Patch broken or damaged nerves and re-establish the brain-muscle-sensory control loop. Detect cancer as it forms. Create a robotic exoskeleton that helps a paraplegic walk. Create a computer with human thought capabilities. Wipe out illiteracy. Predict the future. Wirelessly power and share resources among electronic devices, including artificial hearts. Are you sharing engineering inspiration? Post your comments.
Patch broken or damaged nerves and re-establish the brain-muscle-sensory control loop. Detect cancer as it forms. Create a robotic exoskeleton that helps a paraplegic walk. Create a computer with human thought capabilities. Wipe out illiteracy. Predict the future. Wirelessly power and share resources among electronic devices, including artificial hearts.
Which of these will inspire young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)? For its 125th anniversary year, IEEE assembled a panel of experts covering seven emerging technologies in biomedical engineering, biometrics, computing, robotics, telecommunications, and wireless power. Applied to manufacturing, such advances could result in automatic guided vehicles that never stop to charge, more nimble and autonomous robotics, sensor arrays that communicate and receive power wirelessly, smarter trending for better pattern recognition, and more advanced predictive controls.
And yet, because young people may think other pursuits are more lucrative or fulfilling, they may not have realized the excitement, fulfillment, innovation, and other rewards to be found inside engineering and other STEM-related careers. Having more engineers retire than young people who choose engineering creates a skills gap that could slow, halt, or reverse the quality of life in the U.S. and beyond.
Among IEEE presenters, Miguel Nicolelis, co-director, Center for Neuroengineering, Duke University Medical Center, spoke in favor of funding for major scientific projects. Such projects go beyond immediate advancements and benefits to encourage and uplift young people about the excitement of engineering.
"After I saw an American going to the moon , I believed science could do anything," Nicolelis says. By the likes of what was discussed by the panelists, it seems science still can do anything, hopefully for good: predicting the future, creating smarter-than-human computers, strapping on robotic exoskeletons, and enabling fully wireless electronic networks to self-configure.
While any technology can be used for good or evil , I prefer many of the Star Trek views of the future as opposed to a Terminator future . Misapplied applications of technologies could determine our type of death, rather than quality of life. Engineering can cure destructive problems with benevolent technological solutions. Let's encourage that.
- TalkBack: Please answer the following questions using the posting and comment tool below. How would you apply these technologies? Are you sharing engineering inspiration?
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Annual Salary Survey
In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.
Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.