Electrical Engineering Could Lead to better Wireless Signals

We live in a world that would literally be unrecognizable to people from only 50 years ago. The technology that we have at our fingertips used to be beyond comprehension and without it, there’s no denying that the world as we know would crumble to a half and end. And yet, even with all of the access we have to millennia of human knowledge and experience, people are still running into issues when it comes to wireless technology and wireless signals. As most people know, the internet is still slow and gadgets that are supposedly wireless frequently don’t work as advertised or simply not at all. However, there is good news!wireless technology signal

It turns out that some of the research and work being done by electrical engineers very well may end up impacting wireless connections as we know them, vastly improving on both the current design and reliability. Dr. Aria Nosratinia, an electrical engineering professor at UT Dallas, is currently researching and working on ways to improve the wireless connections that have become so important in our lives. As both a sign of support and a sign of just how important this research is becoming, the National Science Foundation has awarded him 3 grants that end up totalling over $2 million this fall. With some of the grants going towards collaborative efforts with other universities and professors, everyone involved has high hopes for the outcome.

The main goal of the studies and grant money is to find a way to deal with wireless interference — the sort that leads to dropped calls, poor wireless reception, and electronics that don’t work as well as we would hope. One way to get around interference that’s being looked into is breaking wireless messages into microstreams so that they would be able to go through other signals instead of bouncing against them. Other techniques being researched have to do with manipulating coherence intervals and the discovery of new dimensions within communications over multi-user wireless channels that will allow for the development of new tools that will enhance wireless capabilities. While research is still being done and nothing is certain yet, this most definitely speaks well for the wireless future.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

A “Working” Version of Thor’s Hammer Has Been Built

For those who’ve seen the Avengers or know about ancient Nordic mythology, the names Thor and Mjolnir aren’t new. Thor is the ancient Norse god of thunder, strength, and protection and Mjolnir is his magical hammer that is unbreakable, can only be used by him, and will return when thrown. The legends state that Thor is the only person who can pick up Mjolnir — if someone else were to try, they would find the hammer to be literally immovable. Obviously, this is all mythology and hammers can be used and moved by all. Or at least they were up until an electrical engineer named Allen Pan got involved.

Using some clever electrical engineering, Allen built himself a hammer that used a microwave oven transformer as an electromagnet so that when the field is turned on and the hammer is placed on metal, it becomes immovable like the Mjolnir of legend. Pan was also smart enough to link the electromagnet to a fingerprint sensor that was keyed up to his print, allowing him to turn it off by simply touching it and making the hammer moveable again. As you can imagine, this is the perfect set-up for pranks galore and that is exactly what Pan ended up doing.

The video below is from his Youtube channel and shows Pan taking his creation around Venice Beach in California and tricking people into trying to pick it up, laughing as they fail and then laughing harder as he seemingly effortlessly picks up the hammer they struggled so hard with. Check out the video below and make sure you let him know what you think in the comments! This is a great use of electrical engineering that shows it can be used for fun as well as good in this world.

If you’d like to read more, check out the link here.

This Business Wants to Make Electrical Engineering Easy

Since it was first found, electricity has captured the human imagination and changed the way the we live with no chance of ever turning back. While many people may “know” what electricity is, the simple truth is that most don’t know how electricity works to power up the world that we live in. Unless someone is specifically schooled in physics and the nature of electrical currents, or simply interested in the topic for personal reasons, most peoples stop thinking about electricity when the switch has been flicked and the lights are on. However, for some people, this lack of knowledge and interest in unacceptable.

Adafruit Industries is the brainchild of Limor Fried, an engineer who has seen the interest in DIY electronics and recognized that this was the perfect field for a combination of business and educational initiative. Recently, there has been a surge of DIY electronics, with companies creating the the building blocks and consumers actually building the final product. While this is a new niche with a lot of financial and educational potential, the existing companies were only focusing on the monetary aspect and ignoring the chance to help educate and create a new generation of engineers.

Limor Fried and Adafruit aren’t ignoring this educational aspect of DIY electronics and are working to show how their product is fun and educational for not only children, but teens and adults as well. Along with allowing the creation of electronic devices and adding extra fashion options to your wardrobe (add lights and bulbs to clothing is one of the main reasons for the creation of this company — you can’t just buy things like that), Adafruit works to teach you the science behind what you’ve created. It wants people to not only know how to create simple electronic devices, but to also know why these things are working the way they do and why they need to be built in such a way. As America falls behind other countries when it comes to the scientific education of our children, hopefully companies like Adafruit will be able to help close the gap by getting kids interested in science outside of school.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.