUV.org) before. EAF was created with good intentions, but was not planned for properly by me, but I can assure you, that has all changed.
Flash forward three years and EngineeringAFuture.com will be relaunching on Monday (July 13th, 2015). This time the website is ready to go, as is the team. I have spent the past few months preparing EAF for its launch and am excited to cut the ribbon Monday morning. EAF will follow the same idea that TeamUV.org has, but will take it to a whole new level. EAF has been optimized with one goal in mind: to get as many people as humanly possible excited about STEM. Crazy, right? Well I believe that I have the perfect team to do it and that we are more than prepared to hit the ground running, help people to learn, learn (ourselves), and just have fun with it. Most of Team UV will be carrying over to EAF: Abraham, Ketton, and Andrew will all be bringing their massive brains, awesome outlooks, and passion for STEM-blogging and connecting with the community over to EAF. Unfortunately, Ben will not be continuing with us at EAF and so we wave a somber goodbye to a valued team member and friend. But fear not, while we may be losing a teammate, we are also introducing some awesome new features.
First is the style of posting. EAF will be posting three times a week (just like Team UV has been), but this time we will be posting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Posts will go live at 0800 (purely so that our followers who check the site early will already have the content up to read, rather than having to wait around for two hours) and the social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) sharing of the posts will be sent out at 1000 hours (two hours later). Post categories have been almost completely revamped and the new categories will consist of:
On top of this, the new website is far more aesthetically pleasing, has many cool features and pages, and will hopefully mean a much more awesome experience for our readers and followers. Lastly, we have some very cool ideas in the works for some awesome new types of content that will launch later on down the road. The website is currently having its finishing touches put on with the About EAF page being finished up offline before transferring it to the site this weekend, a few member bio pages being finished up, and the graphical interface being tweaked a little bit more for Monday’s launch.
In closing, we want to thank our readers/supporters/followers for joining us along this journey and sincerely hope that all of you will continue to follow us over at EAF starting Monday! On Monday, a post redirecting our readers to EAF will be published.
Thank you for your time
Well looks like the time has come to say farewell. This has definitely been a fun ride here at TeamUV.org and I can definitely say I will not forget it. I honestly want to thank everyone who has supported us this entire trip whether it be reading our post, donating, commenting, or any kind of support you have given us. I just hope that we were able to shed some light on all of the interesting items that people just like us have created in the STEM field. We all have learned a lot from the beginning of this project (SHIELA-D) up til the end (DORY) and that experience is something that we will never forget.
You know, anyone can put up an article. But when you put up an article and see that people are coming to the site, reading it, and leaving comments, it is such a great feeling and once again I want to thank everyone who supported us no matter how small or large. As for the “For Now” part, I will be putting up articles for Engineering A Future for a little while so feel free to come, kick back, and read some more articles!
From the coolest guy in the group…..You Rock!
Abe here. Just wanted to thank everyone who donated to our project, read our articles, or simply supported us along the way. We accomplished a lot with this project, visited a lot of places, and even represented our department at the Engineering Project Showcase. More importantly, I am more than pleased with what we learned by tackling this project. I think everyone on the team got a glimpse of what being on a real engineering team was all about and we can now take this experience to industry or wherever we go. I hope that what we have done here inspires you to do something you’re passionate about and give it your all. In closing, I will continue to write for Engineering a Future for the next few months so follow us there!
Goodbye nerd friends. I’ll see you later this month on EAF!
It has been quite an adventure writing the posts for this site, I know I have learned a lot, and hopefully you have too. While this blog catered mostly to people interested in the science technology engineering and math fields I did what I could to make it accessible to all. One of the best ways to learn something new is to try and explain it, so thank you for letting me learn by explaining to you.
Hopefully most of you will continue on the Engineering A Future. I will not, my blog writing journey has reached its end here. It was fun while it lasted stay curious and stay creative, always stretch your minds to the limits!
So the day has finally come; my last Team UV blog post. It’s been a true pleasure writing about STEM topics for all of you to enjoy. Blogging for this site has given me a venue to express my engineering interests, as well as way to see what my fellow Team UV members are in to. As Mechanical Engineering graduates who completed the same basic curriculum at Cal Poly Pomona, it’s fascinating that we are all interested in different fields. I can’t wait to see where the five of us will go in our careers.
I’m excited for the next chapter with Engineering A Future (launches Monday July 13th) and the chance to share my interests more deeply with you all. As of now, I will be posting once a month on EAF about my favorite topics: robotics, the energy industry, and electronics!
See you all on EAF!
As many of you are aware, we are in the transitioning phase of this website as we close out TeamUV.org and transition to EngineeringAFuture.com over the next two months, so this will be Andrew’s last Open Mind post here at Team UV, but not to fear, there are still two months of posts left here and the same types of articles will be carried over onto EAF (Engineering A Future), so without further ado, please enjoy the following:
Last week, I had one of the best educational experiences of my life: a whole day of teaching 6th graders about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)! My lovely girlfriend is a 6th grade, Math and Science teacher and was constantly asked by her students as to when I would visit her class. With the build of DORY in full swing and wrapping up my undergraduate degree, I just couldn’t make time for a visit during the school year. In the last few months, my interest in teaching has grown, especially teaching about science, technology, and engineering. I knew I would take the opportunity to speak to her kiddos the first chance I could get.
My girlfriend and I made plans for me to visit the second to last day of their school year. Her kids and I couldn’t be more excited. I made a presentation about STEM and how it applies to our everyday lives. I appealed to their interests by highlighting: famous people and how they use technology, popular electronics and how they wouldn’t be around without STEM, and popular social apps and how they came to existence using STEM. I also showed them famous celebrity engineers such as Ashton Kutcher, Rowan Atkinson, and Michael Gambon. I then continued to show them projects I worked on in my undergrad such as an obstacle avoiding cart and DORY, as well as a live demonstration of a self-balancing wing. They had so many questions with some that showed real engineering intuition. Seeing the excitement in their eyes and the “light bulbs” turn on was a fulfilling moment for me.
At the end of my presentation, I gave them a little background on electrical motors and brought materials to help them make their first simple motor. With a couple of magnets, a battery, copper wire, and a bit of patience they all made a homopolar motor. One team even had their motor spin for 14 minutes before the wire fell off. We even had time to make paper bridges which turned into a very competitive activity!
Although the day was filled with laughter and excitement, it didn’t come easy! Often times we (meaning my girlfriend!) would have to correct the kids when they would get too roudy or speak out of turn. By the end of the day, we were both so exhausted. I have a new appreciation for middle school teachers and am glad I had the chance to try out the position. It is one difficult career! Teaching 11 year olds may not be in my future, but teaching STEM classes could definitely be!
Until next time…
Electric motors are used in many applications from robotics to children’s toys. Although many of these motors are DC motors, Homopolar motors are the simplest of motors and are easy to show students in a classroom setting. All it takes to build your first simple motor are three common materials you can probably find around the house: copper wire, a AA battery, and neodymium magnets.
Constructing the motor is simple but getting it to work can take trial and error as well as a bit of patience. Here’s how to do it:
1) Attach the magnet to the negative side of the battery.
2) Strip the copper wire completely or for safety, in the middle and at the two ends.
3) Bend the wire so that one end touches the positive terminal and the other end touches the magnet. A common approach is a heart shaped wire for better stability.
4) Watch: As the copper wire touches the magnet, the wire will begin to spin.
How does it work? Well the theory can get as detailed as you want it to be but to keeps things simple, I will explain the homopolar motor briefly. The copper wire connects the positive terminal to the magnet at the negative terminal. This completes the circuit, allowing current to flow through the circuit (and the wire). Due to the magnet, the current is flowing in the presence of a magnetic field around the battery. When current flows in a magnetic field, it will experience a force called the Lorentz force. This force acts perpendicular to the magnetic field and the flow of the current (and the wire). Consequently, the perpendicular force pushes the wire around the battery.
Once you get a working motor, you can change the shape of the wire to any shape you want! Have fun!
Until next time…
With only a couple of oral presentations and other tasks left to do, our project is nearing its end (don’t worry, posts will continue on another website but more on that at a later date!!!). My time as a technical writer so far has been educational, inspiring, and fulfilling. Not many people know this, but before I considered a career in mechanical engineering, I was laying the foundation to be a journalist. I was heavily involved in my middle school and high school newspaper programs and even earned an award for my work. You can even find me in at least three Cal Poly Pomona Poly Post issues!
When Team UV decided to create a website where we could inspire interest in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) I couldn’t help but feel that same passion. Writing for a STEM related blog takes planning and plenty of consideration for various demographics that may visit our site. We have to balance the use of heavy scientific and technical jargon with the ease of describing complex scientific and technical topics. Shifting to one side or the other could easily “cut out” a group of readers if we are not careful. Take the presentations on flow characteristics or materials for example, our team could easily approach the topics in a text book fashion but those without the prerequisite knowledge of physics and engineering will become lost. If we approach it too simply, we dilute the experience of understanding exciting scientific phenomena and may even belittle the many years of work gone into such topics.
The greatest moment of my technical blogging experience is when we met a TeamUV.org visitor at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research this past April in Washington. I still remember the look on his face when we brought up our website during the presentation and the excitement in his voice when he approached us afterwards. Meeting just that one person made the whole experience of driving over 3,000 miles and through blinding dust storms worth it.
I will continue to find opportunities to blog long after this project is over and I was surprised to find many exciting career paths in technical writing. It only makes sense that scientific websites and magazines have engineers on staff to write about various technical fields. Who else would make a better candidate to write a machine’s user manual?
Please continue to share our website and look out for a post about its future soon!
Until next time…
Team UV arrived home from the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) late last night after having traveled from California to Nevada to Idaho to Oregon to Washington, back to Oregon and finally home to Southern California yesterday, amassing over 3,000 miles between travel, the conference, food, hotels, and a bit of tourism.
The conference itself was a lot of fun and proved to be a great opportunity to share our project with students, scholars, and many others from all over the country, while also giving us the chance to check out some of the research that others have been conducting as well. Perhaps one of the coolest moments, was meeting an Eastern Washington University (site of the conference) engineering student who was familiar with our website and who told us he wished he could work on projects like ours in the future, which is a huge win in our books, as it reflects the fact that we have been at least a little bit successful in one of our primary goals here at TeamUV.org: to inspire interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), especially amongst the general public. This was definitely one of the cooler moments for our team regarding the past week, as well as the duration of the project in general.
It is unfortunate that we had to run before getting the name of the person we talked to briefly regarding our website after the presentation, but to you we would like to say the following: thank you for your readership and support and please believe that none of us could have possibly imagined a scenario in which we would accomplish/learn/grow as much as we have over the past 12 months of this project when this team was first established last April. If you want to be able to do projects like this, then go for it! Don’t let anyone stand in your way, and as long as you are willing to pour yourself into it, to push yourself to your limits, to get up and fight for what you believe in, and to maintain that level of inspiration, dedication, and determination, there is not a force in this universe that can stop you from achieving your goals. Sure, there’s adversity; maybe it’s financial, maybe it’s administrative, maybe it’s the fact that there just aren’t enough hours in the day, but all of this can be overcome. We raised nearly 85% of our project costs through online crowdsourcing, filed paperwork on a daily basis for nearly three weeks to get to the national conference, put in nearly 5,000 man hours between the five of us over the first 11 months of the project (by a conservative estimate), and slept far less than we’d like to admit, but most importantly, we got to where we are today. Four conferences, representing the Mechanical Engineering department at the Engineering Showcase, a successful website, an excellent team with a great future, and an outstanding project, and we’re still kicking. Remember that seemingly-corny saying “you can do anything that you put your mind to”? Well, it’s time to start believing, because mind over matter is for real and to paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt, nothing worth doing ever comes easily.
All that’s left is to find your inspiration. For me personally, my inspiration comes from our troops. The way I see it, if someone can put their life on the line halfway around the world to protect the freedoms that I enjoy, if they can risk being shot at, blown up, captured or killed in a foreign place thousands of miles from home, possibly alone, starving, and near death (as was the case for Marcus Luttrell during Operation Red Wings), so that people they have never even met before can go on living comfortable lives, how can I possibly complain that my work is too hard, or that I am too tired or too hungry? For me, these are the considerations that make my issues pale in comparison and that push me to keep on pushing myself until there’s nothing left, and then to push further. To all of our readers, identify something worth fighting for and then go to war with your own demons over it, because you can do whatever it is that you want to do and remember, pain is temporary, pride is forever.
Until next time,
P.S. Regular post scheduling will resume Thursday.
Today’s post will be a bit accelerated due to time constraints imposed by a long To Do List for Team UV in the coming weeks as we prepare for more testing, analysis, conference, and possible journal submissions, but I thought it would be a little fun to talk about role models in engineering today. First off, a major issue is that there really aren’t many widely publicized role models in the world of engineering, which actually stems from a fact relating to the average academic process.
Growing up, we all take classes in fields such as English (or a comparable language class if you are in a country where English is not the primary language), Mathematics, Art, History, Biology, Chemistry, Government/Politics, and (maybe) Physics, but the only people who truly take engineering classes are people who are going to become engineers. This, unfortunately, creates a huge disconnect between the engineering world and that of the general public; the public knows what a historian does, what a businessman, artist, or chemist does, or at least has a fundamental understanding of what they do, but the only ones who truly know what an engineer does, are usually the engineers themselves. This directly translates to the lack of publicity of engineering role models, in that it is not very often that a movie, or TV show, or children’s book (for example) is produced that focuses on an engineer as a role model; if there is an engineer in the story, the role of the engineer is usually vastly misunderstood and often misinterpreted. No one is truly to blame for this, it is simply a consequence of the fact that only engineers truly take engineering course work (after all, should the general public be forced to struggle through extremely difficult engineering courses if they are not interested in engineering?). So how can we remedy this?
The best way is to help form a stronger connection between the general public and the world of engineering and, generally speaking, the most effective way to do this is by trying to inform the public about engineering at a younger age. What is the perfect vehicle for this kind of education? The use of role models through TV personalities, story book heroes, and even public speakers. Below I will quickly introduce you to a few engineers who have been working very hard to introduce a younger audience to engineering in the hope of inspiring the next generation of engineers.
Bill Nye “the Science Guy” is actually a mechanical engineer; bet you didn’t know that! Nye received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University in 1977 and has gone on to receive many honorary degrees including a Doctor of Science honorary degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an honorary doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Willamette University, and an honorary Doctor of Pedgogy degree from Lehigh University. Nye is of course known for his educational television program “Bill Nye, the Science Guy” which spanned 5 seasons and 100 episodes (from 1993-1998) and taught a young audience about highly complex subjects such as heat transfer (for example) in simple and fun ways, often using experiments that could be performed by kids at home with their parents. Bill Nye helped to influence an entire generation of future scientists and engineers; one can only wonder how much greater the impact could have been if the show shined the light on Nye’s role as an engineer. None-the-less, Nye’s work has had a major impact and helped to show that science can be fun. If you are unfamiliar with the show, I highly recommend you seek it out and am sure you can find old clips on YouTube. Most recently, Nye was working on an interactive video game that would utilize lightweight wings that could be strapped to the arms and moved and flapped around to teach kids about the aerodynamics of flight.
Debbie Sterling is a name you may not know, but she is an outstanding role model never-the-less. Sterling holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering/Product Design from Stanford University and upon graduating, did exactly what engineers are taught to do: she identified a problem and came up with a solution. Sterling decided to pinpoint the issue of gender under-representation in engineering, pointing out that only 14% of engineers worldwide are female. I can personally attest to the truth of this fact as, over my 5.5 year undergraduate career, I was made all too aware of the lack of gender diversity in my classes. This issue is magnified in mechanical engineering, which in my experience shows far lower numbers of females than other fields of engineering do. In my average mechanical engineering class throughout my undergraduate career, there were likely on average 1-2 females out of a class of 30-35 students on average; some classes had as many as 4 females, while many did not have any at all. In order to remedy this issue, Sterling has created a line of toys specifically targeted towards girls at younger age levels that aim to inspire interest in engineering. She essentially has made the female equivalent of the builder sets and simple machine toys that many boys enjoyed growing up, but that many girls were kept isolated from. Sterling’s company GoldieBlox is making great strides and I highly recommend that you check out their website.
Elon Musk is the last person that I will list. Some of you may not know who Musk is, while others of you might be the type to follow his every move. Musk earned two B.S. degrees, one in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania and one in Economics from the Wharton School. Following these two degrees, Musk began his Ph.D. in Applied Physics (which is often very similar regarding coursework to both electrical and mechanical engineering), but left the program two days later to start his career as an entrepreneur, going on to start some very successful companies, namely: Zip2 (a web software company that was bought up by Compaq in 1999), X.com (an online financial services company that later became PayPal after a merger with Confinity), SpaceX (short for Space eXploration), Tesla Motors (an electric car company), Solar City (which Musk came up with the concept of, with his cousins actually starting the company, which is now the 2nd largest solar power system provider in the U.S.), and is currently setting up Hyperloop (which would provide a 350 mph+ form of ground transportation between Los Angeles and San Francisco). Musk is on this list for a different reason, while he has worked as an engineer, he is on this list more for the companies that he created. All of these companies are revolutionary by nature and thus the companies inspire interest among many future engineers, while Musk helps to get the word out through public appearances and his role as the face of these companies.
There you have it, three engineering role models of today. Engineering is such an amazing field and there are many people out there who could have made limitless contributions to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields if they were only educated about engineering as a possible career option at a younger age. Having said this, it is never too late, if we continue to take positive steps today such as establishing elementary school science/engineering clubs and programs or more widely publicizing engineering role models (such as Debbie Sterling, for example), we can help to produce the finest generation of engineers the world has ever seen tomorrow. It is said that you can do anything that you put your mind to…I wholeheartedly believe this, but in order to put your mind to it in the first place, you must know that “it” exists.
Prompt: Mechanical engineering is inherently ambiguous to those without an intimate knowledge of its principles. As mechanical engineering students, there is an excellent chance that most of the people you know believe that your job consists of working on cars, acting in the role of a technician, or some related role. Even people from many other engineering disciplines rarely know exactly what we study or what we do. None of these people are to blame; rather, this is simply a consequence of the fact that the only people who take (many) actual mechanical engineering classes are mechanical engineers (/mechanical engineering students). When a person grows up and moves along through the educational system, they take classes in History, Mathematics, Literature, Biology, Chemistry, Art, etc., and perhaps even Physics, but they never take any sort of engineering class unless that is the career path they choose to follow. As a result, many people who could have possibly unearthed a deep love for engineering never received the chance to do so. In recent years, many K-12 schools have been moving to fix this and have been especially working to expose traditionally-underrepresented student groups to the world of engineering at an early age. Come up with either 3 ideas (or one idea from 3 perspectives) to help spread awareness with regards to the existence of the world of engineering (more specifically, mechanical engineering) to people at a younger age, thus hypothesizing as to how we can help more possible future (mechanical) engineers discover their ambitions.
It’s true. When I say that I’m studying mechanical engineering, people think I work on cars or I’m learning to work on cars. Even after explaining what I actually learn in my classes, most people stop listening after about ten seconds and conclude that just I’m a “fancy” mechanic. Not the case. When I was as freshman in high school I had no idea what engineering was. All I heard was that it involved a lot of math and it was not for everyone. I agree with both statements but the latter I think overstated. How can you decide something is not right for you if you don’t even know what it is? This is why I’ve come up with three ways to spread awareness of the world of engineering.
1) Teach team oriented problem solving, systematic reasoning, and creative problem solving at a young age.
I feel too many kids do not know how to work together effectively or know how to logically solve a problem they’ve never faced before. I was with my thirteen year old cousin recently and asked him to set up a music stand for me while I got everything else ready. There were three pieces to the stand and after 30 seconds of trying he said it was broken. It clearly wasn’t. Now I’m not saying he’s “dumb” but he had no idea how to logically figure out how to solve this problem. He just simply tried one thing, it didn’t work, and decided it was must be broken. That is not the kind of world I want to live in which is why these kinds of things should be taught much earlier. Even if you have no idea how to solve something, there are creative, logical, and scientific steps you can take to better understand what is going on. MIT has developed programs like Scratch to teach these ideas to kids through basic programming. http://scratch.mit.edu/
Now I’m not saying a thorough and extensive lecture on PID control to 5th graders, but a very well polished presentation on how cool engineering can be. I think people have to be exposed to a more visual representation of what an engineer actually does instead of rumors and hear-say. I’m sure 10 year old Abe would have been incredibly impressed and inspired if he saw an underwater vehicle designed and created by students at the local university. How all these engineering principles came together into something that he could touch and see move around a pool so swiftly and majestically. A really good presentation can make the word “engineer” seem not so scary for an entire generation.
3) Engineering Competitions
I think recently more schools have gotten into engineering competitions. There’s high school solar boat, elementary school robot programming, and even model bridge building competitions. These are incredibly fun because most of these projects are in collaboration with engineering programs at universities so young minds can really get into the engineering mindset through a mentor. I did solar boat and it was one of the most fulfilling things I did at Warren High. If I wasn’t a part of it then and there I probably wouldn’t have chosen mechanical engineering as my major so I definitely encourage more of these types of competitions.
Overall there has been a bigger push to teach kids how to do things they could never do before. Building, problem solving, and working together. They are all a big part of engineering but of life also. In today’s 21st century I don’t think you can progress without these skills so I’m glad that I learned them in the classroom. Hopefully in the coming years more people will realize how important and interesting the field of engineering really is.