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Mechanical Engineering. 2005;127(07):26-29. doi:10.1115/1.2005-JUL-1.
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This article focuses on the fact that as biosciences and engineering that continue to blend and merge, the technologies and methods used by professionals in both fields have come to overlap as well. There are plenty of mechanical engineers already engaged in developing devices and in other biomedical roles. Advances in the life sciences require that mechanical engineers get on board to help solve complicated biological problems. A mechanical engineer working on a CAD system cannot readily replicate the intricacies of the human body digitally. A bone designed on a BioCAD system needs to have its basis in a patient scan. Each model will be unique. As mechanical engineering creeps into bioengineering and other life sciences, and vice versa, trades like those described by Chen and Sun will become more common and ever more viable. CAD and other engineering technologies will mutate and change until students of tomorrow may have a hard time recognizing the tools of today.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2005;127(07):30-33. doi:10.1115/1.2005-JUL-2.
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This article highlights that engineers are expanding their material world to reduce the cost and tailor performance of microdevices. Microelectromechanical systems evolved from the semiconductor industry, and silicon accounts for the vast majority of MEMS. This is not a surprise, since silicon lends itself well to semiconductor processing, and the designers and engineers of integrated circuits and MEMS understand the material’s characteristics and how to process it. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, meanwhile, are investigating the use of titanium as a wafer material for MEMS. Noel MacDonald, who heads the research group, said that titanium has advantages over silicon with regard to packaging, material properties, and the ability to create three-dimensional structures. Silicon is sure to be a material of choice among MEMS designers for a long time. But the availability of new materials, both for MEMS themselves and tooling to form microstructures, will open doors for new applications.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2005;127(07):34-36. doi:10.1115/1.2005-JUL-3.
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This article reviews the military buildup of World War II that led to victory and, by an indirect route, to a richer world. The creation of the US armaments industry is breathtaking for the speed with which it developed. After the surprise attack at the close of 1941, it did not take much time for the country to respond. Shocked by a sneak attack, Americans were able to put their love affair with the car on hold to make war machines. The entire US automotive industry converted its plants to the war effort, and much of that industrial might was devoted to building airplanes. Technologies developed for the war were quickly given civilian uses. After years of rationing and the Great Depression before that, there was plenty of demand stored up. GPS today keeps watch on truck fleets, tracks stolen cars, and serves a multitude of other civilian uses that save lives, property, and money. The Predator and other unpiloted aerial vehicles are believed to represent the future of commercial air transportation.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2005;127(07):37. doi:10.1115/1.2005-JUL-4.
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This article discusses a Turkish auto manufacturer that had been marketing its heavy commercial vehicle for years, but new emissions requirements were looming. The rules came from the European Parliament in Brussels. Turkey, which is not part of the European Union, has been pursuing membership for decades and many nearby countries belong, so the rules could not be ignored. The company decided to redesign its truck. The testing company, LMS International, crunched numbers and devised a schedule of track driving that would accelerate fatigue-inducing events a hundredfold. LMS engineers began by getting a snapshot of what the roads do to trucks in Turkey. LMS will not disclose details of the final test schedule, but according to the project manager on this job, Michael Kienert, the truck traveled a total of 10,000 km over the track in eight weeks. The team of engineers inspected it at regular intervals during the test.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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