Engineering high profile projects historically have been a magnet to exponentially recruit more jobs, especially high wage engineer positions. For example, during my recent trip to San Francisco, I marveled at the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco.
The American Society of Civil Engineers declared the bridge one of the Wonders of the Modern World. During its construction, many employees, including engineers, were employed at high salaries.
Huge projects like this are a catalyst for creating even more high paying jobs in America. U.S. employers already have 7.136 million unfilled job openings according to the most recent Labor Department monthly figures.
Minting more engineers, scientists and technical talent will address this issue as well as provide needed job candidates for future engineering, scientific and technology projects. As I have written the past, this requires an overhaul of our STEM education process in order to ensure more needed technical and engineering talent is developed.
Colossal Engineering Feats of 2018
Popular Science Magazine recently reported the top 100 engineering accomplishments of 2018. They include an elegant way to avoid urban flooding, a 3D printer slated to build affordable homes in impoverished areas and a sea life sampler that lets biologists gather marine specimens without damaging their squishy bodies.
Here are details on five of the most outstanding engineering achievements from their list.
Spot by Boston Dynamics. Boston Dynamics’s first commercial robot resembles a 3-foot-tall dog. Unlike most robots that trip up on steps, Spot moves on four legs that not only can negotiate stairs, but also navigate over rocks, hills as well as snow. The pup also dances!
The robot synthesizes inputs from five sets of stereo cameras (two on the front and one each on the rear and both sides), gyroscopes and accelerometers in its body to measure its steps.
Added hardware and software can customize the dog for various tasks. This may include roaming construction sites to check job status or hauling packages from delivery trucks to porches. An optional jointed arm is dexterous enough to open doors.
Vulcan printed housing by ICON and New Story developed 3-D printed houses. These can be very helpful in developing countries like El Salvador, where erecting a house can take weeks.
A new large-scale 3-D printer from building startup ICON can construct a one-story, two-bedroom, 650-square-foot home in a day for about $4,000. Designed for the developing world, the one-ton printer fits on a trailer truck for easy transport and is able to run round the clock on a built-in generator.
The machine also uses a proprietary mix of mostly locally sourced ingredients like cement and sand. Together with housing nonprofit New Story, ICON plans to build 100 homes in Latin America next year.
Amazon Go by Amazon engineered no-checkout shopping. Amazon Go convenience stores have no cashiers or finicky do-it-yourself checkout stations.
Customers scan a QR code in the Amazon Go app at the entrance. Then they pick up what they want, walk out and receive a digital receipt. That’s it.
As shoppers wander the aisles, hundreds of cameras and sensors feed an artificial intelligence system that tracks each person and product. They building customers’ carts as they peruse.
Six stores which stock meals and snacks opened this year in Seattle, San Francisco, and Chicago. More companies, including Zippin and Dutch retailer Ahold Delhaize (which owns Stop & Shop and other U.S. grocers) is tinkering with similar grab-and-go schemes.
Guardian GT robot by Sarcos is like the Power Loader from Aliens, just more graceful. Instead of a joystick or other remote, human operators don an upper-body exoskeleton to maneuver the behemoth.
The system embiggens operator’s gestures on the robot’s 7-foot arms. The arms can together hoist 1,000 pounds yet have hands agile enough to join pipes, slice metal with a saw and press via a single button.
Actuators in the control device let an operator feel a scaled-down version of the forces that hit the robot’s arms and adjust accordingly. Specialists can also remotely operate the rig, spying video from two cameras mounted between the machine’s “shoulders” through a headset.
Rotary Actuated Dodecahedron (RAD) by Harvard University developed a gentle origami-inspired sea-life sampler. When marine biologists normally snag soft-bodied organisms like octopuses, their tools can easily squish the delicate critters.
Harvard University mechanical engineer Zhi Ern Teoh developed an origami-inspired grasper that wraps around specimen like petals around a rose stamen. Five foldable panels on the “rotary actuated dodecahedron” (RAD) link to a scaffold of rotating joints.
One motor at the center of the device induces the elements to spin and form a hollow, 12-sided ball around a sample. During ocean testing, the RAD caught and released unharmed squid and jellyfish.
STEM Education Improvement Needs to Churn Out More Engineers
As the Popular Science article confirms, engineers will continue to design and engineer novel projects. These projects will provide a catalyst for recruiting even more high wage jobs. However, there is a shortage of such quality engineers. As a result, our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education programs need to improve drastically in order to recruit more engineers.
More money must be invested in STEM programs. This includes better-trained teachers and more useful teaching tools. Then we will be able to mint more engineers who will be able to address future engineering projects. This in turn will provide a magnet for creating even more high wage jobs for the U.S.
Call me today at 312-944-4000 to discuss other strategies and tactics to help with your key engineer, scientist or other technical recruiting efforts. Or click here for my full contact information.