Mechanical Engineering

Stanford engineers climb walls using gecko-inspired climbing device

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Type: 
Research News

Gecko toes have the exciting ability to adhere strongly to nearly any surface and yet release with minimal effort. In an attempt to mimic those properties of the lizards, Stanford engineers have designed a controllable adhesive system that can stick to glass and support a person's weight.

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Gecko Inspires Climbing Device
Short Dek: 
Stanford engineers have designed a controllable adhesive system that can stick to glass and support a person's weight.

If you spot someone stuck to the sheer glass side of a building on the Stanford campus, it's probably Elliot Hawkes testing his dissertation work.

Hawkes, a mechanical engineering graduate student, works with a team of engineers who are developing controllable, reusable adhesive materials that, like the gecko toes that inspire the work, can form a strong bond with smooth surfaces but also release with minimal effort.

Last modified Fri, 21 Nov, 2014 at 9:39

Stanford mechanical engineer Sheri Sheppard named U.S. Professor of the Year

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Research News

Sheppard receives a national honor for her innovative approach to teaching undergraduate students in a hands-on, problem-solving way that transforms large classes into small group-learning laboratories.

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Sheri Sheppard Is Professor of the Year
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Mechanical Engineer Sheri Sheppard honored for hands-on, problem solving approach to teaching.

Sheri Sheppard, a professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford, today was named U.S. Professor of the Year for doctoral and research universities.

The U.S. Professor of the Year awards are sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and administered by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Last modified Thu, 20 Nov, 2014 at 9:59

Perfect Pitch!

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What’s the NEXT BIG THING?

Come see for yourself!

Join us for Perfect Pitch, the project presentations for ME202 Mechaphonics! Student teams will pitch their smart-phone enabled mechatronic devices to a panel of judges from the heart of Silicon Valley’s start-up world: venture capitalists, incubator founders, entrepreneurs and executives from companies in related fields. These phone-controlled prototypes may become game-changers in home automation, infrastructure monitoring, shopping, medical devices and more.

Date/Time: 
Thursday, November 20, 2014. 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location: 
The Atrium, Peterson Building 550
Sponsors: 
Product Realization Lab
Contact Info: 
noras4@stanford.edu; 650-725-9044
Admission: 
Free

Last modified Mon, 17 Nov, 2014 at 9:54

Two Stanford Engineering professors elected fellows of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers

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Research News

Mark Cutkosky has been recognized for achievements in robotics, and Thomas Kenny has been honored for achievements in microelectromechanical systems.

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Cutkosky, Kenny ASME Fellows
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Stanford Engineering Professors Elected Fellows of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Mark Cutkosky and Thomas Kenny, both professors of mechanical engineering at Stanford, have been named fellows of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in recognition of their significant contributions to the field. Cutkosky, who holds the Fletcher Jones Chair in the School of Engineering, was cited for noteworthy advances in robotics and mechanical design.

Last modified Wed, 12 Nov, 2014 at 12:26

Engineering students program smartphones to control quadcopters

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Research News

In mechanical engineering course ME 202, Stanford students learn how to turn open-source smartphone operating systems into powerful control of mechatronic devices.

Slug: 
Programming Mechatronic Devices
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Stanford engineering students master mechaphonics by building quadcopters.

Caitlin Clancy gave her quadcopter one final inspection and backed away slowly. She had spent the past week designing and building the copter, mostly from scratch, and now, the moment of truth.

She pulled up the flight controls on her Android phone, and the rotors started whirring. Seconds later, the copter shot 30 yards across the d.school atrium, flipped midair and flew into a balcony before crashing to the floor.

Clancy, a second-year master's student in mechanical engineering, took the disastrous flight in stride. In fact, she almost seemed happy.

Last modified Thu, 6 Nov, 2014 at 12:27

Stanford engineers discover how to record the forensic history of chemical contaminations in water

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Type: 
Research News

An invention called a time capsule is a tiny chemistry lab designed to take a fingerprint of contamination and also disclose when it occurred.

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Fingerprinting Chemical Contamination
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Stanford engineers discover how to record the forensic history of chemical contaminations in water.

Stanford engineers have invented a device that can record when chemicals appear in water and in what concentration, without electronics, creating a simple and inexpensive sensor to find unknown sources of contaminations in streams.

Sindy K.Y. Tang, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, described what she calls her time capsule technology in a paper in the journal Lab on a Chip.

Last modified Mon, 3 Nov, 2014 at 9:42

Kenneth Goodson receives Semiconductor Research Corporation’s Technical Excellence Award

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Research News

The award recognizes Goodson’s work studying heat transfer in electronic nanostructures and packaging, microfluidic heat sinks, and thermoelectric and photonic energy conversion devices.

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SRC Honors Kenneth Goodson
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Semiconductor Research Corporation’s Technical Excellence Award recognizes work studying heat transfer.

Kenneth Goodson, the Bosch Mechanical Engineering Department Chairman and Davies Family Provostial Professor, has received the Semiconductor Research Corporation’s Technical Excellence Award for his work studying heat transfer in electronic nanostructures and packaging, microfluidic heat sinks, and thermoelectric and photonic energy conversion devices.

Last modified Thu, 11 Sep, 2014 at 9:15

Hummingbirds vs. helicopters: Stanford engineers compare flight dynamics

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Research News

A quantitative analysis of hummingbird wings shows that they generate lift more efficiently than the best microhelicopter blades. The findings could lead to more powerful, bird-inspired robotic vehicles.

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Hummingbirds vs. Helicopters
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Stanford engineers show that hummingbird wings generate lift more efficiently than the best microhelicopter blades.

More than 42 million years of natural selection have turned hummingbirds into some of the world's most energetically efficient flyers, particularly when it comes to hovering in place.

Humans, however, are gaining ground quickly. A new study led by David Lentink, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford, reveals that the spinning blades of microhelicopters are about as efficient at hovering as the average hummingbird.

Last modified Wed, 30 Jul, 2014 at 10:37

Stanford students learn to build their own bikes

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Research News

One of the most popular courses run by the Product Realization Lab, ME 204 teaches students how to build bicycles, but also patience and project management.

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Students Engineer Their Own Bikes
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In Product Realization Lab, Stanford students learn more than just how to build a bicycle.

In the summer of 2001, Ryan Connolly wanted to build a bicycle from scratch. Connolly, a master's student majoring in manufacturing systems engineering, had met a master frame builder in Palo Alto and convinced him to come to the Product Realization Lab (PRL) and share his knowledge.

That fall quarter, Connolly learned to design and build a frame and fork. In the winter quarter, he built all of the necessary tools, jigs and fixtures required to build not just a single frame, but many.

Last modified Thu, 17 Jul, 2014 at 13:54

Professor Kenneth Goodson receives ASME’s 2014 Heat Transfer Memorial Award

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Type: 
Research News

The award recognizes contributions to the science and technology of phonon and electron transport and scattering in films and nanostructures.

Slug: 
ASME honors Kenneth Goodson
Short Dek: 
Chairman of Mechanical Engineering Department receives 2014 Heat Transfer Memorial Award.

Kenneth Goodson, the Bosch Mechanical Engineering Department Chairman and Davies Family Provostial Professor, has been awarded ASME’s 2014 Heat Transfer Memorial Award in the science category.

Last modified Fri, 20 Jun, 2014 at 9:06