Engineerjobs.com has published “The 20 Greatest Engineering Feats of 2014.”
Among the remarkable 20 achievements were:
Swarm robots that mimic the behaviour of termites and build 3D structures without requiring a central command structure or prescribed roles. The Termes autonomous robotic construction crew is being developed by the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science.
An indoor farm in Japan built by Mirai with GE in a 25,000-sq.ft. former semiconductor factor. The farm grows 10,000 heads of fresh lettuce each day, using 17,500 LED lights. It cuts water usage to 1% and reduces product loss to less than 3% in an industry where it is generally 30-40%.
Self-healing plastic, developed by chemical engineers at the University of Illinois. They have created a polymer that automatically patches holes 3 cm wide – more than 100 times lager than previously.
The Xenex germ-killing robot that kills germs in an entire hospital room in 5 minutes. It bathes the rooms with intense, millisecond pulses of UV light from a high-wattage strobe light. Already in use in 200 hospitals across the U.S., the unit kills Ebola on any surface in two minutes.
Record speed data transfer. Electrical engineers at the Technical University of Denmark sent 43 terabits per second over a single optical fibre.
Two solar power technologies were on the list. At MIT and Harvard researchers developed a way of storing solar radiation in chemical form. They used a photoswitching substance called azobenzene to create carbon nanotubes to store solar radiation at the molecular level, making the energy available on demand.
At the University of New South Wales engineers achieved an unprecedented 40.4% conversion efficiency using commercially available solar cells. The cells were combined with a mirror and filters to reduce energy wastage.
The No. 1 achievement listed was the European Space Agency’s landing of robot spacecraft Philae on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This “rock” lies 300 million miles from earth and is moving at 84,000 mph. To see the full 20 engineering feats, click here.