In 1955, a 14-year-old with ambitions to go to the moon built a robot he named Gismo, winning the Industrial Arts Competition run by the Ford Motor Company. Gismo walked, talked and waved his arms, and he cost $15 to make. He was one of 72 examples of craftsmanship by teenagers on display at the Waldorf-Astoria. Photo: Neal Boenzi/The New York Times
The winning entries of the 2012 Photography Competition at the Department of Engineering, sponsored by Carl Zeiss, provide a stunning visual insight into the ways in which engineering makes a vital contribution to our lives.
Engineering is about much more than dams and bridges. A glance at the hundreds of stunning images submitted for the 2012 Photography Competition at the Department of Engineering, sponsored by leading optical systems manufacturer Carl Zeiss, offers a window into a world of ground-breaking research in a staggering array of fields, encompassing applications that range from new adhesives and inkjet printing techniques through to the development of replacement human tissues.
A number of factors led to the use of 2MP sensors in the main imaging cameras used on NASA’s Mars rover, Curiosity, says the project manager responsible for their development. The slow data rates available for broadcasting images back to Earth and the team’s familiarity with that family of sensors played a part, says Malin Space Science Systems’ Mike Ravine, but the biggest factor was the specifications being fixed as far back as 2004. Multi-shot panoramas will see the cameras deliver high-res images, he explains, but not the 3D movies Hollywood director James Cameron had wanted.
‘There’s a popular belief that projects like this are going to be very advanced but there are things that mitigate against that. These designs were proposed in 2004, and you don’t get to propose one specification and then go off and develop something else. 2MP with 8GB of flash [memory] didn’t sound too bad in 2004. But it doesn’t compare well to what you get in an iPhone today.’ [cont.]