Finding extraordinary engineers for exceptional clients

Dean Kamen, Engineering Superhero

December 7th, 2012

“You have teenagers thinking they’re going to make millions as NBA stars when that’s not realistic for even 1 percent of them. Becoming a scientist or engineer is.”  -Dean Kamen

Dean Kamen finds excitement not only in engineering and inventing, but in the positive changes that innovation can bring.

Kamen is best known for his creation of the Segway, an electric, upright transportation vehicle controlled by moving body weight that balances on two wheels. In the beginning much speculation was given to the Segway, but now you can everyone from tourists to mailmen to police officers using them.

However fun and exciting the Segway is, Kamen’s greatest inventions lie within the healthcare industry. Kamen strives for his inventions to improve quality of life and raise awareness. While an undergraduate at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, he developed the first portable drug infusion pump, the AutoSyringe. Lives changed for many people that used to require daily hospital care for drug treatments. Patients in chemotherapy, neonatology, and endocrinology all benefited from the product. By age 30 Kamen sold AutoSyringe to Baxter Healthcare Corporation, which also included the creation of the first wearable insulin pump for diabetics.

With the success of the AutoSyringe, Kamen cofounded DEKA Research and Development, to develop more of his own ideas, and allow others to capitalize on their research and ideas as well. DEKA researched and developed many products for corporate partners that requested assistance. With DEKA Kamen further developed the insulin pump for home use, a vascular stent and the iBOT, a motorized wheelchair that can also climb stairs, among others projects.

Although he never graduated college, Kamen believes in and respects the importance of education. In 1989 he started FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). FIRST inspires teenagers to pursue careers in science and technology. The group also holds a spirited annual competition for high school students to build the best working robot. FIRST serves more than 250,000 students per year in 50 countries and distributes more than $14 million in college scholarships.

Kamen’s latest projects are off-grid electricity and water purification for developing countries and an improved prosthetic arm for amputee soldiers. The “Luke Arm,” named for the prosthetic worn by Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Army Research Office, and could bring relief to many maimed soldiers. Typical prosthetic arms only have two to three degrees of function and movement. The Luke Arm has ten.

Kamen has received numerous awards for his life-changing innovations including the National Medal of Technology and a place in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Contact The Talley Group to become your own engineering superhero.

Modern Engineering Marvels

October 31st, 2012

Surely, design does make for beautiful structures. But at the basis of some world-renown structures are the foundations of sound, brilliant engineering. Here, we will go behind the scenes and look at some of the greatest modern engineering marvels around the globe.

1.Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge

A relatively new structure, this bridge was opened on June 30, 2011. It is located on the rail line between Shanghi and Nanjing in East China. This is the world’s longest bridge at 102.4 miles, held up by 2000 pillars and steel cables. Over 10,000 workers helped to build the bridge, which took four years and cost $8.5 million dollars.

2.Hoover Dam

Still one of the reigning champions in engineering greatness after all these years, the Hoover Dam, located in the Black Canyon between Arizona and Nevada is one of the greatest structures in the United States. Many tourists from Las Vegas come to see the greatness built by thousands during the 1930s. The Hoover Dam was built to turn the Colorado River into a hydroelectric power source for the area. The project cost over 100,000 lives and turned the flowing river into Lake Mead.

3.Millau Viaduct Bridge

Located in Southern France, this bridge connects the highway between Paris to Barcelona crossing the River Tarn. Architects and engineers worked side by side to not only make this a functional, safe passageway, but one that reflected the beauty of the plateau environment as well. Cable-styled columns hold the span, using minimum material, giving a delicate effect. Each of its columns rises higher than the Eiffel Tower. The road bridge spans four lanes over the River Tarn. It is currently the tallest bridge in the world.

4.Floating Green Eco Cities

What used to just be a movie fantasy is now attempting to come to life through the Lilypad Project. The eco-city islands can accommodate more than 50,000 residents at a time and support biodiversity. Collecting pools assemble water and filter it for use and solar panels provide energy.

5.Three Gorges Dam

Located in China, this dam is the result of the country’s hydro-engineering ambition. The dam spans the Yangtze River, and is the world’s largest power station in terms of capacity. The dam was not only intended to produce electricity, but decrease flooding in the area as well. However, the project has been plagued with problems since construction began in 1992. Over 16 million tons of concrete were poured into the giant barrier, creating a reservoir stretching almost the length of Britain. Besides the massive expense, over 1.4 million people have been displaced due to the project and still over 1,000 towns and villages have been flooded.

Contact The Talley Group to participate in some of the greatest engineering jobs in the world.

Allison Sawyer: Engineering Student Superhero

October 10th, 2012

Allison Sawyer built a mechanical engineering start up while still at college at Leeds University in England. Sawyer is the CEO and co-founder of Rebellion Photonics—a company that invented and manages snapshot hyper-spectral imaging technology used for real-time chemical imaging. The images can identify any chemical material with additional photos or video.  Biological research, safety and security industries are just some of the clients for the organization.

Building Sawyer’s company didn’t come without challenges. She didn’t become one of Inc. Magazine’s 30 under 30: America’s Coolest Young Entrepreneurs of 2012 overnight. She not only received an MSc in Nanoscale Physics, but an MBA from Rice University, and before Rebellion Photonics, worked at the Houston Technology Center—a large technology start-up incubator.

Sawyer knew she wanted to become an entrepreneur when meeting the inventors and researchers at Rice University. They had just published a paper on the invention of a fluorescent imaging camera that could “see” chemicals. She saw that the camera could not just be used for bio medical research, but also oil and rig safety and quality control. There were a great number of applications that could be reached for chemical imaging. Now companies like the U.S. Air Force and BP want to use this technology.

Sawyer notes that you must have patience to bring something to market and become an entrepreneur. Sawyer and her group were able to incubate their technology while students, so they did not look to start their company until a prototype was created. After the creation they were able to start making sales within six months after the formation of the company.

Rebellion is targeting the medical research, drone camera and oil markets. Their camera can identify hazardous oil leaks on rigs, something that could save lots of lives and product. The oil companies are actively looking for these technologies and they are willing to pay to have them.

Sawyer believes engineers make great entrepreneurs. She notes that before you start a company with a fantastic product that you love and believe in, go and talk to potential future customers. Not just a few, but dozens. Talk to companies large and small. You may love the technology and possibilities of your product, but you have to make sure others will as well. You need to figure out why they will want it—which is much different from why you built it.

Contact The Talley Group to explore different options for engineering positions.

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