Juggling may sound like mere entertainment, but a study led by Johns Hopkins engineers has used this circus skill to gather critical clues about how vision and the sense of touch help control the way humans and animals move their limbs in a repetitive way, such as in running. The findings eventually may aid in the treatment of people with neurological diseases and could lead to prosthetic limbs and robots that move more efficiently.
Recent news from The Johns Hopkins University
This section contains regularly updated highlights of the news from around The Johns Hopkins University. Links to the complete news reports from the nine schools, the Applied Physics Laboratory and other centers and institutes are to the left, as are links to help news media contact the Johns Hopkins communications offices.
Fifty-nine Johns Hopkins freshmen from an introductory mechanical engineering course will compete. Twenty student teams of two or three students have built devices that must be able to transport an uncooked chicken egg from a platform six feet off the ground to a target below—without breaking the egg.
A quirk of nature has long baffled biologists: Why do animals push in directions that don’t point toward their goal, like the side-to-side sashaying of a running lizard or cockroach? An engineer building a robot would likely avoid these movements because they seem wasteful. So why do animals behave this way? A multi-institutional research team, led by Johns Hopkins engineers, says it has solved this puzzle.
A team of students at the Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering has designed for NASA a new stethoscope that delivers accurate heart- and body-sounds to medics who are trying to assess astronauts’ health on long missions in noisy spacecraft.
It’s a parent’s worst nightmare: a young child is accidentally left in a locked car on a warm and sunny day. The closed windows turn the car into a greenhouse, and the child dies of heatstroke. In a key first step toward preventing such tragedies, three undergraduate engineering students at Johns Hopkins have turned technology from a popular video game player into a detector for children left behind in dangerously overheated vehicles.
Recipes can be rather imprecise: a dab of butter, a pinch of salt. But Johns Hopkins engineering students recently learned that maintaining rigid control of cooking temperatures, with less than 1 degree of wiggle-room, can lead to much tastier meals. Oddly enough, their cooking experiments occurred in an undergraduate course called Robot Sensors and Actuators.
In this competition involving freshman engineers’ inventions, batteries are NOT required – or even allowed. For a class assignment, 67 students from an introductory mechanical engineering course have built aerial vehicles that must move across elevated cables and drop a “payload” onto a bull’s-eye target five feet below. The challenge: these cable cars can possess no motors or batteries. All movement must come from mousetraps and rubber bands.
Three engineering experts at Johns Hopkins University can talk about how the storm could cause coastal damage and power outages, and affect hospital functionality.
Two swimming strokes—one that pulls through the water like a boat paddle and another that whirls to the side like a propeller—are commonly used by athletes training for the Olympic Games. But elite swimmers and their coaches have long argued over which arm motion is more likely to propel an aquatic star toward a medal. A university research study has picked a winner.
Johns Hopkins Launches $90 Million Institute to Study ‘Extreme Events’ and Help Develop Better Protective Materials for the Army
The Johns Hopkins University has won an award worth up to $90 million from the U.S. Army to tap the expertise of the nation’s top academic researchers to help the Army develop new lightweight materials to better protect soldiers and vehicles. Toward this goal, Johns Hopkins is forming a new institute where researchers will try to understand precisely what happens when impacts on materials result in “extreme dynamic environments.”
Andrea Prosperetti, a Johns Hopkins professor who is an internationally respected expert in the mechanics of fluids, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the organization has announced. Election to the academy is considered among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.
Johns Hopkins engineers, recognized as experts in medical robotics, have turned their attention skyward to help NASA with a space dilemma: How can it fix valuable satellites that are breaking down or running out of fuel? One option—sending a human repair crew into space—is costly, dangerous and sometimes not even possible for satellites in a distant orbit. Another idea is now getting attention: Send robots to the rescue and give them a little long-distance human help. Johns Hopkins scientists say the same technology that allows doctors to steer a machine through delicate abdominal surgery could someday help an operator on Earth fix a faulty fuel line on the far side of the moon.
Large wind farms are being built around the world as a cleaner way to generate electricity, but operators are still searching for the most efficient way to arrange the massive turbines that turn moving air into power. To help steer wind farm owners in the right direction, Charles Meneveau, a Johns Hopkins fluid mechanics and turbulence expert, working with a colleague in Belgium, has devised a new formula through which the optimal spacing for a large array of turbines can be obtained.
Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals, which offers part-time education for working engineers and scientists through the university’s Whiting School of Engineering, has appointed five new chairs and a vice chair.
On Wednesday, Dec. 1, 18 three-member teams of Johns Hopkins students in a freshman mechanical engineering course will compete on the Homewood Campus in a series of device races to deliver a “payload” past obstacles and across a finish line. Each device can only be powered by the energy stored in two mousetraps and six rubber bands.
Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered that, under the right conditions, newly developed nanocrystalline materials exhibit surprising activity in the tiny spaces between the geometric clusters of atoms called nanocrystals, from which they are made.