In this article, you can find a compilation of 12 innovation engineering projects not only in some traditional sectors such as Construction or Energy but also in new product design and sustainability.
Innovation Engineering Projects
1. 3D Printed Innovative Products
3D printing is a slow but steady industrial revolution and a very current technology trend. It is a true innovation engineering revolution regarding product design and manufacturing and it is used for an increasing number of applications besides fast prototyping.
The addition of metal to the list of 3D printing materials enables the manufacturing of low annual volume and complex-shaped parts for the automotive and aerospace sectors that would be very expensive to produce otherwise. Another example is VRZ2, a fully 3D printed bicycle using titanium.
A completely different application is food-making. Chef Bernard Faucher ‘cooks’ 3D printed pasta at Google headquarters. During the printing process, he can control temperature and cooking time depending on the type of food.
Railway tracks are complex structures with important geometrical (curvature and gradient) requirements and are very sensitive to ground movements such as vibrations or earthquakes. This is the big challenge that faced Sound Transit’s new project. On this East Link Bridge—which will be completed in 2023—steel platforms and flexible bearings will let light-rail tracks stay in line. By 2030, 50,000 commuters a day will ride 148,000-pound trains at full speed across the water from Seattle to Mercer Island, Washington.
3. Superconductive materials
Superconductivity is a quality of some materials that let electricity flow without resistance, with a 100 efficiency. This can be achieved generally at very low temperatures, the former record had been set at -73º C, a very difficult and costly temperature to keep.
On the 23rd of May of 2019, this temperature record was broken by a team of scientists from the University of Chicago, who managed to activate superconductivity at -23º C, a great achievement for this kind of technology.
This could mark the beginning of a new era for superconductivity, which may have an enormous impact in today’s world: electric wires without decreasing currents, extremely fast supercomputers, ultra-efficient electric engines, and maglev trains would be some inventions superconductivity may provide.
4. Hywind Scotland, the first floating wind farm
Five turbines bob in the nearly 400-foot-deep waters off the coast of Scotland, generating enough power to meet the needs of around 20,000 homes. This floating-wind-farm project is close to shore, but the design means that turbines could one day live farther out to sea, where the winds are stronger—and the farms are less visible from land. That’s a win-win for people who like clean energy but want to keep their sweet ocean view.
5. A translucent roof that closes like a camera
Eight 500-ton steel-boned “petals” sit above the main seating bowl in Atlanta’s newest stadium. Covered in a durable translucent fabric, the petals unfurl 200 feet over the field, shielding fans and players from inclement weather, opening or shutting like a camera aperture in as quick as nine minutes.
Take a look at this video and watch the petals in motion!
6. Smart ring for payments and people identification
The company ICARE Technologies has developed a smart ring that will replace all your credit cards. It is called AEKLYS and it will be available for sale soon.
With its contactless NFC technology, the ring does not need charging or changing its batteries since it does not rely on power, just like a credit card. It offers different options, from payment to people identification, access control, transportation tickets, etc. With a military-level safety, all the information is perfectly protected and only the ring’s owner can activate it and use it.
Lead-acid batteries help you start your car. They back up server farms and are 100 percent recyclable. But the hot process of smelting old lead into new batteries is fossil-fueled and dirty.
Aqua Metals’ new AquaRefining method dissolves the Pb using a room-temperature electrochemical system that’s free of smelting’s harmful emissions. It also produces purer, higher-quality lead than traditional methods.
8. Solar balloons
The company Cool Earth discovered that solar panels only generate a minimum portion of the potential amount of energy that can be obtained. For this reason, they decided to modify the structure of their solar panels by creating solar balloons.
These balloons have an inflatable plastic container that keeps the light in and directs it to the solar panel, thus generating more energy. A first project is under construction and it is estimated that, with this method, a panel will generate 400 times the power of a regular one.
9. Turning humid air into drinking water
Lack of water in certain parts of the world is an enormous problem and the ongoing abuse this natural resource is subject to has made the situation even worse. For this reason, Water Gen was born, providing a solution to this problem with an electricity-powered device that transforms air humidity into drinking water.
Air enters the Water Gen water generator to be fully filtered and cleaned, eliminating dirt and dust. Then this air goes to the heat GENius exchanger and through a cooling process, hence condensation and water. Then water is channeled through a multi-stage filtering system that eliminates impurities, adds minerals, and keeps a fresh taste all the healthy qualities.
10. Smart Autonomous Carry-On Suitcase
If you love traveling and are tired of dragging your luggage around, the company Forward X has the solution: the smart suitcase Ovis. This suitcase follows you around the airport thanks to its AI-powered technology.
Thanks to its sensors and AI, the suitcase is able to identify obstacles and people and not clash with them. It also has a GPS system integrated, in case you need to geolocate it. It is a very cool way to know where your lost, forgotten, or even stolen suitcase may be.
11. Foldable solar mat
This is Rapid Roll, a foldable solar mat that delivers power almost anywhere. Measuring 5 to 10 m in width and up to 200 m in length, Rapid Roll can deliver electric power in the most remote and difficult-to-access areas. Besides, by linking several modules together, Rapid Roll could conceivably deliver industrial-scale electrical power.
A Rapid Roll solar field deploys from a small trailer in 3 minutes enough power for commercial applications such as disaster relief, military, mining, events and festivals, or agriculture.
12. Offshore wind energy kite
Makani is developing energy kites that use a wing tethered to a ground station to efficiently harness energy from the wind, generating electricity at utility-scale. As the kite flies autonomously in loops, rotors on the wing spin as the wind moves through them, generating electricity that is sent down the tether to the grid.
Did you know about these amazing innovation engineering projects? What engineering challenges would you solve with them?
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