Engineering News Briefs: October 2007

A Team of Whiting School Grad Students Competes in Red Bull Soap Box ChallengeSoap_box

Four Materials Science graduate students have teamed together to create a soap box racer and enter it into the Red Bull Soap Box Challenge. The team of JHU students raced their “Timmy the Turtle” racer in Providence, RI on October 13. For more details on the racer, check out the Red Bull Soap Box teams page. Unfortunately, the JHU team did not win, but their “slow and steady wins the race” motto still could help in future competitions.

Hopkins Engineers Discover the Brain is No Longer Needed

After suffering a spinal cord injury, it’s not the severed communication between the brain and limbs that causes restricted mobility, but the severed communication between limbs. When limbs can’t “speak” to each other, walking is impossible. Ralph Etienne-Cummings and his colleagues in Electrical and Computer Engineering have developed a chip that can produce communication between limbs. Their work shows terrific promise for people suffering from spinal cord injury. Read about it in EETimes.


It Took 100 Years, But WSE Researchers Finally Made the Change

The way researchers incubate cells has remained the same for 100 years … Ece2 until recently. This month, engineers in Johns Hopkins’ Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering developed a thumbnail-sized micro-incubator that can culture baby hamster kidney cells over a three-day period. Self-contained and requiring no external heating source, the eco-friendly, low cost unit can easily be moved to different microscopes, imaging devices or other experimental tools without jeopardizing the health of the cell culture. Says Jennifer Blain, one of the students responsible for this breakthrough, “Once it’s set up, you can just walk away!” Read more about this development in a recent Gazette article.

Engineers Without Borders: Students Supply a Remote South African Village with Water

For the second year in a row, a team of undergraduate engineering students from the Johns Hopkins chapter of Engineers Without Borders traveled to the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa to Ewbprovide a small, rural village with a water supply and irrigation system. Thanks to the students’ work, the village’s elderly women no longer have to carry heavy loads of water to use for drinking or for their communal vegetable gardens. The student group has plans to implement another water supply project in Guatemala later this year. Learn more about Engineers Without Borders at JHU by visiting their web site.