You are watching the latest Sci-Fi movie and something happens and you know that it is impossible. And you really want to talk about how impossible it is – right? Well, now you can!
Join us for Sci-Fi Flix in November!! Sci-Fi Flix will happen on two Sunday evenings! This is your chance to watch a movie and hear what the experts say about the engineering, technology and science! You’ll have the chance to ask questions and comment, too! The movies will be streamed over Zoom and College of Engineering faculty will provide expert commentary through the movie (good and bad).
Sunday, Nov 1st at 7pm: The Martian
A 2015 science fiction survival drama film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. The Martian, a 2011 novel by Andy Weir, served as the screenplay adapted by Drew Goddard. The film depicts an astronaut’s (Matt Damon) lone struggle to survive on Mars after being left behind, and efforts to rescue him and bring him home to Earth.
Expert Commentators: Dr. Er-Wei Bai (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Dr. Charles Stanier (Chemical and Biochemical Engineering), and Dr. Geb Thomas (Industrial Systems Engineering)
Sunday, Nov 15th at 7pm: The Fantastic Voyage
A 1966 American science-fiction film directed by Richard Fleischer and written by Harry Kleiner, based on a story by Otto Klement and Jerome Bixby. The film is about a submarine crew who are shrunk to microscopic size and venture into the body of an injured scientist to repair damage to his brain.
Expert Commentators: Dr. Jennifer Fiegel (Chemical & Biochemical Engineering) & Dr. Ed Sander (Biomedical Engineering).
It is already July, when we would normally be thinking of parades, fireworks, and picnics. Things will definitely be different this summer!
Many communities are looking for creative and safe alternatives to the traditional fireworks gatherings. The fear is there will more backyard firework displays – leading to more accidents and injuries. Some places – like Coralville – will be having fireworks this year, but held in an entirely different manner. There will be drive-by fireworks – spectators will be able to park and watch from their car, with strict social distancing guidelines. They will also live-stream the fireworks on Facebook. In other communities there will be vehicle parades – drive-by parades – for which residents will be able to safely view the parade in their own yards. Neighborhood residents are encouraged to decorate and enter their vehicle in the parades. Sadly, candy being thrown during the parades won’t be allowed.
If you are looking for information about the safe handling and treatment of waste fireworks, check out this EPA brochure. You’ll discover what you need to know to safely dispose of spent fireworks.
If you want to know the fireworks control laws for each individual state, the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) has the site for you! Click on your state and find the pertinent laws! Be sure to check out your state’s Fireworks Control Laws before deciding to do your own fireworks displays. Local municipalities also have laws that one must follow.
Here’s more in-depth information on safe fireworks displays.
Chapter 8: transporting fireworks on Public Highways
Curious about the specifics of different types of fireworks? Check out the patents! Our patent guide will help direct you in your search!
How about this one from 2012? Described as an “Electronic toy with synchornized (sic) sound and lighting system that utilizes projectiles and method of use.”
It is described as: “An electronic toy with synchronized sound and lighting system that utilizes projectiles, and method, including a base, a projectile, pre-recorded sounds, a speaker, LED lights, and various circuitry.”
Or, there is this one from 1899: “Fireworks, i.e. pyrotechnic devices for amusement, display, illumination or signal purposes characterised by having holder or support other than casing, e.g. whirler or spike support.” This “invention relates to toy fireworks, and has for its object to produce a device for exhibiting pyrotechnic effects resembling pin or catharine wheels.”
When you are out celebrating and watching the displays and listening to the whistles and the booms (whether virtually or socially distanced), please be mindful of your neighbors and those around you. The United States Marine Corp has a webpage dedicated to raising awareness of how fireworks can affect veterans with PTSD. They aren’t asking that you forego your festivities, but be aware of where you are and what time of the day – or night – you are shooting off your fireworks. Fireworks also effect pets. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), has information on ways to keep your pets happy and healthy during the festivities. There is info on how to care for your pet during the celebration and also includes tips on preparation and cleanup after the celebration.
Wherever your fascination and interest with fireworks lie, check out our webpage and discover all the resources that we have available!
It’s (almost) summer and time to think of vacations. Do you love amusement parks?
It may be a little more difficult to go to an amusement park this summer, but when you are waiting in line for the your chance at surviving the Rock N Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, have you ever wondered how secure that seat belt actually is? The “Pressure activated seat belt locking mechanism,” you know, the one that allows the operator to lock the seat belt from a remote location? It was invented by Alexander Burkat for the Disney Corporation. The patent application was filed by the Walt Disney Company in 1991 and granted in 1993.
Want something a bit tamer than the Rock N Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith? The Teacups more your style? They could still move pretty quickly – and if you get dizzy they might not be a treat, but they don’t go upside down like roller coasters… Or, maybe you’d like the teacups if they weren’t quite so predictable and had a little more excitement? Well, in 2013 a patent was issued to Disney for a “Turntable racing system.” They created a teacup-like ride that incorporated a screen on the walls to provide imagery or a show element to the ride. There is a racing element to is because it also provides “selective vehicle orienting” so it also has a translational movement to each pod.
The summary section of the patent states: “The translational movement is used to allow the vehicles to be repositioned throughout the ride such that the vehicles may take turns leading, trailing, or being in the pack of vehicles as well as being near either side of the vehicle pack and display or show elements provided on the sidewall(s) of the ride facility.”
Maybe your tastes run a little more toward the carousel or merry-go-round. Disney has updated those, too – making them less predictable and more interactive.
How about trying a “Ring carousel ride?” What makes it a “ring” carousel ride? From the patent:”…The new ride described may be labeled a ring carousel ride because the ride includes two or more ring-shaped vehicle support surfaces that are concentric and that are independently driven….” Each ring of the ride can go in the same or opposite directions and the speed of each ring can vary. With all the rings moving in the same direction and at varying speeds it can provide a racing experience – including head-to-head racing and passing!
These are just 3 of the innovative and fun amusement park experiences that Disney has worked on! They developed haptic floor systems with a quake plate for virtual rides, avatar personalization, systems for adaptive gaming experiences, to name just a few more! Interested in exploring more Disney patents? Check our guide on patents. You can learn about what patents are, the most effective ways to search for them, and where to search! (And they don’t have to be only Disney patents – we have (and therefore YOU have) access to patents from all over the world! The European Patent Office has access to over 90 million patents!
Now, whenever you go to an amusement park and get on a ride (or just watch from the sideline!), you can think of all the engineering and innovation that goes into those rides – and where to find the information!!
Burkat, Alexander, inventor. Pressure activated seat belt locking mechanism. Current Assignee: Disney Enterprise Inc. Patent number: US5182836A.
Baxter, Anthony W., Edward A. Nemeth, Alfredo M. Ayala, inventors. Turntable racing system. Current Assignee: Disney Enterprise Inc. Patent number: US20140261052A1
Welcome to the new generation of Scifinder: SciFindern!
It is also written as SciFinder-n.
Registration is required before the first use. If you have already registered for SciFinder, your username and password will work for either one. Register for a SciFinder Account
Also, the registration for academic IDs remains the same and users should use the existing process through the Library. The same ID and password work for both platforms so there is no additional registration for SciFinder-n.
The links below work from anywhere, but you must use them to access either interface from off-campus.
Both interfaces search the same information but are quite different.
SciFinder This classic version has been available since 2008 and has an older architecture. It has system limits so you have to be more precise in searching.
SciFinder-n This interface has just become available. It has a more modern architecture so it allows more flexible searching, has relevancy ranking, and better functionality via mobile devices. It also has no system limits, renders structures in standard conventions and allows you to combine reference and structure searches. It includes these new tools: PatentPak, MethodsNow and Retrosynthesis Plan.
It’s the holiday break. You’ve opened presents, eaten, napped, and now what? How about some fun DIY projects and crafts?
Maybe start out with something from The Star Wars Craft Book. Want to start with a holiday-themed craft? How about a Hanukkah Droidel? The appendix comes complete with the Droidel pattern (it also has patterns for many of the other crafts including Yoda finger puppet dolls and, yes, even a Jar Jar Binks Jedi Mind Trick Doll pattern!) There are instructions for a Ewok Fleece hat, an R2-D2 crocheted beanie, an AT-AT Herb Garden, and even a Jabba the Hutt body pillow!
Ever dreamed of being a pioneer? Make: Like the Pioneers will take you through a “typical” day for a pioneer would have been! From the morning, which might include a bow drill to help you master fire, or what could be more fun that making bacon soap? Or learn to make apple cider right at your kitchen table! Learn to turn your junk mail into home made paper – your own personal stationery! In the afternoon you could learn to do some woodworking and make a “fool’s stool.” (The Fool’s Stool instructions use table saws and wood glue – so you’ve got an advantage over the pioneers!) There is also a section of full-color photos to teach the art of lashing! With some practice you could make a lookout tower! Think the evening is for rest? Well, a pioneer would no doubt be pickling grapes and beets or roasting pumpkin seeds. So, night calls for making an oil lamp, to keep the darkness at bay!
Maybe you are more into LEGO® building and would like to try something more elaborate than usual…. The Art of LEGO Design : Creative Ways to Build Amazing Models can help you do just that! It has chapters that include inspiration, how to work with colors, shapes, sizes, and scales! It helps you make the perfect work space and takes you through the essential elements. The chapters include Wildlife & Foliage, Large-scale Figures, Cars, Wagons, & Watercraft, Buildings, and Science Fiction. You’ll certainly find something that will spark your creativity!
Are you spending your holidays at the beach? How about making some Sand Stampers? Make: Fun! : Create Your Own Toys, Games, and Amusements tells you how!! Want to make custom cookie cutters? Make an oven using a light bulb and a can? Thinking ahead to Halloween? How about making a Tiki Mask? Cereal Box Sound Racers? There are even instructions n hot to make a talking booby trap, or a personalized talking doll? You got it – Make: Fun! has all the instructions for these – and more fun ideas!!
Make: Easy 1+2+3 Projects also fun projects – from a mini-foosball game, a clothes folding board, a simple lightup hoodie to tattooing a banana!
These are just a few (very few!) of the fun DIY project books we’ve got! Check below for additional resources and find something to make this holiday break!!
Now is your chance to learn about the breadth of resources available in the engineering library, from the online databases and books to technical reports and standards. Get a tour of the space and learn about the over 230 tools now available for checkout including new 3D scanners, EEG, oscilloscope, and VR headsets, just to name a few items.
Registration is limited, so register now! Get this fall started off right by meeting Kari and learning about all we have to offer!
The time when thoughts often turn to picnics and barbecues!
Yup, it is that time of year – the time for summer cookouts and get-togethers. And, hopefully, no food-borne illnesses!
Did you know the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,0o0 die, each year (emphasis mine).
There are things that can be done to keep you, your friends, and family from becoming one of those statistics. We have the resources to help you stay safe, although according to Jeff Potter, author of Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food, there is “no such thing as 100% safe.”
Planning to marinate meat to grill? Potter warns: “… recipes that say that say to marinate at room temperature: don’t! Let it marinate in the fridge.” That is because of the “danger zone rule.” Bacteria which is related to foodborne illnesses begin to multiply above 40°F/4.4°C. The standard safety rule provided by the FDA says that food should not be held between the temperatures or 40°F/4.4°C and 140°F/60°C for more than 2 hours. Bacillus Cereus has the highest survival temperature, at 131°F/55°C. (Potter notes: “Who said scientists don’t have a sense of humor? Try saying B. Cereus out loud.”)
Here’s a Fun Fact: “hamburger” can have beef fat added to it; “ground beef” can’t!
Salmonella is one of the most well-known foodborne illnesses. But, the primary source of salmonella isn’t chicken or meat, but vegetables and fruits. So, be sure to wash those fruits and veggies!! A single bacterium of salmonella probably won’t cause a problem, but a few dozen cells will dramatically increase the chances of illness. Norovirus (from the family of caliciviruses) also receives a good deal of attention. The norovirus is contracted when a sick person prepares food for others. For more information and a list of pathogens and the foods which may be carriers head over to Wiley Online. (You’ll need to sign on with your Hawk ID and password).
Note: “… Salmonella is killed at 136°F only when held for a sufficient length of time…” Seeing your thermometer register a hotter temperature does not guarantee the food will be free of salmonella. For more information check out the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Bad Bug Book.
Did you know that serving spoons are supposed to stay in the food? This insures they stay above the 140°F temperature. “Otherwise, that mashed potato clinging to the serving spoon at room temperature will be a potential hangout spot for bacteria.”
When cooking meat, be aware that a change in the color is really not an accurate indicator of how done the meat is. “Myoglobin, oxymyoglobin, and metmyoglobin can begin to turn grey starting around 140°F/60°C, and they can also remain pink at 160°F/71°C if the pH is at or about 6.0.” It is important to use a thermometer when cooking ground meats and poultry!
Potato salad is notorious for spreading foodborne illnesses, but contrary to to what you might think, mayonnaise that isn’t the culprit! In fact, you could leave commercial mayonnaise out at room temperature and not worry about it making you ill. However, potato salad is often prepared and served at room temperature and it is often outside at a picnic or gathering at which there is no refrigerator. So, what does make potato salad so notorious? It takes 2-4 hours for staph or other pathogens to “get accustomed to their surroundings and really get ready to ramp up binary fission.” (Potato salad, food poisoning and contortionists). If the potato salad has been sitting for several hours at the right temperature, “trouble will ensue.”
If you are worried about bacteria multiplying and spreading in your food, remember this trick: FAT TOM.
F=Food: bacteria need proteins and carbohydrates to multiply, so obviously, no food, no bacterial multiplication!
A=Acidity: bacteria need certain pH ranges. Too acidic and proteins in the bacteria denature.
T=Temperature: Too cold – the bacteria sleep; too hot and they die.
T=Time: There needs to be enough time for the bacteria to multiply to a point where there enough to make a person ill.
O=Oxygen: Bacteria needs sufficient oxygen to multiply. (Note: Vacuum-packed bags ore not necessarily devoid of oxygen).
M=Moisture: Bacteria need water to reproduce. Bacteria need a water activity value of 0.85 or higher in order to multiply. (The water activity scae is used to measure the freely available water in a material – from 0 to 1).
Wondering how to accurately measure temperature? Head to our Tool Library webpage and explore the measuring devices that are available for you to check out! We have 2 thermal cameras, an infrared thermometer, environmental meter and more! Use our tools to help keep your food at safe temperatures!
Now that you are sure that your meats and potato salads will be safe for your outdoor party, you can think about what cold beverage you’d like to serve! How about making your own root beer? Homemade Root Beer, Soda, & Pop will explain the history and discuss the equipment needed to make them! It even includes recipes for ginger beer and cream soda!
Enjoy the summer grilling and picnic season! And, be safe!!
Things that go bump in the night, things that cannot be explained, creatures that seem to only exist in popular culture, and other unusual occurrences are all examples of the paranormal. Paranormal events are phenomena described in popular culture, folklore, and other non-scientific bodies of knowledge, whose existence within these contexts is described to lie beyond normal experience or scientific explanation.
We have a new exhibit, “The Paranormal,” where we explore the events and creatures which are inexplicable and unproven by science.
The most notable paranormal beliefs include those that pertain to ghosts, extraterrestrial life, unidentified flying objects, psychic abilities or extrasensory perception, and cryptids. Cryptid are any animal whose existence is not confirmed by science. The study of them is known as cryptozoology! Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, Chupacabra, dragons, unicorns, and werewolves are among the most popular cryptids.
Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA is “the world’s first true penitentiary, a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of prisoners.”1 In 1829, the prison received “Charles Williams, Prisoner Number One. Burglar.”2 The prison’s history is “full of suicide, madness, disease, murder, and torture” which makes it one of the most haunted places in America.3 The prison is now open for tours and even has “Terror Behind the Walls” – a haunted house attraction.
Patent # 9,517,421 is a “device for fanciful detection of ghosts” which is “A novelty toy, apparel, or jewelry, device for fanciful detection of ghosts, or other paranormal phenomena, through exploitation of Hall Effect, or of thermochromic material.”4 That might be useful on the next trip to Eastern State Penitentiary when Ghost Hunting!
Believing in the paranormal goes back to Early Christianity. The Church sought “to suppress belief in the old gods and goddesses” so when misfortunes happened it became the work of the devil and demons. By the 15th Century, this belief extended to “individuals in [the community] who were collaborating with Satan to induce misfortune: “witches”5When inexplicable events occurred, it became common to hunt “witches,” which, between 1450-1750, lead to the deaths of 40,000 to 60,000 “witches,” who were burned at the stake. 6 One popular image of a witch is cackling over a bubbling cauldron. If the Witch’s Brew produces CO2 that she wants to collect, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ 2014 Handbook on Refrigeration explains the typical way to collect CO2. 7
Arguably the most famous cryptid is Bigfoot. One of the earliest discoveries of Bigfoot was in 1811 when David Thompson was crossing the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. In his journal he wrote:
I saw the track of a large Animal – has 4 large Toes abt 3 or 4 In long & a small nail at the end of each. The Bal of his foot sank abt 3 In deeper than his Toes – the hinder part of his foot did not mark well. The whole is about 14 In long by 8 In wide & very much resembles a large Bear’s Track. It was in the Rivulet in about 6 In snow.8
Since then there have been thousands of sightings but no real non-blurry pictures of Bigfoot. Mostly from “camera-shake” as people ran away in fear. Thankfully the book, Motion Deblurring: Algorithms and Systems edited by A.N. Rajagopalan and Rama Chellappa is “A comprehensive guide to restoring images degraded by motion blur. A wide range of methods drawn from basic theory and cutting-edge research.”9 But, it always helps to have a good camera to start with and the Hero5 GoPro records 4k Video for your next Cryptozoology Expedition. The Engineering Library has 3 in the Tool Library.
The paranormal can be found all around – from ghosts of trapped souls in a prison to witches working with the devil to people finding cryptids in their backyards.
While you’re in the Library checking out the exhibit, be sure to stop by the Creative Space and see our Pepper’s Ghost! Get ready for Halloween – come explore the world of the paranormal with us!
Valentine’s Day is already upon us! Have you planned ahead? Do you know what you are going to do? How about creating something that is uniquely yours?
Your Valentine doesn’t have to be a significant other – could be a roommate, parent, child, project partner…. No matter who you choose to be your Valentine – we’ve got the perfect DIY project you can tailor specifically to your special Valentine!
To add to the mood lighting – how about making light dance to music? It is possible! Electronics Projects for Dummies will walk you through making it happen! With complete schematics, parts list, photos, and step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to create a personalized light board which will have the lights dancing to whatever type of music the mood requires! Brilliant LED Projects has complete instructions for a color-changing disco light, too!
Is your Valentine the outdoorsy type? A backpack illuminator or a bike flasher might be exactly what they want! Brilliant LED Projects explains how. The project specifications for the backpack illuminator indicate the display comprises 16 tricolor LEDs configured in a 4×4 matrix. Each LED can be controlled independently, colorful flashing images and simple animations can be created, and the supply voltage is 4.5 volts. Parts list, schematics, clear photos, and step-by-step instructions will help light up your Valentine’s backpack – and maybe their heart!
Brilliant LED Projects will also walk you through creating your own LED bike flasher. It explains how to create a “Front LED Flasher,” and a “Rear Red Flasher.” A Valentine’s gift of a bike flasher tells your special someone you want to help keep them safe!
Is your special someone an animal lover?
If you have an aquarium, how about a Raspberry Pi-powered thermometer which will text your cell phone if the aquarium water overheats or becomes too cool! Make: Raspberry Pi and AVR Projects takes you all the way through the project – color photos, parts lists, step-by-step instructions! Want to experiment with a Raspberry Pi before you tackle your project? We have one in our Tool Library! Come in, check it out, and discover all the amazing things you can do!
Love dolphins, but don’t have room in that aquarium? Electronics for Dummies will teach you how to create a wall display of five dolphins, outlined in LEDs, which light up – one after another – making them appear to dance across the wall!.
Does your Valentine like bling? Make: Wearable Electronics will show you, in detail, how to create wearable tech! Haven’t played with material and circuits before? Don’t worry – we have a Lilypad in our Tool Library! The Lilypad has everything you need to explore adding bling to clothing! It includes the LED lights, conductive fabrics, battery, needles….check it out and get creative! (You can even make the LED flash like a heart beat!)
There is a complete list of supplies needed to create any of the crafts in the book. Most of them are easily accessible or found around the house. Supplies include (but are not limited to) a needle-nose plier, sandpaper, tape measure, ruler, tape and binder clips. Each of the crafts has step-by-step instructions and are illustrated in full-color.
For the holidays you can have a Wookiee pumpkin for Halloween, a Mistle-TIE Fighter, or a Hanukkah Droidel. Nature & Science includes a Dagobah carnivorous plant habitat, a Wookiee bird house and an AT-AT herb garden.
Whether you choose to celebrate by making your own Daisy Ridley’s blaster (or a lightsaber!), or looking at the intersection of games and film, enjoy and May the 4th be with you!!
Papazian, Gretchen, Sommers, Joseph Michael, editors of compilation. 2013. Game on, Hollywood : essays on the intersection of video games and cinema. Jefferson, North Carolina. Engineering Library, PN1995.9 .V46 G37 2013