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Mechanical Engineering. 2013;135(01):30-35. doi:10.1115/1.2013-JAN-1.
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This article highlights innovation, research and development (R&D), and other efforts that are being made to assure China’s progress in the coming future. Chinese leaders understand that innovation is central to their critical interests. Without it, China will never capture the true wealth generated by its dynamic manufacturing sector, improve its competitiveness, or reduce its overall dependence on foreign technology. China has created the educational and research infrastructure needed to embed itself in emerging transnational knowledge networks. Thriving foreign enterprises are likely to have a significant impact on China’s R&D culture. The study reveals that to thrive in the future, China needs to build on its brains, not its brawn. The central government has laid the groundwork for a more innovative economy. A series of medium-to-long-term initiatives are funding science and technology research, reforming education, developing talent, and supporting emerging industries. The results are mixed, but show signs of China’s progress over the past two decades. If Taiwan is any indicator, Chinese with multinational experience are likely to become the technology entrepreneurs of China’s future.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2013;135(01):30-35. doi:10.1115/1.2013-JAN-2.
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This article explores engineers’ diverse ways of using the explosive growth in social networks that has taken place during the past 5 years. Engineers Looking for Stuff (ELFS) is a group for engineers available on both the LinkedIn and Facebook social networking sites. Engineers are turning to sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Meetup, Twitter, and a growing number of more specifically tailored sites to find jobs, get questions answered, and connect with people who share professional interests. The L.A. Robotics Club takes advantage of Meetup, which is intended to bring like-minded people together for live events. The club is home for anyone interested in robotics. Members work together on robotic cars and drones and on their own products. Inventor Matt Ferguson and his colleagues used Twitter to help market the Ankle Foot Maximizer (AFX), a device which strengthens foot and ankle tendons and muscles. The AFX is used in sports medicine and physical rehabilitation and in athletic training to enhance jumping and running.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2013;135(01):30-35. doi:10.1115/1.2013-JAN-3.
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This article talks about evolving technologies in making efficient gears for different auto engines. Gears are integral to a new engine that has the potential to change commercial aviation. Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan (GTF) jet engine will have significantly better fuel economy and much quieter operation. The P&W GTF combines existing jet engine technology with the well-established mechanical engineering technology of gears. Due to its high bypass ratio, the geared turbofan engine is 16% more efficient than standard jet engines. A key facility for developing the GTF gearbox has been a specially designed four-square gear test rig at P&W’s Middletown plant. The orientation of the GTF test gearboxes can be adjusted with respect to gravity to simulate different flight conditions. After an extensive program using a four-square rig and a long history of gearbox experience associated with their very popular turboprop gas turbines at Pratt & Whitney Canada, P&W engineers are convinced their new GTF engines will have a bright future.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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