Current Events in Electrical Engineering

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  • By Taylor Bauer, Technical Writer & Digital Marketing Expert
  • Taylor is a writer and SEO manager with a B.S. in Political Communication from Illinois State University. He also received his M.S. in Communications from Illinois State. His background comes from journalism, working at an NPR member station for three years before transitioning to blogging and search engine marketing. He lives in Illinois with his wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards.

Electrical engineering generally encompasses the professional application and study of electronics, electricity, and electromagnetism. This area was first developed as its own profession in the first half of the 20th century, following the invention and subsequent popularity of the telephone, the electric telegraph, as well as general electric power use and distribution. However, advancements in electrical engineering continue to move the profession into the future.

Consequently, recording and broadcasting media have developed electronics to assist people with their daily lives. For example, the invention of the transistor, as well as the closed circuit, lowered the cost of electronics to the extent that they could be utilized in virtually any household appliance. However, electrical engineering is not just an important profession of the past. It continues to be vital in the present day. Let’s take a look at 6 current events in electrical engineering.

Car engines on factory assembly line

Current Events in Electrical Engineering: Rivian Rewriting How to Make a Car

The electric car is nothing new. For years, major companies have made cars that primarily run on electricity. The difference with a maker like Rivian is the minds behind the vehicle. You don’t always hear of startups in the automotive industry, but that’s just what Rivian is. You wouldn’t know it, however, given the sheer force of energy behind their products. Later this year, the company’s first vehicle is supposed to go to market. Their cars are set to be battery run, with charges up to 400 miles. How does a car like this come to be? Furthermore, what makes it different from the other electric vehicles on the market?

The Rivian engineering and technical center in Plymouth, Michigan is a sight to be seen. Their work is being invested in by Amazon and Ford, among others. An electric car is only as good as its engineers. For that reason, Rivian is full of the best minds in electrical engineering. Their team is full of veterans from major car makers. McLaren, Jeep, and Ford experts make up the team behind these new cars. At auto shows, they are the talk of the town. So, what’s there to know about this company?

Electric Vehicles for Now, Not Later

The idea behind an electric car is not new, but they’re not very popular. Many car owners still drive gasoline-reliant vehicles. Sure, there are more of them. The important distinction behind Rivian is their lineup. The first two vehicles being made are pickup trucks and SUVs. These are not typically thought of as fuel efficient cars. Nevertheless, people use them. Larger vehicles are crucial for many companies. Not to mention, they are very popular. The costs of gasoline are low, but that won’t stay forever. Car owners need to know the costs of their vehicle past the selling price. Rivian is marketing and building their cars with this in mind. Of course, the worry for consumers is the upfront cost.

Rivian curves fears of cost with affordable electric vehicles. The truth behind this is the increasingly successful technology. Electrical engineering in vehicles is not the money pit it used to be. These experts know the cars they’re building. Furthermore, Rivian aims to get everyone at least thinking about buying electric. If SUV lovers don’t think about electric cars because of the price, they’ll never lean off gasoline. Rivian vehicles, however, offer a solution to that problem. It’s amazing what proven electrical engineers can do.

3D shape of sound waves on a blue background

Current Events in Electrical Engineering: Sonos and Real Industry Challenge Students to Invent the Next Big Thing in Sound

Sonos, the creator of a remote Home Sound System wants to help the world listen just a little bit better. They are doing this by giving individuals access to the media content they value and enabling them to have complete control of it. Sonos has joined up with Real Industry for its second annual Sonos Challenge.

During the test, students worked together to address the following dilemma: how can one construct the perfect experience (with the perfect sound) for people to enjoy in their daily lives? The students used Sonos equipment and programming to investigate this question, build something new, and display the design for all to see.

On October 4, 2018, the challenge commenced at the Sonos Boston office. More than 180 undergraduate students enrolled from Harvard University, Boston University, Tufts University, Boston College, Wellesley College, Northeastern University, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Berklee College of Music, Clark University among many others. Smart devices are changing how people appreciate music, access data, and connect with their smart homes. The Sonos Challenge enables college students to get involved with innovation and advancement in an industry they are enthusiastic about, all while getting mentored by experts in the field. This collaboration between Real Industry and Sonos provides students an opportunity to learn and grow that they might not have had otherwise.

Laying of electricity cables networks heating Corrugated lines on concrete On cement slab background

Current Events in Electrical Engineering: UTA researchers optimize electricity distribution networks

A group of analysts from UTA are joining a few running theories learning to empower machines to control power networks. Frank Lewis, Yan Wan and Ali Davoudi, professors in the field, are making use of a $220,000 Early-concept Grant for Exploratory Research, or EAGER, to accomplish this project. This fund comes from the National Science Foundation and helps encourage innovation in scientific research. Junfei Xie, an associate professor of software engineering at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is helping the group with their research.

Microgrid capacity in the United States remains a huge challenge, and the ever increasing need for more resources and power have only made it worse. AC and DC distribution networks comprise the grids. Both AC and DC systems are vital for the integration of sustainable power sources and fleets of electric vehicles.

Optimal Control vs. Reinforcement Learning

Optimal control is the model-based procedure of deciding how a framework will respond to signals over a period. It also determines how to make the framework function at its most productive level. Reinforcement learning is an information-driven kind of machine learning. In reinforcement learning, computers discover how to function in a situation by performing activities. The computers can then see the outcome and respond accordingly to accomplish a particular objective. The group will probably consolidate both optimal control and reinforcement learning into a combined hypothesis that will permit effective, ongoing input control of complex frameworks.

The group’s exploration is a case of creative reasoning in the region of information-driven discovery. This is particularly important, and was one of the topics of UTA’s Strategic Plan 2020.

EAGER funds are granted to individuals who work with high risk, high reward research, and Dr. Lewis, Dr. Wan, and Dr. Davoudi are certainly taking a risk with research that pushes the limits of established teachings in the field. Their examination is a strong start for future uses of machine learning that have not been discovered yet.

Electrical engineer programming a robot during robotics class Adult concentrate

Current Events in Electrical Engineering: CSUN’s Effort to Grow New Leaders

Innovation is essential for many different aspects of our daily lives. However, it is also fundamental for professionals to push progress in all aspects. To prepare students for the challenges of the workplace in years to come, California State University, Northridge is focused on facilitating future professionals and leaders to find their place in the field.

On Nov. 2, 2018, CSUN facilitated its fifth semi-annual event, known as “The Art of Innovation Conference.” This event works in tandem with the college’s ongoing mission to encourage innovation for the future. It also assists businesses with innovation as well. Many companies are making a huge difference in areas like shopping, transportation, general business structure, and new ways to engage with consumers. The board style event incorporated a wide range of business people and entrepreneurs examining these themes, including big data, extensive, artificial intelligence, improvements in human services and transportation.

The meeting concentrated on trends, opportunities and best practices for propelling new business goals. A definitive objective of the program was to start thinking about new endeavors. Additionally, coordinators wanted to help fabricate networks for all of the event’s attendees. Ryan Holbrook and Shereazad Jimmy Gandhi are leaders in the industry and practice. Their goal is to find a way to encourage young entrepreneurs. A few other groups made this event possible. These groups included the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics, and the College of Health and Human Development as well.

Telemedicine

Another board examined the issue of telemedicine, which is the utilization of telecommunication to provide healthcare anywhere. This gets rid of the need to go to the doctor’s office. Telecommunications also empower administrations. For example, it helps facilitate in-home restorative gadgets, virtual counsels, chatbots to answer questions, and intuitive instruction. This means that healthcare providers can streamline their care and provide for efficient and convenient service to their patients. Additionally, medicinal applications are producing advanced heart monitoring, diabetic checks, and exercise and diet screenings for patients. Kaiser Permanente is putting forth ear-contamination screens, which permit at-home ear-disease checkups for kids directed by parents and/or guardians.

Sal Esparza, an associate professor in health sciences at CSUN, suggested various questions to specialists Lou Rubino, the chair person of CSUN’s Department of Health Sciences, as well as Hadley Washburne and Kara Snow, both healthcare industry professionals.

The day’s last panel centered on the eventual fate of transportation.Jeff Joyner, an attorney and benefactor of Uscooter, led the discussion. Uscooter is a new kind of collapsable electric bike. The panel also included specialists like Flaurel English, the founder of Gridlock Solutions, Ian Gardner, president at Chanje, a company that produces commercial electric vehicles, and published author Terenig Topjian. Rick Teebay, a transportation specialist for Los Angeles County, also attended the panel.

The specialists talked about the changing landscape of transportation. This discussion included the issues and advantages of electric bikes and future transportation innovation. They also discussed how authorities in LA and the country at large are reexamining urban portability and the significance of future trendsetters in the industry.

Metallographic microscope used for metalls surface investigation in solid state physics BANNER long format

Current Events in Electrical Engineering: Improving Nanoscale Product Designs

The 2018 MIT Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) Materials Day Symposium focused on efforts put forth by top engineers. Experts met at Kresge Auditorium on Oct. 10, 2018. Some of the latest advances and current events in mechanical engineering displayed at the show included new forms of X-rays and electrical probes. Event coordinators also discussed analytical computing that might yield insights into problems ranging from steel strength to the stability of solar cells.

One cannot stress the importance of steel strength and flexibility. Despite the investments that airlines and manufacturers put into research and development, devastating accidents continue to happen. As recently as April of 2018, turbines in jet engines pose a real threat to some aircraft. The shrapnel, when broken, can fly and pose a physical threat to anyone nearby.

The airline company said that the engine components passed all the maintenance requirements. So the parts were checked, but they could still not see any weak points or areas for improvement. This justifies research for the development of new steel with a heavy emphasis on safety, security, and lightweight design.

Failure in metals parts is almost always related to a breakdown of the most basic elements of the materials. These changes results from extreme temperatures, bending, stretching, compression and other forces. However, most materials can survive one of these impacts. Nonetheless, if they face more than one, the materials might ultimately fail to perform as intended.

New Designs

Researchers displayed new advancements using a vanadium-based combination that changes back to its original state when put under stress from various forces. This new kind of steel can change back to its original state as long as a power source provides it with energy. Pressure tests to of the new steel indicated a significant improvement over existing steels.

Within these discoveries researchers found new nanoscale exploratory systems that help identify different reasons for failure in metal composites. Researchers conduct X-beam spectroscopy using electron and transmission electron magnifying instruments to catch information on the strain, twisting, pressure or nano-indentation of materials. These kinds of minute estimations allow for new strategies in metal creation.

20 different undergraduates and post-doctorate students gave two-minute talks during the Materials Day Symposium. Following these talks, the event moved into a publication session. Overall, the event was a huge success. This success was largely due to the collaboration of the moderators, namely Vera Schroeder, Rachel C. Kurchin, Gerald J. Wang, Philipp Simons, and Mikhail Y. Shalaginov.

Two astronauts in spacesuits in outer space above Earth Elements of this image were furnished by NASA for any purpose

Current Events in Electrical Engineering: Low-pressure Arc Testing for Spacesuits

A group of designers in the US Air Force Research Laboratory helped NASA determine the impact of unintended electrical arcing on space exploration suits. The experiment made use of zero gravity chambers and cameras to record their observations. NASA analysts needed to know how a circular electrical segment acts in a vacuum. This concept had never been investigated in the past.

Researchers first needed to determine the mass and speed of the particles produced by the arcing. Then, they needed to know the potential impact of these metal particles. AFRL engineers started by deciding how to assemble apparatuses for a zero gravity test. This underlying arrangement of tests helped the specialists comprehend the materials, positioning, and expected results.

With this underlying information close by, the group procured a zero gravity chamber. This provided a research facility for directing the tests. They got help from a wide range of groups in order to get the project up and running. After another round of exploratory tests, the group was prepared to start the last round of testing and information gathering. With the help of NASA, the AFRL group conducted a series of 35 tests in the zero gravity chamber.

In the end, the group finished the tests quickly, in spite of the unpredictable setup required between each trial. The trials were finished in just nine days.

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