February 07, 2014
Science of the Olympic Winter Games
Another Olympics games means a new installment of the National Science Foundation's "Science of Sports" series: Science and Engineering of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games! Each of the ten episodes presents Olympic athletes and the science and engineering concepts that underlie their performance. It's a great way to learn more about top NSF-supported research and the real-life applications.
Check out the quadrocopter robotic flyer (describing how control systems engineering is laying the groundwork for the design of more "athletic" robots) in this first video of the series. (Plus see U of M's own Meryl Davis and Charlie White!)
July 20, 2012
The Science of the Olympics
The 2012 Olympic Games in London are opening July 27! A great way to further your enjoyment of the athletic events - and learn a bit too - is to check out the National Science Foundation's "Science of the Summer Olympics: Engineering in Sports" video series. The episodes are around 5 minutes long, and explore the science, engineering and technology involved in the performance of the Olympic athletes. Among the 10 titles available for online viewing are "The Biomechanics of Usain Bolt", "Engineering for Mobility", and "Missy Franklin and Fluid Dynamics".
And for more "Science of Sports" video series from the NSF, go to the Science 360 site.
May 25, 2012
Vought-Sikorsky XR-4C, 1942
Sikorsky Aircraft Company
Image © Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Igor Sikorsky, the brilliant aviation designer and founder of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, was born on this day in 1889. Originally from Kiev, he emigrated to the United States in 1919. He set the standard for helicopers in 1942 with the XR-4, the world's first mass-production single-rotor helicopter. The XR-4 helicopter pictured above was used by the Army Air Corps in World War II and is now in the collection of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. The Washington, D.C. museum has a fine collection of Sikorsky aircraft, as well as myriad other avation and space objects, and some are represented in their online image gallery.
April 10, 2012
Updated Mapping Gothic France
Saint Julien Cathedral, Le Mans, France
© Saskia Ltd. Cultural Documentation
Source: AAEL Digital Image Collection
In 2010, we wrote an entry about the exciting beginnings of the project Mapping Gothic France. Since then the site has been updated to include many more Gothic churches, images, and options for viewing. One of the new features includes the Pasteboard, which allows you to sort the churches as needed for visual analysis and comparisons. You can sort images of various church aspects from frontispieces to parametric sections in any order you need. Be sure to check out the new Simulation model as well, an interactive resource for learning about the structural dynamics of stone arches. Remember, the site is still a work in progress, so keep checking back for future additions and resources.
March 08, 2012
Materials Collection open house
You have yet another reason to stop by Imageworks! We are now housing a collection of materials - 200 samples of the most advanced, innovative and sustainable materials and processes in the world! These samples are provided by Material ConneXion, and are a subset of the more than 6,000 samples available on their online database.
On Tuesday, March 13 from 4-6 p.m. we will have an Open House celebrating the collection - so come up to the 2nd floor of the Art, Architecture and Engineering Library and check it out!
November 16, 2011
"Athens Subway" (video review)
A tourist walks past ancient pottery artifacts decorating the Metro station of Acropolis in Athens, August 11, 2004
© AP Photo / Lefteris Pitarakis
Source: AP Images
Produced by Flashback Television for the History Channel
With air pollution from traffic congestion damaging ancient monuments and the 2004 Olympics around the corner, an expansion of the single line Athens subway was desperately needed. But the subway would pass under the most ancient heart of the city! There was tension between engineers and archaeologists as the engineers had deadlines to meet and the archaeologists wanted to carefully go through everything unearthed. Fortunately a system of cooperation was developed which opened up new opportunities for both the engineers and archaeologists. By building the subway beneath the city the engineers provided access to areas for archaeologists that would never have been available before, allowing for the largest scale archaeological project ever conducted in Athens. The various and delicate tunneling techniques the engineers used to preserve ancient buildings in the city above are shown in detail. When the subway is opened the ancient is incorporated with the new as artifacts found during the subway’s creation are put on display in the stations. This film shows how the engineers and archaeologists worked together to protect Athens’ rich cultural heritage and to balance the needs of the living with the preservation of the past.
October 20, 2011
"Objectified" (video review)
A Swiss Dots Production
Produced and Directed by Gary Hustwit
From mass produced chairs to a Japanese toothpick, Gary Hustwit presents a detailed look at the design process and how design is behind most of the objects we use everyday. Hustwit interviews designers from companies such as Smart Design, Braun, and Apple who provide their inside views on design, its ever-changing nature, and the exploration of concepts such as mass production and the democratization of design. Parisian designers such as Erwan Bouroullec, Ronan Bouroullec, and Marc Newson talk about their inspiration in materials and how they conduct their design projects. Hastwit also further addresses issues of sustainability and the shift in importance to form over function to illustrate the main challenges designers face today.
September 16, 2011
"Engineering Connections" (video review)
National Geographic Channel
Follow Richard Hammond as he links the engineering innovations of the Airbus A380, Hawaii's Keck Observer, Norway's Troll A Platform and Taipei 101 in the captivating first series of Engineering Connections. Hammond explores the surprising elements such as Mongol bows, sand blasters, racing cars and bamboo, that were used to achieve these engineering feats . Conducting experiments involving everything from chicken guns to electric guitars in order to demonstrate how construction designs and materials work, Hammond has fun presenting complex ideas with creativity. And most fascinating of all are the unusual connections drawn between history, nature and everyday items with engineering design.
July 19, 2011
Tissandier collection of aeronautical prints and drawings
Ascension du 26 septembre 1876, 700 mètres
[Gaston and Albert Tissandier ascending in their balloon "Zénith"]
Albert Tissandier, artist
Among the wealth of images in the Library of Congress's Prints & Photographs Online Catalog is the Tissandier collection. These images, collected by the balloonists Albert and Gaston Tissandier, document the early history of aeronautics. The prints and drawings range from 1773-1910; most concern balloon flight and concepts for heavier-than-air vehicles.
Flying, ca. 1830
Lowry, Joseph Wilson, engraver
[Airship powered by an electric motor developed by Albert and Gaston Tissandier departing from Auteuil, Paris, France, October 8, 1883]
Poyet, del ; E. A. Tilly.
Descente du ballon le Neptune dans les falaises du Cap Gris-Nez Voyage en ballon, Calais, 15 août 1868
Drawing, A. Tissandier
May 05, 2011
"Future by Design" (video review)
© Doug Drexler/concept and design by Jacque Fresco
Future by Design
Produced and directed by William Gazecki
Jacque Fresco, the artist, social engineer and industrial designer, is compared to Leonardo da Vinci in the versatility of his work and his exploration of technology in this documentary on his life and creations. From inventing surgical tools to designing underwater cities, Fresco elaborates on his passion for the use of future design and technology to improve the world.
Fresco also shares his early inspiration and fascination with the future drawn from films such as Metropolis and his encounters with Buckminster Fuller and Albert Einstein. Giving a tour of his home in Florida, he introduces what is known as The Venus Project, a full-scale model of homes surrounded with natural environment that he designed for future living. In his studio Fresco describes his dreams, designs and innovations for homes and cities, exhibiting the workplace and models he has created for his captivating vision of the future.
April 12, 2011
50th Anniversary of the First Human Spaceflight
On April 12, 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space, making a 108-minute orbital flight in his Vostok 1 spacecraft. The rocket carrying Gagarin's Vostok 1 spacecraft blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Soviet Union, reaching unprecedented speeds for human travel at the time before it broke free of the Earth's gravitational pull and entered orbit around the planet, circling once before re-entering the atmosphere and landing back on Soviet soil.
Vostok rocket on its launcher
© AP Photo/File
Source: AP Images
YouTube is celebrating 50 years of human spaceflight with the premiere of an hour-and-a-half long video, First orbit, that recreates, in real-time, Yuri Gagarin's flight. It was shot entirely in space from on board the International Space Station. The film combines this new footage with Gagarin's original mission audio and a new musical score by composer Philip Sheppard.
March 31, 2011
"Building Alaska" (video review)
A welcome army of invasion is the great force of United States soldiers now cutting the wonderful Alcan Highway through Canada's wilderness to Alaska. A former lithographer, Sherman Gardner of Midvale, Utah, is working as surveyor
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ppmsca-08554
Written and produced by Daniel B. Polin
Charting the history of Alaska through its transportation development, Building Alaska explores the innovative techniques people used to settle and adapt in the Alaskan wilderness. From the Gold Rush and the resulting railways to the installation of the first telegraph, the film covers the various people who made it happen, including ambitious engineers, entrepreneurs, politicians, writers and schoolteachers, and the difficulties and disasters they overcame. Alaska’s historical role as a provider of natural resources to the United States from gold and copper to oil, as well as its important role as a military base during WWII is shown. Prominent figures who worked towards Alaska’s eventual statehood, including Judge James Wickersham and Governor Ernest Gruening, are recognized, and the film then describes the development of Alaska into the state we know today.
January 20, 2011
"The Way Things Go" (video review)
The Way Things Go
Directed by Peter Fischli and David Weiss
A presentation by the artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss, the film documents a work in which everyday objects are used to explore the properties of physics and chemistry. Their elaborate 100 ft. structure demonstrates objects and movement in fluid arrangements of slow to quick action in a fascinating combination of science and art. With no narration and only the sound of the objects themselves as they undergo motion catalyzed by water, gas, fire and chemical reactions, Fischli and Weiss allow the objects to tell their own mesmerizing story. Bonus features include biographies on the artists and information on their work.
January 11, 2011
Bruce Shapiro and the Art of Motion Control
© Bruce Shapiro
After retiring from his career as a medical doctor, Bruce Shapiro began experimenting with motion control and art in the early 1990s. His projects with machinery and art combine elements of engineering and science to create truly unique works. Shapiro's website contains his explanations of the use of industrial materials and machines in his art providing information on how to create your own motion control projects with scrap materials. His media include everything from eggs, bubbles, ribbons and sand; and his installations, such as Pipe Dream and Ribbon Dancer, at science museums reflect his interests in motion, music and mathematical patterns. To see these and other art experiments created by Shapiro visit The Art of Motion Control.
October 28, 2010
"Movable Steel Bridges" (video review)
London's famous tower bridge lifts its bascules for giant ship to pass,
© AP Photo
Source: AP Images
Movable Steel Bridges: Historical Survey: Draw, Bascule, Lift and Swing Bridges
H. de Jong & N.G.M. Muyen, program of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Delft University of Technology
An excellent film for demonstrating the mechanics of how bridges work, "Movable Steel Bridges" provides an in-depth look at various types of bridges, their technical features, and designs. Beginning with a basic introduction on movable bridges and their origins, it traces the development of bridges used for everything from defense to transportation. The major focus is given to four main types of bridges, namely the drawbridge, the bascule bridge, the lift bridge, and the swing bridge. Incredibly detailed diagrams are utilized to show the lifting process and technicalities for each bridge as well as the various advancements in bridge construction. On the whole it is a fabulous resource for understanding the engineering behind movable bridges.
October 14, 2010
"Babel 2015" (video review)
© Eloy Celaya
Babel 2015: The Revolution in Architecture
A Films for the Humanities and Sciences Production
With a look at the plans for Shanghai's Babel, a skyscraper intended to house a city within itself, Babel 2015 presents the development and utilization of bionic architecture. As cities such as Shanghai are rapidly expanding the need for such grand-scale buildings is evident, but problems people experience from living at such great heights, including dizziness and a removal from nature, need to be taken into consideration. Interviews with architects such as Javier Pioz and engineer Chris McCarthy relate the elements of bionic architecture and the desire to build environmentally inspired buildings not only to help solve these living problems, but also for the practical elements gained from studying and implementing nature in architecture. They consider the problems and challenges to Babel's design from wind to earthquakes, but also discuss how elements of nature can be effectively utilized to overcome these difficulties.
September 24, 2010
"Cantilever Bridges" (video review)
El Alamillo Bridge, Seville, Spain
Santiago Calatrava, 1992
© Mary Ann Sullivan
Source: Digital Imaging Project
Shopware Videos: How Did They Build That? Series
A brief, informative video that examines cantilever bridges using a variety of examples including the Kingsgate Footbridge, Forth Bridge and Puente del Alamillo. Scott Steedman narrates the video providing an interesting and straightforward explanation of how each bridge works and the history of their construction. Overall a good introduction to the topic with basic bridge engineering concepts and vocabulary covered along with the use of creative demonstrations. One in a number of series that covers other architectural features including everything from suspension bridges to domes and concrete.
October 08, 2009
Look for the Sky with SkyFinder
Last August at SIGGRAPH, an international conference on computer graphics, a group presented an innovative system designed to analyze images of the sky. The SkyFinder (link opens .pdf file) system automatically extracts a set of sky attributes—such as category, layout, richness, horizon, or sun position—from each image in a collection. This enables users to search the collection interactively at the semantic level using text queries, like “a landscape at sunset with the sun at the bottom left”.
March 10, 2009
If you're interested in environmentally conscious design, planning and architecture, the PBS series E2 Design might be of interest to you. The Visual Resources Collection owns season 1, 2, and 3. You can also watch the third season online for the time being at the E2 Design Website.
If you can't completely get you green fix from the episodes, there are PBS E2 podcasts to supplement each segment of the series. The PBS E2 site also provides teachers' guides and project suggestions to accompany the videos if shown in class.
logo above © Kontentreal and displayed here for promotional and educational reasons
December 10, 2008
In several of the entries, we've mentioned how particular institutions offer podcasts or streaming audio or video. However, there's also a great source of broader strictly educational material available on iTunes U. Many students and faculty may already be using the University of Michigan materials located on iTunes U, whether public lectures or private course offerings.
The Penny W. Stamps Lectures as well as TCAUP lectures are frequently posted to iTunes U, but access to audio and video podcasts through iTunes U is not limited only to University of Michigan programs. Many museums and other Universities also post lectures or instructional videos. In the Fine Arts category, for example, you can find everything from lectures on Rembrandt to demonstrations of how to use Final Cut Pro or Dreamweaver.
If you want to find lectures or performances from a museum, click the "Beyond Campus" button on the left of the screen, this will bring you to a list that includes institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, and the National Science Digital Library. So, whether you're a mac or pc person, art student, chemistry major or engineering grad, there's something on iTunes U for you.
If you're a faculty member and are interested in offering extra items or recordings of your lectures on iTunes U contact: UMiTunesinfo@umich.edu. Make sure to check out the contribute page on Michigan's iTunes U for copyright policies and other instructions.
September 19, 2008
Use M-Tagger for Images!
Try the new M-Tagger tool to tag images in the AAEL VRC Online Image Collection. You can then search for your tags and find the images you've tagged. You can tag with words that describe the image or you might tag with a course name or number for which that image is relevant.
Simply go to the collection, conduct your search, click on a thumbnail and then click on Tag This Page!
To search tags (your own or all tags), simply go to the MTagger Search Page or to any image and click on the Search Tags link in the MTagger window.
September 15, 2008
Online Sources for Science & Medical Images
Heliocereus speciosus (New York Botanical Garden; artist: M.E. Eaton, 1913, watercolor)
Catalog of Botanical Illustrations; The Cactaceae, vol. 2, pl. 17, fig. 2, Dept. of Botany, Smithsonian Institution
Visit our list of Science and Medical Digital Image Collections list to find images that will enrich your science paper or presentation. Remember to cite the source of your image, just as you would cite an article or book.
September 11, 2008
Looking for images that don't fit in neat subject categories?
Try AP Images. AP Images provides 100's of 1,000s of images from newspapers, magazines, and online news sources. You can search in several news categories (national, international, sports, etc.). You might want to browse through some of their historical image groups (i.e., Man on the Moon, Jazz Greats, Early Computers, etc.).
When searching for images in AP Images, remember that you're searching through captions, so choose words that you might expect to find describing the image you're hoping to find. For example, if you don't find what you need with "tornado," try "funnel cloud." Remember to search common abbreviations in addition to words. For instance, searching for WTC New York will find different and additional images from a search for World Trade Center New York.