During the 1850s and 1860s, engineers carried out a piecemeal raising of the level of central Chicago. Streets, sidewalks, and buildings were physically raised on jackscrews. The work was funded by private property owners and public funds.
A screw drive is a system used to turn a screw. At a minimum, it is a set of shaped cavities and protrusions on the screw head that allows torque to be applied to it. Usually, it also involves a mating tool, such as a screwdriver, that is used to turn it. The following heads are categorized based on commonality, with some of the less-common drives being classified as "tamper-resistant".
Most heads come in a range of sizes, typically distinguished by a number, such as "Phillips #00". These sizes do not necessarily describe a particular dimension of the drive shape, but rather are arbitrary designations.
- "List of screw drives" | 2018-05-07 | 303 Upvotes 255 Comments
The Iron Ring is a ring worn by many Canadian-trained engineers, as a symbol and reminder of the obligations and ethics associated with their profession. The ring is presented to engineering graduates in a private ceremony known as the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer. The concept of the ritual and its Iron Rings originated from H. E. T. Haultain in 1922, with assistance from Rudyard Kipling, who crafted the ritual at Haultain's request.
- "Iron Ring" | 2013-05-07 | 277 Upvotes 187 Comments
Poka-yoke (ポカヨケ, [poka yoke]) is a Japanese term that means "mistake-proofing" or "inadvertent error prevention". A poka-yoke is any mechanism in any process that helps an equipment operator avoid (yokeru) mistakes (poka). Its purpose is to eliminate product defects by preventing, correcting, or drawing attention to human errors as they occur. The concept was formalised, and the term adopted, by Shigeo Shingo as part of the Toyota Production System. It was originally described as baka-yoke, but as this means "fool-proofing" (or "idiot-proofing") the name was changed to the milder poka-yoke.
In radio communications, an evolved antenna is an antenna designed fully or substantially by an automatic computer design program that uses an evolutionary algorithm that mimics Darwinian evolution. This procedure has been used in recent years to design a few antennas for mission-critical applications involving stringent, conflicting, or unusual design requirements, such as unusual radiation patterns, for which none of the many existing antenna types are adequate.
- "Evolved antenna" | 2018-11-14 | 192 Upvotes 67 Comments
The Mecanum wheel is a omnidirectional wheel design for a land-based vehicle to move in any direction. It is sometimes called the Ilon wheel after its inventor, Bengt Erland Ilon (1923-2008), who came up with the concept while working as an engineer with the Swedish company Mecanum AB, and patented it in the United States on November 13, 1972.
- "Mecanum wheel" | 2018-05-04 | 169 Upvotes 50 Comments
A launch loop or Lofstrom loop is a proposed system for launching objects into orbit using a moving cable-like system situated inside a sheath attached to the Earth at two ends and suspended above the atmosphere in the middle. The design concept was published by Keith Lofstrom and describes an active structure maglev cable transport system that would be around 2,000 km (1,240 mi) long and maintained at an altitude of up to 80 km (50 mi). A launch loop would be held up at this altitude by the momentum of a belt that circulates around the structure. This circulation, in effect, transfers the weight of the structure onto a pair of magnetic bearings, one at each end, which support it.
Launch loops are intended to achieve non-rocket spacelaunch of vehicles weighing 5 metric tons by electromagnetically accelerating them so that they are projected into Earth orbit or even beyond. This would be achieved by the flat part of the cable which forms an acceleration track above the atmosphere.
The system is designed to be suitable for launching humans for space tourism, space exploration and space colonization, and provides a relatively low 3g acceleration.
Ephemeralization, a term coined by R. Buckminster Fuller in 1938, is the ability of technological advancement to do "more and more with less and less until eventually you can do everything with nothing," that is, an accelerating increase in the efficiency of achieving the same or more output (products, services, information, etc.) while requiring less input (effort, time, resources, etc.). Fuller's vision was that ephemeralization will result in ever-increasing standards of living for an ever-growing population despite finite resources. The concept has been embraced by those who argue against Malthusian philosophy. The subsequently coined economics term "dematerialization" refers to essentially the same concept as also does eco-economic decoupling.
- "Ephemeralization" | 2021-10-25 | 146 Upvotes 68 Comments
The turboencabulator or turbo-encabulator (and its later incarnations, the retroencabulator or retro-encabulator and Micro Encabulator) is a fictional machine whose alleged existence became an in-joke and subject of professional humor among engineers. The explanation of the supposed product makes extensive use of technobabble.
The gag was popular for many years. The following quote is from the original Students' Quarterly Journal article written by J. H. Quick in 1944. The citation in the later Time article misspells several of the technical terms. General Electric, Chrysler and Rockwell Automation use many of the same words.
The original machine had a base plate of prefabulated amulite, surmounted by a malleable logarithmic casing in such a way that the two main spurving bearings were in a direct line with the panametric fan. The latter consisted simply of six hydrocoptic marzlevanes, so fitted to the ambifacient lunar waneshaft that side fumbling was effectively prevented. The main winding was of the normal lotus-o-deltoid type placed in panendermic semi-boloid slots in the stator, every seventh conductor being connected by a nonreversible tremmie pipe to the differential girdlespring on the "up" end of the grammeters.
A bastion fort or trace italienne (a phrase improperly derived from French, literally meaning Italian outline), is a fortification in a style that evolved during the early modern period of gunpowder when the cannon came to dominate the battlefield. It was first seen in the mid-15th century in Italy. Some types, especially when combined with ravelins and other outworks, resembled the related star fort of the same era.
The design of the fort is normally a polygon with bastions at the corners of the walls. These outcroppings eliminated protected blind spots, called "dead zones", and allowed fire along the curtain from positions protected from direct fire. Many bastion forts also feature cavaliers, which are raised secondary structures based entirely inside the primary structure.